When dealing with complicated problems, people tend to rely more heavily than usual on a) other people’s advice and b) technological gadgetry. This is not necessarily a problem. But when you venture into the guru-saturated world of Internet marketing looking for tips on how to improve your law firm’s conversion rates, you might find yourself being peddled complex software or nonsensical-sounding advice from “experts.” How can you evaluate which tools or tactics will really improve conversions without being an Internet marketing expert yourself?
At Black Fin we try to keep things logical so you know where you stand. We believe that the failsafe method for improving your conversions rates is not one particular trick or piece of software, but a process of discovering what your users expect, look for, and need when they come to your website, and then figuring out how best to give it to them. The process— let’s call it the “scientific method of conversion optimization”—involves observing, analyzing, hypothesizing, and then testing with a control. And best of all, you can perform a tiny “experiment” every day, and see the evidence mounting—and your conversion rates improving.
Step One: Observe/Analyze Your Data
The best thing about this method is that the tools you need for it are all free. Start with your site’s Google Analytics and give the data a hard look. In rather short order you should discover “problem” pages: pages that bring in high traffic but also show high bounce and exit rates. These are the pages that drag down your conversion rate. Each of those visits represents someone who came to your site looking for something, and each of those bounces is someone who didn’t find what they were looking for.
Step Two: Make a Hypothesis
Now that you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to whip out another free tool—your noggin. Look hard at your problem pages and brainstorm what could be causing users to bounce. Maybe the page copy is too long, too short, too high-brow, too low-brow, or too stuffed with keywords, for your target audience’s taste. Maybe visitors to your homepage don’t understand the site organization or can’t clearly orient their problem in any of your area of practice categories. Maybe a page loads too slow because of a large image, or is distorted for users who view it by smartphone. Or a million other tiny things. The point of this step is to put yourself in the place of your targeted readers, and imagine their response to a single page. Once you’ve formulated a reasonable hypothesis about what’s causing the bounce, you can move a definitive direction to change one thing and see what happens. (Note: Make sure you don’t hold on too tightly to one hypothesis that seems to tidily explain all your problems. You will likely have to come back to this step many times as you rule out or refine your “theories.” Like all scientific progress, this process requires a bit of intellectual flexibility.)
Step Three: Change One Thing
Once you’ve hypothesized the source of the problem, you should know which “variables” you want to test. This could be as simple as reducing the number of fields in your contact form or moving its location on the page. It could involve changing the page title, sending the page content for a rewrite, breaking up long blocks of text with headings or bullet points, or even turning your links or “submit” buttons red. Have your web administrator make at least one of your changes immediately.
Step Four: Start Testing
Cue free tool number three: Google Content Experiments. This excellent new Google program lets you live-test up to five different versions of the same page. Visitors to the page will be randomly assigned to one version, and you can immediately start comparing your versions to your control page to see which has the greatest impact.
Step Five: Repeat. Over and over and over.
You might see a negligible change—or even a negative one—from tweaking a particular variable. Or you might see your conversions on that page skyrocket, in which case you should obviously make that one the live page for all visitors.
However, you’re not done yet. You should see this method as a continuous process of discovering what your potential clients are looking for, with every new experiment revealing the impact of certain elements of your website to be anything from extremely important to totally irrelevant, and everything in between. Dedicate 10 minutes to this process a day, and you will start to connect the dots in your Analytics to better understand the behavior of your site visitors.
One last reminder: When Internet marketing experts promise you a one-size-fits-all conversion method or fancy software that is guaranteed to bring results, always keep in mind that your market, your clients, and your firm are all unique. Conversion is about connecting your firm with a very particular set of people whose tastes, needs, geographic location, ethnicity, level of education, etc. will all affect how they interact with your website. To maximize your conversions, you need to understand them better. And this method is how you do it.
Inject your conversion optimization with a bit of scientific inquisitiveness. And then watch new clients come walking through your door. If you want help with any of this, or any of our other polished law firm internet marketing strategies, contact us today.