Understanding the online buyer: how 1 simple change increased conversions by 50%

In order to increase online sales and leads it is essential to understand the online buyer not only when they are searching online but also once they have arrived on your website. What actions do they take on a web page and, just as importantly, what actions don’t they take? Fortunately, there are some reliable processes to help identify the behaviour of online visitors and better encourage them to take the action you want. Whatever that action is for your business, for instance, buy a product, sign up for an event or book a call-back, the process of increasing sales or leads is similar. And that process is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).

Since 2009, here at Ditto Digital we have been using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to drive visitors with a strong buying intent to business websites in a range of industries. However, when that process is a mature one for a business and the flow of traffic is good quality, there is more to be done to increase sales without necessarily increasing visitor numbers. And that’s where Conversion Rate Optimisation comes in. CRO is an essential tool for every business with an online presence, which these days is pretty much every business. This mini case study highlights how a single change to an online form boosted conversions by 50% for the self-storage company Storing.com.

A real-life example
For B2B businesses and service-oriented B2C businesses, potential customers often need additional information before they can make a decision to buy. For instance, for our example case study of a self-storage company, customers often need help deciding what size storage unit they might need, whether they might need a climate-controlled unit or whether the company provide services in a particular location.
In cases like these simply displaying basic prices on a website is not enough to help people make a decision about whether to rent from a particular company. There are other elements to consider:

  • Is help needed calculating the amount of storage space required?
  • Is 24/7 access required?
  • Does the customer need advice on hiring a van?
  • Is the customer interested in collection of their possessions?

For this self-storage company to provide more assistance the customer needs to provide more details. A simple solution to this, as for multiple other business types, is to have an online form where customers fill in the relevant details to enable the company to provide – in this example – an accurate quote. But what if that very form is deterring potential customers from getting in touch?

Analysing user data
In our example, many people were interested in obtaining a quote. We know this because analysing the user data in Google Analytics showed how many people clicked through to the web page where they could request a quote. We know these clicks came from various calls-to-action across the website so the site was generating a good level of customer engagement for the company.

However, looking more closely at the data revealed that the conversion rate could be higher, especially as people had already taken the first step to requesting a quote i.e. clicking on the CTA buttons. What we saw was that people spent a significant amount of time on the page, presumably filling in the data requested such as Name, email address, postcode etc. But those same people were not clicking the “Submit” button that would send their details to the company sales team.

We had to discover why…

Conversion Rate Optimisation highlights problems
Conversion rate optimisation can be a long, ongoing process, but in our example of a self-storage company a solution quickly presented itself from the initial analysis. People started filling in the online form but a lower percentage than expected actually completed and submitted it. Something was deterring people from taking the final step.

The form had 10 mandatory fields and people either did not want to provide certain information (such as their telephone number) or they simply did not know what information to put (such as how long they wanted to rent a storage unit for). The quote form was simply too long and asked for too much information.

The simple solution
Although there were sound reasons for requesting all of this information – i.e. to provide an accurate quote – those reasons become redundant if too few people were submitting the form.
The solution, luckily, was a simple one – cut down the number of fields on the quote form to the absolute minimum to enable the sales team to provide an initial quote. So instead of 10 fields on the form it was reduced to just 3:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Postcode

The outcome…
This simple change resulted in a 50% increase in conversions (i.e. people submitting the form) with no increase in visitor numbers. It shows how analysing data in Google Analytics, then using that data to review the online process of making contact from a customer perspective can improve the bottom line.

Why not review the conversion rate of your online customer forms? Are you asking for too much information? If so, a change similar to the one outlined here could prove to be a solution for your business too.


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