10 Conversion optimization tools to gain more sales with your website

Vinay’s note: At the end of 2014 digital marketers rated conversion optimization as the highest priority. And why not? After all for the same traffic you could get more revenue. But just how do you go about testing and optimizing based on data. In this post Chris Kilbourn shares the exact tools he uses to help clients increase their conversion rates by upto 600%.

In my experience as a marketer and entrepreneur, I have learned that conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the most impactful form of marketing.

As it turns out, many marketers agree with me. In the 2014 State of Marketing survey, Salesforce ExactTarget polled 2,303 global marketers and 47% stated that their highest priority is increasing conversion rates. The goals of improving brand awareness (46%) and gathering behavioral data about users (29%) also ranked high among respondents, which isn’t surprising at all.

conversion rate optimization is a top marketing priority

In the 2014, 47% of marketers stated that their highest priority is increasing conversion rates. Click To Tweet
No matter how you approach marketing, your end goal is the same. You want consumers to perform specific actions, whether it’s downloading an app, subscribing to a service or utilizing new features. Getting their actions to align with your goals is conversion.

Learning about your users and building their trust in your brand are unavoidable milestones on your path to optimization. This is why I created Conversion Peak, an agency that specializes in CRO, after years of exploring the ups and downs of both traditional and digital marketing. In this article, I’ll share with you the exact conversion optimization tools we use to help our clients achieve conversion rate increases between 20% and 600%.

1. Usertesting.com

True to its name, Usertesting.com creates tools that measure the usability of products or features. You may think your products are straightforward and user-friendly, until you realize your sales and user traffic are dropping for some unknown reason. Maybe visitors are confused about how to download your app or they give up and leave because you eliminated the intuitiveness after an update. Usertesting.com gathers a diverse testing base and uses tools such behavioral metrics and videotaped sessions to give you valuable insight within hours.

Consider the case of software developer Adobe. The company responded to user requests by adding a content extraction tool to Photoshop. Instead of a successful launch, the team faced the unexpected reality check that most users had no idea how to use the tool. After teaming up with Usertesting, the developers realized they needed to target a wide range of skill levels, not just experienced Photoshop users.

The team shared feature mockups and interactive prototypes with testers to gain real-time feedback, including the ability to see footage of where users were getting confused. With the help of customers, Adobe renamed and redesigned the feature, resulting in a better “Export Options” interface that has been incorporated into other design products. Case in point: a trust-building experience strengthened the user base by demonstrating the company’s willingness to learn and improve.

2. CrazyEgg

I think we can all agree that good marketing doesn’t involve guesswork, but do you take advantage of user metrics to beef up your conversion strategies? Users do more than complete transactions on a website and understanding those other passive activities can help you plan your layout, content placement and outreach tools to hook wandering site visitors.

CrazyEgg is beneficial for analyzing every element of user activity, including where users scroll and click and what prompted them to visit your site. The company’s major features—heatmaps, scroll maps and overlays—transform behavior metrics into visual images that show you exactly where users are spending their time and why they aren’t navigating to the site features you want them to.

conversion optimization tool crazyegg example

An interesting fact about CrazyEgg is that this young company took a page out of its own book and consulted Conversion Rate Experts to find ways to improve marketing strategies.

Based on the static text and images on the website, many visitors couldn’t tell what made CrazyEgg different from other user analytics companies. After evaluating feedback about the site’s usability, Crazy Egg added marketing videos to deliver brief visual messages that clearly explained the product’s value. The result was a 363% conversion increase.

3. Visual Website Optimizer (VWO.com)

Sometimes, the only way to know what works best is to try different variations. That’s where A/B testing comes in. Visual Website Optimizer oversees A/B testing by dividing user traffic between different variations of your site to see which elements produce the highest conversion rates. A/B testing sheds light on the most minute, overlooked Web design elements that could be driving traffic away, whether it’s a murky font or a poorly placed sign-up button.

A perfect example is the case of Jesper Sorensen, a Dutch conversion consultant who was using VWO to pitch his company’s services to Aarhus Teater, a famous theater in Denmark. As a test example, Sorensen changed the purchase CTA on the theater’s homepage from “Buy Ticket” to “Buy Tickets,” resulting in a 20% increase in sales over 20 days. Sorensen suspected that changing the wording to “tickets” would make it clearer to users that they could pay for multiple seats and browse tickets for various shows—not just the show pictured on the homepage.

Small CRO changes can make big differences, but you may never know until you look with fresh eyes Click To Tweet

conversion optimization tools split testing with visual website optimizer

4. Google Analytics

Dealing with unseen consumers is always a challenge, especially for businesses that are large and serve a wide range of demographics. How do you even begin to understand how different types of customers use your services or measure the impact of your marketing strategies? Fortunately, Google Analytics is a powerful tool for consolidating data about consumer behavior, sales trends and conversion success, all in one place. Real-time reporting is key because the longer you wait to implement necessary changes, the lower your conversion and retention rates drop. More importantly, well-designed analytics help you manage reports across multiple sites and apps, so you can gain a more complete picture of how consumers are reacting.

The American Cancer Society turned to Google Analytics when the organization needed help understanding what drives different demographics to get involved in cancer research events and how their behavior changes over time. The first step was to identify clear consumer segments, which included donors, information seekers and event participants. ACS was then able to monitor their activity on the site to determine whether users were achieving their goals, such as registering for events or completing a donation.

Based on multiple levels of evaluation, ACS came up with a refined scoring metric to design campaigns that reflected the distinct motivations of different groups. For example, the organization might focus on success stories and donor outcomes after visitor A checks the site for the latest news on cancer research and visits the donation page. The end result was a 5.4% increase in donations that year.

5. Mixpanel

In the early days of online marketing, you probably relied on page views to tell you how well your products were doing. The problem is that this method doesn’t offer any details about who visits your sites and apps, why they visit, and what they do once you have their attention. So, you may have wondered why impressive page views don’t automatically add up to great conversion rates. Enter Mixpanel.

The Mixpanel team refers to its product as “point-and-click” analytics because they are easy for “non-technical folks” to master. The tools help you achieve refined segmentation, so you can break down the subtle behaviors that motivate consumers and make their user experiences more and more personalized. By putting a spotlight on every step of the retention funnel, you end up finding the answers to questions you didn’t even think to ask.

For travel comparison site Hipmunk, using Mixpanel makes it easier to optimize marketing budgets. The company uses various acquisition channels scattered across the Web and social media and needed a way to compare each campaign’s costs to its conversion trends. The Hipmunk team discovered that many channels with low click-through rates actually had high booking rates, making it clear that page views aren’t the best indicators of success.

Armed with this unexpected information, Hipmunk focused on figuring out why consumers were more likely to go straight to the booking stage in specific channels. The team was able to redirect funds to the most effective campaigns and focus their energy on improving winning strategies even more.

analytics tool mixpanel

6. ClickTale

The best conversion tools bring visibility to an invisible consumer experience. ClickTale delivers the 1-on-1 dynamic of a focus group to businesses that don’t have traditional client interactions. If you want to measure site usability, watch video replays of customer click-throughs, so you can learn to see through their eyes. Want to know why your bounce rate is spiking? Use the site health evaluation and conversion funnel to find out which pages perform well or drive down user engagement.

ClickTale tools guide you along a logical progression of problem-solving. For example, sportswear retailer The North Face couldn’t understand why so many customers visited the Shopping Cart page but never made it to the Checkout page.

After using ClickTale’s session playback and mouse-click heat maps, the company realized a promotional rewards member banner was diverting customers away from the Shopping Cart page. Next, The North Face used A/B testing to determine a better location for the banner. By simply moving the Checkout button above the banner, the company increased click-through rate by 21%, resulting in an overall conversion increase of 62%.

heat mapping tool

7. Qualaroo

Customers have a threshold of obstacles they are willing to put up with before they abandon your site and make purchases elsewhere. Yet, every time you make changes to sites, landing pages and apps, you run the risk of introducing errors or upsetting the design balance. At such times, qualitative user data is a smart way to quickly track down unseen flaws.

Qualaroo is a targeted survey platform that integrates with other CRM tools, letting you gather insightful feedback from consumers and immediately implement changes across all your products. The application offers a list of “survey recipes,” which are ready-made question sets to help you investigate common sources of problems.

Conversion rate agency KingsPoint learned the value of customer insight after using Qualaroo with CrazyEgg and VWO to investigate client sites that experienced strange conversion trends. In one instance, the company used exit surveys to ask customers who reached the Checkout page what stopped them from completing orders?

The agency discovered that customers using a Safari browser were unable to complete purchases on pages that were not JavaScript-enabled. KingsPoint realized that if the client could fix the problem and make Safari conversion rates comparable to users in Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, the client could increase revenue by $60,000 that year.

survey tool qualaroo examples

8. Survey Monkey

Surveys will always be useful when you need to quickly gather opinions from a diverse customer base. They’re also easy to scale and adapt to various applications, ranging from game development to employee satisfaction. That’s why SurveyMonkey is a staple tool for companies that want to understand which factors are important to consumers and how they think. You can build custom surveys with a blend of question formats to suit the content, such as multiple choice and open-ended comments.

Beyond the question-and-answer routine, SurveyMonkey offers tools that tailor surveys to the user. For example, let’s say a customer gets a question asking whether she buys crafts supplies from a specialty store or a big-box department chain. You can design intuitive surveys in which the next question depends upon the consumer’s answer. This feature, known as skip logic, makes surveys shorter and more streamlined while getting rid of unnecessary segments that might make consumers bored and eager to click away. Targeted surveys also increase the likelihood that consumers will provide more detailed feedback in comment sections.

9. Unbounce

Even when you have strong marketing skills, you can get stuck in the web design phase or waste your budget on updates that barely affect conversion. Unbounce is a great tool for optimizing your marketing efforts and testing the impact of landing page variations at reasonable cost. The landing page templates are proven to generate leads and the tools easily integrate with other applications, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Google Analytics, Salesforce and KISSmetrics. The Dynamic Text Replacement feature matches landing page keywords to unique user searches, making it ideal for pay-per-click campaigns.

Workshop Digital uses Unbounce to oversee client PPC campaigns, which focus on high ROI and low advertising expenses. To date, the company has achieved lead generation increases as high as 400%. In its early days, Workshop Digital worked with a home-building firm that was stuck at a 5% conversion rate. The team used Unbounce to experiment with A/B testing, making subtle changes to content layout, images, backgrounds and button placement. This trial-and-error optimization bumped leads to 8% (and eventually 22%) without requiring any extra ad spend.

unbounce landing page examples

10. Formisimo

Even well-crafted conversion tools often overlook an important part of the analytics process—checkout forms. If engaged customers are frequently visiting your shopping cart or checkout pages without completing the final steps, you may be forcing shoppers to work too hard to buy your products. Formisimo can help you find the subtle weak spots in your conversion funnel, including visual elements, corrections or text that work against conversion goals.

Form analytics are invaluable for locating which fields customers spend the most time filling out or areas where they repeatedly abandon the checkout process. Formisimo used its own platform to boost conversion rates by 56.3% over a two-month period. The company noticed that the password confirmation field was responsible for 25% of sign-up abandonment. Analytics showed that customers were making frequent corrections in this field, most likely to fix typing errors when trying to match the first password field.

Another problem element was the “Step 2” label on the confirmation tab, which gave the misleading impression that the form had another page. With the changes in effect, the form completion rate rose to 61%, while the overall conversion rate increased from 15.8% to 24.7%.

Your Thoughts on Conversion Optimization Tools

Every day, innovative companies are finding new ways to boost conversion rate optimization and create stronger communication between businesses and consumers.

Have you discovered or developed effective conversion optimization tools for taking conversion rates to the next level? Do you have an impressive success story? If so, share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Chris is a growth marketing expert, who specializes in tech startups. In past lives, he was a professional rock star (seriously), and he built and sold 2 successful companies from the ground up. You can connect with him via email at chriskilbourn@gmail.com and view his case studies at www.chriskilbourn.com.

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