A Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

Why Is My Conversion Rate So Low & How Do I Fix It?

Connor Peterhans

8th June 2023

The success of your online business hinges on your conversion rate. No matter what your goals are, you will need to monitor your conversion rate to determine whether your digital strategies are working.

As a digital marketing agency, one of the most common questions we are asked by our prospective clients is “why is my conversion rate so low?”.

The answer is never straightforward.

There are many reasons for a low conversion rate and each of them has a corresponding solution that will fix the issue. Our job is to diagnose the issue(s) and identify the solution(s).

That’s why, alongside SEO and PPC services, we offer dedicated conversion rate optimization (CRO) services. This blog is an insight into our process when it comes to diagnosing and rectifying poor conversion rates.

It’s Not All About Traffic: Why Your Conversion Rate Is So Important

In our experience, most businesses are primarily concerned with increasing web traffic, while overlooking the importance of squeezing the most possible value that is already landing on their website.

They are willing to pump even more money into their inefficient ad campaign or aimless SEO strategy, but are not willing to address issues that will rectify their conversion rate, such as a website rebuild.

This is a serious problem, and we’ll illustrate why through an example.

Let’s consider an online business that sells a product with an average order value (AOV) of 500 AED. Currently, the company has a monthly website traffic of 10,000 visitors, and their conversion rate is 2%. This means they generate 200 conversions (sales) per month.

First, let’s calculate the revenue and profit for the current scenario:

Revenue = Average Order Value x Conversions

Revenue = 500 AED x 200 = 100,000 AED

Now, let’s consider the following two scenarios:

  1. The business focuses on driving more traffic.
  2. The business focuses on improving the conversion rate.

Scenario 1: Driving More Traffic

Let’s assume the business decides to invest an additional 70,000 AED per month in ad spend and agency management fees. This increased investment results in a 20% increase in website traffic, bringing the total monthly visitors to 12,000. However, the conversion rate remains the same at 2%.

Revenue = Average Order Value x Conversions

Revenue = 500 AED x (12,000 visitors x 0.02) = 120,000 AED

Profit = Revenue – Ad Spend – Management Fees

Profit = 120,000 AED – 70,000 AED – 70,000 AED = -20,000 AED

In this scenario, despite the increase in revenue, the business incurs a loss due to the higher ad spend and management fees.

Conversion funnel graphic

Scenario 2: Improving the Conversion Rate

Instead of spending more on ads, the business decides to use its marketing budget to improve their conversion rate by investing 70,000 AED in website optimization and design.

Let’s assume that this optimization leads to a 1% increase in the conversion rate, bringing it to 3%.

Revenue = Average Order Value x Conversions

Revenue = 500 AED x (10,000 visitors x 0.03) = 150,000 AED

Profit = Revenue – Website Build Cost

Profit = 150,000 AED – 70,000 AED = 80,000 AED

In this scenario, despite the same amount of website traffic, the higher conversion rate leads to increased revenue and a far healthier profit margin.

The key takeaway?

Improving website performance (to increase conversion rate) can have a greater impact on revenue and profit than simply spending more on ads to drive additional traffic.

Remember, the website rebuild is also an initial one-off payment, whereas you will have to continually invest more in ads to sustain any sort of success. Equally, this is only from a 1% increase in conversion rate, which is a relatively conservative prediction.

Understanding Your Conversion Rate

Prior to making any changes to your strategy, it’s important to understand what conversion rates are and what conversion rate you should expect to generate. 

A conversion rate is the percentage of users who ‘convert’ on your website. However, you can set different goals or ‘conversions’ for your web pages, such as:

  • Making a purchase
  • Signing up to a newsletter
  • Sharing your content
  • Downloading gated content

If you’re running a PPC campaign, for example, the number of clicks your ads generate vs the number of subsequent ‘goals’ achieved is used to calculate your conversion rate. 

So, if 100 users click through to your website via your ad and 10 make a purchase, you would achieve a conversion rate of 1%, based on the following calculation:

No. of conversions / No. of clicks x 100

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

Before you investigate the reasons for your seemingly low conversion rate, it’s worth checking what constitutes a good conversion rate. This will give you an idea of how your web page or website is performing compared to relevant industry benchmarks, thus providing you with an indication of the conversion rate you should be aiming for. 

However, bear in mind that a ‘good’ conversion rate is subjective, and average conversion rates vary between industries and locations. Equally, the type of event you classify as a conversion (e.g., purchase, newsletter subscription etc.) can also affect conversion rate benchmarks. 

According to the latest statistics, the average conversion rate for search advertising across all industries is 7.26%, while eCommerce website conversion rates average approx. 2-3%.

As you can see, there is a significant variation in these conversion rates, which highlights the importance of incorporating conversion types, acquisition methods. and locations when assessing your conversion rate.

7 Causes & Remedies for a Low Conversion Rate

Below, we’ve listed some of the most common reasons for a low website conversion rate and provided optimization strategies that will help you to remedy it.

1. Poor UI & UX Design

A website that has a poor user interface (UI) or that delivers a poor user experience (UX) will struggle to achieve a high conversion rate. In fact, you may struggle to keep users on your web pages at all. That’s why a low conversion rate and/or a high bounce rate can indicate that something isn’t quite right with your UI/UX design.

UI refers to the visual elements and design of a blog, including layout, colors, typography, buttons, and other interactive elements. UX, on the other hand, encompasses the overall experience and satisfaction of users while interacting with your website. It considers factors such as ease of navigation, accessibility, responsiveness, and the fulfillment of user needs. 

Given that the web interface is the medium through which a website is experienced, the two are intimately connected. Our UI and UX designers account for this and work in harmony with one another to create functional yet aesthetically beautiful websites.

There can be many reasons why websites deliver a poor UI/UX, including:

  • Complex navigation
  • Links not highlighted
  • Slow page loading times
  • Design inconsistencies
  • Complex checkout process
  • Too many on-page distractions
  • Lack of calls-to-action (CTAs)

A number of other issues later discussed in this blog – such as complicated customer journeys and poor mobile functionality – are also heavily linked to your website’s UI/UX.

Usability vs UX graphic

Solution: Invest in UI/UX Website Optimization

Statistics show that UI improvements can increase conversion rates by 200%, while UX enhancements can boost your conversion rate by up to 400%, so it’s well worth reviewing your site and optimizing the experience it offers where possible.

To begin, carry out a UI/UX audit so that functionality and design issues can be identified. Depending on the specific results of your audits, you’ll be able to enhance your site accordingly.

If design inconsistencies are affecting your branding, for example, a redesign might be in order. Alternatively, if complex navigation makes it hard for users to get around your site, then simplifying its structure could be advantageous. If there are a lot of fundamental issues, an entire website rebuild could be the answer.

2. Complicated Customer Journeys

Every piece of content on your website should have a specific purpose and work together to propel users through the sales funnel. If users become ‘lost’ mid-way through the customer journey, they’re unlikely to convert and this could be one of the reasons you’re seeing a low conversion rate.

Solution: Examine Your Website’s Navigational Structure

To remedy this, assess every web page and determine whether it’s clear to the user what they should do next. For example, are you using clear calls to action (CTA) that guide users through the customer journey until and following their conversion? If not, be sure to incorporate them onto your web pages to signpost users toward a conversion event.

Conversely, don’t make the customer journey unnecessarily complicated with multiple different CTAs on one page. 

When there is too much choice regarding ‘next steps’, this can lead to uncertainty which may prompt users to abandon your site. Aim for clear, concise guidance that nurtures users as they become prospects, leads, and then, finally, customers. 

3. Poor Quality Organic Traffic

Importantly, your conversion rate is not just influenced by the experience your website itself provides, but also by the quality of traffic you’re attracting to your website in the first place.

Over half of all online traffic comes from organic search, which is why it’s so important to use search engine optimization (SEO) services to maximize your website’s organic search performance. However, SEO should not be solely focused on generating website traffic. Instead, you should focus on generating the right type of traffic.

If you’re targeting the wrong keywords, for example, you will generate organic traffic that has no interest in your products or services. As a result, they won’t convert, and you’ll be wondering why so many people visit your site but don’t engage with your brand. 

Let’s consider another example in the e-commerce industry where a company sells fitness equipment and decides to target the broad keyword “sports gear” in its marketing campaign. 

The term “sports gear”, however, is quite broad and can encompass various types of sports equipment, apparel, and accessories. Visitors arriving at the website through this keyword may have different intentions, such as looking for soccer gear, tennis equipment, or even athletic clothing. 

Since the company sells fitness equipment, the visitors interested in specific sports gear may not find the products they are looking for, leading to a much lower conversion rate.

Solution: Meticulous Keyword Research

An SEO audit service will provide you with clear answers regarding where your SEO strategy could be going wrong and what optimization opportunities are available. By revisiting your keyword research, for example, you can assess whether your target keywords are too broad, have too little search volume, or have too much competition. 

When you target a range of long-tail keywords, for example, you can enhance the specificity and relevancy of the search terms your web pages rank for and, therefore, reach users who are actively searching for products or services that you offer. 

Returning to the previous example, targeting “home gym equipment” rather than “sports gear” would be far more effective. It aligns with the company’s offerings and appeals to visitors looking for fitness equipment suitable for their personal workout space. In turn, targeting this keyword can help attract a more focused audience and improve the conversion rate.

As well as having a higher purchase intent, more specific, long-tail keywords have the added bonus of being easier to rank for as they typically will have less competition!

Pro tip: If your business operates in a particular geographic location or if you’re targeting an audience within a specific area, you should incorporate local SEO into your strategy. This will add another layer of targeting to enhance the quality of your organic traffic.

Home gym equipment SEMrush UAE analysis

4. Inaccurate PPC Targeting 

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a fast and cost-effective way to drive targeted traffic to your website – provided you get the audience targeting right. 

In the same way that organic traffic can be devalued by a poor SEO strategy, the quality of your PPC traffic can be reduced if you don’t use appropriate tools to shape the intended audience. 

When using Google Ads for search advertising, for example, the keywords you target will determine where and when your ads are shown. Targeting terms that are too broad or too narrow will impact the effectiveness of your campaigns and the quality of the traffic they produce. 

If you’re seeing a high click-through rate but a low conversion rate from your ad campaign, it’s time to reassess your audience and keyword targeting.

Solution: Refined Audience Targeting 

Divide your audience into segments based on relevant criteria. This allows you to create tailored ad campaigns and landing pages for each segment, thus creating a more personalized customer experience and increasing the chances of conversion.

Google Ads provides additional audience targeting options, including:

  • Locations
  • Interests
  • Demographics

Similarly, LinkedIn Ads allows you to segment audiences based on factors such as:

  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Company size

Both these platforms also offer audience exclusion options, giving you even more of a chance to create a finely tuned audience comprised of potential future customers. All you need is an expert who can harness these tools!

Pro tip: Experiment with different variations of your ads, landing pages, and targeting parameters. A/B testing allows you to compare the performance of different elements and make data-driven decisions to optimize your campaigns.

5. Lack of Mobile Functionality

If your web pages don’t function well on mobile devices, this could be a primary reason for a low conversion rate. With mobile traffic now accounting for over half of global traffic, poor mobile UX will result in many lost conversions and missed opportunities.

When visiting a web page from a site that isn’t mobile-friendly, issues that commonly arise are:

  • Content not optimized for mobile screens: Websites that display content that is too wide for mobile screens can lead to horizontal scrolling or cutoff text.
  • Small and hard-to-read text: Mobile screens are smaller than desktop screens, so if the text on a website is too small, users may struggle to read it.
  • Unresponsive or misaligned design elements: Mobile websites should have a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes. However, design elements that do not properly adjust or align on mobile screens can make the website look unprofessional and difficult to navigate.
  • Inaccessible menus and navigation: Complex or hidden menus on mobile websites can make it challenging for users to find the information they need or navigate between pages.
  • Unoptimized forms and input fields: Forms and input fields should be designed with mobile users in mind. If they are too small, require precise tapping, or have unclear instructions, users may struggle to fill them out accurately.
  • Lack of mobile-specific features: Mobile users expect certain features tailored to their devices, such as click-to-call functionality, location-based services, or touch gestures.
Google mobile friendliness test screenshot

Solution: Mobile Responsive Design

To address this, be sure to evaluate your site’s ‘mobile friendliness’ and ensure that your online content can be enjoyed from any device.

Responsive design ensures that websites adapt seamlessly to various screen sizes and resolutions, providing an optimal viewing and interaction experience for mobile users. Here are a few benefits of mobile responsive design:

  • Fluid Grids: Responsive design utilizes fluid grids that proportionally adjust the width of elements based on the screen size. This ensures that the layout adapts smoothly to different devices, maintaining a consistent design.
  • Flexible Images: Images in responsive design are resized and optimized to fit the screen width without distorting or losing clarity. This is achieved by setting their maximum width to 100% and using CSS techniques such as “max-width” and “height: auto.”
  • Responsive Typography: Font sizes, line heights, and spacing should be carefully adjusted to ensure readability on smaller screens. Using relative units like percentages or ems, along with media queries, helps maintain legibility and readability across different devices.

Pro tip: Media queries are CSS rules that allow you to apply different styles based on the characteristics of the user’s device, such as screen size, resolution, or orientation. By utilizing media queries, you can create custom layouts and adjust styling specifically for mobile devices.

6. Unclear Value Proposition

Your value proposition is a concise statement that communicates the unique benefits and value a product/service offers to its target audience. It answers the fundamental question of “Why should I choose this product or service?”

A well-crafted value proposition should resonate with the target audience, addressing their specific needs, desires, and pain points.

When the value proposition is not clearly defined, it becomes challenging to tailor the messaging to the right audience segments. This lack of relevance can result in a disconnect between the user and the product or service, leading to reduced engagement and conversion rates.

Solution: Clearly Define Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Clearly articulate what sets your product or service apart from competitors. Identify the unique features, benefits, or qualities that make your offering valuable to your target audience. Your USP should:

  1. Address a specific problem that your target audience has
  2. Highlight the benefits of your solution
  3. Differentiate you from the competition

Once you have clearly defined your USP, foreground it!

A bold value proposition positioned above-the-fold on your homepage can have a startling impact on your conversion rate, particularly when it’s combined with a clear CTA.  Take a look at our homepage, for instance:

Trafiki homepage screenshot

Testing your value proposition is an effective way to determine its efficacy. Using market research to generate data will provide insight into the message potential customers receive when they read your value proposition. In turn, you will be able to refine your value proposition according to feedback from your real-life audience.

7. Lack of Trustworthiness

A lack of trustworthiness can have a significant negative impact on your conversion rate. When visitors arrive at your website or interact with your brand, they need to feel confident that their personal information, payment details, and overall experience will be safe and secure. 

If they perceive your website or brand as untrustworthy, they are likely to abandon the conversion process and seek alternatives. This can be particularly problematic for startup companies that are still working hard to build a positive reputation and generate brand recognition.

Solution: Use Social Proof

When potential customers see evidence that others have had positive experiences with your brand, it helps establish trust and credibility, increasing the likelihood of conversions. That’s why incorporating social proof onto your website is so important.

There are several ways to leverage social proof:

  • Customer Testimonials: Showcase testimonials from satisfied customers on your website. Include their names, photos, and specific details about their positive experiences with your products or services. This helps build trust by showing real people who have benefited from your offerings.
  • Case Studies: Display case studies that highlight the success stories of your clients. Outline the challenges they faced and how your solutions helped them achieve their goals. By demonstrating tangible results, you provide potential customers with evidence of your expertise and reliability.
  • Online Reviews and Ratings: Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and ratings on your Google Business Profile, Yelp, or industry-specific review sites. Positive reviews and high ratings act as social proof, assuring potential customers of your credibility.
  • Influencer Endorsements: Collaborate with influencers or industry experts who have a strong following and influence in your target market. Their endorsement of your brand or products can significantly boost trust and credibility among their followers.
  • Trust Seals and Certifications: Display trust seals, security badges, and certifications from recognized authorities or third-party organizations on your website. These symbols of trust and security help alleviate concerns about data privacy and reinforce your commitment to customer protection.

Another way of enhancing the trustworthiness of your brand is to focus on increasing your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). After all, if Google trusts your site and ranks your web pages highly, users will trust your brand too.

So, make search engine marketing a priority if you want to enhance your online reputation, increase brand awareness and earn the trust of your target audience (and drive targeted traffic to your site!).

Conversion Rate Optimization Agency: Maximizing Your Conversion Rate

Improving your conversion rate is integral to long-term, sustainable business growth.

As you can see, however, there is a combination of factors that could be preventing you from achieving a higher conversion rate. With in-depth analysis, we can help to diagnose and, more importantly, solve the issues that are affecting your online performance.

Book a 30-minute discovery call with one of our conversion rate optimization experts and find out how we can take your business to the next level.

2023-08-07T20:26:21+00:00June 8th, 2023|Blog|

About the Author:

Website & Content Strategist
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