Web Marketing Today

How to Double Website Leads without Increasing Traffic

If you’ve read my previous article “How to Get 1,000 Visitors to your Website for Free,” you have already taken steps to build traffic to your website. So now it’s time to turn those visitors into revenue for your business.

Effective small-business websites generate new leads and customers automatically. If your website is receiving at least 100 visitors each month, it should be generating a handful of leads and customers without any intervention from you. If not, you need to increase your conversion rate — the percentage of your website visitors who become leads or customers for your business.

If you have a low conversion rate, it doesn’t matter how much website traffic you build. You will still get poor results. But if you increase your conversion rate, you will get more leads and customers from your existing website traffic right now.

conversions

The conversion rate equals the number of leads and/or customers divided by number of visitors. In this example, 1 sale divided by 20 visitors equals a 5 percent conversion rate.

The Quickest Way to Boost Your Conversion Rate

According to Google, the average visitor to a website decides whether to stay or leave in less than eight seconds. In this short amount of time, there is only one thing a visitor can possibly read — the largest text headline on the page.

Because of this, the largest text headline — on the first page a visitor encounters on your website — is the single best opportunity you have to move that visitor from a tire-kicker to a new customer. The perfect headline convinces visitors to stay longer and clearly explains what they will find when they look around.

Given the importance of your text headlines, you can drastically increase your conversion rate by writing good headlines for every page.

Here’s an example. Say you’ve just done some searching online for new cars. You’ve arrived at an automotive review website. Which headline below is more likely to capture visitors’ attention and keep them reading?

Headline A:  Top Cars of 2013
Headline B:  2013’s Most Amazing Car – You Can’t Have!

Both headlines seem reasonable for an identical article.

However headline B likely grabs you, makes you wonder why you can’t have it, and urges you to find out exactly why that car is so amazing. It’s clearly the best. Or is it? This was actually a trick question. I’ll explain more later.

For now, here are five tips to write good headlines for every page on your website.

5 Tips for Writing Good Web Page Headlines

  1. Use plain English. Avoid using a pun, riddle, or metaphor in a headline. Readers and search engines don’t understand them. Stick with simple English — or the language your customers prefer.
  2. Tell a story. People understand stories. The more a headline relates to your visitors, the more likely it will be recognized as something of interest and the more likely they will take the time to learn more.
  3. Create controversy. Be daring and create some conflict. Don’t get your visitors bent out of shape,. But a little agitation can keep them engaged.
  4. Shorter isn’t always better. You have eight seconds to explain a page to your visitors. But a really short headline doesn’t say much. Longer headlines could help you provide a better explanation of the points you want to make.
  5. Don’t sound like an ad. Nobody wants the hard sell. Your visitors want to learn and then make a thoughtful decision. Your headline should focus on the problems your content can help them solve.

Here’s a headline that follows these five guidelines.

We Test 2013′s Most Amazing Car – and You Can’t Have It!

Now that you know how to write good headlines, I’m going to reveal the secret to the trick question I asked about headline A and headline B before. The real answer is, “It depends.”

I know this from experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stared at a list of good headlines for a single page, picked my favorite, then tested them only to determine that I was dead wrong.

Determining the best headline for your web page depends most on whether or not your actual website visitors like it best. The only way to know for sure is to run a headline test using your real website visitors. This is actually a lot easier to do than it sounds.

Let Your Visitors Tell You Which Headlines They Like Best

Start with a single page of your website that receives a lot of traffic — such as your home page. Write two new headlines for the page using the five guidelines above.

Determine the primary goal you will use to measure the success of the headline on this page. Is the headline trying to convince visitors to fill out a form? Is it urging them to watch a video? No matter what it is, just figure it out.

Now that you have two new headlines and a primary goal for this page, you can use tools such as Optimizely or Google Content Experiments to display these headlines — in rotation with your current headline — to your actual page visitors. The tools will then measure the conversion rate for each version of the headline based on how many visitors reach the goal you have specified.

This kind of testing — also called A/B testing — allows you to determine which headline has the highest conversion rate with your real website visitors. Once you know which headline is better, you can end the test and edit your web page to only show the better headline to all website visitors.

A/B Testing

Using A/B testing allows you to determine which headline has a higher conversion rate.

Conclusion

Increasing your conversion rate is the easiest way to get more leads and customers from your existing website traffic. And writing good headlines is the easiest way to improve your conversion rate.

But you won’t know which headline your visitors prefer until you test it. Use low-cost software tools to test your headlines to find the one — for each page — that has the highest conversion rate with your real website visitors.

Repeat this process for the most important pages on your website and you can double or triple your conversion rate. You’ll start receiving more leads and customers for your business immediately.

Do you have a page headline you want to test? Post it in the comments here and I’ll help you brainstorm some alternative versions to test as well.

Aaron Houghton
Aaron Houghton
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Comments ( 5 )

Have Something To Say ?

  1. Ron January 22, 2013 Reply

    Awesome article Aaron!
    Could you please help me brainstorm headline ideas for my piano service business?

    Here is the current headline: Can Piano Tuning and Service Improve my Playing?

    Thank you

  2. Aaron W. Houghton January 22, 2013 Reply

    Hey Ron, thank you. I’m glad you liked the article.

    Here are some headlines that I would suggest you test on your homepage. For these I’m assuming that the primary goal of your website is for visitors to call your phone number or submit your “NEED PIANO SERVICE?” form.

    Original: Can Piano Tuning and Service improve my playing?

    Iteration 1: A Well Tuned Piano Will Inspire Your Musical Growth.
    Iteration 2: I Will Help You Get Crystal Clear Sound From Your Piano.
    Iteration 3: Is a Well Serviced Piano Really Easier to Play?
    Iteration 4: Will You Smile More When Playing Your Tuned Piano?

    As you can see I’ve pulled inspiration from other content on the page. I’ve integrated the key benefits of piano service into each additional headline to see which is most effective. The last headline is a different approach entirely. I like testing at least one off-the-wall headline just to see if it works best.

    Good luck with your headline test and thanks for reading!

  3. Ron January 23, 2013 Reply

    Thanks so much Aaron. I will give your suggestions a try and look forward to using the new Google Content Experiments for testing. I am just about ready to re-launch my website using WordPress, and was looking for ways to increase conversion rate. The timing of this article was perfect for me!

    • Aaron W. Houghton January 24, 2013 Reply

      That’s great Ron. Good luck with the new site launch – and if you’re willing to tell us – I’d love to know which headline produces the most marketing conversions on your website after you complete the test with Google Content Experiments.

  4. Tim S March 26, 2013 Reply

    Here is the headline from my landing page:
    Ordering our Fine Jams and Jellies
    Gourmet Jams and Jelly

    I am trying to make sales of our unique products, what are your ideas.
    Thanks
    TIm

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