The 5-Point Checklist For Increasing Conversion Rates

the 5-point Conversion CHecklist

As I like to say many, many times, there is no ‘magic bullet’ for an overnight upturn in your conversion rates. A dramatic upturn can only really be achieved by following a robust and thorough process of understanding your audience and planning content appropriately to become an effective Persuasion Journey.

However, there are still some simple things you can do to start improving your conversion rates before diving into such an in-depth process. In this post, I’ll walk you through a 5-point checklist that you can follow to start making some really positive improvements.

So, here goes:

Point 1: Attention

Does your home/ landing page capture the visitor in 3 seconds or less? With something that speaks to their felt need, at that time? If your visitor is coming via a specific search term, does your landing page reinforce that and connect the journey?

How do you do that? There are a few different ways…

  1. Try and put yourself in their shoes and go through the site, its not an easy thing to master as you need to ignore everything that you know and just pretend to be someone who kn0ows little about you.
  2. If that sounds tricky (it is!) then ask friends/ relatives/ colleagues to go through it and give you a warts-and-all assessment.
  3. Use a cheap service like What Users Do to hire pre-vetted people to go through it for you and they send you back a video recording and a load of good comments.

After you’ve checked all of your landing pages for impact and relevancy, you need to see if your site content/ customer journey sustains that attention by responding to their clicks (which is basically them asking you questions) just as well as your homepage – or do you just throw them into the ‘general’ site after that landing page? You can use the same methods as above to get feedback on all of your pages/ journeys.

Once you have your feedback, try changing some of the copy used in links and headings to make things more relevant – hopefully your reviewers should have give you some information as to the type of things they would like to see. You want it to be telling a story that is moving the user forward through a process of selling (without them really realizing it).

Point 2: Interest & Relevance

Do you show your customers immediately that you can meet their needs? If not, why should they hang around? Do you provide useful information, and do it in a user-friendly format? Do you give your visitors a reason to stay? Do you make it easy for them to find everything they are looking for? Or do you make it easier for them to leave than stick around and be frustrated or confused? Always remember that your competitors are only a click away…

Again, you need to do some soul-searching here to find out what they do want to see. Start with a blank sheet of paper, put the type of customer/ prospect at the top and list the 5 things that are most important to them in relation to your products. services. Again, you MUST be honest here – you may realise that you aren’t answering some of those key points – that’s good, you want too find those gaps now and plug them. Go through that process with each of your main customer groups.

You need to be relevant on every step they take through your website, showing that you understand what their questions are and answering them fully, but succinctly. Do that and you’re allowing them to tick that point off and move on in their journey.

A note on ‘fun’ content: The folks who sell flashy websites will try to tell you that people want to be entertained when they shop, that entertainment is sticky. WRONG! The only time people want to be entertained is when theyre searching for entertainment – then by all means go for it. But, study after study proves that when people want to buy, what they want - ALL they want - is to find the info they need and be able to complete the purchase confidently, easily, and quickly. It’s NOT interesting and it’s NOT relevant. Period. 

Point 3: Desire

Exactly how are you inspiring your customers to stay with you, happy to keep on clicking through to the final purchase? (And remember, dancing super heroes will not do it – unless, of course, your target demographic is 7-year-olds with ‘borrowed’ credit cards).

The answer should be simple: you are demonstrating that you understand their issues and helping them to make the right decision that will solve their need/ want/ problem. Buying from you is desirable because their need/ want/ problem will soon be satisfied and you’re the wonderful people making it happen.

But remember that point: it’s their need you are solving, not yours!

Point 4: Action

The “Action” may be to buy or subscribe – or it may simply be to click again into the next step of the funnel. Whatever it is, do you make it logical, easy, obvious and desirable to do – even for a newbie? Do you lead your customer through the buying process in a way that makes sense to them and their level of knowledge?

In fact, have you even thought about it as a process? And are you helping them to take action, pushing them to take action, or demanding they take action? Which do you think works best? What would you like to experience if you were them?

Every person will have a different answer to those questions – it’s what makes us all human and not robots – and it also depends on what you’re selling. Think about your top customers and write it for them. It’s not the whole story by any means, but a good start if you don’t have a full range of your Personas planned out.

Point 5: Satisfaction

Does every click on every page give people more of what they want? Or do some clicks get them what you (or your web designers/ managers) want to push? Do some clicks even generate error messages? Does the experience of shopping on your site delight your customers? Does it make them feel good about buying from you?

There’s a common saying: A satisfied customer comes back, and might tell a few others. A dissatisfied customer doesn’t come back, and tells everyone who’ll listen.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things that you can be doing yourself, but it should be stuff that any marketer can do without having specific knowledge of Persona-based or People-Shaped marketing.

You’ll notice a recurring theme with all of these points – relevancy. You MUST be relevant to what your users are looking for and interested in. Persuasive copy is NOT about what you want to say, it’s about what THEY want to read. Once you weave that into your sales pages you’ll see a sharp increase in conversions.

Give it a go and be honest with yourself and your team throughout even if it’s a little uncomfortable. You’ll see some good results out the other side.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the things above, or any other ‘quick-wins’ that you like to use.


Phil Cave is the founder of People Shaped Marketing. He helps companies like Samsung, BBC, Ricoh, RBS, Virgin, Lloyds, Stagecoach and Ferrari grow their profits through his unique methodologies. He has been repeatedly labelled as one of the “Top Digital Experts in Europe” and “One of the World’s leading minds in Persona-driven Marketing”. He has worked at some of the biggest agencies in London before owning, running and eventually selling his own successful digital marketing consultancy.