Conversion Rates Up 220%
See Exactly How We Did It…
The power of Conversion Rate Optimization is undeniable. An entire online business becomes more profitable when the website can convert more visitors to paying customers. This allows a business to invest more into advertising campaigns which were once out of budget and this leads to rapid growth. This is exactly what is happening with Century Hearing Aids due to our Conversion Rate Optimization
Century Hearing Aids is an online retail site that sells hearing aids. Their sales were declining and they needed a way to quickly increase sales. Most of their advertising budget is spent on Pay Per Click advertising. A dip in sales makes it very difficult for them to keep up with advertising.
Jon Stoddard, the owner of Century Hearing Aids decided to hire us to help. We needed to increase conversion rates so more of their visitors converted into paying customers. This would allow them to be more aggressive with their advertising instead of scaling back.
If you bid on competitive keywords, you know how hard it is to make a profit. Century Hearing Aids was barely making a profit despite having a large budget for PPC, solid gross revenue and a highly experienced PPC management firm optimizing their PPC campaigns. After 4 months of our Conversion Rate Optimization services, their revenue increased by over 300%!
- Hearing aids can be difficult to sell online because they are not covered by insurance, usually purchased by an older demographic, usually sold by doctors and they are very expensive.
- Century Hearing Aids hired several other conversion rate optimization consultants before contacting us, but the conversion rates continued to suffer. When they came to us, we recognized that a few changes would not help. The entire site needed an overhaul.
- Google Analytics tracks less than half of the conversions because phone orders make up most of the sales. We wanted to make sure we focused on the revenue and total sales generated rather than watch the conversion rate in Google Analytics. This means A/B testing is not possible. A certain page design could produce more online sales which are tracked by Google, making it look like conversions are better for a particular page variation, but what is the point if that page is taking away from phone sales and overall sales? We needed to optimize this site the old school way. We had to calculate total sales per visitors to be sure that the changes we made were improving sales.
- There were other limitations such as the checkout. The ecommerce platform that they use is a hosted platform. Customizing the checkout could cause major issues on hosted platforms because the checkout is a page that can easily break when the platform automatically updates. This is unfortunate since we really wanted to change the checkout.
The General Plan
- Change the general look of the site, display the product categories better on the main page and reinforce the reasons to buy hearing aids from Century Hearing Aids.
- Make further adjustments as necessary to the main page, the navigation menu, category pages and organize the entire site so it was easier to navigate.
- We would fine tune any areas of the site depending on what problem areas we find in Analytics.
The above screenshot is what the site looked like when we got started. Conversions were very low and they needed fast results so we made some quick changes that we thought would help…
Why the Creative Process is so important
The screenshot above is one of the first mock-ups that we implemented for the main page. We worked very fast and made many little changes to this design in the few weeks that it was up. We don’t always have time to wait for data to come in to make changes. So, we relied on our creativity and experience to make improvements to the site.
This process goes against standard conversion rate optimization practice, but we were short on time and we needed to move forward with what we thought would be best to increase conversion rates.
Data is a huge part of CRO and we analyze data constantly, but there are times when we need to keep moving forward to improve a site rather than wait months for conclusive a/b test results. In these times creativity is important and creativity is important in business. It is what pushes everything forward.
For the last 200 years, every major advertising firm had a creative department. There is an obvious reason for this. You need to have a creative department if you want to sell something. The creative process is a major part of conversion rate optimization. Most sites don’t have enough traffic to a/b test every change. That is just the simple truth. You need thousands of visitors and hundreds of conversions to each variation just to get an idea if a change is statistically better.
We probably made around 100 changes in the first month for Century Hearing Aids. If we a/b tested all of those changes, we would have needed millions of visitors just to the main page and it would take a year to do what we did in a month.
So here is a breakdown of some of the changes we made.
- We removed the subscription form for the free report. We want to focus the main page on filtering visitors to the products they are interested in. Jon was advised by other internet marketers to be aggressive at building a mailing list, but there must be a balance. Building a list should not interfere with selling a product. Selling a product is the main goal of a site like this. If you have an ecommerce site and you want to build a list, then try these:
- Use landing pages and drive traffic to them with separate advertising campaigns
- Have a smaller subscription form on your site that is out of the way
- Offer coupon codes for subscribers
- On a product page, offer a downloadable “report” on that product
- Offer free product samples
- etc.These are some ways to increase subscribers without distracting visitors from purchasing a product.
- We added a touching header image. What is better than being able to hear your family again? A little human touch usually works well.
- We tried a lot of different text in the header image. I spoke to Jon at length when we first started this project. He is in touch with his customers daily. He knows what they want, what they don’t want, why they buy and why they don’t buy. We used this information to make many of our changes including this top banner.One of the biggest reasons why people buy hearing aids online is the price. Hearing aids cost thousands of dollars more if purchased through an audiologist. In the heading, we wanted to reinforce the low price and make sure visitors know these were quality hearing aids.
- We wanted to organize the hearing aids in categories on the main page so visitors could quickly see the difference. We used different colors for the 2 categories and briefly described the difference.
- We did not just want to show the review stars like the original page design. We wanted to show the number of reviews since there is a solid number of product reviews. This instantly shows that the site has regular customers, it adds to the trust and it is a powerful link because people love to read customer reviews. The more customer reviews, the better.
- We enlarged the prices. The prices are a big selling point like we mentioned before. We wanted to enlarge these so they stood out.
After all of the initial changes, conversions actually dropped. Something was definitely wrong. We realized they removed “in-the-ear” hearing aids as an offering. They did this due to low profit margins. The problem with this is they are bidding in Google on keywords such as “digital hearing aids”. By not having in-the-ear hearing aids, they are missing out on over 50% of the market.
They offered these products again and we cleaned up the main page a little more…
Traffic Source Issues
We continued to analyze data to make sure we had a better understanding why conversions were still low after our changes. We realized another problem could be the keywords he was bidding on. They assured us that they hired an experienced PPC management firm and the traffic source should not be an issue. We had our doubts because the keywords that were generating the most traffic did not seem right. The keywords did not seem like keywords used by people who are ready to buy hearing aids online.
They allowed us to audit their Adwords campaigns. We broke down each keyword to check the sales, conversion rates and profit margins. We found several of the largest campaigns were losing a ton of money while the most profitable campaigns were not taken advantage of.
After we showed everything to them, they hired us to optimize their campaigns. Things were starting to look much better.
We were able to generate more PPC traffic while also increasing the productivity of the traffic. Sometimes you can have a great site, but if you are driving the wrong type of visitors to your site, conversions will be low. Conversion rates improved drastically and so did revenue. We let the site sit for a little while to gather data and made a few changes before moving to the next stage.
A More Drastic Change
After seeing a large improvement in conversions and gathering solid data, we moved forward with a more drastic change to the site.
- We moved the products off the main page. We wanted to filter the visitors to product category pages instead of listing all of the products on the main page. The category pages could then do a much better job at explaining/comparing the products on the same page. This way visitors did not have to guess which product they were interested in from the main page. Now, visitors have much more information all on the same page about the products they are interested in. Although, the main purpose of moving the products off the main page was for SEO.
At this time, Jon was generating more profit due to the increased conversions and he wanted to invest in SEO. We wanted to target keywords that were related to the types of hearing aids. We did not have a good page focused on “behind the ear”, “in the ear” and “open fit”. So which page would be considered relevant for these terms in Google? We removed any pages that could be cannibalizing these terms and focused all links to the pages that compared the products of a particular type (in-the-ear, behind the ear, open fit). Now each page can focus on one keyword and be very relevant for that keyword rather than stuffing different keywords on the main page.
- We then organized the entire site and the top menu. The menu had random links in pull down menus. It was too much. We simplified the top menu to only a few options and created a “learning center” for the resource pages of the site.
- The “Made in USA” image was moved to the top header. This was another way to enforce the quality of the products.
- Basically, we tried to make the site look much more professional overall…
After we made all of the major changes, we watched data and made changes where necessary. We noticed that overall conversions were about the same after these changes.
Traffic Flow Issue
We analyzed the data after a couple weeks and the checkout page visits were very low. We looked at the visitor flow to see which part of the site people were dropping off. The main page and the product pages were amazing. The issue was with the category pages. A large percentage of people were dropping off of the category pages. The category page looked like this…
Visitors coming from the main page to a page that compared the features of the products was not a good idea. We developed the following page to give visitors a general description of the products so they can make an easier choice between them…
After fixing that speed bump, conversions continued to climb to over 200% higher.
Well, CRO never really ends. We accomplished our main goals. Conversion rates increased by 220% and revenue increased by 300%
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