How much do you understand about the conversion rate of your website? 

Beyond just the percentages—can you pinpoint your best-converting pages, channels, and messages? 

Can you tell where potential customers drop off in your funnel and if your numbers stack up against the benchmarks?

This isn’t a quiz to catch you out. A lot of us won’t have an answer ready. A shiny gold star to those among you who do.

By itself, a conversion rate is pretty useless. It's just a number. However, when used in context, it represents something vital – how many of your visitors cross the finish line.

Whether that's buying something, signing up, downloading, or simply learning the details of what you're selling. It’s the effectiveness of your website in a nutshell.

In an era where we are all being squeezed, I'm willing to bet it doesn't get the attention it deserves in your strategy and board meetings. It's time for that to change. 

A simple(ish) equation

I can’t stress this enough. Optimising your conversion rate is the single most impactful growth lever for most online businesses.

Often, businesses obsess over the top of the funnel, like customer acquisition - pumping resources into their media and communications - but don’t spend the time to understand and optimise what happens after.

It’s like trying to run a personal best time in a marathon by sprinting the first 2 miles and then tiring out. You waste all your energy, money, and budget before the sprint finish. You need to be able to convert.

As an industry we often overlook it for the more sexy side of marketing and comms. Don’t make that mistake.

Never a magic bullet

Unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers. No one does. Run away from anyone who says they do.

The teams who win have a systematic approach to conversion rates and experimentation that requires persistence and continuous improvement. This is not just about betting on big wins and one-off tests.

My advice is to always start with mapping and writing down your customer journey. Then running through it from the eyes of a customer. You will immediately see holes,  and things you want to fix. If you want more detailed guidance then please reach out to me on LinkedIn.

However, if you do want some quick wins, there are certain strategies and insights that I've found to consistently deliver better outcomes more often than not.

Tip 1: Trust Is a Must

Trust is the cornerstone of conversion. Having a quality UX, showcasing testimonials, highlighting user reviews, and giving prominence to security badges builds credibility.

You have to show customers why they should trust you with their money and their data. Particularly if you’re not a household name. 

A compelling example is Express Watches, which boosted their sales by 107% simply by adding a seal of authenticity to their website. This seal reassured customers about the authenticity of the products, significantly increasing customer trust and consequently, conversions​ (IMPACT)​.

Practical Advice: Make a list of all the similar trust elements that are relevant to your industry, such as authenticity seals, verified reviews, or secure payment badges to reassure and build trust with your potential customers. Go through a shopping experience from the point of a new customer and see where you can integrate these into the journey.

Secret 2: Speak the same language

You can have the most beautiful website on the internet, but if your copy doesn’t resonate you will lose people. You only have seconds to do it, and chances are you won’t get a second try.

People don’t come to your site asking you to tell them how great you are. They come to see if you can help them with their problem.

This means you won’t be the right fit for everyone, and that’s ok. You just need to be the best fit for a certain type of buyer and explain your value in their terms.

Tailor your message to resonate with your audience's desires and pain points.

At NIVEA, we learned the importance of resonating with our audience through more than just product attributes. We always had a tendency to talk about how great we are. For example, our scientific expertise and long-standing heritage in skincare. The truth is, most people don’t actually care. They just want to understand how you solve their problem. Make it easy for them.

In my team we ran multiple tests on language and imagery - highlighting the problem-solving aspects and aligning our visuals to reflect real customer experiences. We tripled our conversion rate.

Practical Advice: Analyse your website's design and copy through the lens of your customer. Do user research. Drop the buzzwords. Make sure that your site communicates clearly and effectively in the language and terms that mean something to your customer.

Tip 3: FOMO Is Your Friend

Fear of Missing Out—or FOMO—can be a powerful motivator. Nobody likes to feel left out, and that’s a powerful tool to drive conversions.

One of my go-to tactics is to create a sense of urgency. This isn’t about pushing people in a way that feels desperate; it’s about highlighting what they might miss if they don’t act fast. Think limited-time offers, exclusive editions, or last-chance items that could run out if they don’t snag them now. are the masters at this. One example is displaying how many people are viewing a particular property at the same time as you. This tactic creates urgency, suggesting that if you don’t book quickly, they might miss out due to high demand​ (OptinMonster)​

Practical Advice: Deploy similar strategies on your website by highlighting limited-time offers, high demand, or exclusive products. Make sure these offers are clearly visible and compelling enough to create a sense of urgency.

Closing Thoughts

You can get some quick wins, but a successful experimentation programme hinges more on a good, repeatable process than great ideas. Customer behaviour will always surprise us. A good process takes away individual brilliance. It relies on repeatability and scalability, ensuring that success can be achieved regardless of the specific talents or knowledge of any one person involved.

Implementing these tips requires a blend of strategic planning and continuous testing. Remember, what works for one may not work for all, but with persistent optimisation you can significantly enhance your site’s conversion rate (and your growth).

Adam is an ex-Director at Growth for Natures Menu and Beiersdorf, and now offers freelance digital and growth consulancy for CPG companies, focusing on DTC. Adam specialises in designing models that identify leverage points for rapid customer acquisition and scaling.