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How to Improve Conversion Rate (and Performance)

Acquire loyal customers through identity marketing.

Conversion rate measures how many visitors to your site take a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form. Tracking your conversion rates across marketing campaigns and web properties helps you determine which messaging and promotions are driving the most success, enabling you to optimize future campaigns. 

But what do you do if your brand’s conversion rate leaves something to be desired? Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to improve your conversion rate and grow your business.

How to Calculate Conversion Rate

The first step, of course, is finding your conversion rate. Conversion rate equals the number of conversions for a given time period divided by the number of visitors to your site during that time. 

What constitutes a conversion is up to your brand; a conversion is whatever you want a customer to do when they visit your site. You can set up multiple conversion goals depending on what you’re interested in. Some common conversion goals include form fills, a completed purchase, and button or link clicks. Figure out what these goals should be, then get them set up in your analytics platforms so you can monitor your progress.

What’s a Healthy Conversion Rate?

Most websites see conversion rates of around 2%, with the top 25% sites bringing in rates of 5.31% or higher. The top 10% of businesses see conversion rates of 11.45% or more. But it’s a complicated measuring stick because these numbers also vary widely by industry. For ecommerce, the average conversion rate is 1.84%, compared to 5% for finance. So, be sure to look up industry averages for your specific field before you cast judgment.

Any increase in conversion rate is good. If you’re currently sitting at 1% or less, a jump to 2% could be huge. If you already have an average conversion rate, you might be setting your sights higher, though even an increase of half a percent could make a huge difference. Wherever your business is right now, set some goals for both the short term and the long term. The ideal, ultimately, is to reach a higher than average conversion rate to beat out competitors, but remember that it may take a bit of time and experimentation to get there.

What Can Cause Your Conversion Rate to Drop?

If you’re experiencing low conversion rates, it’s time for some investigative work. You’ll want to look over metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, and traffic. You could also gather insights from customer reviews and heat maps.

A number of factors can negatively impact your conversion rate, including: 

Improper Tracking

To track conversions, you have to install a tracking code on your site, and sometimes there are some road bumps in the process. If conversions are suspiciously low, check to make sure tracking is set up correctly. 

Unclear Messaging

Your site should clearly communicate the value of your products or services. If it doesn’t, visitors will be confused and will likely lose interest. Copy should reflect not only your value proposition but how this can address your audience’s specific pain points. You also need clear CTAs that direct users to the next step–aka, converting.

Poor Website Design

Modern users expect fast, easy to navigate sites, and if yours isn’t up to snuff, it’s a good practice to check out your competitors and industry leaders in any category. Good site optimization includes:

  • Checking site speed
  • SEO optimization
  • Mobile optimization
  • Clear site navigation
  • An easy checkout process

The bottom line: if users can’t get around your site quickly and easily, they will abandon it for a competitor.

Low Customer Trust

If customers feel your site is unsafe, they are going to be hesitant to click around and are less likely to share payment information. Website factors that can erode customer trust include excessive pop-up ads, spammy links, and glaring spelling or grammatical errors. Improper data privacy practices are also a big turn off, with 70% of consumers saying they would no longer do business with a company that gave away personal information.

Inaccurate Audience Targeting

If your marketing efforts are speaking to the wrong people, none of it will be effective. For example, if you offer luxurious (but expensive) cruises, targeting college students would be a poor choice. Be sure to analyze your audience and think strategically about what groups are the best fit for your business.

Pricing Strategy

If you raise your prices and customers start dropping off, that may indicate that they don’t see your products as worth the increased cost. After all, an economic recession is likely on the way, so many consumers are trying to save money. In particular, high shipping costs and other fees cause 48% of cart abandonments. If pricing is the issue, you can consider lowering product costs, offering free shipping, or running discount programs.

Seasonal Factors

For some businesses, it’s completely normal for conversion rates to drop during certain times of the year. Retail, for instance, usually sees a sales slump in the first couple months of a new year following the increased spending during the holiday season. If you notice your conversion rate dropping consistently at certain times of the year, it isn’t necessarily cause for concern. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve rates during your slow seasons. If you know conversions dip during the summer, for example, you could then work on new, exciting campaigns designed to convince customers to purchase during that time.

10 Tips to Improve Conversion Rates

If your conversion rates aren’t where you’d like them to be, or if you just want to grow your brand even more, it’s time to make a conversion rate optimization strategy. Using the techniques listed below will help you improve your conversion rate and performance:

A/B Test

To figure out exactly what’s getting in the way of your dream conversion rate, you need to run regular A/B tests on your site. See what headlines, CTAs, and design elements work best, then optimize your site accordingly. 

Technical Audit

If site performance is the issue—such as if your site speed is too slow—then you’ll want to start with a full technical audit of your site. From here, you can identify the problems plaguing your site and take steps to fix them.

Site Navigation

Look over your site map and think about it from the perspective of a customer. Do the categories in your navigation bar make sense? Is there anything missing that a potential customer would want? Do you have unnecessary sections that may distract visitors without providing any real value? Could you offer a search feature to make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for? Are your core pages visible and easy to reach or do you have “hidden” pages that only someone who already understands the site navigation would find? Remember, your most important pages should only be a few clicks from the homepage. 

Simplify Forms

A form fill is a common conversion goal, but customers can be intimidated by long forms with lots of fields to fill out—especially if some information seems too personal to share. Simplify the process by removing superfluous fields and only asking for necessary information. If you do need personal information, it can be helpful to add a note saying how you will use this data so that customers feel assured that you aren’t going to sell their information or spam them with unwanted solicitations.


Consumers understand that messaging from your brand is inherently biased, so reading reviews from real customers will make them feel more confident in your company’s value. Reach out to satisfied customers to gather some strong quotes, then place these testimonials in strategic places across your site. Another bonus of reaching out to customers is you can also gather valuable constructive feedback that could help you improve your site and your offerings.

Clear CTAs

Customers won’t convert if they don’t know what the next step is or if it’s difficult to get there. That’s why you need call-to-actions (CTAs) that clearly spell out what you want customers to do. Ensure this step is easy to find; if you have a “buy now” button, it should take users right to checkout. 

Clarify Messaging

Your messaging should present a very clear value proposition that addresses the needs of your customers. If this isn’t the case or if your current messaging is not landing with your audience, it’s time to rethink your messaging. It could be you need to be more specific or tailor your messaging more to your audience. Perhaps your tone is off or you’re using language that is too technical for your audience to understand. Make sure there isn’t a disconnect between your messaging and the reality of your products, as any content that could appear misleading can permanently damage your brand’s reputation.

Re-Engage Customers

If you have the contact information of customers who visited your site but did not convert, you can send them an email or an SMS reminder to complete their action or purchase. And even after a customer has converted, keep encouraging them to convert again and again! You can keep converted customers engaged with personalized content, special deals, product recommendations, loyalty programs, and requests to submit feedback.

Personalized Marketing

Your marketing and conversion rates will be much more successful if you target certain customer groups with personalized messaging. After all, 89% of marketers observed a positive ROI when they used personalized marketing techniques. To do this, start by segmenting your audience.

You can segment based on many factors, but one of the most effective is using identity-based attributes such as job (i.e. teachers) or lifestage (i.e. new movers). This technique is called identity marketing. Because identity marketing targets groups (known as consumer communities) that share a commonality that they strongly identify with, you forge a stronger connection with them.

Exclusive Offers

Promotional pricing gives customers a reason to give your brand a try even if they’re on the fence or are looking to save money. More than that, offering exclusive discounts to the consumer communities discussed above essentially rewards customers for belonging to a group. 

This offer strategy generates goodwill and makes customers feel valued, which encourages loyalty and conversions. For instance, 77% of students prefer to shop with a brand that offers a student discount, and 60% of healthcare workers would try a new brand if given an exclusive discount. These consumer communities will also often share your offer with others in their network, giving you a free promotional boost.

To protect your discount from fraud, require verification during the redemption process. A digital verification solution can confirm customer eligibility instantly, ensuring your customers still enjoy a fast, seamless experience.

Increasing Conversions with Identity Marketing

While there are many ways to improve your conversion rate and campaign performance, identity marketing is one of the most effective. Brands that launch personalized discount programs with SheerID’s Verification Platform see impressive conversion optimization results. For instance, when ASICS offered a 60% off discount to healthcare workers, military members, and first responders, conversions increased by 100%. 

These targeted promotions drive conversions, boost ROI, and encourage long-term loyalty. SheerID can help you find the best discount pricing strategies and protect your offers with seamless, in-brand customer verification.