How to improve conversion rates

I watched Kevin Hale’s presentation [1] “how to improve conversion rates” (with your UI) and liked his get-to-the-point style. I highly recommend watching the video and am summarizing the content here.

I omitted a few parts of Hale’s talk (eg. knowledge point and one push button) which, while encyclopedic and interesting, imho didn’t advance the plot. Again, you should listen to the talk.

Obviously talking to an expert audience, Hale doesn’t bother defining conversion rate. I googled that up for you:

Conversion rate is the number of a website’s visitors who perform a desired action divided by the number of visitors.

Typical conversion rate – source: “How to improve conversion rate

Typical industry conversion rates are:

  • Shareware 0.5%
  • Casual download games 2%
  • Freemium SaaS 3%
  • Dating sites 10-22%
  • Children social networks 10-25% (“cost of getting your kid to STFU”)
  • Online tax 70%

The first step is baselining expectations; if a service is performing on par with competitors it’s probably best to focus on something else than improving the UI as far as conversion rate is concerned.

A UI should answer the following questions:

What is the call to action?

This is a user (inter)action, like the press of a button, that I want a user to perform. It should be obvious to users what they need to do (click on the button) and the result of that action should be as close as possible to “the magic moment”: doing what the service is about.

What is this?

It should be obvious what the service does (“can you copy&paste a single sentence from your page to an email to your mum so that she understands what this is about?”). Hale notes that too many landing pages are over-fraught with buzzwords which obscure what the service is about.

Is it right for me?

Is this the right solution for my problem? Am I the right customer? Can I afford it? Do I have what it takes to use this?

Is it legit?

“The threshold is very low here: it can’t look like a Russian spam site”. Use a ready template.

Who else is using it?

Social trust substitutes experience, especially for new products. Get quotes from partners and customers and display them on the site.

How much is it? What’s the catch?

Tell potential customers what the service costs and what the caveats are. People become suspicious of a service that obscures terms and conditions.

Where can I get help?

(Some) users want to know that a real person is behind the service, they cannot be bothered to read the landing page or watch the introduction video. Make it obvious how to get help.


[1] Kevin Hale – How to improve conversion rates

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