Conversion rate: in a nutshell
You offer a great activity. People love it. You get a ton of people to your website. But only around 1% of people book online with you. Why?
At FareHarbor we are laser-focused on your website’s “online conversion rate.” So what is a conversion rate? In simple terms, if 100 people visit your website, and one person completes a booking, you have “converted” 1% of online visitors into paying customers. And thus you have a 1% conversion rate.
Now let’s break down how we optimize your conversion rate. When you think about conversion rate optimization, start by imagining all the people who visit your website. Now put them into three categories:
1) People who book,
2) People who don’t book but should have,
3) People who don’t book and shouldn’t have.
We don’t need to worry about #1. Similarly, we don’t care about #3. If you offer an activity for adventure seekers and someone looking for knitting needles lands on your website, there’s nothing your website can do to change the fact that they’re not there to book (that’s a different blog post on SEO).
We care a lot, however, about #2. People who are a perfect fit for your activity and didn’t book. Figuring out to motivate them to book is not so much a science as it is an artform that is judged by data.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
You need to get into the head of the customer from group #2. Who are they? What kept them from booking?
The best conversion rate optimizers that I know are essentially method actors, pretending to be your target demographic while analyzing a conversion flow. You have to have a hypothesis before you prove or disprove it with data. Successful conversion rate optimizers tend to be incredibly empathetic; they’re able to put themselves in the online visitors’ shoes.
Getting a customer to convert online is very difficult.
There are a multitude of factors. The most important of which are “Trust” and “Ease of Checkout.”
This is the easy one. Does your website appear trustworthy? Hi-res images, no typos, etc? Does your website feel like a place of commerce? A place where one could complete a booking online and have the confidence that they can show up at your activity location and you will know their name and be expecting them? Be skeptical and honest with yourself when looking at the “trust factor” of your website.
Ease of Checkout:
There are an infinite number of tools that we use at FareHarbor to ensure our client websites have a smooth, easy checkout and incredibly high performance. While most of them are a part of a larger conversation (with your FareHarbor Account Manager or marketing consultant) there are a few quick, simple and powerful conversion ‘tests’ that anyone can use to see how their website is working.
Our favorite test and its simple variations have been used to identify major business-boosting improvements. We have seen companies go 2.5x their conversion rate – one client did $1.8MM online in the 12 months prior to working with FareHarbor, and $4.5MM in the first 12 months of their partnership FareHarbor. The Clear Path Test, along with careful analysis from our conversion experts, contributed to this success.
The Clear Path Test
Imagine you are a specific demographic segment from your client base, then navigate through your website checking for a clear choice at every page.
Start with Mr. Midnight We have this character named Mr. Midnight who we imagine is trying to book with a company in the middle of the night. Let’s use “ABC Kayaks” for this example. So Mr. Midnight is on abckayaks.com because his brother said he “had to do ABC Kayaks when he was in town!”
Imagine Mr. Midnight’s dog is barking, and his wife, Mrs. Midnight is upset with him because their flight leaves in the morning and he was supposed to book this last week. ABC Kayaks offers 10 different activities but he doesn’t know what he wants to do (nor does he care).
Mr. Midnight already has an incredible glowing review of ABC Kayaks. He really just wants to book as quickly as possible. What’s the most popular option? Does your website guide Mr. Midnight at every stage of your website? Is there a clear call to action so that Mr. Midnight can checkout in under a minute to go take to dog out and diffuse the situation?
I know it seems unorthodox, but optimizing for Mr. Midnight is a great way to start thinking about your website. I love Mr. Midnight because he’s not going to call you. It’s the middle of the night. He’s either making that booking in 60 seconds, or he’s not coming with you at all.
- Families with children (of different quantities and ages)
- Bachelor/ette Parties
- A group of 4 friends
And you can get as specific as you want. Look at your actual customers:
- Two sisters who enjoy drinking wine outside
- A husband booking ANY activity that will be good for 12 people at once
- A family of four with nut allergies
You get the point. Once you’ve ran through every imaginable demographic, try the following add-ons/variations to The Clear Path Test:
The Zombie Test a.k.a. “The Blurry Eye Test”
- Blur your eyes and make sure that the buttons and pages on your site that are most visible or prominent will lead any demographic through the checkout.
The Hold Your Breath Test
- Do the Clear Path Test while holding your breath. You should be able to run through the entire checkout before you exhale.
The key is that we need to focus on group #2. People who would have a great time on your activity… but end up not booking. If you can pass The Clear Path Test again and again for ech different demographic, you will undoubtedly experience conversion rate growth in your direct channel.
Once you’ve passed these tests, talk to us about optimizing even further! All 180 employees at FareHarbor are strong conversion rate optimizers. It’s is in our DNA. The perfect team is a FareHarbor Account Manager working in tandem with a dedicated marketing or web team from your activity company (whether that’s in house or a 3rd party web marking firm).
Remember, Tours & Activities is not a zero sum game. There aren’t a finite amount of people going to activities each day. They’re deciding between doing an activity… and just going to the beach… or going out to lunch. By understanding the minds of our customers we can grow the global Tour & Activity industry.
Post written by Max Valverde, President and COO of FareHarbor.