usinesses spend a boat load of money on getting traffic – whether it’s SEO, creating content, Google AdWords, sending out postcards, etc. (Over $46 billion was spent on AdWords alone last year and it’s on pace to break that record again this year.)

Unfortunately, a good portion of that traffic is going to waste, because they’re missing a crucial component:

Conversion optimization.

We’ll explain what conversion optimization means in a little while, but first, here’s the big picture.

Big Picture

For most businesses, the goal is to increase revenue or return on their website, email, or other marketing efforts.

It helps to break goals into macro and micro buckets.

To achieve a macro goal, your micro goals must happen first. Another way to put it is in order to increase your revenue, certain steps must occur.

Here’s a simple example illustrating the relationship of micro and macro goals.
Each successful completion of a goal is a conversion.

The conversion rate is the percentage of successful goal completions over total attempts.

Conversion optimization involves tweaking and testing your copy, layout, and content in a way to increase conversion rates.

Higher conversion rates in most cases will lead to more revenue. There are exceptions, which require another discussion for another day.

Here are some top areas that directly affect conversion rates and what you can do to improve them.

How captivating is your headline?

Your headline is the most important thing, because it’s the first thing someone reads. This could be a headline on a postcard, landing page, ad, or email subject line.

It’s the most important, because if your headline doesn’t capture the interest of the reader, the rest of content won’t be consumed.

Do you know what the main purpose of a headline is?

It’s not to be witty, creative, sexy, or anything else. Its sole purpose is to get you to read the introduction or first sentence.

The 3 most common problems with headlines are they’re either too boring, too cute, or too product focused.

Examples of Headlines


Content Disconnect

The quickest way for your conversion rates to nosedive is when your content is not speaking to the reader.

Therefore, you need to understand what state of mind is the reader in.

Are they:

  • Just looking for general information?
  • How knowledgeable are they?
  • Is this their first time reading this? Or is this deeper down the funnel?
  • What are other people saying?
  • Are you using the right industry jargon?

Another problem is the “unintentional” bait and switch. It’s where your headline promises one thing, but then something a bit different is presented.





While an online vulnerability scan and network audit are related, they’re not quite the same. If you promised a network audit, please give me a network audit, not an online vulnerability scan. This is referred to as the “unintentional” bait and switch.

Weak Incentive to Complete Call to Action

Most businesses understand they should have a call to action on every web page and marketing piece. After all, if someone just took the time to read that piece, they’re most likely interested in the topic. Help them learn more. Like a good host, don’t leave the visitor hanging.

The problem with most call to actions is they’re not strong enough. It’s just a generic submit button, request to call, or learn more.

A strong call to action not only leads the reader, it also offers plenty of incentives.

So instead of a plain learn more button, this is better:


To fit this in the IT industry, your headline could be:

  • Learn how [CLIENT NAME] increased their productivity by xx% in xx days.
  • Learn how [CLIENT NAME] reduced their IT cost by xx% in xx days.

Even better, if you take it a step further, transform your content into a course:


If you want to boost call conversions, address what’s on their mind directly.

As a user, they’re thinking, “If I call them, it’s just going to be a sales pitch. I don’t have time for a long drawn out hard sell…”

What you can do is tweak your “call us” offer to address those fears.

Now, instead of “call us,” try this:

Call us for a 15 minute conversation. There’s no obligation to buy anything (we hate hard sells). Afterwards, if you feel we’ve wasted your time, we’ll send you a $50 check and we’ll never speak again.

Asking for too much information… initially.

Most B2B opt in forms ask for way too much information early on. It’s a turn off, because it feels a bit too forward.

It’s like asking a girl (or guy) for her phone number, address, and 20 questions the first time you meet her or him.

Focus on developing trust first. An appropriate time will come for getting more information later.



The scary thing is this not the worst. There’s just no need for all this. Forcing the visitor to fill this out on a landing page is just inconsiderate.

I would perhaps give you an address if you’re sending me a free gift.



Now this is my kind of opt in form.

Note: You can boost your conversion rate even further (as much as double) if you don’t require the name field and only require the email field. However, I believe if someone’s not willing to tell you their first name, then there’s no point to continue the relationship.

Generic “Thank you” Page

The “Thank You” page is where someone goes after filling out a form. This is a prime opportunity to offer an upsell or special one-time offer.



In the past, one time offers generally have had the highest conversion rates in the website funnel by far, between 18% and 33%.

Your one time offer has to be good of course.

The key is to make the offer a no brainer so that visitors would be silly to refuse.

To wrap up

Improving your conversion rates will directly impact your bottom line. The key is to continually test and try new things.

If you only take one thing away from here, it’s to always be more direct and clear in your copy.

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