Why Is My Conversion Rate So Low? 11 Things You May Be Doing Wrong

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

“Why is my conversion rate so low?” echoes even louder when you’ve already given your best, and nothing seems to work.

You’ve poured months into perfecting your website. You’ve studied the psychology principles and carefully crafted your marketing strategies, and yet, every time you pull up those analytics, the numbers are way below expected.

As marketing professionals, we constantly feel the weight of expectations and the pressure to meet KPIs and tight deadlines. When dealing with low conversion rates, every meeting with the boss and clients feels like walking on eggshells.

In the early days of running my digital marketing agency, low conversion rates were a constant battle. I often had no answer to the question – ‘Why is my conversion rate so low?’ But those challenges allowed me to identify 11 common mistakes that may be dragging your conversion rates down. I’ve tested this approach with many clients and discovered that you can triple your website conversions just by avoiding those mistakes.

In this article, I’ll show you why your conversion rates are below expected. This will allow you to easily fix your marketing strategies and polish your website design to make more visitors complete desired actions.

Table of Contents:
Why is my conversion rate so low

Let’s Start With Benchmarking: What Is A Good Conversion Rate?

Before going through the list of potential reasons for your low conversion rates, comparing them to the average ones across your industry is important. The numbers can vary a lot between industries. What is considered low for one line of business can actually be a desirable conversion rate for a business operating in another industry. So, you may be panicking without much reason.

However, even if you find out that your numbers are good, I still recommend going through the list of potential reasons for low conversion rates. Identifying even one mistake can help you further refine your metrics and drive more profit.

Now, here’s a quick overview of the average website conversion rates across some notable industries:

  • SaaS – 5%
  • Food and beverage – 4.6%
  • Health – 4.2%
  • Beauty and skincare – 3.3%
  • Legal – 3.2%
  • Sporting goods – 2.3%
  • Electronics and accessories – 1.9%
  • Home appliances – 1.5%
  • Real Estate – 1.2%

Do you find your numbers to be below these averages? Don’t worry, as in the next section, I’ll show you some common mistakes you can easily avoid and improve conversion rates.

But before making significant decisions, I also recommend checking out average landing page conversion rates.

Why Is My Conversion Rate So Low? Here Are 11 Potential Reasons

Now that you’ve compared your conversion rates to the average ones within your industry, it’s time to discover why things currently aren’t in your favor. In this section, I’ll show you eleven potential reasons for low conversion rates and how to improve them easily.

Customer journey and conversion rates

Your Landing Pages Are Not Optimized For The Right Stages Of Customer’s Journey

The customer journey isn’t a straight line – it’s a winding path filled with discovery, evaluation, and decision points. If you’ve ever wondered why a meticulously crafted landing page didn’t yield the expected results, it’s worth asking: was it tailored to the right stage of your visitor’s journey?

Let’s break it down. A website visitor’s mindset can vary drastically based on where they are in their journey:

  1. Awareness Stage: At this initial phase, many customers have just recognized that they have a problem. They’re searching for insights or solutions but might not know that products or services exist to address their issues. You will likely fail if your landing page jumps the gun and goes for the hard sell. It’s premature and often off-putting. Instead, aim to inform and educate. Perhaps use this opportunity to capture their email via a compelling landing page form, offering valuable resources to guide them further. This sets the stage for trust and creates an entry point into your sales pipeline.
  2. Consideration Stage: Here, potential clients are actively looking for solutions. They’re past the problem-aware stage and are exploring options. This is where a robust marketing strategy shines. Offer comparisons and benefits, and perhaps delve into how your product or service stands out. But remember, while they’re closer to making a decision, they’re still evaluating. Your approach should be more consultative than salesy.
  3. Decision Stage: This is it. The visitor is ready to take action. They’ve done their research, and they’re deciding between you and perhaps a competitor. Your landing page here should drive the conversion. Offer compelling reasons, showcase customer experiences, and perhaps even sweeten the deal with a limited-time offer or bonus.

The key takeaway? One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to landing pages. It’s essential to ensure that every interaction adds genuine value to the specific stage your potential client is in. Instead of being overly aggressive, think of it as guiding them through their journey, nurturing them at every step.

A strategically designed landing page funnel, aligned with the right stage, can dramatically improve conversions. Moreover, integrating effective email marketing tactics can nurture these leads further, moving them seamlessly through your sales pipeline.

Improving conversion rates is all about small victories. You’re making a costly mistake if you’re using the same content to target all your audience segments.

Your Website Design Is Making a Bad First Impression

Poor website design is another factor that can significantly drop your conversion rates.

Admit it or not, first impressions significantly impact our purchase decisions. If your website looks outdated and is difficult to navigate, potential customers probably won’t form the best opinion about your business. And you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression…

That’s precisely why I constantly emphasize the importance of investing in website design. I’ve witnessed firsthand the difference a sleek, responsive, and user-friendly design can make in conversion rates.

Note that I’m not only talking about aesthetics here. Technical issues, like broken links or slow-loading pages, can erode trust. If your website isn’t functioning properly, potential customers might question the quality of the product or service you offer.

The most successful businesses recognize this. They understand that off-the-shelf templates and no-code solutions often fail to capture the brand’s essence and unique value proposition. Moreover, these quick fixes frequently fall short in optimizing website speed, user experience, and other critical areas that impact visitor retention and conversion. Cheap websites usually come with design issues that hold back your conversion rates.

Custom-coded websites, while requiring a larger upfront investment, pay dividends in the long run. They offer unparalleled flexibility, speed, and website conversion optimization potential.

You Didn’t Optimize Your Website For Mobile Users

The way people access the internet has dramatically shifted. Gone are the days when most online browsing was confined to desktop computers. Now, whether it’s someone lounging on their couch after a long day or multitasking during a commute, mobile devices have become the go-to gateway for exploring the digital world.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re potentially losing many leads and customers.

Imagine a scenario where a potential customer hears about your product during a casual conversation. Excited, they immediately pull out their phone to check it out. But as they navigate to your site, they’re met with tiny text, images that won’t load, and a checkout process that’s so clunky they eventually give up. That’s a sale lost, not because they weren’t interested but because the mobile experience frustrated them.

However, to properly optimize your website for mobile devices, it’s not enough just to fit your design on a smaller screen. You must first understand mobile user’s behavior and mindset. You need to place buttons where people can easily tap them using only one hand, creating intuitive navigation (hamburger menus usually work best for mobile design) and ensuring your pages load within a second. Every extra second a mobile user has to wait or every additional step they have to take increases the likelihood they’ll abandon the journey.

You’re Not Showing Trust Signals To Visitors

Trust is the bedrock upon which successful online businesses are built. With more and more online scams, data breaches, and skepticism, the need to inspire confidence in website visitors is paramount. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why is my conversion rate so low?” there’s a good chance that a lack of trust signals might be a contributing factor.

When visitors land on your site, they’re not just evaluating your products or services but also gauging your brand’s trustworthiness. And trust, once lost, is challenging to regain. So, how do you instill trust as soon as someone lands on your website?

I like to put trust badges in the hero section of my homepage, right below the first CTA button. Those badges act as immediate validators for newcomers. But that’s just the start. When they navigate further, especially to a checkout page, trust badges and signals become even more critical.

Here’s a rundown of some powerful trust signals that can bolster your website’s credibility:

  • Trust Badges
  • Testimonials and Reviews
  • Case Studies
  • Media Mentions
  • Affiliations and Partnerships
  • Clear Contact Information
  • Clear and Accessible Policies
  • Real-time Chat Support

Finding a place for all of these elements across your website will help you demonstrate that you’re a trustworthy business and potentially increase your conversion rates on its own.

Copy readability

Your Copy Is Boring and Difficult To Read

Words have power. They can captivate, inspire, and persuade. However, when misused or delivered without intention, words can also bore and confuse.

Unfortunately, a lot of website copy falls into the latter category. If you’ve been questioning, “Why is my conversion rate so low?” there’s a good chance your copy could be the culprit.

One foundational error I frequently encounter is businesses being overly self-centric in their messaging. A talk about your company’s achievements or features might feel like the right approach, but in reality, it’s a quick way to lose reader interest.

The question every visitor implicitly asks when landing on your site is, “What’s in it for me?” Your copy should answer that. Your opening line should resonate so profoundly that the reader feels a magnetic pull, thinking, “This speaks directly to me.”

Furthermore, while features of a product or service are essential, they aren’t what drive emotional decisions. Benefits do. Instead of stating what your product does (feature), highlight how it can transform the user’s life or solve their specific problem (benefit).

Also, always keep the awareness level of your audience in mind with your landing page copywriting. Speak to them at their current stage, addressing their specific needs and concerns.

The writing process itself is an art and science combined. In the initial phase, let your thoughts flow. Capture the essence and emotion without obsessing over perfection. But once that draft is down, the real work begins – editing.

Editing isn’t just a cursory run-through. It’s about refining, reworking, and reshaping the copy until it shines. You should spend the same amount of time editing your copy as you did writing it. Walls of text can be intimidating. Break up your content. Use one-sentence paragraphs, bullet points, and compelling subheadings that narrate a mini-story on their own. Ensure that the visual flow guides the reader effortlessly from one point to the next.

Your Unique Selling Proposition Is Not Immediately Clear

What makes your business or a product stand out? If this question leaves you fumbling or takes more than a few seconds to answer, you might have pinpointed a significant roadblock in your conversion strategy.

The importance of a sharp and compelling USP cannot be stressed enough. It serves as the bedrock for why a potential customer should choose you over your competitors. A well-articulated USP immediately communicates value, and value is the magnet that draws visitors deeper into your conversion funnel. If they’re left scouring your site to understand what makes you unique, you risk increasing the bounce rate as their patience wears thin.

So, how do you craft this all-important USP? It should be concise yet powerful. The best USPs are often distilled into one or two impactful sentences that capture the brand’s essence and promise. Remember, clarity trumps cleverness.

Anything can be your USP, from the exceptional quality of materials, unmatched customer service, a proprietary process to a commitment to sustainability. The key lies in identifying what genuinely sets you apart and presenting it in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Without a unique selling proposition, you risk falling into a dreaded spiral – competing with others based on prices. No one wins this race to the bottom. By clearly articulating and showcasing your USP, you position your brand as a premium choice, which opens a space to set premium prices. 

Your CTAs Are Unclear and Not Action-Driven

Crafting the perfect CTA is an art – it’s about much more than just a clickable button on your site. If you find that users aren’t completing the desired action, it’s high time to reflect on your CTA’s effectiveness.

There may be several low conversion rate reasons related to your calls to action:

  1. Ambiguity About the Outcome: The truth is that internet users are wary. If your potential customers are unsure about what lies on the other side of that CTA button, they’ll likely hesitate to click. Your CTA should offer clarity. Instead of a vague “Click Here,” why not opt for a more descriptive “Discover More,” “Sign Up For a Newsletter,” or similar?
  2. Poor Design: If your CTA is lost in a sea of design elements, or if its color and style don’t allow it to stand out, you’re missing out on potential conversions. It’s essential to understand visitor behavior and design accordingly. Position, size, and color can significantly influence your CTA button’s visibility and click-through rates.
  3. Your CTAs don’t evoke any emotions: Emotion drives action. People are far more likely to click a CTA that evokes a strong emotional response. Instead of the generic “Download,” which sounds task-like and tedious, an action-driven phrase such as “Grab Your Free eBook Now!” conveys urgency and excitement.

A well-crafted CTA helps site visitors understand which step they should take next and, even more importantly, makes them want to take that step. I recommend experimenting with different calls to action to see which performs best with your audience.

Intrusive forms

Your Forms Are Too Long And Appear Intrusive To Potential Customers

If your lead capture page is not performing up to expectations despite high-quality copy and a tempting reward, the first thing to check is your form.

An effective landing page form is long enough to capture all the essential information on a lead so you can nurture the relationship and short enough to be easy to complete and not appear too intrusive.

I found a sweet spot to be between 3-6 form fields. It’s enough to gather valuable insights about the lead, yet concise enough to ensure they don’t abandon the process halfway.

Now, think from the perspective of your site visitor. The digital age has ushered in a heightened awareness and desire for online privacy. While many might willingly share their name, email, or even some basic insights about their interests, diving too deep can feel intrusive. Asking for overly personal details, such as home addresses or personal identification numbers, might raise alarm bells for users who were just there for a downloadable guide or a newsletter subscription. It’s a good idea to clearly explain why you’re even collecting their information.

The problem with asking for too much information, besides appearing intrusive, is also potentially ruining the user experience. Your site visitors don’t want to spend too much time filling out forms – they’re probably in for your offer.

So, if you want to boost conversions, closely examine your forms. Are they concise, relevant, and user-friendly? Adjusting them could be the game-changer you’ve been seeking.

You’re Providing Visitors With Too Many Options

One of the first things I recommend regarding eCommerce conversion rate optimization is checking whether visitors face decision paralysis. This usually happens if you show too many products on the same page or you include too many different CTAs.

Decision paralysis is common among shoppers who are just casually browsing without a clear idea of what they’re looking for. And undecisive customers can be a big problem for eCommerce stores with broad targeting audiences.

There are several things you can do to improve your eCommerce conversion rates by minimizing decision paralysis:

  1. Evoke Urgency: Tapping into the human psyche’s fear of missing out can be powerful. Some strategies I like using to evoke urgency are displaying the limited stock available or introducing time-sensitive offers. This usually propels users to make quicker decisions.
  2. Trim Down Product Recommendations: While suggesting products can be beneficial, bombarding visitors with too many can be counterproductive. Instead, curate and present a select few that align best with their browsing history or popular choices. Websites with personalized recommendations tend to have higher average conversion rates.
  3. Spotlight Best-Selling Products: There’s comfort in numbers. Highlighting products that are popular among other shoppers can guide uncertain visitors and offer them a starting point.
  4. Introduce Filtering Options: Empower your visitors. By providing filtering options, whether it’s by price, size, color, or brand, you allow them to customize their browsing experience, narrowing down choices and making selections more manageable.

So, while variety is undoubtedly the spice of life, in e-commerce, a more streamlined, focused approach can work wonders. It’s about guiding the visitor, reducing overwhelm, and simplifying their journey. 

Your Customers Are Leaving Because Of Unexpected Costs

The thrill of finding the perfect product online, followed by the sting of unexpected fees at checkout, is a familiar experience for many shoppers. And it’s a significant reason for many abandoned carts. If you’ve noticed a high drop-off rate during the checkout process, unexpected costs could be the culprit.

A classic example? Shipping fees. In today’s competitive e-commerce landscape, where giants like Amazon have normalized free shipping, encountering unexpected shipping charges can be a significant deterrent for many customers. It’s becoming increasingly common for e-commerce sites to offer free shipping as a way to enhance the user experience and boost conversion rates.

However, shipping isn’t the only surprise cost that can give shoppers pause. Taxes, while inevitable, can catch a customer off guard if they’re only added at the very end of the purchase process. This can lead to mistrust or the feeling that they’re being hoodwinked.

So, how can you address this issue and ensure that customers continue their journey to purchase completion?

  1. Transparent Pricing: Always strive for transparency. If you can’t offer free shipping, consider incorporating shipping costs into the product price or clearly indicate the shipping fees upfront. The same goes for taxes. Instead of tacking them on at the end, display prices inclusive of tax from the outset.
  2. Use Incentives: If you can’t eliminate additional costs, consider providing incentives to offset them. This could be in the form of discount codes, bundled offers, or loyalty points.
  3. Clear Communication: Ensure all potential costs are communicated clearly throughout the shopping journey. This could be through pop-ups, banners, or even FAQ sections. The aim is to ensure there are no surprises at the checkout.
  4. Offer Choices: When it comes to shipping, provide multiple options. If next-day delivery comes with a fee, also offer standard delivery, which might be slower but free or less expensive. Giving customers the autonomy to choose based on their urgency and willingness to pay can reduce cart abandonment rates.

Your Checkout Process Is Confusing or Difficult

If you’ve done everything correctly so far and you’re still wondering, “Why is my conversion rate so low?” the answer might be hiding in your checkout page design.

A lengthy and convoluted checkout process can feel like an unnecessary drain, especially when other sites offer a more streamlined experience.

Let’s explore some common pitfalls and their remedies:

  1. Lack of Progress Indicators: When visitors are unaware of how many steps are left in the checkout process, it can feel like an unending task. Incorporating a simple progress indicator can give them a roadmap, assuring them that the end is near.
  2. No Autofill Option: Repeatedly entering the same information can be tedious. I recommend implementing the autofill option whenever possible. The idea is to allow a customer to finish the process as quickly as possible, minimizing the chance of them changing their minds last minute. 
  3. Absence of Product Images: A visual reaffirmation of what they’re purchasing can instill confidence in shoppers. Including a thumbnail or a clear product image in the cart helps eliminate any second-guessing.
  4. Missing Trust Elements: Especially in the final steps of purchasing, customers need assurance that their sensitive information is safe. Incorporating trust signals, like SSL certificates, trust badges, and social proof, can bolster their confidence.
  5. Not Allowing Guest Checkouts: In an era of instant gratification, forcing a user to create an account can be a deterrent. Offering a guest checkout option provides flexibility, ensuring you don’t lose out on potential conversions from those unwilling to spend time to create accounts.
Strategies to increase conversion rates

How To Start Increasing Conversion Rates? These Simple Strategies Helped My Clients

So far, I’ve tried to help you identify potential low conversion rate reasons and give you a quick cure for each. But even if you still didn’t identify the root of the problem, there’s still hope.

In this section, I’d like to show you a simple strategy that helps me identify what causes low conversion rates on clients’ websites.

Then I’ll show you another strategy, which successful businesses use for conversion rate optimization.

Leverage Web Analytics To Discover The Real Reason For Low Conversion Rates

Web analytics tools, especially powerhouses like Google Analytics, can be a treasure trove of insights. This platform can serve as your compass, revealing which pages of your site are the most visited, the average time spent by users, and, critically, where they tend to drop off. But this Google’s tool is just the tip of the iceberg.

Combining Google Analytics with some of the best UX research software can help you gain a complete picture of visitor behavior. These tools can visually map out areas on your pages where users interact the most through heatmaps. Some also offer session recordings to help you capture the exact journey a user takes on your site.

But why is this important?

Simply put, without this granular data, your approach to optimization becomes more guesswork than strategic action. Relying on intuition or broad trends can lead you to make landing page changes that may not address the actual problems at hand. It’s akin to trying to hit a bullseye with a blindfold on.

By leveraging web analytics, you can peel back the layers of user behavior, understanding not just what your visitors are doing but potentially why they are doing it. This allows for a more focused, data-driven approach to refining user experience and boosting conversion rates.

Conduct A/B Testing To Find What Works Best With Audience Segments

Once you identify the potential reason for low conversion rates, take it slow. Instead of implementing sweeping changes based on assumptions or general trends, leverage A/B testing and split tests to optimize your pages systematically.

Here’s a simplistic breakdown of the process:

  1. Identify a Singular Variable: Before diving into testing, pinpoint one specific element you believe could influence conversion rates. It could be the color of a CTA button, the wording of a headline, or the length of a form.
  2. Craft Two Variations: Create two versions of the page or element in question. One remains as the original, serving as the control, while the other incorporates the desired change.
  3. Divide Your Traffic: Split your incoming traffic between these two versions. Ensure that each segment of the audience experiences both versions under similar conditions.
  4. Analyze and Interpret Results: After a predetermined period or once you have sufficient data, examine the performance metrics. Which version had a higher conversion rate or better engagement?

For instance, suppose you’ve identified that your CTA might be a bottleneck. With A/B testing, you can experiment with different wordings – “Get Started” vs. “Join Now.” By directing a portion of your traffic to each version, you’ll garner insights into which phrasing resonates more with your audience.

But the beauty of A/B testing goes beyond mere button colors or copy tweaks. It enables you to delve deep into audience segmentation. Different audience segments may have unique preferences and behaviors. By tailoring and testing specific elements for each segment, you can achieve a higher level of personalization and, consequently, higher conversion rates.

Conclusion – Why Is My Conversion Rate So Low?

While it can be disheartening to see lower-than-expected conversion rates, it’s crucial to remember that these numbers are more than just figures. They’re signposts guiding us toward areas of improvement.

It isn’t always about tearing down and starting from scratch. Often, the most significant impact comes from nuanced changes rooted in understanding and empathy for your audience.

And if you ever feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to boost those conversion rates, I’m here to help. You can schedule a call with me so we can tailor conversion rate optimization strategies to your business.

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