Remove Unnecessary Steps to Achieve Conversion Goals

Posted by Danny Wood

Back in 2013, Rand Fishkin of MOZ posted one of his famous “Whiteboard Friday” videos with a somewhat curious title: “Remove Unnecessary Steps”. Although the title was a little confusing in the context of inbound marketing, it soon became one of my favourite pieces of advice with regards to Online Marketing and achieving conversion success. What was he getting at?

To focus on removing unnecessary steps is to look at your conversion objective (a sign-up or contact form, a purchase point, etc.), analyze the tasks a user must take before completing your desired conversion action. Here are a few simple tips that can be helpful when analyzing if you are introducing unnecessary steps:

Does your form ask for unnecessary data?

The most common place where users are introduced to unnecessary steps on their way to the conversion is in an associated form, such as as part of a contest or sweepstakes entry process. Although it’s great to collect many data points about your audience, the important consideration should be, is my form asking questions that cause users to not complete it?

When removing unnecessary steps from a form, keep basic things such as name and email, but consider removing more in-depth asks that can be considered extras. An example of this could be asking for the size of a prospect’s company on a contact form, or asking what a participant’s favourite feature is on a contest entry form to increase conversion rates.

If you find it difficult to decide which entry fields are extra and which ones are essential, consider these two questions: how valuable is what I’m offering in exchange for the user completing this form, and what am I using their data for? For example, if you are offering one $100 gift card as a sweepstakes prize and are hoping to carry out email marketing to your participants, it’s likely best to just ask for a first name and email address to get the best conversion rate.

How “deep” is the important information on your website?

Something I come across quite often is company websites where the information I’m looking for is “buried” deep in the architecture of the website, and therefore is difficult to access. It is understandable that as a marketer, there are certain things that are important for you to display to your users, but don’t make them work too hard!

One way to discover if you are adding unnecessary steps in terms of navigation is to look at your website’s Analytics data. If using Google Analytics, use the Behaviour section to analyze page content in terms of pageviews. Are your most popular pages accessible within 1-2 clicks from your homepage? If not, you may be introducing unnecessary steps!

Another way to tackle this problem if you have a website where users are expected to return regularly, is to run a survey to ask your users directly. If you include a few different options via a drop-down menu for users to pick but also let them offer their own input as to what the most valuable part of your website is to them, you may be surprised by the responses!

Are all the aspects of your website fully functional?

This one may seem obvious, however it’s surprising how-often a form or certain feature on a website “goes rogue” and stops functioning properly! It’s critically important to regularly test all interactive aspects of your website, from your most important conversion forms down to simple social share links.

When core functionality of your website is broken, this goes beyond creating an unnecessary step for your users; you actually decrease confidence in your brand that you are a trustable organization that the user should interact with, and greatly hurt your chances of converting the user.

If you’re thinking of running a user survey or of building your email marketing list through a sweepstakes, consider Strutta’s DIY Promotion Builder