Bounce Rates

Why people leave your website? Detailed examples on how to make them stick around and convert.

Bounces. It is a sad reality any website owner is all too familiar with. Off of all the visitors to your website, there would be a few who would just bounce off right after they came in. It is their way of blowing off the party. There is a reason all web analytics tools and platforms show you an average bounce rate of your website right in the first view; as a business, you want to have your bounce rate as low as possible.

Let’s get one thing clear though. A high bounce rate by itself is not an absolute indicator of the health of a business. I have seen businesses with bounce rates as high as 65% and yet doing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue each month. And at the same time, I have seen businesses with bounce rates in the 30s, and yet find themselves struggling to make monthly payrolls. Bounce rates are a good indicator, but a blended average of bounce rate is often not the right way of looking at things.

For anyone unclear about bounce rates, the easiest explanation is a single page view.

A visit to your website is considered to have bounced when the visitor does not perform any additional actions after having landed on your website. No further pageviews, no actions, they just bounced.

But, what can you do to improve bounce rates?

First order of business: Accept bounce as an unavoidable fact. You would never be able to bring it down to zero.

There are a number of reasons why bounce occurs, and while some of those would be under your control, there would be others you simply can’t skirt through. Lets go through a few unavoidable bounce scenarios, and what they can possibly tell you about the visitors.

The Analytical Shopper

A visitor who had checked you in past, but just wanted to quickly check on your pricing.

This behavior indicates a visitor who is possibly considering a product to serve his needs and is right now comparing between different options. They came on your website to quickly compare your plans against the plans of the competing product they are probably checking out at the moment.

When does it become important?

If you see this behavior happening again and again. If you are getting entry visits to your /pricing page, that is an indication of your visitors either entering directly on your pricing page, or searching for “your product name + pricing” on Google. Now, if you are getting a decent number of such visits, and a noticeable number of them are bouncing off, you should want to put in place a system to try to convert them at this stage.

Since these visitors are comparing you to others, chances are they are almost sold on the product and do find value in a product of such nature. More importantly, you are on the shortlist of the products they are considering. So, the odds of you being able to convert them are higher as compared to a cold visitor.

What should you do when faced with such scenario?

One simple approach, if you are using some marketing automation platform, is to offer them an enticing offer. An extended trial for a low cost, a discounted first year, or something like that. You will need to set up a custom workflow in your marketing automation dashboard that targets returning visitors landing directly on your pricing page.

Your Benne Analytics dashboard will help you understand if you need to set up this automation, and your marketing automation platform will help you increase your conversions.

Another approach is to analyse the page itself to see if you can make changes to it to make it more alluring to someone on the fence. One possible way is to have some social proof on the page, right beside the pricing. You can do that by having testimonials on the page, highlighting the benefit of certain features of the product. You could have achieved similar effect by using case studies to showcase success stories your product has been able to bring about for other businesses and entrepreneurs, but that is an approach I would strongly advise against. Can you tell me why?

Case studies attract a visitor’s attention much like a moth is drawn to a flame. This makes them quite a powerful tool into cementing your product’s usefulness and subject matter expertise, but because of the same reason, it ends up being a distraction on the pricing page. While it would increase engagement (and eliminate bounce on the current page), it would also take the visitor away from the pricing page, and that’s not something you want. So, as far as pricing page is concerned, short and crisp testimonials that are easily skimmable and don’t require any further action are the best way to go.

A third approach is to show a comparative matrix showcasing the edge your product has over your competitors. It is slightly tricky to optimise this section, and may require some continuous work, but it will help customers position you better as compared to the alternate product they were considering. You can start with a list of top competing products you can find, but to zero down on the most important products to showcase a comparison against, you would need to talk to your customers and understand their discovery and research process better.

Now, as far as this comparative matrix goes, there are two approaches to it. One, a tabular representation of the strengths you have over a particular competitor, or all of them. Two, a longer form content (for example blog post) comparing your product to the competitor’s. I recommend using a mixture of both approaches. Have long form content to leverage the search engine queries your customers are making, and a tabular representation on the pricing page.

You should not use links to the long form content on the pricing page for the same reason we avoided having case studies there. Distracting and will most certainly lead the visitors away from the pricing page.

The Wanderer

The wanderers typically comprises of visitors who were never likely to make a transaction. That is the conventional wisdom, and that is what most people would tell you about them. Largely it’s true, but it would be a mistake to altogether dismiss this segment. The sheer fact that the wanderers make up for the largest chunk of your website’s bounces makes it worth the time to look at them closely.

While a good percentage of the wanderers would actually be idle browsers, some of them would be users who are at different, albeit early, stages of their purchase lifecycle, or product discovery and research process. If you are able to capture the attention of these users, and keep them engaged, that increases the likelihood of them thinking of your product first if and when they are ready to make a purchase. Identifying this section, and the stage they are at would be critical in keeping them engaged with your brand, and your content could be the flag-bearer of this engagement.

Another segment of the wanderers are users who could be your customers, but are not in a position to make that call at the moment. So, while your product does interest them and intrigue them, it is not likely to result in conversions. It could be because of the fact that they are not yet in a decision making position, or because they are already locked on to another product for a relatively longer term, or because your product while applicable to their business, may not be relevant to the most pressing problems they have today. This segment, once again, is valuable because they are the most likely to convert to customers when the winds of change blow. If you keep them engaged, you would most likely be the beneficiary of that change.

How should you go about understanding these behaviors?

We talked about lead scoring in one of our earlier stories.

This process is somewhat similar. Users at different stages in their product lifecycles can offer you insights that have different degrees of impact.

For example:

A user who is a champion of your product and recommends it to his network is most likely to help you understand the one thing about your product that is wow-inducing. They can also help you make a list of shortcomings in your system they would love to see addressed.

Someone who churns out of your product can help you understand your product’s shortcomings and help you improve your product roadmap. When you do analyse the reasons behind the churn, there are two important questions you should try finding answers to. 1. Where are your customers heading off to? And 2. What is the single greatest pain-point they identified with your product. The two questions should be asked independent of one another since together they will help you figure out the solution to the churn.

A user who is still in the early stages of his discovery and research process will help you understand what is it that brought him to your product the first time, and what made him come back again. Your web analytics data can be helpful in figuring out the answer to these questions.

An analysis of these different types of consumers will help you figure out a methodology to guide the users along the path and help them move from an idle broswer to a transacting customer.

Identify the breakpoints in your flow, and use that to better understand different customer types

There are forks in the road, and at each fork your customers reveal a little bit more about themselves. For example, when you show a newsletter subscription popup, it helps you isolate a segment that finds your content valuable enough to want it on a regular basis from your average casual browsers. Identifying these forks/breakpoints and using them to know more about your customers will help you make changes that will move more and more traffic via the route you prefer.

Take the purchase breakpoint.

Once the consumer has made a purchase, a simple question intended at understanding just their buying experience can help you identify changes that if made can result in more people making the transaction. How can you improve the buying experience, or what about the experience did your customers like the most and why? All questions help you resonate with your customers better than before.

A lot of businesses already do this. But, people who did not complete the purchase process - what do they do with them? Most of the times, nothing, and that is a huge mistake.

As I said yesterday - no response is also a response. So even though they did not complete the transaction, they are valuable to me. Just as I tried to understand what our customers loved about the buying process, here I want to know what this segment hated about it. After all, something stopped them from completing the transaction and if I can fix that, my conversions will go higher.

The same principle applies as you continue moving backward along the customer’s journey. You start with transactions and you move backwards till you reach the point where they first came across your website. Each step will help you understand the +ve group better, and identify ways in which you can turn more from the -ve group to the preferred +ve group.

A great way of going about this whole process is asking your +ve group even those questions you ask the -ve group. For example, if you want to know why the -ve group did not complete the transaction, ask your positive group a similar question - ‘what is that one thing that almost prevented you from completing the transaction’ or ‘if you had to highlight one negative thing about your overall buying process, what would that be?’

The reason we ask our +ve group these questions is because they are more likely to give you detailed responses. No one is perfect, and your product and business is no exception. But despite some bad experiences and bumps, this is the group that decided to overlook those lapses and take a leap of faith with you. They are literally invested in seeing you succeed. As long as you are concise and objective in your approach, you will always find them willing to share their views.

Understanding the audience that clicks for your business is critical to reducing your bounce rate, and increase conversions. With a little bit of tactile approach, aided by a web analytics tool like Benne Analytics and possibly a marketing automation tool, you can make the whole process stressfree, seamless and quite rewarding to your business.

What should we talk about next? Let me know.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers

Abhishek

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