Increasing traffic to your business website is essential, but it’s not enough; once viewers make it to your page, you must engage them, so that they buy your products or services. In doing so, you’ve converted a viewer into a customer.

Customer conversion rate, the ratio of converted viewers to the total number of viewers denoted as a percentage, is an important metric for the success of any business. Since this rate doesn’t take the value of the sale into account, it is a relative term.

Each business owner needs to determine his/her target customer conversion rate. If your business suffered a low customer conversion rate in 2012, using these 5 tips can help increase the metric for your business in the New Year.

1. Give Customers Immediate Buying Incentives

While potential customers are making up their minds about your products, be proactive and grab their attention with an announcement of a short-term sale or discount offer available for a limited period only. No one can resist a good deal, and this urges them into immediate action. The key is not to allow them too much time to think it over lest they decide to go away without making a purchase.

Design a catchy campaign on the homepage of your website to bring this sale or special offer to your viewers’ attention. A large banner can be placed at the top of the screen or right in the center of the homepage.

2. Call them to Action

Keep your notices simple for maximum effectiveness. There should be no chance for consumers to get confused. Tell them exactly what you are offering them and how they can get it. When providing call-to-action buttons that say Buy – Add to Cart – Proceed to Checkout or Sign Up, do not feel shy to display them prominently; a large font size and a bold color that stands out from the background usually works well as a call to action.

3. Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

The pictures you use on your promotion campaign are very important. Besides the choice of an image, make sure you do not compromise on its resolution. The last thing you want is to turn off potential customers with blurry or extra-small pictures that requires squinting to view. Online consumers are very particular; since they cannot see the product in person, they need to get a clear three-dimensional close-up look at what they are buying.

Actual photographs of your product are the best, but if these are not available, you may choose stock pictures. In this case, take the time to find the most suitable pictures that closely resemble your products. If you can include functionality that allows viewers to zoom into pictures and rotate them, that’s great; otherwise, upload multiple pictures of the product from different angles. Additionally, a short descriptive video of your products will add a personal touch.

4. Keep the Payment/Sign-up Process Simple

Many customers who decide to buy a product or signup for a newsletter change their mind at the last minute simply because the process was too tedious. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes; wouldn’t you want to get it over and done with as soon as possible?

Don’t make it mandatory for them to create a user account on your website before making a purchase. A guest login should be fine, and you can ask them to later when they may be more receptive.

Don’t advertise any unrelated products at the payment stage; this amounts to hounding the customer. For example, it may be alright to suggest an anti-virus package to a customer who is buying a laptop; however, showing them your range of cameras at this stage makes no sense.

When asking viewers to sign up for your newsletter, only require necessary details. Consumers cherish their privacy, especially with the increasing number of online scams. A sign-up form that requires too many personal details could scare potential customers away.

Simplicity is the best approach to increasing your customer conversion rate. Design your website so that viewers have a great user experience in navigating the pages from start to end. Use simple fonts and colors, and use plain language in your text.

5. Be Smart with Symbols That Invoke Trust

As mentioned before, consumers find it hard to trust a business website that they are interacting with for the first time, especially if they don’t have any reviews from friends and family. So how do you win their trust?

Tell them about any respected organizations that you are a member of or any big company that you partner with. Place this information in a prominent location on your homepage. Seeing these familiar names will help take away any doubts that your readers had about the credibility of your business. What’s more, they’ll spread this trust in your business to their peers, which is the most effective form of

This New Year, as you continue your efforts to drive more traffic to your business website, make a resolution to simultaneously increase your customer conversion rate. By incorporating these 5 tips, you can soon see an upward trend in sales and revenue