The success of a startup can be measured by its conversion rates. Optimizing a website for better conversion rate is an uphill task, more so for a startup website.
Despite carefully planning your product to be affordable, fast, and intuitive, you do not receive the customer response you were hoping for.
Optimizing your startup site involves a few unconventional approaches. There are a lot of anomalies in the startup ecosystem.
Most startups make the grave mistake of "just assuming stuff," sometimes your assumptions may be correct, but (don't be offended by this) your opinion does not matter. Yes, you built the product, but you have not made it for yourself. When you assume stuff with your website, you are just shooting yourself in the foot. You don't want to be assuming anything. You want to have reliable data and test every idea that you have. You may see some companies' statistics, and what's benefitted them, those changes can end up doing more harm than good for you. It may work for them, but that does not mean that it will work for you and vice versa.
If you get the right audience to your site, your site also needs to be fast. You may have heard this a million times before, but managing to get your site to load in under 2 seconds is essential. Read more on page load time optimization here (https://moz.com/learn/seo/page-speed). Improvement of your site's load time by 1-second conversion rates will improve by 7%.
Getting the right audience and the site being fast enough won't help if your copy is not good enough. A poor copy can be harmful to your conversion, whereas a good copy can drastically improve your conversion rate. If your copy can hook your visitor's interest long enough to guide them to CTA and explains why to use your product and not what your product is, then you are fine with your existing copy, else you need a new, better copy. Using benefit-based bullet points can further improve readability. You'll be amazed to know the number of startups that explain what and not why. You need to understand the visitors don't care what your product is as long as it solves their problem.
However good your copy may be, people do not have the time to read, they only skim through. So, it needs to be concise to be effective. If you've got more to say than you can fit in your copy without making it lengthy, do so in a visual format. You can have an image showing some statistics rather than writing it in text, or you can make an introductory video explaining what your product is and how it's beneficial to the visitor. Visual formats (especially video) are significantly more effective than regular text.
Pro-tip: Wistia (a popular video hosting service) offers a turnstile feature allowing you to insert a form inside a video player. If you plan to use this feature, make sure to put your form in the first 10-20%. That is when they are found to be most effective.
If you've got the right audience, your site is fast, and it has a good copy, but you lack good custom design, chances are your potential customer will choose your competition over you. Cliche look of your site won't make a good impression in the visitor's mind. A/B testing can be of great help if you want to see how different designs perform to help you make the right design decisions. A good design for your site is responsive, clearly state your strong points where you outperform your competition, uses the right colors but most importantly, clearly direct towards your CTA, and is easy to navigate. Don't assume people know what to do on your site.
While you are redesigning, make sure you multiple landing pages. You do not want to show people coming from an ad campaign of how you are eco-friendly the same page you show to people coming from another ad telling how fast your product is. People got attracted to the ad and hence clicked on it. Don't generalize everything after you have got their attention for something specific.
Social and Authority Proof is important for your conversion. But when you abuse it, it will have a negative effect on your visitors. Testimonials can be of great help; if you don't already have testimonials add them to your site. Ask your customers for videos offering something in exchange for that video. No one wants to take the risk of spending money on something new in the market. Show the number of customers you already have; this builds authority. If you'd like to read more building social and authority proof, read this article here, which talks in more detail about Authority Principle by Therese Fessenden.
Pro Tip: Buy a toll-free number and mention it clearly on your site. For some reason, people, especially the 40+ age group, love the phone, and this works great for building authority as well. Even if you do not have someone to answer, all you have to do is get a toll free forward it to a voice mail where it says, "Hey, thank you for contacting XYZ, we are receiving a high amount of calls, please contact us at (your contact address)"
Survey your existing customers. Ask your existing customers if they think there is a chance for improvement, and if you start to see a pattern, it is a clear indication you need to upgrade your offering. Ask them how they like your product. Also, ask them why they bought from you, do not assume why they purchased from you; it may be opposite from your assumption. Again, if you see a pattern here, change your ad campaigns and adjust your landing pages to be more optimized.
This subject was a little bit hard to talk about because CRO is based on data, and it differs for every company, so bear in mind that not all suggestions are perfect for everyone. The needs of your company vary depending on which phase it is going through.
Needless to say, no amount of CRO will ever fix your product and keep getting new customers. You may get a few conversions initially, but eventually, your company's fate is decided by your product.