A time-tested marketing adage is that gaining new customers is way more expensive than retaining old ones. With ecommerce, more conversions of site visitors into paying ones means better customer retention.

Using data and understanding customers’ requirements acquired during the lead-generation and lead-nurturing phases play an important role in nudging, informing, exciting and enticing one-time shoppers to purchase again. The result is that your business’ bottom line gets a dual boost -- from the added sales and the savings in marketing costs.

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Here are five simple steps to take for your online business to improve its conversion rate and reap the accompanying benefits:

1. Align the landing page's objectives with your marketing ones. This is derived from your business objectives. Clarity on this matter will lead you to design a web page that fulfills one primary objective: brand engagement, email gathering, sales generation or lead generation. Craft copy that captures a reader’s attention, piques his or her interest, fuels desire and encourages action. Remember, it begins with focus.

2. Earn your visitors’ trust. The smartest copy and the most attractive web design can come to naught if you cannot evoke the trust of your visitors. Your free offer or download should be a valuable one. Avoid hype and fluff that aims to force visitors to take action needlessly; don't tout buy-now or limited-time offers when they aren’t really anything of the sort. Endorsers should be verifiable as should be any numerical figures used to bolster your claims. It's about relating to your customers, building their trust and an online community; as a consequence, visitors to the site will want to do business with you.

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3. Get consumers hooked from the beginning. Your heading or title has to inspire visitors to read on so they can understand your value proposition and take further action. The only way to find what really works is through consistent A/B testing. The testing should extend to all elements of a landing page, including the placement of the lead-capture form, the images or videos and the call to action. 

4. Optimize your lead capture form. Research has established an inverse correlation between number of fields in a form and the sales conversion rate. Forms with fewer fields generate higher conversions. And that makes sense, in this age of identity theft and ceaseless spamming; people are cautious about sharing information.

An email address and a name should suffice in most cases. You can start a communication with these two pieces of information and gather more as the relationship matures. An optimized lead form with fewer fields is also critical to a positive user experience and making your website mobile-friendly.

5. Recognize that distractions hinder conversions. Visual overload can draw visitors’ attention from your message. Don't ask them to process more information than absolutely necessary as that increases the chances of their abandoning a page midway. The landing-page design should strive for a balance between text, images, video and white space. Don't try too hard to impress; simplicity is best.

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