Increase conversions simply by asking better questions

Grant Merriel, co-founder of Conversion UP and advisor to multiple B2B businesses, writes that in order to increase conversions, marketers need to ask unbiased questions to visitors, leads, customers and themselves.

It’s only through asking questions that business owners are able to evolve their products and services to always be aligned with the ever-changing needs and wants of their customers.

However obvious this may be, asking questions is only the first step, as analysing responses and implementing improvements is what elevates a company from good to great.

With the digital age, it is very easy to become disconnected with potential customers as they move through the buying cycle (visitors to leads to new and existing customers).

Online shoppers cannot instantly comment on what they see on your website, and will then leave to go to your competitor as consequence. This poses a great challenge, as their opinion is vital to the improvement of your business.

There are a lot of ways to obtain feedback – from direct conversations, online surveys, and feedback requests. Never begin obtaining any data without first having a clear goal in mind about what information would make the biggest impact to the business.


A guide to asking better questions to your customers

As your business will be making critical and commercial decisions based on the answers being received from your questions, it is integral that the fundamentals are correct.

Questions must be:

  • At the reading level of a 12-year-old: Customers are not as technical or savvy as you might hope, so keep it simple.
  • Quick to read and easy to answer: this will stop respondents partly answering questions or not reading the entire question.
  • Relevant to respondents: nobody likes rhetorical or hypothetical questions, as they are too hard to digest.
  • One at a time: requesting examples is fine within a question, but try always keep the respondent engaged.
  • Unbiased: focus on neutrality, so the respondent is not swayed towards telling you what you want to hear – it’s about the data, not egos here.
  • Without assumptions: always believe that the customer knows nothing about your business or industry and are once-off buyers.
  • Goal-oriented: set questions that are aligned with a particular outcome or will show you the ‘next step’ to business improvement.


Questions to ask yourself about the site

These questions will help you do a quick analysis of any obvious bottlenecks or weaknesses in the user experience of a site. Reviewing a lot of customer support questions will suggest what might be missing, before asking any direct feedback or questions to customers.

  • Is the unique sales proposition obvious and compelling?
  • How can I enforce a sense of urgency to buy/enquire now?
  • Are the benefits visitor/customer relevant to our demographic? (not just features)
  • Are there enough genuine testimonials that add real sales value?
  • Is the next step (call to action) obvious, clear, and appealing?


Questions for visitors/leads about the site

There are a few strategies to get feedback and ideas from visitors of your website before they even turn into a customer. This can allow you to discover the reasons why they might not buy and what they are looking for, as well as expose possible reasons why other leads are not converting to sales.

Everything from form abandonment follow-up emails, on-page surveys, and even live chat can be used. This becomes even more important as there is a 74% average cart abandonment rate, indicating that almost three-quarters of people who started to checkout left without finishing.

  • What design elements are more prominent, attention grabbing, and appealing to them?
  • Where did you hear/see/find out about us?
  • What are the main challenges/problems/frustrations that this product will solve for you?
  • What could compel you to stay/buy right now, without leaving? (specials, feature, benefits, guarantees, etcetera)
  • What questions do you have about the product, which is important but you cannot find?


Tools to help:

Interactive Surveys

Example tool: Survey Monkey – external (free account available)

Applicable to: current visitors

Benefit: can pop up while users are currently on your site, so they never need to leave


Live chat

Example tool: Zopim (free account available)

Applicable to: visitors and potential leads.

Benefit: allows survey questions to be asked real time and answers can be collated into a spreadsheet accordingly.


Questions for new/existing customers about the site

Getting feedback from past customers is not just ‘nice to do’ but integral to building rapport. It shows that you not just engage with customers but are also dedicated to improving your overall service.

This is as simple as emailing past customers with outlining how you will use their feedback, and then providing a link to a quick and short online survey.

(Pro tip: request a testimonial or review at the same time)

  • What made/persuaded/enticed you to purchase from us?
  • What other options/companies/complimentary products did you consider before choosing ours?
  • What was your biggest fear/reason/item that nearly stopped you buying from us?
  • What was the hardest part about choosing the best product online?
  • What are reasons why you would or would not refer the product/service to friends?


Tools to help:

Email feedback requests

Example Tool: MailChimp (free account available).

Applicable to: new and existing customers.

Benefit: Easily import a list of emails from your past customers.


External surveys

Example Tool: Survey Monkey – external (free account available)

Applicable to: leads and past customers.

Benefit: allows pre-defined questions to be answers.


What to do with the answers

The data from the feedback that you receive is only as powerful for increasing conversions based on what you do with it. There are three simple steps to filtering your data, analysing it, and implementing suggestions.

  • Break down data into groups of understandable portions: simply create a running count of suggestions and feedback and filter answers into corresponding and similar groups.
  • Look for trends of suggestions, issues, and ideas: there will be feedback elements that stand out as the clear barriers to people’s conversion – typically the highest group count shows this.
  • Implement website changes to fill the holes shown in the data: this is where the experts like Conversion UP can help because just as much as the feedback has shown missing elements, the feedback doesn’t show elements that are currently working, which should not be changed.



This is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to improving that middle ground between doing marketing for your website (SEO, PPC, etc) and when your sales or fulfilment team get to work. Just remember to always segment your questions based on your demographic, purchasing history, current location on the website, etcetera. This will get better answers as you are asking questions relevant to their current situation.

If this really does seem all too confusing, it is smart to go out and seek the advice of a professional conversion optimisation agency, who are experienced at getting the most out of asking the right questions. Outside of seeking help, just getting into it is the main part, even if the questions are not perfect. Keep in mind that 78% of companies that had a structured approach to conversions improved sales. Don’t be left out and be part of the few who have an approach to increasing conversions.