Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing your landing page or website experience to increase the percentage of website visitors who perform desired actions. A user’s desired action can be purchasing a product or service, signing up for a service, clicking on a link, or otherwise.
Understanding how your users move through your website, what actions they take, and the aspects preventing them from completing your goals are all a part of the process.
You can calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of site visitors and multiplying the result by 100. For example, if your web page had 30 sales and 600 visitors last month, your conversion rate is 30 divided by 600 (0.05), multiplied by 100, which equals 5%.
CRO enables you to optimize your site’s functionality while helping you to understand why and how your site visitors behave the way they do. The truth is, your website never reaches its maximum potential until you rigorously experiment with it. Broadly, CRO has two main benefits.
A well-thought-out and well-structured CRO program based on concrete analysis can significantly improve the return on almost all your marketing activities. The following explains how this is attainable.
CRO allows you to analyze your site’s performance by running tests and looking for the best possible variations that promise conversions. By experimenting with the various elements on your landing pages, you can use the gathered information as a benchmark for your subsequent experiments/tests and also check the areas yielding the best results
One of the most significant benefits of running a CRO campaign is that the changes you implement on your site eventually increase your conversions.
The benefits of a CRO program extend beyond marketing ROI to provide an improved user experience across all stages of a visitor’s lifecycle, whether they are a regular client or first-time visitor.
Visitors nowadays expect a seamless experience. Unless you’re offering your visitors a site they can easily navigate with fewer clicks and make the entire process effortless, they will leave your site and eventually look for alternative options. Personalizing sections of your website based on their previous browsing history, local time, device, or geography can help you make your site much more relevant to your visitors.
The CRO process begins with understanding customer behavior using tools such as click maps and heat maps. These tools will tell you which sections of your site visitors spend the majority of their time. Other CRO tools, such as website surveys and form analytics, help you to understand a visitor’s overall experience with your site.
Meanwhile, session replays and session recordings provide insight into your visitors’ overall experience. They highlight the exact journey visitors took to accomplish a specific goal on your site, as well as the friction areas that caused them to drop off and abandon your site altogether. Such qualitative data contributes significantly towards creating a better user experience, paving the way for conversions.
You can now construct an educated hypothesis with the information you gathered in the research phase. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation of your research that typically comprises:
A particular change is based on insights derived from the data collected.
A particular effect is a conversion metric, desired goal, or a similar effect, which needs improvement.
A particular reason is the reasoning behind why a specific change can bring about the desired effect.
The best way to take the next step forward is to run an actual test. Next, form a hypothesis, state it, and decide how to make changes to your pages. When you have a well-structured hypothesis, you can make necessary changes to your product pages. A reasonable hypothesis also paves the way to more optimization efforts.
When stating your hypothesis, be as comprehensive as possible and note all the necessary information.
Typically, you have two main ways to run a CRO test. You can change one or more page elements and change the page or test a completely different page.
Once you’ve uncovered your optimization opportunities, schedule your test strategy.
Choose a testing order that will lead you in the right direction.
Before running a test, understand the basics:
Before assessing if your hypothesis was correct, you need to make sure that you reach statistical significance. Many Split testing tools will take some of the hard work out of the process by notifying you of statistical significance.
Predicting how long it could take to reach statistical significance can be hard to predict, but some CRO tools can help you with that.
Businesses often confuse between A/B, Split, and Multivariate testing. To understand which kind of testing method will best suit your needs and demands, here are some points to note:
Split testing is used when:
Multivariate testing is used when multiple changes are suggested on a page, and you want to test each combination separately.
In this phase, you draw conclusions about your tests, close the loop for CRO, and note all the new data gathered for future testing. As an optimizer, you need to dig deeper than merely reviewing the test results to see whether a variation was a winning or failed one, then go back to create more hypotheses. Consider the two possible outcomes of a test you’ve run.
At this point, your efforts have paid off well. But what follows? It’s time to seek answers to the following questions:
In this case, make sure you:
Remember, CRO is an ongoing process that demands constant analysis. No matter how many tests you’ve run, there’s always some room for improvement. Make sure you have a well-planned, well-designed CRO process that will effectively help identify improvement areas and implement optimization efforts to drive more revenue further and get better conversions.
CRO is a delicate process that requires constant refinement. So, before you get overwhelmed and lose hope, it helps to take note of some common CRO mistakes you should avoid.
When you’re running a CRO program, pay attention to your timing. Testing your SaaS, or Software as a Service, business during the holidays, for example, will likely yield unreliable results. While conducting your research, you will want to set up stages for your experiments. A CRO roadmap allows you to track your experiment’s timelines and progress at every step, which can promise reliable results. For a smooth sail, consider creating a roadmap for at least a quarter.
Testing is a crucial part of CRO. Many marketers, however, test without analyzing the performance of their current site or backing their results with research-based hypotheses. Companies and agencies with organized CRO processes yield better results because:
Without understanding the KPIs, objectives, milestones, benchmarks, and roadmap for experiments or campaigns, you might have difficulty thinking analytically, which impacts the entire campaign. Some KPI’s to have in place include:
When optimizing for conversion, you might focus all your attention on macro conversions such as revenue, purchases, checkouts, bookings, free trial signups, etc. You also need to keep track of micro-conversions such as clicks on CTAs, scroll depth, element visibility, etc., that play a crucial role in determining your user experience and website performance.
Micro-conversions enable you to analyze customer behavior as they browse your website.
Companies starting with CRO programs make the mistake of running A/B tests on pages with low traffic. Testing with low traffic doesn’t provide reliable results because the test lacks sufficient data to get a high confidence score. With low traffic, you can take a long time to achieve statistical significance. You will either have to wait until the test reaches statistical significance or stop the testing altogether.
If you’re still new to CRO, studying and understanding test reports can be challenging. An ideal test report has at least three goals to monitor closely. People tend to get excited when they see an uptick in one of the goals and ignore other metrics and goals that might be impacting experiments holistically.
CRO is a comprehensive process that involves numerous components, from the design of your landing page to your website copy and Call-to-Action. To run a successful CRO campaign, you must first conduct an in-depth analysis of your target audience, then run multiple tests to measure performance, and continue to optimize to maximize results. You’ll need to address several critical elements throughout the process that you can optimize for higher conversion rates.
The appearance of your website and landing pages plays an essential role when it comes to CRO. An easy-to-navigate and aesthetically pleasing design will likely improve usability and make it easier for users to convert. In designing your website, work with a website designer with a detailed understanding of CRO.
Your site should include interactive menus and readable fonts, be accessible on mobile devices, and make it easy for visitors to find what they’re seeking.
Fast website load speed is a component of CRO and an essential part of any search engine optimized website. The longer your website takes to load, the more likely users are to drop off and go to another website. Remove slow-loading site elements and decrease image file size to ensure fast load times. This alone can significantly increase site conversions.
Web copy refers to the writing users read on your landing pages and website. Skilled copywriters can craft copy that speaks to your target audience’s unique needs. You must do more than simply write content and hope for the best.
Audience research becomes essential here. If you want to understand your audience and the solutions they seek, you’ll have an easier time communicating the value of your offer – the features, benefits, and more. Ultimately, you’re trying to persuade users that your product or service is the best fit for their needs.
A call-to-action is a concise invitation or appeal to site visitors to take the desired action. A best practice for CTAs is to make it obvious what users will get when they submit their information or click on a link. Commonly used phrases are “Contact Us,” “Work with Us,” and “Buy Now,” but you can be more creative.
Design your site structure to make your website easy to navigate. This structure consists of where your pages exist on your site and how they interact with each other. Most sites have the most important pages in the main menu and subpages in the dropdown menu.
Ideally, you don’t want to bury web pages more than three clicks away from the homepage. Analyze how typical users navigate your site and consider their journey from one page to another. Overall, creating an easy-to-navigate website is crucial to increasing conversions, building trust with your customers, and improving customer loyalty over time.
Most popular website owners use contact forms to collect user information, particularly for agency and service sites. Ecommerce sites might have a standard shopping cart function and individual product pages. Make your contact form easy to use and functional. Users should submit their information easily, and your website should connect with the form fills to ensure quick follow-up.
When using contact forms, consider customer privacy and invest in a good design.
CRO benefits all business types and sizes, regardless of their industries. Examples of businesses taking advantage of CRO include:
Your brain, ears, eyes, and mouth are your primary tools to understand your customers, empathize with their experience, draw data-based conclusions, and ultimately make the changes that improve your conversion rates. These free tools enable you to:
Any other traditional optimization tools simply optimize your site in the following three ways.
Quantitative tools allow you to collect numerical data and track what is happening on your site. They include:
Qualitative tools help you collect non-numerical data so you can understand why your website visitors behave in a particular way. They include:
Once you have collected quantitative and qualitative data and developed a clear sense of what is happening on your site, testing allows you to make changes or report on them to determine if your CRO efforts are going in the right direction. They include:
A good online conversion rate can be anywhere between 1% and 4%. The truth is, however, this figure may not be accurate for a few good reasons:
Averages can come in handy as benchmarking starting points, but they have little to do with your website. There is no ultimate or actual industry figure that you can compare yourself against or rely on with complete assurance. Sticking to an average percentage and trying to fit in as many conversions as possible to stay in line with it may not be the best way to go about conversion rate optimization.
Instead, try to focus on developing an in-depth understanding of your user’s true interests so you can deliver. Conversions will flow organically after this.
CRO is important because it allows you to lower the costs of acquiring new customers by getting more value from new site visitors and current users. Optimizing your website or mobile app for conversion can increase your revenue per visitor, expand your customer base, and grow your business. Truthfully, most websites never reach their full potential until they are tested rigorously.
The most common CRO strategies include:
You can track a plethora of conversion metrics to help you analyze CRO. Some of them include:
You split your website traffic into two groups. One group (group A) gets to see a different version of your site than the other (group B).
You can test different factors, like headlines, font size, calls-to-action, website design, buttons, colors, and more. The best way to derive meaningful results from an A/B test is to change one thing from one variation to another. This way, you can attribute the changes in conversion rate to a specific alteration.
A/B testing requires you to collect sufficient data. Otherwise, the results won’t be statistically significant. Some of the things you can A/B test include:
There is no average when it comes to how long you should let your conversion optimization experiments run. The short answer is that it depends on a few factors. Doing A/B tests with a low traffic site, for example, may result in misleading data, or it could be months, or even years, to gather accurate measurements.
Depending on your steps of conversion optimization, you can calculate the average time to let experiments run by analyzing:
CRO best practices have worked for plenty of companies in the past. These practices, however, might not be relevant to modern-day businesses or even apply to your particular business. That said, a business should only adopt CRO best practices after an in-depth understanding and proper measurement of their target audience.
Most people, for example, believe that improving conversions requires no more than a few simple tweaks. Just because something worked for one business doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work for yours. Pay attention to what’s working with your particular audience, and then use your creativity to make adjustments to improve your conversion rates over time.
Wondering what we can do to help your business grow? We can help you make smart decisions that best meet your needs. From basic questions to complex inquiries on branding, web design, or marketing, we’re here to help!
Ready to start the conversation? Call us at (818) 570-5620.