Traffic is expensive and Conversion Rate Optimization, or in short CRO, helps you get the most out of it. Whether you are luring organic traffic to your website using interesting content or paying for PPC ads, you are spending. That can be a total waste of time and money if you cannot turn traffic into subscribers, members, or buyers.
So, a good conversion rate makes your investment more logical and your business can survive. Though, for a business to succeed in today’s competitive world, you need above the industry-standard conversion rate. That’s when CRO comes into play.
Let’s delve deeper to find out what CRO is and how to optimize your conversion rate:
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
Conversion Rate Optimization is the process of boosting the number of visitors who do what you expect from them. Here are some examples of the most desirable tasks you expect from the visitors:
- Buying a product/service
- Making a donation
- Filling out a form with contact details
- Website signup
- Subscribing to your newsletter
- Contacting your business (e.g. a phone call)
- Clicking on a button (e.g. add to cart)
In other words, CRO is a data-based decision-making process that compels visitors to do your favorable action. It eliminates the guesswork and is based on real users behaviors and data.
In a customer-centric approach, CRO is the process of understanding what motivates and convinces users to do a favorable action. So, it includes improving the user experience which eventually leads to persuading visitors to do the desirable action.
Here are two different types of conversions that you deal with during the conversion rate optimization process:
Macro conversions are closer to the end of the conversion funnel. They are the primary goals in CRO and include performing a checkout or placing an order. Usually, CRO’s overall strategy is focused on macro conversions.
A micro conversion is each of the smaller conversion goals that visitors complete on your website. They are like milestones towards the macro conversion goal and help you reach your primary goal.
5 Key Elements in CRO
Conversion rate optimization includes multiple factors but there are specific elements that affect it greatly. Understanding the effects of these elements on website UX is important in a successful CRO process:
1- Page Speed
One of the crucial functionality factors of a website is its page speed. The time it takes for your website to load has a significant impact on conversion rates. According to Potent, website conversion rates decline by an average of 2.11% with each additional second of load time.
So, regardless of what other tests and improvements you have planned, test the speed of your website and landing pages. Make it a priority to fix any issues that make your page load speed slow.
Your hosting provider has a great role in your website’s page speed. It means that optimizing your picture sizes and website caching can help. But, your load times will still suffer from slow and out-of-date hosting.
Simply, use Google PageSpeed Insights to find out your website page load speed and where it needs improvement.
Even if you have the best product or service, your customers need you to communicate your unique selling proposition (USP). That’s when a catchy copy is required. A great copy simply communicates how a certain value remedies a specific problem your customers are dealing with.
Users’ perceived value has a great role in converting customers. Here’s how to write a persuasive and attractive copy:
- Easy-to-read headlines expressing the main value you offer in a few effective words
- Clear subheadings explaining more about the features of product/service in support of the headline
- Clarifying sentences that answer users’ potential questions about what you explained in heading and subheading
3- Landing Page
The landing pages are the most important pages of your website. It’s because they are the most visited and sometimes the only visited web page of your site. So, it makes sense to spend some time designing a winning landing page layout.
Landing pages can work as a conversion machine or as a bouncy trampoline. It means that a great landing page layout increases conversion rate and a poorly designed one increases the bounce rate. When you finish designing it, testing your landing page can ensure it works in your favor.
4- Call to Action (CTA)
CTA is a signal that invites visitors to perform the desired action or conversion goal. It can be in the form of a button or a persuasive copy. Usually, there is a CTA on every landing page inviting visitors to a micro or macro conversion goal.
Websites can contain a variety of CTAs, as they must cater to a wide range of client needs. But, landing pages should focus on only one CTA. This keeps people from becoming distracted by too many options. There are just two options for them: convert or leave (and you do everything so they choose the first one).
Your landing page is the last place to showcase your creativity in web design. The role of a website’s navigation helping people go through the different areas on your website. So, you need to have a simple, and more importantly, familiar website navigation.
Help visitors find what they came for in the first place with minimal effort on their side. This is a practical way to boost conversion and also increase the duration of visitor sessions.
Generally, keep in mind that your website design or redesign shouldn’t confuse the new and returning visitors.
Why Is CRO a Game Changer?
Many business owners and marketers underestimate the importance of conversion rate optimization. However, CRO has the most significant role in any online business marketing strategy.
CRO saves you money by lowering your cost-per-lead and increasing sales. Visitors who have a positive experience are more likely to become repeat purchasers, increasing the lifetime value KPI.
Let’s explain the importance of CRO with an example:
Suppose that you own an eCommerce store selling $10 pet care items, with 10,000 monthly website visits. In the pet care industry, the average conversion rate is about 3.28%. Below is a chart showing different eCommerce sectors’ conversion rates:
Image credits: growcode.com
In this example, you earn about $3,280 per month, if you have an industry-standard conversion rate:
10,000 * 3.28% * $10 = $3,280
When you optimize the conversion rate (e.g. double it) this is how it affects your sales:
10,000 * 6.56% * $10 = $6,560
Simply put, you don’t necessarily need to double your traffic or increase your prices to earn more revenue. Using easy-to-implement CRO strategies, you can increase sales and affect your company’s bottom line.
CRO provides you an advantage over your competitors. Customers will choose you over your competition if you provide a better experience and a simpler path to buying. Employing CRO usually results in a breakthrough for small and medium companies, transforming them into large companies.
This transition can also help you get more organic and advertising traffic. So, you can outperform your competitors in both traffic and conversion. But, remember, if your competitors begin CRO first, you may end up being the loser in the story.
How to Optimize your Conversion Rate in 6 Easy Steps
Although CRO is a must for any online business and can revolutionize its sales and revenue, it’s easy to implement. If you follow these simple yet essential steps precisely, you can benefit from the unlimited power of CRO:
Step 1 – Know Who you Are Dealing with
Conversion rate optimization begins with identifying your potential visitors and knowing them very well. You should know who they are (demographics), what they are interested in, and what they care about most. Also, you can segment your potential visitors based on users’ psychographic data. Here’s more information about psychographic segmentation.
Step 2 – Study Visitor Behavior
Analyze how your users behave on your website. Because research is the baseline for everything. The idea here is to learn what visitors are doing and why so that you can create a better, more converting experience.
As you collect more data, you’ll see patterns and similarities. For example, if 70% of visitors exit from a specific page, that’s a sign you should pay attention to. Otherwise, if most of your visitors convert after visiting your pricing page, you’ve done a great job.
Step 3 – Analyze your Website
Investigate different pages and areas of your website to find your UX design strengths and weaknesses. Then, based on your conversion funnel you will know where to focus on to make the biggest impact on conversion.
You can find the best analysis tools for CRO in the next section of this article.
Step 4 – Fix Obvious Issues
After detecting the weaknesses and problematic pages on your website, it’s time to prioritize them. Fix the most urgent and obvious issues first. For instance, you may detect a bug, on customers’ path to the conversion, that’s causing 10% of traffic to leave. So, by addressing the issue and fixing the bug you get 10% more conversions!
Step 5 – Create Hypothesis
For issues that need more in-depth analysis, you can create a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a three-part statement that can assist you in testing your ideas within a certain time frame. These three sections include:
- A particular change depending on the findings of your analysis.
- It will affect and raise the conversion rate by X percent.
- Based on the logic that you assume will result in the desired outcome.
For example, you can define a hypothesis like this:
“I believe making the add to cart button bigger will increase purchases by 20% as it becomes easier to spot.”
You can follow a similar structure to create your own hypotheses.
Step 6 – Test Hypothesis
Now that you’ve created a hypothesis, it’s time to test it using CRO testing methods A/B and multivariate testing. For the above example, you can run an A/B test to validate your idea.
For the example hypothesis:
1- You make a version (B) of your product page with a bigger add to cart button.
2- Then, you show it to 50% of the traffic leading to that page.
3- You do it for a prespecified time limit and until a sufficient number of user data is evaluated.
4- At the end, you compare the results with the 50% of traffic seeing the old version (A).
So, you can decide if your hypothesis came true or not. If not, you can think of other reasons for a specific failure on your website.
While A/B testing can validate simple hypotheses, multivariate testing or MVT is capable of tests with higher complexities. Here you can read more about the multivariate testing method.
What Are the Best CRO Tools?
Thanks to the great quantitative and qualitative CRO tools available, analyzing your website and users’ behaviors have never been easier. Here are the most beneficial CRO tools you can employ to enhance your UX design, as well as the CRO:
As mentioned earlier, conversion rate optimization is a data-based solution. Web analytics provide the quantitative data that CRO needs to operate. Data like page views, conversion rate, bounce rate, exit rate, shopping cart abandonment rate, etc. can be extracted from analytics.