What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

What Is CRO and What Does It Do in Business?
Yurii Bitko Yurii Bitko 03 december 2021, 15:26 604
For beginners

Customer journeys today are almost as unpredictable as the next big social media trend or meme. Online customers may begin their journey by clicking on your ad, visiting your website, and just leaving. In a week, they may see a retargeting ad, read an online review, or ask a friend before finally returning to your store to make a purchase. Sometimes they fail to convert for several reasons, including steep prices, better offers elsewhere, poor user experience and customer service, etc.

So predicting customer actions is very important, thanks to the chaotic nature of today's purchase journey. To convert visitors into customers, you must optimize your entire marketing strategy. From removing barriers and encouraging specific actions to provide customers with a pleasant and secure experience — this is the science of conversion rate optimization.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization is the practice of increasing the percentage of visitors who perform a specific action — buying a product, downloading a file, or signing up for a newsletter — on your website.

Although conversion rate optimization helps you make small, incremental improvements, its overall goal is to optimize your entire marketing process — to make everything run smoothly. And the better your marketing is, the better your conversion rate will be.

According to Wordstream's research, the average conversion rate for a website is around 3%. However, conversion rates of say 11.45% are in the top 10% for any given industry.

A high conversion rate means that your site is well-designed, well-formatted, and appealing to your target audience. A lower conversion rate could be caused by some factors relating to your website's performance or design. Poor conversion rates are often a result of slow load times, a broken form, or content that fails to convey your product's value.

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

Several factors, including your industry, niche, goals, traffic sources, and audience demographics, can determine a reasonable conversion rate. For example, in the third quarter of 2020, the global average eCommerce conversion rate was 2.17%, down from 2.37% in the previous year.

In addition, eCommerce sites in the food and beverage sector have a conversion rate of 5.5%, while those in the haircare sector have a 3.5% conversion rate.

It's time to optimize your conversion rate if it's lower than you'd like or below average for your industry.

Calculating Your Conversion Rate

We calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors and multiplying that number by 100.

Calculating your conversion rate is simple if you know what your conversion goal is. For example, let’s consider a signup form on every page of your website: if you had 600 submissions and 12000 visitors, your conversion rate is (600/12000) * 100 = 5%.

Just make sure to only count visitors for the offer's pages. For example, to calculate your conversion for a specific product page, divide the total number of purchases by the total number of visitors to that webpage.

The Four CRO Principles

Most marketers follow four basic CRO principles to achieve the best conversion rates.

1. Use A Well-Defined Value Proposition

When customers understand what sets you apart from the competition, they move further down the sales funnel. Showcase your service's quality by highlighting your unique selling proposition and a section of your web pages. Customers will compare you to other businesses, but once they understand why you stand out, they'll convert more.

2. Encourage Your Customers To Take Action

Use freebies, sales, and free trials to increase the conversion rate. But boosting customer motivation is about a lot more than just giving away free stuff.

Money-back guarantees and social proof also influence customers. Sometimes the best way to increase conversions is just to ask them to do free stuff. For example, you can ask for reviews or ask them to share your content. Even popular YouTubers with millions of views per video do ask their viewers to like and subscribe at the end of every video.

3. Reduce Conversion Barriers

Some customers don't need incentives to act, but still, the path to conversion must be straight. Eliminate anything that is obstructing the conversion process, including:

  • Slow page load times
  • Hard-to-find buttons
  • Confusing product descriptions and specs
  • Poor product images
  • Lots of popup ads
  • Poor mobile website

These are just a few of the most significant roadblocks to online shopping. If you get rid of them, your incentives will be more effective.

4. Give The Customer A Sense Of Security

First-time visitors are hesitant to act — no matter how big the incentive or low the barrier. Many factors influence a customer's comfort level, from the color scheme of your home page to your website's payment gateway.

Steps in the CRO Process

Optimizing your conversion rate involves gathering data, running tests, and drawing conclusions. These steps will help you better understand your marketing strategy and your customers.

  • Gather current customer and website data, identify your conversion goals, and set a benchmark for future changes.
  • Form a hypothesis based on your data. Identify your target audience and metrics (e. g., click-throughs, downloads).
  • Prepare a test for your hypotheses to make sure your conversion data is accurate.

How to Improve Your Conversion Rate Today

Here are some immediate steps to improve your conversion rate:

1. A/B Testing

The simplest and most effective CRO method is A/B testing. This method works for any changes to your website design or product page copy. A/B testing involves creating two versions of something (e. g. a landing page) and splitting your traffic between them. Then compare their conversion rates. You can use A/B test results to decide on your next steps when analyzing data. To find out what your target audience and leads prefer, you can use A/B testing to test different versions of your website copy, content offers, images, form questions, and web pages.

A/B testing helped China Expat Health increase lead conversion by 79%. The headline "Health Insurance in China" was changed to "Save up to 32% on Your Health Insurance in China," which immediately conveyed a value proposition to visitors. Customer testimonials backed up this claim.

You can find WooCommerce A/B testing plugins and entire platforms dedicated to A/B testing for your website and marketing strategy.

2. Set Up Conversion Tracking

You need to track conversions to see if and how your customers convert. The process involves tagging a specific group of customers to track their journey to your site. Conversion tracking in Google Analytics is a quick way to start collecting customer data. You just have to add Google Analytics to your website. Track downloads and purchases using Google Ads conversion tracking in the app.

3. Keep Your Store Running Fast

Here's an eCommerce fact: After 3 seconds of loading, 57% of online shoppers leave a website, and 80% of them never return. Every CRO action hinges on your website's speed. Your customer experience may be superior to your competitors, but if your product pages load slowly, the users will leave. Check your page load times and find out which ones need improvement. There are many easy ways to speed up your website. Start with your web host that can accommodate an e-commerce website. Learn more on how to speed up your website here.

4. Test Your Website

Good CRO is about making changes based on reliable data. But don't forget your customers. A customer journey is more than just data and conversion tracking. To master CRO, you must first empathize with your customers and see things from their perspectives.

Clear your browser cookies, and go to your website. Subscribe to your own newsletter, contact customer service, and try to buy a product or use your service. Take note of any obstacles in the process.

CRO Strategies to Try

Here are some marketing strategies to test and implement at your company.

1. Add Text-Based CTAs In Your Blog Posts

Having a Call-To-Action (CTA) in a blog post is recommended, but they don't always work. Why?

People are accustomed to ignoring banner-like information on websites. You need a new strategy since visitors don't always read to the end of a blog post.

This is where text-based CTA comes in handy here. A HubSpot's research decided to test text-based CTAs, styled as H3. Out of 10 blog posts, regular end-of-post banner CTAs contributed only 6% of leads, while the anchor-text CTAs accounted for up to 93%.

2. Help Leads Become Marketing-Qualified Leads

Sometimes visitors want to skip parts of the buyer's journey and speak with a sales rep right away. You can easily convert high-intent visitors into marketing qualified leads (MQLs) by combining carefully designed pages, compelling and clear content, and smart CTAs.

Most times, visitors who sign up for product demos convert better than those who sign up for free product trials. It all depends on your product and sales process, but we recommend testing different approaches to see what works best. Then optimize for it. The key is to reduce sales friction.

3. Build Workflows To Empower Your Team

Use marketing automation software to create automated workflows for your team. Marketing automation allows you to send automated emails based on workflows. With just a click, leads can schedule meetings. If you run an online store, you can send a reminder email to customers who abandon their carts. Moosend found that abandoned cart emails can be very effective. They have a 45% open rate. 21% click-through them, and half of those who click complete their purchases.

4. Add Messages To High-Converting Web Pages

Use live chat software to communicate with website visitors in real-time. Add this feature to high-converting web pages like pricing and product pages to provide leads with real-time information.

Make your chatbots react based on actions. For instance, if someone has spent more than a minute on the page, it should automatically offer assistance.

5. Optimize High-Performing Blog Posts

Blogging provides a huge opportunity for conversions. In most companies, a majority of monthly blog views and leads come from posts published over a year ago.

Identify your blog posts that receive the most traffic but have the lowest conversion rates. (This could be due to SEO, your offer, or your CTA).

Examine your high-converting blog posts. You want to increase qualified website traffic to those posts, so you can optimize the content for the SERPs or update it as needed to keep it fresh and relevant.

6. Leverage Retargeting To Re-Engage Website Visitors

Regardless of your key conversion metric, the reality is that most visitors to your website don't take the desired action. Retargeting on Facebook and other platforms allows you to re-engage website visitors.

Retargeting works by tracking website visitors and serving them online ads as they browse the web. This is especially effective when retargeting visitors to your most profitable web pages.

How Websites Benefit From CRO

Now let's talk about how to implement CRO in your company. These four areas of your website could greatly benefit from conversion rate optimization.

1. Homepage

Homepages are ideal for CRO. The homepage can help retain visitors and guide them further into your website. You can do this by emphasizing product information links, incorporating a free signup button, or even implementing a chatbot that asks visitors questions throughout their browsing experience.

2. Pricing Page

Pricing pages can make or break a website for many visitors. Price-per-year versus price-per-month can help convert visitors into customers, as well as describing the product features associated with each price, including an email for visitors to request a price quote or adding a simple popup form.

For example, a simple email opt-in popup form on Hotjar's pricing page led to over 400 new leads in three weeks.

3. Article Pages

A blog presents one of the best huge conversion opportunities. A blog can use CRO to convert readers into leads in addition to publishing industry-related content. Your articles should contain multiple calls-to-action (CTA) asking readers to submit their email address in exchange for an ebook or a report.

4. Landing Pages

The highest average conversion rate of all signup forms is 24%, which makes sense since landing pages are inherently designed to encourage action. To encourage visitors to download a free resource, you can optimize a landing page with preview content.

The short answer is that CRO is crucial to any online business. No matter how big or small your business is, you want to convert your website visitors into qualified leads, customers, and brand advocates in the most efficient way possible.

CRO helps you get more out of your existing website traffic while also ensuring that you're attracting qualified leads.

Setting a conversion goal isn't as simple as saying, "This page converted 100 people this month, so next month we want to convert 200 people."

You don't just want another 100 conversions from your website. Instead, you'd like 100 more conversions for every X number of visitors.

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