WHAT IS CRO (CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION)?

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Written by Kimberlie Williams

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of fine-tuning a website to improve the rate at which traffic coming to a webpage is successfully guided to follow through with an action (or conversion). These conversions can include everything from filling out a form to making a purchase. 

The official website of every business should do two things. It should be built with the intention to generate qualified leads from its’ pages and it should give visitors all the information and reassurance they need to feel comfortable enough to move forward. 

If a website is giving its’ visitors the same answers to their question that would come from the experience of walking into an office, location, or store, then it opens up an opportunity to convert more of its traffic into leads and ultimately, customers. This can be accomplished through conversion rate optimization.  

Every aspect of a website should be optimized to:

  1. Show the value of a business
  2. Build trust in a business’ capabilities
  3. Equip visitors with the content, products and/or services that will address their wants and needs. 

In short, a well-designed website should be a representation of your brand and serve as a productive sales representative in itself.



GETTING STARTED WITH CRO

 

A. Know Your Customers

CRO image aIn order to obtain more successful conversions, the website should reflect an understanding of its’ customer base.  This helps ensure that the traffic coming to the website generates more qualified leads who are more likely to become customers. This research can be done in two different ways.

 

  1. Quantitative data is more definitive and collects the details of how each user behaves through website analytics tools. This data will show what channels traffic is coming from, which can help with directing more traffic from these channels or finding similar channels to approach. When a visitor leaves the website, website analytics tools can help determine missing elements or holes in your website’s conversion path.

    For example, think about a blog that attracted a visitor interested in doing their own taxes. A link to an ebook could be on the blog and following that link would lead to the user inputting their contact information in exchange for the ebook. What if the link is broken or the user doesn’t fill out the form? If this process is not observed through analytics tools, then a business may have no idea where the visitor fell off during the conversion. Knowing this is crucial and can often make a huge difference when corrected. It will also show other ways visitors interact with the website such as which blogs are being read and which are simply enticing visitors with their subject line or subject matter.

  2. Qualitative data, on the other hand, is more subjective. It focuses on the reasoning behind why people are drawn to make a conversion. Visitors may be swayed by the personal stories and reviews of previous customers. Emotional pleas, in particular, resonate with people and can help them feel connected to a business.  Observing new users navigating the site will make these feelings more apparent. Pay attention to commonalities, such as the things that are repeated among reviews and/or marked as helpful by visitors. These are the thoughts and feelings to emphasize on the website.



B. Things to Consider When Optimizing Your Website

Collecting quantitative and qualitative data can definitely help to paint a much clearer picture of the changes that need to be made to guide site visitors through various conversions. In addition to the data obtained from this research, you should also consider the following website elements and make adjustments where needed to further optimize your website for conversions.

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Homepage
The homepage is the face of a business. It should have a clear and concise navigation menu so that visitors can quickly move through the website to further accomplish their goals.  Visitors are more likely to leave if they have trouble finding what they are looking for right away. Right away, meaning the first 3-6 seconds. 

The homepage should also display new offerings as well as the most popular products and services to help boost sales.  Help should also be easily visible. This can include everything from a chatbox to points of contact for further inquiries and additional information.



Videos
Every video should build trust in the capabilities of your business. Praise for the business should not come from the mouth of the business owner or their employees, but the mouths of customers and third-party reviewers. Visitors want to see their own concerns and questions answered and addressed by people with the same interests and level of investment.  Video reviews and testimonials are great for this!

Videos are also a great way to provide visuals with explanations as well as demonstrations. Videos can show evidence of how effective the product or service is in action. HubSpot cites videos as a preferred medium of information by most people while navigating websites.  For example, videos placed on landing pages can help conversions increase by 86%. Top sellers, which often generate traffic on their own through word-of-mouth, should definitely have videos.



Blogs
Blogs are another way to build trust—trust that a business understands its’ industry and the needs of its’ customers. It’s a good idea to showcase your industry knowledge in your blog. It helps build trust and website authority. Visitors often stumble across business blogs while searching for solutions to a problem, building their own understanding, and/or weighing their options.

 

Linking to related blogs can keep visitors reading. This will help assure the visitor that the business running this website is a trusted authority on this subject, making them more likely to exchange their contact information for exclusive hints, tips, and tricks. Call-to-actions (CTAs) on a blog, particularly text ones (as in words on a button) can link to a related offer or blog, to further educate visitors and help convert these visitors into a lead with the promise of providing more useful information. According to HubSpot, many people have learned to ignore banners, but CTAs can improve conversion rates between 25-45%.

 

Landing Pages
Landing pages are where a website can host a special offer. In order to optimize this offer, the landing page should entice visitors to the level where the visitor will feel they are missing out if they don’t acquire it.

 

When looking at specific ways to optimize your landing pages consider adding a short video preview, customer testimonials, third-party reviews, or an overview of topics covered. These easy to add items are just a few of the things that can help encourage visitors to become leads. When you don’t know where to start, consider highlighting your CTAs. Sometimes simple color changes can make a huge difference.

 

Pricing 
Prices alone next to a product or service can leave a lot of unanswered questions hanging in the air. It can also deter visitors if the price is too high or too low vs. others in the industry without explanation.

 

To remedy pricing concerns, carefully explain the benefits and features of each product or service, as well as each component that goes into the pricing in a short and concise way. Bullet points work well to get the information across quickly and easily.  Customer testimonials and reviews can also be used here to address pain points. This valuable information can sway visitors who are on the fence. 



Testing
Once viable pathways to conversion have become more apparent, testing should also be implemented to confirm their success. A/B testing allows websites to run different versions of the same web page simultaneously. This is great for troubleshooting why a planned conversion path is not being as successful as you thought. 

 

For example, the length of a form may be deterring people from filling it out, but that won’t be confirmed until visitors are led to two versions of the same page, one with the long form and one with the shorter form. Web analytics, tracking tools, and conversion rates can determine which form is more successful. Steady testing and website improvements can help every business website meet and exceed their revenue goals, which is what conversion rate optimization is all about.

 

C. Tools to Track & Measure Conversion Rate

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There are several different tools that can be used to measure and track conversion rates.  Findings from each can be used to see where people are falling off the conversion path. It can help identify problem areas and provide opportunities for improvement.

 

HubSpot
HubSpot will calculate your conversion rates for you. You can gather this information about your CTAs, blogs, landing pages, etc. The software has the ability to test how successful a change to a web page element would be versus the original page.  It also provides businesses with the tools to build campaigns crucial to laying out and tracking conversion paths.

 

Google Analytics
Google Analytics can be used to see where users are visiting the website from and what pages are most frequently exited, which will help with determining where qualified traffic is coming from. It can also tell you things like which devices and browsers were used and also the searches that brought them to your site.

 

Hotjar 
Hotjar’s heatmaps allow for visualization of user clicks, taps, form completion, and even scrolling speed. This helps give you an inside look at user flow. For example, many people may be visiting a page, but scrolling quickly to look for something specific. If they do not find it due to a lack of header, they may exit the page quickly. Screen recording will also allow for the visualization of user interactions with the site, which may point out things with usability issues. 

 

SLOW & STEADY WINS THE RACE

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There is no one-size-fits-all approach to website design, especially in the case of optimizing it to increase the conversion rate.  If you want to increase your conversion rate optimization, you have to continually improve your website. What works best to increase CRO and ROI is growth-driven design. Steady testing and website improvements can help every business website meet and exceed their revenue goals, which is what conversion rate optimization is all about.

 

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