Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): The Marketer’s Guide

Patrick Lane Marketing Manager
Key Points
  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO) can positively impact several important business outcomes like customer acquisition, customer lifetime value, and overall revenue.
  • CRO  involves analyzing both qualitative and quantitative user data.
  • Understanding user behavior and experience is crucial to improving your conversion rate.

Conversion rate data typically comes in the form of percentages and data points. But while digging into specific metrics and benchmarks can help you understand what’s working, not every insight is quantifiable. In many cases, you may have to look below the surface to understand how visitors interact with your website.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to focus on your users: what they care about, their individual customer journeys, and what drives them to take action. If you give them the best experience possible and they will naturally take the actions you want them to take.

Whether you are new to CRO or looking to take your optimization efforts to the next level, this post will provide you with valuable insights and actionable advice. So, let’s dive in and learn how to increase your conversion rates and drive more success for your business.

What is conversion rate optimization?

MARKETING
TERM
DEFINITION

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action using quantitative and qualitative data.

CRO involves analyzing a website and its users to identify areas for improvement. Then, implementing changes in order to increase the number of conversions per visit.

The desired action may range from:

  • Making a purchase
  • Downloading an ebook or template
  • Filling out a form
  • Clicking on a call-to-action
  • Making a phone call
  • Making a donation
  • Signing up for an email list
  • Adding products to an online shopping cart

Depending on your website or business, the type of conversion may differ. And across one website, there may be multiple different desired actions from page to page. 

For example, a blog post’s desired action may be downloading a template. But the desired action on the same website’s landing page may be to complete a lead form. 

However, most websites have one ultimate conversion goal the customer journey is built around. For example, the overall goal of a lead generation website is for visitors to fill out a form. But that same lead gen site may nurture visitors by offering downloadable templates and an email newsletter sign up. 

How to calculate conversion rate

Number of conversions / Total number of visitors x 100 = Conversion rate

So, if you have 200 visitors to your website and 10 of them make a purchase, your conversion rate would be 10/200 = .05.

Then multiply by 100 to get a percentage. 

.05 x 100= 5%. 

This means that 5% of your website visitors converted into paying customers.

Benefits of conversion rate optimization

Conversion rate optimization is crucial to analyzing your website strategy and enhancing performance. In a nutshell — If you can improve your conversion rate, you can get more value out of your website. 

Some of the benefits of CRO include increased sales, better lead generation, and improved user experience. By optimizing your website for conversions, you can make it more effective at achieving your business goals.

CRO drives business value

Conversion rate optimization can have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line. It allows companies and individuals to make the most out of their website traffic. This is especially important because acquiring website visitors — thanks to the high cost of digital advertising — is expensive.

By optimizing their conversion rate, businesses can effectively:

  • Turn more visitors into customers
  • Improve ROI from other marketing channels
  • Improve customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Lower customer acquisition costs

As a result, you drive more users toward the goal you want to achieve. In time, this leads to increased revenue and growth.

CRO improves customer experience

The success of your conversion rate and the experience your customers have while visiting your website should go hand in hand. CRO allows businesses to address the factors causing visitors to leave a website without taking the desired action. By analyzing data and testing different variations of a website, you learn what works and what doesn’t. 

Then, use that information to make informed decisions about how to improve the website and UX. Through this process, you can improve user experience and make it easier for visitors to find the solutions they’re looking for. 

This can increase customer satisfaction, build brand trust and credibility, and ultimately drive more sales and revenue.

What is a good conversion rate?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what is considered a successful conversion rate. The definition of a “good” conversion rate can vary depending on the website’s specific goals, industry, and target audience.

In general, the average conversion rate typically falls between 1% and 4%. But success can also depend on where you begin. For example, if the average conversion rate for an e-commerce website is 2% before optimization, then you may consider anything above 2% to be successful.

Key elements of conversion rate optimization

How to best approach your CRO strategy will be specific to your website and your audience. But here are some foundational aspects of the conversion rate optimization process that every company or website owner should consider.

User experience (UX)

How user-friendly your website is will directly contribute to the success of your conversion rate optimization efforts. If a user has a positive experience while using a website or app, they are more likely to complete the desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. 

A website or app with poor UX, on the other hand, can frustrate and confuse users, leading them to abandon the site without completing the desired action.

Investing in good UX also builds trust and credibility. When a website or app is well-designed and user-friendly, it leaves a positive impression and makes users more confident in the company’s products or services. In turn, this can increase their likelihood of them completing the desired action — and returning as a recurring customer.

Landing page design

A well-designed lead generation landing page can help to guide users towards the desired action by making it clear and easy to find. A poorly-designed page can cause confusion and frustration, leading users to leave the page without taking the desired action.

There are several factors that can impact the design of a landing page and its effect on conversion rate. These can include:

  • Layout and structure of the page
  • Use of images and other visual elements 
  • Placement and design of CTA buttons
  • Use of color and contrast
  • Overall user experience

By considering these factors, and designing the landing page with the user’s needs and preferences in mind, you can create a page that is more effective at driving conversions.

Additionally, the design of a landing page can also impact its ability to rank in Google and other search engines. A well-designed landing page can improve relevance and content quality, improving SEO value. This can help to increase visibility, drive more qualified traffic, and lead to higher conversion rates.

Website copywriting

It seems fundamental, but the copywriting on your website can significantly impact your conversion rate. If the writing on your website is too complex or confusing, users won’t understand the value of your offering. 

Your website copy should be straightforward and easy to understand. It should use the simplest terms to describe your product or service and speak to the audience’s needs.

Check out our article about SEO copywriting to learn how to publish content that ranks and converts!

Forms

Many companies rely on website forms to generate leads and, ultimately, business. However, you could be missing opportunities if your forms are not properly optimized for user experience.

A well-crafted form will not only increase your leads, but also increase the quality of your leads. Conversion optimization can ensure the right people are pre-qualified heading into the sales process.

First, make sure your forms are easy to find and easy to fill out. Place them prominently on your website and use clear, concise language to explain: 

  1. What information you are requesting
  2. Why or how the user would benefit from filling it out

This can reduce friction and make the conversion process more seamless for your users. 

Additionally, using formatting and design techniques, such as highlighting important fields or using visually appealing forms, can improve usability. Better usability increases the likelihood that they will be completed.

Page speed

Page speed plays a key role in user experience, functionality, and conversion. If your pages are slow to load, site visitors will be quick to leave. This can lead to a high bounce rate, which is the percentage of users who leave your website after only viewing one page.

You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to analyze and improve load time. This CRO tool will provide you with specific recommendations for improving the speed of your website, such as optimizing images, minifying CSS and JavaScript files, and reducing the number of redirects.

Steps toward successful conversion rate optimization

1. Determine the goals of your CRO program

Before you can begin executing conversion rate optimization, you must identify the most crucial areas of your website to optimize. For this step you should ask yourself:

  • What are your highest-value pages?
  • What is the overall goal of your website?
  • What does a successful conversion look like for each page on your website? 

The industry you’re in, your business, and your audience, will determine which conversion metrics you should focus on.

For example, if you run a B2B business, your conversion goal may be completing a lead form, while CRO for ecommerce sites may focus on adding products to the online cart. Once you’ve identified what your metric is, you can begin your optimization efforts.

2. Map the entire customer journey

Before your users complete a conversion, they go through a journey of discovering, researching, and engaging with your brand. It’s important to map that journey to determine the specific steps that lead to successful conversions. 

By understanding how users move down the conversion funnel, you can identify areas where they can improve the user experience, such as by simplifying the navigation or providing more relevant content. Customer journey maps provide valuable insight and help you make the most of all your online marketing channels.

3. Develop empathy maps for specific actions

For today’s customers, emotional connection is an important aspect of their experience. They don’t want to feel forced into a decision or advertised to against their will. Relying on these techniques will surely backfire.

What brands and website owners should consider is how their customers respond emotionally throughout the user journey. Once you’ve plotted out the customer journey, you can use empathy maps to understand how customers feel at each step. 

Empathy maps can help you shape your website around the customer experience, encouraging them to take action when they feel ready.

4. Implement behavioral analytics on your website

Behavioral analytics allows website and business owners to identify patterns and trends in user behavior, and to use that to make informed decisions. These insights allow you to better understand your customers and speak to their needs.

You can use tools like Google Analytics to see which web pages are most popular, which have the highest bounce rates, and which are most likely to lead to a conversion. This data shows how your website is performing and gives you metrics to improve upon with CRO.

You could also use behavioral analytics software to see how users interact with your website. For example, you can draw insights from scroll and click activity about which sections of a web page users find most compelling. Or, could analyze your forms to see which fields have a higher dropoff rate. You can even record user sessions to see your website through the eyes of your audience.

What Is Behavioral Marketing?Learn how behavioral marketing can help you deliver the most relevant content to your audience at the right time.Read the Post

5. Utilize A/B testing to optimize conversions

A/B testing, or split testing, is a method used to compare two versions of a website to determine which one performs better in terms of a specific goal. It’s a powerful tool for CRO because it allows you to experiment in real-time and make data-driven decisions.

When approaching A/B testing, first you need to identify a specific element of your website that you want to test. This could be anything from the layout and design of the page to the wording of your call to action. Then, test these variables separately to see what could have a significant impact.

It’s important to note that A/B testing is not a one-time process. In order to continually optimize your website’s conversion rate, you should conduct regular A/B tests different elements and make changes based on the results.

6. Benchmark success metrics and KPIs

Success metrics are a way to measure the effectiveness of your efforts and determine whether they are having a positive impact on your business. Without clear success metrics and KPIs, it can be difficult to know whether the changes you made to your website are actually improving performance.

With clear objectives, you can track progress, make data-driven decisions, and prioritize digital marketing efforts in a way that is most likely to lead to success.

To get started, consider the following metrics for tracking the success of your CRO program:

  • Bounce rate
  • Time on page
  • Click-through-rate on CTAs
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Email click-through rates
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Points of entry and exit

In addition to these quantitative metrics, you may also consider customer reviews and individual user feedback.

Overall, the best metrics and KPIs will depend on the specific goals of your business and the actions that you want visitors to take on your site. It is important to choose the right metrics, and to monitor them regularly, to see how your CRO efforts are affecting your business.

7. Measure, iterate, and improve

Even if you’ve achieved a “successful” conversion rate, your CRO process will never truly be complete. User behavior is ever-changing, and it’s important to consistently monitor and improve your website elements to support these shifts. 

You can use conversion rate optimization tools to track your success metrics and continuously set new goals for your site.

Conversion Rate Optimization FAQs

What is conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action.

How do you calculate conversion rate?

Conversion rate is the number of conversions on a page or website divided by the total number of visitors, then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

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