First impressions matter. During the initial stages of the customer journey, they’re everything. Think of it as a job interview. How do you turn that first impression into a lasting one? Arrive on time, offer a firm handshake, and prepare your responses in advance, or you won’t get a second chance.
When it comes to your marketing strategy, you want to focus on how individuals interact with your brand across all touchpoints within your organization.
In a sea of competitors, how do you make the user experience more compelling for your customer? It’s all about improving the path to conversion from that very first interaction. That’s where CRO comes in.
What You’ll Learn:
- The definition of CRO
- The difference between CRO and SEO
- How to determine the actions you want visitors on your website to take
- How a conversion rate is calculated
- Why CRO is important for your website
- Best practices for a CRO campaign
What does CRO Mean?
In the days preceding the internet, you’d walk into a store and a salesperson would greet you with a warm smile and provide you with information about the products and services they offer, as well as any current and upcoming promotions.
These days, much of this two-way communication takes place on the web. When people shop online, CRO takes on the role of a virtual salesperson who focuses on continual improvement, testing new tactics to deliver the right data, at the right time, to the right people, and most importantly, urging customers to act.
In fact, CRO, an acronym for conversion rate optimization, is a science so precise, it borders on art. While it varies from business to business, it essentially involves increasing your conversion rate by encouraging users to visit your site to take specific actions like purchasing a product, downloading an eBook, or subscribing to a newsletter.
It’s a key metric when determining how well your sales and marketing process is working. The proof is in the numbers:
- 68 percent of small businesses don’t have a documented CRO strategy.
- Using correct targeting methods can boost conversion rates by up to 300 percent.
- A one-second delay in page loading yields a 7 percent decrease in conversation rates.
- 63 percent of companies do not have a well-defined methodology when it comes to optimization.
- 81 percent of sales occur following seven or more interactions.
- 52 percent of companies that use landing pages test first to optimize and improve their quality.
- 40 percent of marketers cite having a conversion rate of less than 0.5 percent.
What’s the Difference Between CRO and SEO?
While CRO and SEO (search engine optimization) are related, they each have their own distinct goals. The main difference is that CRO focuses on how humans experience your website, and SEO is only concerned with how algorithms in search engines like Google interact with it.
CRO and SEO each play a role in different stages of your sales funnel. Optimization for search engines takes place early on in the funnel, inspiring visitors to find their way to your online store. CRO focuses on the latter part. Once visitors are on your site, it’s time to get them to scroll and click, and ultimately become loyal shoppers and subscribers.
Despite their differences, CRO and SEO do overlap at times. For example, if you optimize your email copy for specific keywords, you end up improving its readability for human readers as well.
What are You Trying to Measure?
To get your conversion strategy on the right track, you need to first figure out exactly what you’re looking to measure. What are the specific actions you want visitors to take on your website once they get there? Here are some ideas:
- Buy a product or service
- Submit a form
- Book a consultation
- Sign up for an email newsletter
- Download a mobile app
- Request a free trial
- Upgrade a service
- Ask for more information
By no means is this a comprehensive list. Rather, these are some of the basics that will help you get started. As you become more comfortable working with your conversion rate, you can aim higher and segment your data to give you the specific insight you need to grow your business.
What Determines Your Conversion Rate?
When it comes down to calculating conversion, it’s fairly simple. Just divide the number of conversions you receive within a given time period by the total number of people who visited your website or landing page. Then multiply that number by 100.
Conversion rate = (conversions ÷ total visitors) x 100
For example, if your site had 19,232 visitors and 3,677 conversions last month, your conversion rate will be 19.12 percent. It’s that easy. You can even set up your tracking so that your online advertising or analytics platforms of choice can display your conversion rate in their interface.
Why is CRO Important?
CRO enables your website to work smarter, not harder. It gives you more control over how your customers engage with your website and the steps they have to take toward conversion. But what are the actual benefits? Here are some of the heavy hitters:
- Increases your traffic: Higher converting users devote more time to your site, add more positive reviews, and leave as happy, satisfied customers. More importantly, these positive experiences will encourage them to convince their friends and family to buy from you, resulting in more site traffic.
- Boosts your profits: When your conversion rates rise, so does your profitability. An increase in sales means that more of your customers are visiting your product pages, opening and reading your emails, subscribing to your service, and making purchases. Analyzing the data and making minor cost-effective changes will inevitably make your site more valuable.
- Puts the customer first: CRO ensures that your customer is always top-of-mind. Whenever you make major design changes to your website, taking a CRO approach allows you to view them through the lens of your customers, not your web designer. Customer-centric decisions regarding copy and ad placement are more likely to increase your conversion rate.
CRO Best Practices
While true optimization should be data-driven, there are a few best practices that should always be upheld to make sure your CRO campaign is a success:
- Optimize your page load times: In this case, slow and steady never wins the race. The faster your page loads, the better. The rage-inducing “spinning wheel of death” is more likely to make visitors abandon your site before you ever get the opportunity to convert them.
- Cater your content to the customer: Always aim to “sell instead of tell.” Speak directly to your buyer personas. After all, these are the people you’re trying to connect with, so conduct plenty of research on them so that you can communicate your company’s message in the most effective way possible.
- Make sure your site is mobile-optimized: According to Google research, 52 percent of internet search queries now come from mobile devices. Even if you have the most user-friendly website, if it doesn’t translate across mobile devices, you’re going to miss out on converting a ton of visitors. It’s imperative that your website is adaptable to various screen sizes and is as straightforward to navigate as it would be on a desktop computer.
The reality is that businesses need CRO to survive nowadays.
Although CRO is often used to make minor, incremental enhancements to a website, it should be a key component in your marketing playbook.
CRO’s broader purpose is to optimize your entire marketing process from start to finish and make everything operate more efficiently. And the more optimized your marketing is, the better your conversion rate will be.
Now that you understand what conversion rate is, what it entails, and why it matters, it’s time to rethink your strategy and start putting your CRO data to work!