Conversion Rate Optimization is often abbreviated to “CRO.” Another digital marketing-related acronym to add to the list of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay Per Click advertising) and UX (User Experience)!
CRO is the process that digital marketers follow to drive more sales, leads and engagement on a given page of a website.
Getting people to visit your website is one thing, but ensuring that they take the desired action, such as submitting an inquiry form, making a phone call, or completing a purchase, is another.
The page design is instrumental when it comes to optimizing conversion rates. The layout, the colors in use, the color scheme and the design of any buttons or interactive elements on the page are all crucial for generating the maximum amount of profit per visitor.
A slight increase in conversion rate can lead to a substantial increase in revenue. It also provides a framework for iteratively developing a website continually instead of creating a whole new site every five years or so.
What is a Conversion?
Conversion Rate Optimization will not mean a lot to you if you are unsure precisely what a “conversion” is. A conversion is a desired action that businesses want visitors to carry out on their website.
Typically a conversion could be:
– An inquiry form submission
– A click or tap to make a phone call
– An online chat
– The completion of a purchase
Conversions are sometimes divided into macro and micro conversions. A macro conversion is usually the website’s primary goal, for example, filling in an inquiry form or making a purchase. A micro conversion may be signing up for your company newsletter or clicking the “add to cart” button.
The percentage of total visitors that complete a conversion “that convert” is your conversion rate.
Once you have decided which conversions your website should increase, you will need to monitor them by setting up conversion tracking. Conversion tracking is usually set up using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. These are free pieces of software provided by Google. Many step-by-step tutorials are taking you through the setup process, including this YouTube video by Loves Data.
How Do We Do CRO?
Before you can get going with CRO, you must ensure that you are tracking conversions correctly. You may also want to use a CRO tool such as Google Optimize or VWO. These tools allow you to make changes to the design of a page relatively quickly, and they also track and compare the conversion rate of 2 or more designs.
For example, you could use Google Optimize to change the color of an “Add to Cart” button and show the original color – blue, for example, to 50% of your visitors, with the test color – red to the other 50%
Once a significant amount of data has been garnered, you can see whether the button performs best when it is red or blue. If red outperforms the original color, then you will want to change the color to red. You can then consider changing and testing another element, or testing the red button against another color, for example, a green button.
Before you change anything, however, it is a good idea to start with research and then a hypothesis. With the “Add to Cart” button example, you should spend some time researching the best design and features of the most effective Add to Cart or “call to action” (CTA) buttons.
To get started with your research, you could analyze competitor websites, look at industry reports and statistics, and read on color theory and CRO case studies.
Once you have tested a color or a design change, analyze and learn from the results and repeat and carry out another similar test. Repeat this process until your conversion rate begins to plateau.
Analyzing CRO Dat
In the above example, the scenario was very simple – testing a red vs. a blue CTA button.
However, when analyzing the results of any split test, it is a good idea to also look at:
– Conversion rate per device, e.g., mobile vs. desktop
– Conversion rate per channel, e.g., social traffic vs. Google Ads traffic
– Other user metrics such as bounce rate
If a red button gets more clicks on mobile, but blue gets more on desktop computers, then you may want to work out why this is before you make a permanent change to the designs.
One element of CRO testing or monitoring that can be difficult to objectify and analyze are screen recordings. Software such as HotJar will record how users behave on your website. You can watch videos and see where they click, scroll and when they leave the website. These videos can be crucial when it comes to improving UX and, in turn, CRO.
For example, if you run a tourism website and see a drop off in the percentage of visitors booking a holiday, you could review several user recordings. By watching how visitors interact with your site, you could find, for instance, that there was an issue or difficulty when using the search tool to find availability for certain hotels or apartments.
Increasing Conversion Rate
There are a variety of techniques and principles that come into play when looking to improve conversion rate.
Social proof, for example, is frequently used to manipulate our behavior. When we are unsure how to act, we will often look to see how other people behave. Comedy TV shows, for example, play the laughter from a “live studio audience” to influence the viewers to laugh and find the show funnier than it otherwise would be.
Online reviews and testimonials provide social proof on websites. If we see that a product has excellent reviews on Amazon, we are more likely to buy it. Testimonials can be a powerful influence, too, especially if those people in the testimonials are similar to us in terms of age and status.
If you provide a great product or service and build up great online reviews, then adding these reviews using a TrustPilot application or plugin, for example, and placing the reviews in a prominent position, you can dramatically increase conversion rates. Video testimonials featuring happy clients and customers can also be highly effective.
Along with social proof, including reviews and testimonials. Customers seek validation and reassurance, and you can do this with:
– Accreditation logos
– Association logos
– Qualification badges, e.g., “Google Certified Partner” for a marketing agency
– Client or customer logos
– Publication logos
– Guarantees and money-back offers
– Security and Encryption logos
Don’t go over the top with trust signals; use them wisely and in moderation. Trust signals can also be important when it comes to SEO. With the Google EAT update, Googlebot and manual reviewers will be looking for signs of expertise and professionalism, including accreditations, qualifications, and industry experience.
Live chat can be a game-changer when it comes to converting customers and dealing with queries. Using a managed live chat provider with agents based in your country can help build a rapport with visitors – for more information visit moneypenny.com
Unlike email and phone, live chat can provide instant answers to any queries. When people are in a hurry or multitasking, they often don’t want to take the time and the effort to pick up the phone or send an email. Live chat is quick, easy and convenient.
There are many agencies and providers who will manage your live chat for you. Moneypenny, for example, offers 24/7 cover. This 24-hour cover is a great way to enhance your website’s UX and generate sales and leads while you sleep!
Speed & Performance
Speed is crucial when it comes to everything from SEO to CRO. Page speed is officially a ranking factor with Google, and if your site takes more than a few seconds to load, most of your visitors will abandon your site and go back to Google or a competitor.
Use Google’s speed test and mobile-friendly tool to ensure that your site loads quickly and provides a great UX on all devices.
Tips for improving site speed include:
– Image optimization & compression
– Code compression
– Using a CDN
– Using lazy loading