What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
You can have thousands of people coming to your website every day, but if you can’t capture them and convert them into paying customers at some point, all the traffic in the world means nothing to your business, and more importantly, your bottom line. Here at Oracle Nova, not only do we focus on generating more traffic to your website, but we make sure that it is bolted to great sales copy and is conversion optimized to maximize your returns. Before we get into discussing what conversion rate optimization is, we need to start off by defining what a conversion is.
A conversion is simply when a visitor comes to your website and takes an action that you want them to take.
It could be something such as signing up for an email newsletter, creating a new account with a login and password, buying something, downloading a new app, or something else that aligns with your business goals or Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Whatever it is that you want people doing on your website, this is the action that’s going to be measured and optimized. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the method of creating an experience on your website with the goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that take the action you want them to take (lead capture, email subscription, phone call, etc).
- An organized and systematic way of improving the performance of your website.
- Driven by insights, specifically analytics and user feedback.
- Measured and defined by what your objectives are (KPI).
- Squeezing the most out of the traffic you already have.
CRO is not:
- Based on guessing and hoping for the best.
- Defined by ignoring your customers’ opinions.
- Ignoring analytics.
- About getting as many people to your website as possible, while disregarding quality and engagement.
A Few Key Terms
- Call-to-Action (CTA) – This is the main button, link or any other user interface element that asks your visitors to take an action that leads to a conversion. A few examples are buttons like “Buy Now”, “Sign Up”, “Get a Free Quote”, etc.
- Conversion Funnel – This is the flow of the user experience where visitors complete a conversion. So for example, it may be something like “Home Page” >> “Request More Information” >> “Landing Page” >> “Lead Capture Form”.
- A/B or Split Testing – This is where you compare one version of a page or element against another version of the exact same thing. For example, you may test to see how a blue button performs against a red button.
- Multivariate Testing (MVT) – This is where you test multiple variations of many different page elements in several different combinations to find out the best performing elements and combinations. An example of this would be testing out different pictures, ad copy, and calls to action in many combinations so you can pick the winner.
A Few Key Metrics
- Average Time on Site – This gives you a good idea as to how long people are sticking around on your website. The lower this number is, the lower chance you have of a conversion and vice versa.
- Average Page Views – This tells you how many pages the average visitor is going through before they leave your website. Having tons of page views can either mean that your visitor is interested in more of what you have to say, or that you’re not being clear enough and they’re combing through your site trying to find an answer.
Bounce & Exit Rates
- Bounce Rate – The bounce rate is a percentage of people that leave after viewing a single page on your website. For whatever reason, when someone comes to your site and doesn’t find what they’re looking for, they bounce. The higher the bounce rate, the worse it is. Conversely, the lower the number, the more it means people are loving what they see and are are getting solutions to their answers.
- Exit Rate – The exit rate is the percentage of people that leave after viewing pages on your site. A high exit rate on a specific page means that there’s a reason people are leaving, and you have to find out why.
This means that if you had 50 conversions after 1,000 people went to your site, you’d have a conversion rate of 5%.
How CRO Can Help Your Business
Conversion Rate Optimization is the most important online marketing strategy for your business – period. It’s like having you’re own online sales team working for you 24 hours a day with an ace up their sleeve – data backed intelligence.
Here’s what we mean:
As you can see, it’s not always about the amount of traffic that you get to your website – it’s about what you do with that traffic after you get it.
In this example, with just a 3% increase in conversion, and at 50% less traffic, you would have increased your customer capture by 25% and have 5 new potential customers which are willing to pay you for your product/service.
Let’s take it one step further and say that you are a real estate agent and the average client is worth around $2,000 (respectively).
And out of those 5 new potential customers, you have a personal sales conversion average of 20%. Aside from the fact that you just made an extra $2,000, you can now add that 1 extra client (20% of 5 potential customers = 1 new customer) into the life cycle of your business where you are now able to get repeat business, resulting in thousands of dollars in the years to come.
Knowing the power of CRO can grow your business exponentially.
The Nuts and Bolts of Conversion Optimization
Truly Understand Your Visitor/Demographic
Any CRO strategy should always start off with you putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and taking a really good look at your website, specifically your Conversion Funnel.
If you’re finding it a little hard switching places with your customer for this test, this is where feedback comes into play.
Don’t hesitate to ask a recent customer, your friends, or your family to go to your website and complete the conversion you want from start to finish.
Just prepare a questionnaire for each step that’s involved and send it to them afterwards so you can get their feedback on their experience and if there is anything you can improve.
You need to be able to understand your target customer well enough to have solutions to their problems before they are even asked. This increases the chances of them buying from you, and not your competitor.
Now that you have a better idea of what conversion rate optimization is and why it’s important, let’s dig in and briefly show you how it works, and what you should pay attention to.
Know What Metrics to Benchmark
Whenever you decide to start benchmarking your conversion rates, you need to know what metrics you’re going to use.
The most important takeaway here is that you keep these constant throughout your testing.
Whether it’s Unique Visitors or Total Visitors, pick one and stick with it.
When you’re running conversion tests, make sure to gauge it’s performance based on a set time-frame such as day/month.
Deciphering the Conversion Code
Before you dive into the maze of conversions, here’s what you should really pay attention to:
Unique Value Proposition
This takes the sum of all the costs and benefits of taking action. In other words, your visitors will make a decision on whether or not they will take an action based on the overall perceived benefit.
When a visitor lands on your page, does the content on it match what they’re looking for and/or solve their problem?
Is your message, call-to-action, and unique value proposition clear and in sync?
Is there something on your website (or not on your website) that’s causing any uncertainty in your customers mind?
When someone goes to your website or landing page, what’s the first thing that pops out at them? If you can’t see your message and call-to-action within 2 seconds, you’ve lost them.
What does your visitor have to lose if they do not take action right now? What are you offering? How is your tone? Answering just a few of these questions will help you move your prospects into taking action immediately.
Unclogging Your Conversion Funnel
Finding out why your visitors aren’t converting is the most basic level of conversion funnel troubleshooting.
Here are a few areas you should take a look at:
Is this in the face of your prospects at all times?
Are you showing your visitors that your website is secure? Do you have trust symbols prominently displayed where they can see them? Are you promoting your testimonials and reviews? Graphics – are they relevant, put in the right spots, unique, and professional looking? Or are they distracting and overwhelming?
How easy is it for your visitors to find what they’re looking for? Can they effortlessly navigate through your website and get to where they need to be? Is your site fast? Is it mobile friendly? If you run an e-commerce business, how streamlined is the checkout process – does it take 1 click, or 7?
Top 5 Reasons Why CRO is Important to Your Business
You always have room for improvement
No matter how awesome your website design is or how many visitors you’re converting already, there’s a very good chance that you can always make the conversion process easier for them, which in turn leads to better results for your bottom line.
Paid advertising can get expensive
If you are doing PPC advertising and are just throwing more money at it when you don’t have a solid foundation of conversion principles in place, you might as well flush it down the toilet. Knowing how to plug up those conversion “leaks” should be your top priority.
It’s basically free
The great thing about CRO is that you are already capitalizing on the traffic that you have. This means that you’re not spending money to get more visitors to your website, you’re just doing a much better job of converting them once they get there.
It lowers your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Knowing how much it costs to acquire a new customer is critically important. By implementing proper conversion rate optimization strategies, you can lower the amount of money it takes to get a new customer. In fact, if you double your conversion rate, you can cut your cost-per-acquisition by as much as 50%.
It loosens up cash flow while increasing profitability
Because your profits are directly tied to your conversion rates, the more profit you make, the more you are free to reinvest that money into getting more customers…or trips to Vegas.
Don’t Stop at Conversion
A great study done by Moz showed what a digital marketing funnel looks like, from start to finish. It explains how businesses attract and retain customers when doing marketing online.
If you look at the funnel on the right, you’ll notice that most people stop at the conversion stage, but the fortune is in the follow-through.
Just like we mentioned above about how optimizing your conversions can increase your profitability and lower your customer acquisition cost, the same applies to optimizing your follow-through. The more customers you build a relationship with, the more customers you retain – and the more customers you retain, the more money you’ll make in the future without having to spend as much getting them in the first place.
The Bottom Line
As you can clearly see, Conversion Rate Optimization is extremely important when doing any type of marketing for your business.
If you think that you’re not maximizing your conversions to their fullest potential, or just have a few questions, we’re always here to help put numbers into perspective, and put them back in the black again.More Digital Marketing Services That Will Make You Money:
- Search Engine Marketing/Pay-Per-Click (SEM/PPC)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Website Design
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Content Marketing