Conversion rate optimization (CRO) may seem complicated, but it can be broken down into a simple system that helps increase the percentage of visitors to your website that convert into customers. If you’re not sure where to get started, read our beginner’s guide to understand the basics of CRO and how it can help your small-to-medium-sized business (SMB).  

The Basics: Conversion and Conversion Rate

Conversion

Conversion means that a site visitor completes your targeted goal. Examples of smaller, micro-conversions include signing up for an email list, creating an account or a social media follow. Larger, macro-conversions would be more along the lines of purchasing a product, requesting a quote or subscribing to a service.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is a ratio that reveals the percentage of site visitors (or for social media – people who see your ad) who actually complete the intended goal, or convert. The equation is simple: the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. By calculating conversion rates, businesses can determine if their website is persuading visitors to take the desired action on a page. A high conversion rate reflects a site that has been successfully designed to reach out to qualified prospects.

Conversion Rate Optimization

The goal of CRO is to:

  1. Identify sources that can deter visitors from converting.
  2. Find solutions for those issues.

Ultimately, the process of CRO results in giving website visitors more opportunities and reasons to say “yes” to your product or service.  

CRO In Action

Data is the cornerstone of all successful CRO strategies. As a marketer or business owner, hopefully, you understand the value of data-driven decision making to maximize your ROI. Think of implementing a CRO strategy as a version of the scientific method: research, hypothesize, test and analyze.

Research

Use your analytics platform or other tools and services to identify potential areas of improvement for your site. Look for pages that have little to no conversions or high bounce rates. You can also use customer surveys to get feedback on your site. If appropriate, direct customer communication can yield valuable insights and identify specific problems they’ve encountered on the site. It’s also very helpful to have someone look at your website with a ‘fresh’ set of eyes, to evaluate the user experience and record pain points for users who are browsing your website.

Hypothesize

Formulate a hypothesis based on your data. Your hypothesis should answer the question: How could the page be improved? For example, if customers are not adding items to their carts, perhaps you need a more prominent call-to-action (CTA).

Note: if you’re funneling users to your website through paid advertising campaigns and your objective is to convert that traffic, this is a very important step.

Testing

Testing allows you to see your ideas in practice and confirm if improvements made will increase the conversion rate. With so much information out there—for websites, UX, and design best practices—testing will cut through the noise and give you the data-backed insights you need. The following are two popular forms of site testing:

  • A/B Testing: A/B testing compares the original version (version “A”) to a new version (version “B”). Users are randomly directed to one of the two sites: half to A, half to B. You can then compare the two pages to see which results in more conversions
  • Monitoring: Monitoring uses tools (such as heatmaps, scroll maps, and recordings) to show user interactions within a website. Monitoring can reveal real-time behavior, as well as insights as to why some visitors convert and others don’t.

After testing, analyze the data collected. Once enough traffic has filtered in to ensure that the tests are statistically relevant, determine the winner and stick with it. You can go through multiple rounds of testing to improve conversion rates.

The Benefit of CRO for Small Businesses

You might think of CRO as either too complicated or expensive. However, CRO offers an excellent opportunity to improve performance and boost revenue for small businesses.

Once your site is generating traffic, you can analyze your conversion rates. Here are the ways CRO can benefit SMBs:

  • Generate more sales: by finding and fixing issues, an effective CRO project will convert more current site visitors into customers, which helps your ROI.
  • Better user experience: while testing and optimization focus on better conversion rates, the processes will also lead to better UX. Removing barriers, clarifying navigation and improving overall usability improves the customer journey.
  • Understand your customers: CRO research and site monitoring can help you to better understand site visitors and challenges they may face on the site.
  • Improve customer lifetime value: a well-optimized website is one that visitors are more likely to return to and return visitors often become repeat customers.

Begin Optimizing Your Conversion Rate

Successful companies are continually improving their websites to create a better experience for their users and to increase their conversions. Because CRO is data-based, there’s no guessing. By making changes to a website (optimization), you can improve the percentage of visitors who take an action (conversion rate).

Ultimately, the goal is to gain more revenue per visitor, acquire more customers and grow your business. Conversion rate optimization is a clear step toward achieving these goals.

Need help implementing your CRO strategy? Get in touch with us today!

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