Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
This is why your company needs CRO
Do you not have enough subscribers to your newsletter? Are you having trouble getting visitors to your website to purchase your services? It is a bleak situation, but you are not alone in it. Many people find that their conversion rate is simply not high enough – perhaps the lack of conversions are resulting in a lower return on investment (ROI), and decreasing the effectiveness of other marketing efforts.
So what’s the solution? One hint: CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization.
What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
CRO and related optimizations
Marketing jargon includes many abbreviations and acronyms, and there is one acronym that is particularly important for understanding CRO, which is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
SEO is all about optimizing one’s website to increase its ranks on search engines (most often on Google). Whereas CRO is all about optimizing your website so that your visitors actually do what you expect of them when they visit. It may be subscribing to your newsletter, writing a comment or purchasing one of your services, etc.
In other terms, SEO is about influencing the behaviour of a machine, while CRO is all bout influencing the behaviour of people and directing them to carry out a particular action.
Types of CRO
These days there is a clear distinction between different types of CRO, for example, micro-CRO and macro-CRO. We have already exemplified both types; macro-CRO can be selling a service to visitors of your website, while micro-CRO could be as simple as carrying out a simple action like subscribing to your newsletter.
Both types are generally significant, where micro-conversions should lead towards macro-conversions. You would expect that visitors subscribing to your newsletter would ultimately lead them to purchase a service or product from you.
Hence, by convincing visitors to say yes to a micro-conversion, they are consequently more likely to say yes to a macro-conversion. Therefore, more micro-conversions (more subscribers to your newsletter) should lead to an increase in service/product purchases (more revenue).
Why should you use CRO?
There are at least two answers that stand out. Not only can CRO ensure a higher ROI on your digital platform investment, but it can simultaneously provide higher ROI for your future marketing efforts by making CRO a central element of your investment strategy.
For example, if you invest a large portion of your resources on advertisements in newsletters, radio, or TV, because you want to increase the traffic to your homepage, or category-page (landing-page), CRO can ensure that you also have a higher conversion rate from this traffic flux. Consequently, this will result in a better ROI on the resources you have invested in the advertisements, and you will make your money’s worth.
If instead, you decide to consider CRO as an integral or central element of your marketing efforts, it can significantly improve conversions. Similar to “UX-writing” (which can actually be considered as a type of conversion optimization) is used as a central part of the design, it can enhance user-experience rather than just having a design based on aesthetic reflection.
CRO and A/B split tests
CRO is often combined with some kind of (split) testing, so you can test your hypothesis whether option (A) converts better than option (B). After all, we talk a lot about business decisions being data-driven, and the same idea should apply to conversion optimization. It is an idea that should, in principle, be applied at all levels of the business.
The aim is that in all your solutions, you have to be data-driven, instead of going with speculation of what might work better.
Let’s try to set a practical example: Imagine you have a call-to-action button on your website that has a specific colour. There are several colours you can choose from red, green or yellow, etc.
Say your CTA button currently is green, and you’re wondering whether red or yellow might be better (better in the sense that the red and yellow buttons have a higher conversion rate). In this case, you should run tests of red versus green, and yellow versus green, and so on.
So your control scenario is with a green button call it page A, and your test scenario has a red button, call it page B. X% of your visitors are directed to page A, and Y% of your visitors are directed to page B. The test results will show how many visitors are clicking on your call-to-action button whether it is site A or site B (the green or red button). If the results show a higher click rate on the red button, well, then you will have a data-based reason to changing your call-to-action button from green to red on your homepage.
How do you get started, and when are you done?
CRO and optimization options
It’s easy enough to get started, and it’s not hard to figure out where to start: you just start with the low-hanging fruits or the optimization options that are straightforward to make but don’t require much time or energy.
Here are a few options:
Effective headlines: A headline is not just a headline. This is where you really need to use your copywriter (content specialist) and make them use their craft. There are many things to work well. A good example here, are headlines that help your visitors get started, i.e., “Getting started with X”, “Why should you do Y” or “Do X and Y every day of the year”. Other good headlines appeal to the visitor’s self-interest; does this result in a huge profit for a little effort, or does it emphasizes the importance of doing “X here and now, since there is not much Y left.”
Simple navigation: Make it easy to find the primary call-to-actions (CTAs) on your website. You can do this by making sure that there is always a menu that is clear and distinct and is easy to use. In addition, you can make sure in your content – such as your blog posts – there are links to the pages where visitors can get an overview of your services or the service that you have just described, and how important it is to get it implemented or make use of it. You can also use illustrations and markers to point towards where your services are located.
Loading speed: We’ve always had only 24 hours a day, but we’re still trying to get more and more out of these 24 hours we each have to deal with. Furthermore, we are living in a time when there is so much information or, rather, so much noise and so little SIGNAL – and what is one thing is soon another thing dependent on people’s preferences. It requires us to be able to find information quickly, so it is essential that your page loads quickly. How important is that? Major US companies like Walmart and Kissmetrics have gained some experience, and we can learn a lot from their results:
Walmart experienced a 2% improvement in conversion for a 1-second improvement in loading speed improvement.
Neil Patel has examined a Kissmetrics report and it says that 1-second delay can result in a 7% reduction in conversion.
Hence, there is every reason to try and improve the loading speed of your website if you want to see better conversions.
Mobile phone optimization: In 2020, there will only be more searches from mobiles – there will also be more voice searches, and most voice searches will be done from mobiles. It should be easy to find the places where you can micro and macro convert. If your website is not responsive, it is an absolute minimum to get the right media queries done and set up the correct JS or JQuery scripts. Even better you should use a “mobile-first” philosophy and let the mobile experience be the primary one: this way you will also ensure the best simple navigation (cf. 2) on the mobile and avoid a page that is slow to navigate because, for example, using a hamburger and overlay menu (cf. 3).
Quality Content: There is no way around quality content. It would be best if you made sure that your visitors find what they want to find on your website (and not what you want them to find), and you can do this, for example, by finding out what questions customers have for products like the ones you sell. Your content must also, of course, be well structured and well written.
Experiment with these low-hanging fruits and pay close attention to your conversion rate – run various A / B tests to find out what works best. This is conversion optimization (CRO).
There is a benefit to picking just the low hanging fruit. After Google updated their search algorithm – better known as the Google BERT algorithm update – in SEO, an even greater focus has been placed on the user and the user’s experience. It’s increasingly about satisfying users’ needs (rather than just using keywords to rank ), and the Google search engine has several mechanisms to make sure your website is meeting this need or not. For example, there is “dwell-time,” that is, the time a searcher uses on a page after he clicks on it from Google’s search results page and before going back to Google’s search results page. If you do not have a value-creating content for your online users, or the website loads too slowly, or the navigation on the website is not simple enough, it can then result in shorter dwell time. This is one of several factors that will determine how your website will rank on Google.
With this said, you not only know about CRO, but you also got free SEO advice. By implementing suggestions 1 to 5, you hit two birds with one stone, and optimize for machine and users at the same time.
This is how much you can actually get out of the CRO
It is immediately more difficult to know when to stop CRO because there are many variables to test. You can try a new button in an “old” context, but you can also change the context (and this is a broad concept in itself) and then try the “old” button in the new context, and then you can try the new button in the new context…
Of course, it is the reason and budget that dictates when you finish testing, because you will never finish testing: It is not realistic to believe that you have hit the unique combination of variables that leads to the best optimization grade. With that said, you can look at other conversion rates and see where you are yourself. According to Wordstream, the question and answer are:
What is a good conversion rate? If you’re already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you’re going to go? But what is a good conversion rate? Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher.
So, if your conversion optimization is above average, it must be above 2.4%. If you want to be among the best, it should be between 5.3% and 11.5%, which means that for every 100 visitors to your website, you should get 5-6 and up to 11-12 visitors respectively to do what you want them to do on your website.
Many good reasons to start CRO, and none not to start.
We have seen that conversion optimization (CRO) can potentially increase conversion rates up to as much as 11.5%. Therefore, it can pay-off to make efforts in both micro and macro conversions. The macro conversion would likely increase with the increase in micro-conversions (the simple example, more subscribers to your newsletter, would likely increase their interest in your service/products, and this, in turn, will increase visitors to your website and raise the percentage of macro-conversions.)
It’s not hard to get started – start with the low-hanging fruits we’ve highlighted and get off to a flying start with minimal costs and see how your CRO using simple techniques, as described here, increases – and if it’s not enough, you can always look around for a web agency that can help you find the last percentages that can make your business extra competitive.