Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a data-driven approach to improving the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Companies use CRO to make the most out of the traffic they’re driving. So for example, say you’re breaking even spending $5000/month on conversion rates of 5%. You would use CRO to increase that to 6% and get more bang for your buck. CRO is also used to make decisions about the audience, advertising, and promotional material. To maximize the impact of the traffic driven to a website, Conversion Rate Optimization is something everyone should be doing. Think about it – you pay for website traffic through ads, work to get rankings and traffic from SEO, and send out emails every month, so making the most of every web page visit and increasing conversions from browsers to buyers is the purpose of marketing and advertising online. Let’s break it down.
The conversion rate formula is:
Conversions rate = # Conversions / # Sessions
A website’s conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions made on the website by the number of sessions, or visitors, to the website. For example, if you had 60 conversions from 1,000 clicks, your conversion rate would be 6% (since 60 ÷ 1,000 = 6%.)
The goal of conversion rate optimization is to cut customer acquisition cost as much as possible by improving the number of meaningful actions per website visit. When a website, landing page, email blast, and/or product page is optimized to increase customer engagement, a company will gain more customers without it costing more money. CRO measures the effectiveness of specific metrics to convert visitors into customers.
The benefits of CRO seem almost endless when applied to online marketing efforts.
- Higher conversion rate equals:
- Better return on investment (ROI)
- More cost effective than finding more visitors
- Convert browsers into buyers
- Boost sales with the same amount of traffic
- Increases the effectiveness of ad spend
Unless your site is optimized to convert (i.e. drive visitors to act and engage with your brand), you can attract thousands of visitors and never see a lead convert into a sale.
On every point of interaction with your site, a visitor goes through a series of events to reach a point of purchase. As marketers, we are essentially trying to make it easier and faster for them to reach a purchasing decision, but how do we track it? The conversion rate workflow from the thousand-foot-view looks like this:
- Establish your company website with tracking tools
- Advertise and attract traffic to your site
- Establish Call-to-Action on website
- Visitor Purchase
- Data results are mined
Conversions are king when looking at CRO. A conversion is when a person interacts with your company and performs an action that is consistent to your expectations, leading to business growth.\
Conversions happen along the purchase funnel and throughout the sales cycle. Signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to a service, filling in a contact form, and purchasing a product from a website are all conversions. Take a look at this illustration:
Your goal as a marketer is to get your target audience to become a customer, but getting them there doesn’t happen in one step. The conversion funnel essentially represents the buyer’s journey. In CRO, we want to guide them through the funnel in a way that is unique to your business. So, to increase conversions, we must be able to measure and optimize each conversion point along the journey. This is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in.
Once you’ve set up your workflow and mined the original data (re: above list), testing and CRO begin:
- Set up & run your A/B tests (you can use Google Optimizer for free or some other paid platform)
- Mine the data and pick the winner (A or B)
- Make changes to website based on the insights
- Result: Increased Conversion
Tweaks and updates to all aspects of a website can help improve conversion rates, and it’s the tracking tools that give us this data. Do you have tracking tools embedded correctly on your site? Tracking tools are a must when computing and increasing conversion rates.
So whichever sign-up form, email sales letter, shopping cart experience, or other marketing initiative converts better, you’ll use that one and continue to propose new tests for improving conversion rates. You’ll want to set up micro conversion tests to improve how you guide people through the conversion funnel.
- Optimize and split test your copy, layout, design, forms, colors, and call to action.
- Fine-tune your website for conversions.
CRO Case Studies
Following are results from real-life case studies that illustrate the power of conversion rate optimization on your bottom line. Each of the following companies tested and implemented small changes that resulted in commanding impacts on CRO.
Case Study 1
- Company: 37Signals (Now Basecamp)
- Goal: Improve conversions on their landing page
- Tactic: Added human image to make the page warm and inviting
- Result: Increased sign-ups by 102%
Case Study 2
- Company: BaseKit
- Goal: Increase sales from pricing page of website
- Tactic: Color. Added color to the “Try Now” button, used color and positioning to make their recommended plan stand out, and used color to make the currency section more eye-catching.
- Result: Increased sales from pricing page by 25%
Case Study 3
Goal: Better serve prospects and customers
Tactic: Implemented live chat to several areas on their website
Result: Checkout page conversions up by 20%, Average order up by 43%
Key Takeaways for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO):
- Be creative when brainstorming tactics to improve conversions.
- Don’t commit to change an aspect of your marketing without testing it first.
- Split test and measure unique results for a better “big picture” understanding.
- Know what matters to your industry and to what they are attracted.
- Use words of authority that make it easy for your target market to see you as the expert.
Conversion rate optimization allows marketers to make informed decisions when optimizing data, such as when, where, what, and for whom to optimize. With the right tracking tools in place and the right team of experts on your side, CRO decisions can be made based on data and not intuition. Include Conversion rate optimization in your marketing toolkit and get the most out of your visitors.