Boost Your Sales & Revenue With Proven CRO Strategies
Table of Contents
You are going to learn what conversion rate optimization is, the benefits you can get, and how to get started with your CRO strategy so you can get more leads and sales from the traffic you already have.
If your paid search campaign is not translating into quality leads, or is simply sending traffic to the internal web pages, your campaign will turn very, very costly and will hit your bottom line.
Instead, a well optimized squeeze page will go a long way in driving highly motivated traffic. Also, it will improve your rate of return with higher conversion.
Are you able to track the impact of your campaign with the analytical tools? If you want success in online marketing, you need to channelize your marketing decisions based on analytical insights provided by the web tools.
What is conversion rate optimization (CRO) and how can it help you?
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the science of optimizing your website to achieve specific business goals. By optimizing your website, you can get more out of your existing traffic: more subscribers, more leads and revenue growth. CRO analyzes the user experience at all touchpoints: site speed, mobile responsiveness, site security, accessibility, goal performance and live user behavior in order to identify points of friction in the audience journey. Insights from these analyses inform iterative testing, in order to find what works best for your audience.
What CRO Is Not
We’ve been talking about what conversion optimization is, but it’s also good to be clear on what it’s not. CRO is not:
- SEO (search engine optimization), which is focused on optimizing content to get more organic search traffic to your site. Instead, CRO is about working with visitors who are already on your site.
- A/B testing, which, as you’ll see later in this guide, is just one part of conversion optimization.
Elements of Conversion Rate Optimization
- Written Goals (business goals, marketing goals, and landing page goals)
- Specific Target Metrics (the audience, level of interest, geographic region, desired result, ROI)
- Situation Analysis (website traffic analysis of high converting and low converting pages, acquisition cost, customer life-time value, average order value, best conversion method)
- A/B split testing & multivariate testing
- Landing Page Design (captivating headlines, compelling sales copy, social proof, value proposition clarity, unique selling proposition, strong calls to action)
- Competent SEO & CRO Project Management
Are CRO and SEO related?
What is the conversion rate?
Conversion rate is the number of times a user completes a goal divided by the site traffic. If a user can convert in each visit such as by buying a product, divide the number of conversions by the number of sessions i.e the number of unique times a user came to your site. If you sell a subscription then divide the total number of conversions by the total number of users.
Conversion rate optimization happens after the visitor makes a visit to your site. This isn’t like conversion optimization for search engine marketing or paid ads, which focuses on who clicks through in your web site from the organic search results, how many clicks you get and which key phrases are driving traffic.
CRO Case Study
If you are an ecommerce website, your website conversion rate is the number of monthly orders your receive divided by the number of visitors that come to your website.
At the same time, each page on your website has at least two conversion rates (if not more).
Let’s take your product pages on an ecommerce website, the goal from these pages it get visitors to click on “the add to cart” button. And of course, the final goal is to get these visitors to place an order (convert on the website). So, product pages have two conversion goals:
- Micro conversion rate for product pages is total clicks on the “add to cart” button divided by the number of visitors who visit the product pages.
- Macro conversion rate for product pages is total orders for the website divided by the number of visitors who visit the product pages.
In numbers, you need to determine a period and account for the total numbers of visitors and desired actions they took in this same period. Let’s say your e-commerce receives 200,000 visitors in one month and processes 20,000 orders in the same period.
Your website conversion rate = 20,000/200,000 = 10%.
Of those 200,000 visitors, only 50,000 make it all the way to the product pages. Of these 50,000 visitors, 10,000 visitors click on the “add to cart” button.
- Product pages micro conversion rate = 10,000/50,000 = 20%.
- Product pages macro conversion rate = 20,000/50,000 = 40%
The same concept applies if you are SaaS website. Your website conversion rate is the total number of monthly subscriptions divided by the total website monthly visitors. The SaaS pricing page, where you list the different plans for your product, has two conversion rates:
- SaaS pricing page micro conversion rate: total number of visitors to click on the “subscribe” button on the page divided by the number of visitors who visit the pricing page.
- SaaS pricing page macro conversion rate: total number of visitors who “subscribe” divided by the number of visitors who visit the pricing page.
Let’s say that your SaaS website gets 20,000 visitors per month and generates 500 subscriptions.
Your website conversion rate = 500/20,000 = 2.5%.
Of those 20,000 visitors, only 1,000 make it to the pricing page and of these 1,000 visitors, 750 click on the subscribe button.
Your pricing page conversion rate is = 750/1,000 = 75%.
- SaaS pricing page micro conversion rate = 750/1,000 = 75%.
- SaaS pricing page macro conversion rate = 500/1,000 = 50%
So, what is Conversion Testing?
Conversion Testing is the process of conducting an AB or multivariate test to increase the website conversion rate.
An iterative process by nature, CRO helps you in making assumptions about your website visitors and then testing these assumptions to measure how your market actually responds.
As a long-term process, CRO achieves sustainable, repeatable, and consistent increases on conversion rates through researching, testing, and analyzing visitors’ behaviors on your website. A good CRO program increases your site’s revenue month to month, reaching significant cumulative annual growth.
The best part? This result optimizes your current website traffic. More conversions, without the need of increasing site traffic.
The annual uplift in profits alone
could should justify a CRO program implementation.
In practice, there are to ways to implement Conversion Rate Optimization:
- applying popular CRO tactics or
- building a Conversion Rate Optimization plan.
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION TACTICS
Conversion Rate Optimization tactics are one part of a real conversion rate optimization (CRO) plan. They provide with a toolbox of suggestions and quick fixes. In a nutshell, CRO tactics rely on tips and tricks that have worked for others and hoping for the best. They pay little attention to analyzing customer behavior and are mostly focused on elemental concerns.
Why would companies bother with a conversion rate optimization plan when they could just change the color of their buttons once in awhile and increase conversion by three-digits percent?! There are numerous similarly amazing results from other small changes in case studies. However, here’s the thing, those results are feasible only on an unoptimized page, and definitely not on a consistent basis. Furthermore, a single tweak won’t fix all the website’s problems. And it is good to keep in mind that every small improvement in conversion rate can add up to tens of thousands of profit in reasonably sized businesses.
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION PLAN
CRO tactics provide a good starting place, but no further plan of action. Therefore, it is recommanded to have an Optimization plan. CRO plan is a methodical system that will lead to continuous improvement in conversion rate and profit. Every business should have one.
How to go about constructing that plan? Planning is divided into phases which do not have a strict progression from one to the next. Rather, they are part of a cycle and each of them is often revisited in order to continually address the needs of the users over time.
PHASE 1: ESTABLISHING A BASELINE
Before beginning any optimization strategy, it’s necessary to define user actions and metrics to be tracked, measured and attempted to optimize as well as to understand what drives these conversions. The only way to really understand what drives conversions is to isolate each variable on its own and measure how users behave under each set of circumstances, i.e. test it. The purpose of this phase is to assess the current position. It allows one to take stock of what assets they have and identify areas that could be improved.
A sound conversion strategy is based on some important metrics and a lot of user input. But in order to work from that information, one first needs to understand where they’re starting from. This is called a baseline. Only by establishing current performance one can measure the changes to achieve improvement.
How to establish a baseline for comparison:
- Identify the goals
- Look at the metrics related to these goals. What is current conversion rate?
- Which are the best sources of traffic for this conversion?
- Run a user survey to understand if these goals are being met and what can be done to improve it
- Employ user testing around these goals to establish how successful the site is at meeting them
To start, we will select conversion optimization data-gathering tools of choice and install them on the website. There are many analytics tools out there, but the minimum required at this stage is:
- A basic user analytics tool like Google Analytics
- A conversion analytics tool like KISSMetrics or Mixpanel
- User interaction software (i.e., heatmaps) like CrazyEgg
After installation, they should run for at least a few days to collect data. And, a note, having too much data is a much better than having insufficient data.
PHASE 2: ANALYSIS
With data at hand, now it’s time to look at the baseline and identify biggest barriers to conversion. In the next steps will be identifying the problem areas, implementing our tools to investigate, and then design and run some potential tests.
The purpose of this phase is to identify pages that have a high value in the conversion funnel. For the smaller sites, it may be obvious which pages are the most valuable in the funnel. For the sites whose value is not that obvious, it is necessary to calculate the value of a lead through each stage of the funnel. What it means is to calculate revenue or profit per conversion metric. Depending on the business, this can get pretty complex, so it’s all right to make a few assumptions if exact numbers aren’t available. Then we calculate potential value of each page over a certain recent period and rank pages in order of highest to lowest.
The next step is to pick one of these pages and analyze it. Over time, as many of the pages as necessary can be tested – but it’s wise to keep it simple. An analysis is conducted by looking at the chosen page in all the individual tools.
From user analytics tools we can conduct the quantitive analysis. Special attention needs to be given to the metrics (see picture).
Not all conversions are created equally and therefore each needs to be evaluated separately. The goal is to identify the most valuable conversions and optimize those. This is what we refer to as the conversion rate.
From the user interaction tools (heatmaps) we can conduct qualitative analysis:
- Are users finding the information they are looking for?
- Are users paying attention to the most important elements (like a form or button)?
- Is there any unnecessary distracting information (pictures no one looks at, or sections people scroll over, buttons no one clicks)?
We finish up by summarizing the research and make specific notes for every issue discovered.
PHASE 3: FORMING A HYPOTHESIS
The information gained from analysis and user surveying is now used to form a hypothesis that attempts to explain why no one is sticking around on that page. It is the time for brainstorming a testable hypothesis with alternative solutions which might improve problems in the conversion funnel.
When doing the first Optimization, chances are that there are at least several issues and that page is not converting even close to its potential. For each issue, we need its own hypothesis offering a solution. Likewise, each hypothesis needs to be tested separately.
PHASE 4: TESTING
In order to solve each issue discovered by our analysis, we need to create a test strategy. One testing for one hypothesis. Therefore, we need to prioritize: we start by making a list of priorities – biggest issues first and smaller afterward. It is important to be methodical and precise here – to check the numbers multiple times and be certain that priorities are straight.
There are two main options to test a page:
- Testing a completely different page: If there are too many areas that could be improved, it might be wise to start from scratch. It’s possible to get a drastically different conversion rate, which one can then use as a new foundation and start fine-tuning.
- Changing one (or few) elements: If there is a solid base, this is what testing entails most of the time. The goal is to identify one (or a few) problems and then attempt to improve them. This involves A/B or multivariate split testing.
A/B or Split Testing
The testing of one version of a page or interface element against another version of the same thing. Each element is measured by its effectiveness in comparison to the other. For example, a red button measured in effectiveness to a green button. In A/B testing only one thing is tested at a time.
Multivariate Testing (MVT)
The testing of multiple variations of many different page elements in various combinations to determine the best performing elements and combinations. For example, a multivariate landing test may test many variations of the pictures, copy, and calls to action used on the page in many combinations to find the best performer. Note that multivariate testing involves testing more than one element at once, which means that the test will take longer to complete.
For testing to be successful – being methodological is crucial: it’s necessary to double and triple check that there is sufficient tracking in place in order to be able to interpret the effects of the test. Also, when a sample size is once set – it’s important to stick to it in order for testing to be consistent and numbers comparable!
The key is to always have a purpose behind the testing and being able to articulate the what one is doing. Before any test, blanks of the following statement should be filled:
By [making this change (or these changes)], the conversion rate will increase because [problem it fixes].
It’s important not only to concretely state the hypothesis but also to record it. Keeping records of the changes made, reasons behind changes and the expected outcome of the test and taking screenshots of all variations will be very useful in the further process. Optimization is an on-going process, and the more useful data is being recorded, the easier it will be in the future to optimize the pages, which means more profit.
PHASE 5: EVALUATION – Test, Test, Test
Success is measured against the established baseline. The baseline is site’s pre-optimization “average.” The data resulting from the test, when compared to baseline, will tell us where to go from here. However, when evaluating our results, it’s crucial to stay goal-focused. Testing provides us with a lot of information and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important never to lose sight of what we are trying to improve.
If this test was a success, we can consider if there are further improvements to be made; or think about how we can apply foundings of the test elsewhere; or we can focus on other problems we identified. But how do we know which tests are a success? In order to be certain that we found a winner, test results need to be statistically significant. This means that the margin of error is low. In general, the larger the sample size, the smaller the margin of error.
If this test wasn’t a success, we learned one way that doesn’t work – and need reexamine the data, form a new hypothesis and design and conduct a new test. Then we need to repeat that process until we get a satisfactory result.
Regardless of the outcome of an initial round of testing, it is wise to think of optimization not as an end goal but as an ongoing process. Because the way we do business, it is always evolving and customers’ needs change over time. One will never reach the point where they’ve run “enough” tests.
In conclusion, Conversion Rates Optimization is a long-term strategy and not a one-and-done tactic. The best optimization efforts are cyclical and continuous: as one issue gets sorted out, we think of the ways how this particular element of the site can be further optimized or jump to the next issue. There is no ultimate optimization goal, no perfect version of a website. We can only make it better. However, many small improvements will add up to an incredible increase in profits and, as a result, a more successful business.
Conversion rates do not increase overnight. That is a fact.
To increase the conversion rates of a webpage you rely on a process that requires effort, dedication, and, most importantly, patience.
Some marketers overlook the steps of conversion rate optimization. They jump into setting up their own programs just because they read a case study of a company achieving an astonishing increase in revenue after implementing a CRO program.
This approach begins with the goal of reaching significant uplifts, but the excitement slowly disappears as the marketing team is not able to obtain the aimed results.
Wrong expectations translate into disappointment and investment loss.
Setting reasonable goals, on the other hand, saves you heartburn, time, and resources.
The team at KBI Marketing possess the analytical tools to examine all these factors. We will gauge your current conversion rate, identify problem areas, and enact a plan of action to counter the problems. Our analysis will display the key areas of your website, including:
- Your Total Conversions – the number of people that did what you wanted
- Your Conversion Rate – the number of conversions divided by your visitors
The numbers we gather can help us identify problems in your site. Some of the most common problems are:
- Bounce rate – the percentage of people who leave your site after visiting only one page. Not a good thing as it means they are not finding what they are seeking easily.
- Exit rate – analysis can display which specific pages visitors are leaving. If a regular page is being displayed this shows something is inherently wrong with that page.
- Average time on site – this measures visitor time on your website. If it is coupled with a high bounce rate then it shows a lack of interest in your site, which damages conversions.
- Average page views – this displays the average amount of pages a visitor sees before they pass out of the site. Many page views might mean an engaging site, but it can also reflect a confusing website with no clear conversion system.
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