What is Conversion Rate Optimisation? And how to get started.

Ben Walsh   

What is conversion rate optimisation?

There’s a lot of talk in the business world about conversion rate optimisation, or CRO. But what is it, really?

Conversion rate optimisation is making measurable changes to your website’s user experience to increase the percentage of visitors who complete some desired action.

Desire actions can be anything, but usually, it’s buying something or filling out a contact form.

In other words, it’s all about turning more browsers into buyers. And that’s something any business can benefit from. After all, what good is driving traffic to your website if they’re not taking action?

Optimisation efforts can have many benefits, including:

  • Increased sales and revenue.
  • More leads generated.
  • Better engagement with website visitors.
  • Improved ROI on marketing spend.

It’s easy to understand why businesses get help to increase their conversion rates. This is not a quick fix; rather, it is a process of testing, measuring, and adjusting to find what works best. Of course, you don’t have to measure your changes. Just like you don’t have to check your car mirrors before changing lanes - it’s not a great idea though.

Why is conversion rate optimisation important?

Conversion rate optimisation is only important if you think spending less to get new customers would help your business.

By getting more value from the visitors you already have, you’ll grow your business without spending a single penny more on ads!

You probably don’t have a website traffic problem; you have a website conversion problem. If you’re targeting the right people, you might not be doing a great job selling to them.

Let’s say you’ve got a landing page with a conversion rate of 5% that gets 2000 visitors a month. That page generates 100 conversions per month. If we can increase the rate to 7.5%, the number of conversions jumps to 200. That’s double the conversions every month!

How to get started with CRO

Choose your metrics

To run a successful CRO campaign, you need to decide what you’ll be measuring BEFORE you begin. If you start making changes and you’re measuring the wrong things, you’re going to optimise the wrong things.

I’ve done this in the past. I’ve run campaigns where I’ve tried to increase form submissions, which was my metric. More submissions = more conversions. But in reality, that wasn’t quite the case. My campaign wasn’t measuring the increase in phone calls or the decrease in questions that it caused. All of which was a net positive for the business I was working with.

This goes to show that goals can be different. Not just between industries but also on different web pages. Your contact page will have specific goals vs a product page on ecommerce sites. So understanding what the goal for each page is on your website helps you optimise for the right thing.

Conversion goals you might want to measure:

  • page views, ad views, newsletter subscriptions, content engagement
  • product sales, add-to-cart, shopping cart completion rate, and email sign-ups.
  • booking conversions, ancillary purchases, social shares
  • leads generated, closed deals, phone calls

Identify areas to optimise

1. Measure the dropoffs in your conversion funnels

Your conversion funnel is a tool that shows the steps that lead from finding out about your product or service to taking the action you want them to. By understanding how users move through the funnel, you can identify where they are dropping off. Google Analytics supports funnels, so make sure you’re using them.

2. Ask + Survey your customers

It seems obvious when you think about it, but user research plays a vital role in an effective CRO strategy. It’s easy to get into thinking we know what our customers want. But arranging conversations with them and asking the right questions can give you plenty of ideas to try.

Getting feedback after a sale is helpful. But capturing feedback from visitors in your funnel will provide valuable insight where it matters most. Testing tools like HotJar are great for helping you capture data this way.

3. Check your reviews + customer service feedback.

You might already be sat on a wealth of data. Export your online reviews and customer service emails and throw them into a word cloud. You want to look for patterns of feedback you can improve.

4. Check it works for everyone.

This sounds obvious but making sure your funnel works for 100% of your visitors is a straightforward way to optimise conversions. For example, I’ve seen safari bugs prevent 40% of a business’s traffic from buying!

5. Check your copywriting.

How does your copywriting sound? Is it dull or monotonous? Are you only talking about your service and how great it is? Chances are you’re turning people off.

Imagine talking directly to one of your ideal customers face to face. Now read your website copy out loud as if it was a conversation. Does it feel natural? Hell, does it even sound interesting? If not, you need to change things up. I recommend hiring a professional copywriter as it’s super hard to get right.

6. Refresh your design.

So by now, your site works for everyone and sounds good. So the icing on the cake is presenting it well by using a design that represents your brand. Are images pixelated on high-end phones? Is the text easy to read with solid colour contrast? Are your call to action buttons prominent, and do they say what clicking them will do? Is there a clear typographic hierarchy? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Choose your testing tools.

Now, this is really important. If you’ve chosen the right metrics and have some ideas to test, you need to use the right tool to measure it. This is especially true if your visitor numbers are in the hundreds rather than the thousands.

Because they have free tiers, the tools I recommend are Google Optimize and Webtrends Optimize.

The most accurate testing solutions run on your server rather than in the browser. This stops visitors from seeing a version of the page you didn’t want them to.

The problem with server-side solutions is that they’re much harder to set up and often cost significantly more.

Both recommended tools support multivariate testing - for really complex experiments - and will help you with improving your conversion rate.

Get help from an expert.

If that all sounds like a lot of hard work, it is. But it’s worth it. We have monthly plans available where we do all of that for you. All the research, ideas, copywriting, design, testing and implementation!

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