As digital marketers, we’ve seen businesses focus heavily on driving traffic to their website or app, but often forget about the importance of converting that traffic into actual customers. That’s where Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) comes into play. CRO is the process of using a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to improve the percentage of website or mobile app visitors who complete a desired action (i.e., conversion), such as filling out a lead form or making a purchase.
By optimizing your website for these conversions, you can increase your revenue without having to increase your traffic.
Steps of a CRO Strategy
1. Understand your buyer and their journey
How well do you really understand what your buyers go through before purchasing your product or service? With so much information at the world’s fingertips, buyers are more informed than ever before—which makes selling more challenging than ever before. To effectively optimize your website or app for conversions, you need to understand every step of their journey.
Start this process by getting to know who your buyer is. You can do this by crafting buyer personas, or representations of your target customers based on data and research. This will help you focus on the right group of people that you want to convert once they reach your website. It also ensures as you start optimizing the website user experience towards conversion, you are doing it based on the actions of the visitors you care most about.
Once you understand who your buyer is, you can start to understand your buyer’s journey. This journey typically involves three stages: awareness, consideration and decision.
- Awareness Stage: In the awareness stage, your potential customer becomes aware they have a problem and begins actively looking for a solution. They may search for information and resources to better understand, frame and give a name to their problem.
- Consideration Stage: In this stage, the buyer has clearly named and identified their problem and considers their options to solve it. Here, they commit to researching and understanding all the available approaches or methods to solving their issue.
- Decision Stage: Finally, in the last stage, the buyer decides on the solution to their problem and is ready to have a serious conversation with a sales person about their product or service.
By considering your target customers’ mindset and the problems they experience along that journey as well as which factors shape their thinking, you can better create a digital experience that serves them and their needs while leading them towards your solution.
2. Prioritize where to focus using data-driven insights
When it comes to CRO, it’s important to focus on the areas of your website that will have the biggest impact on conversions. Using data-driven insights can help guide you toward pages and experiences that may need improvement.
Here are some specific examples of how data can be used to improve CRO:
Identifying which pages on a website are performing well and which pages are not.
This can be done by tracking the number of visitors to each page, where they came from, the time spent on each page, the number of people that bounced, where they go next, and the number of conversions each page generates.
This information can then be used to make changes to the website to improve its performance. For example, if a page is not generating many conversions, it may be because the content is not relevant to the target audience or the design is not user-friendly. Or the CTA is not strong enough to generate action. In this case, changes could be made to the content or design of the CTA button to improve the page’s performance.
Tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
This can be done by tracking the number of leads and sales generated by each campaign. This information can then be used to determine which campaigns are generating the most results. For example, if a campaign is driving a lot of traffic but not generating many leads, it may be because the audience it is attracting is not finding the product or service you offer relevant to them.
In this case, the campaign could be refined to target the right group of prospects more successfully and drive the right people to your website.
Segmenting customers and targeting them with personalized marketing messages.
This can be done by collecting data about customers, such as their age, gender, interests, and purchase history. This information can then be used to create segments of customers with similar characteristics. When they interact with specific pages on your website, marketing messages can then be tailored to their needs to make the experience more relevant. This strategy also is more likely to convert them while they are there.
By using data in these ways as well as others, businesses can improve their CRO and generate more leads and sales.
3. Identify which KPIs you’ll use to measure success
When it comes to measuring the success of your CRO efforts, it’s important to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your business.
Most conversions happen after multiple interactions with your company. For example, someone might click on a banner ad, visit your landing page and then visit other pages on your website to fill out a contact form. Each of these interactions have KPIs you can measure to ensure they are all working hard to lead a prospect down the purchase funnel.
Some common KPIs for CRO include:
Conversion rate: This is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
Conversion value: This is the total value of all conversions generated by your website or app.
Average order value: This is the average amount of money that each customer spends on your website or app.
Customer lifetime value: This is the total amount of revenue that a customer is expected to generate over the course of their relationship with you.
Churn rate: This is the percentage of customers who stop using your product or service over a given period of time.
Customer satisfaction score: This is a measure of how satisfied your customers are with your product or service.
Net promoter score: This is a measure of how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service to others.
Once you have identified the KPIs that are most important to your business, you can start to see the impact of your CRO efforts and make data-backed decisions on where to focus next.
4. Establish benchmarks and goals
To effectively measure the success of your CRO efforts, you need to establish benchmarks and goals.
Benchmarks are the current conversion rates and KPIs for your website. By establishing these benchmarks, you can track your progress over time and see how your CRO efforts are impacting your website’s performance.
Goals are what you hope to achieve with your CRO efforts. For example, you may want to increase the conversion rate on your website or landing pages by 10% in the next six months. By setting specific goals, you can focus your efforts and measure your progress towards achieving them.
Improving Your CRO Strategy
Once you’ve determined areas that need improvement, it’s time to create a list of actionable items that you believe–based on your research— will improve your CRO. This approach is a hypothesis-driven strategy, and involves identifying potential issues on your website, developing a hypothesis on why they’re occurring and testing solutions to see if they improve conversions.
To create a hypothesis-driven CRO strategy, you need to:
- Develop a hypothesis about what changes you can make to improve your KPIs. This hypothesis should be based on data and research.
- Test your hypothesis by making the changes you proposed and measuring the impact.
- Analyze the results of your test and determine whether your hypothesis was correct. If it was, implement the change permanently. If it wasn’t, go back to step one and develop a new hypothesis.
Some examples of proposed actions include:
- Modifying headlines and other content on pages to drive action
- Moving graphics, CTAs, or other design elements to a different place on the page
- Changing the CTA wording or design
- Ensuring it’s clear which page to visit next if your customers want to learn more
- Changing navigation for a more streamlined user experience
- Improving searchability so users can find the products they want
By following these tips, you can create a hypothesis-driven CRO strategy that will help you improve your website’s performance and achieve your business goals.
Your CRO Testing Strategy
Testing is critical to CRO success. When it comes to testing your CRO hypotheses, it’s important to follow a structured and consistent approach. This involves identifying your test variables, developing a test plan and analyzing your results to determine the effectiveness of your test.
One effective testing methodology is A/B testing. This involves testing two versions of a page, one with a variation and one without, to see which version performs better. This type of testing is usually best for simple changes you want to make to your page. By using A/B testing, you can make data-backed decisions on which changes improve performance. Don’t minimize the importance of waiting until you collect statistical significance before making any decisions on which variation won. Otherwise, you could end up actually decreasing conversion.
Multivariate testing (MVT) is a type of A/B testing that allows you to test multiple variations of a web page or app at the same time. This can be done by creating different versions of the page or app and then randomly assigning users to see one of the versions. The goal of MVT is to identify the version that results in the highest conversion rate.
MVT is a powerful tool for CRO because it allows you to test multiple changes at once and see which combination of changes results in the best results. This can be much more effective than A/B testing, which only allows you to test one change at a time.
Here are some additional tips for creating a successful hypothesis-driven CRO strategy:
- Start with a small number of tests so you can focus on making data-driven decisions.
- Set up your proposed actions and testing strategy simultaneously, to make sure that your testing will tell you if your action actually works. Test different variations of your changes to see which ones work best.
- Don’t be afraid to make changes to your hypothesis as you learn more.
- Track your results over time to see how your CRO strategy is performing.
- Once you have a winner in each test, remember to factor in costs of making the change (including hours people will spend implementing it) and ensure the conversion improvement will still be a positive investment of money and effort.
Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation
Finally, it’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. Staying agile and responsive is key to driving better business results. Once you’ve implemented your initial optimizations, you’ll need to continuously monitor your website’s performance and your buyer’s journey and adapt your strategy accordingly.
There are many tools available to help with this, from analytics platforms to testing tools. Here are a few worth considering:
- Google Analytics: This free tool can help you track your website’s performance and identify areas for optimization.
- Hotjar: This tool allows you to see how users are interacting with your website and identify areas for improvement.
- Optimizely: This testing platform allows you to easily run A/B tests and track your results.
- Crazy Egg: This tool provides heatmaps and click tracking to help you understand how users are interacting with your website.
- AI: AI tools can automate tasks (like A/B testing), identify trends and data, generate insights and personalize the user experience.
By using data-driven insights to make informed decisions and continuously testing and optimizing your website, you can unlock the full potential of CRO and drive more conversions for your business.
Marketri: Your Strategic CRO Partner
CRO is a critical component of any digital marketing strategy, and while it can be very effective at increasing conversions, it can also be a complex and time-consuming process. At Marketri, our consultants use their expertise and experience to guide your CRO strategy and achieve predictable, profitable growth.