Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
You have been working really hard to get people to your website. You have been painstakingly reviewing your website, your competitors’ websites, updating content, sharing on social, buying PPC ads, optimizing your SEO Keywords in your content, and doing anything you can think of just to get people to get to your site. Traffic is up … but … conversions on your traffic are not growing. What are you missing? Your true audience.
I recently was asked to review a website for a commercial electric supply company. The client wanted to know how they could take their site viral. My answer… why do you want to go viral first? Are teenagers on Instagram buying electric wall sockets or electric car chargers? How exactly will “going viral” help your sales? See the truth here is, most businesses are not meant for the masses. A few are, soda, music, sports, beer, but the rest of the world works in niches. Niches that require you to speak to your audience, how they want to be spoken to. When you start optimizing for them, you now optimizing your marketing for your business.
We all know what ROI is, and when you go viral, the hard cost is low, but the cost to your brand may actually be high. Think about how Starbucks went viral for their bathroom is for customers only example in Philadelphia as an example. I challenge you to look at a different number, CRO.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of visitors who take the desired action with your website. In sales, how many nos until a yes? On a website, this could be filling out a form, ordering an item from your shop or clicking your phone number and calling you. The CRO process involves understanding how people interact with you and when they decide not to. CRO is the process of finding and removing barriers, whenever possible.
What is a conversion?
A conversion is a general term for a visitor completing a goal. Goals come in many forms. If you use your website to sell products, the goal is for the user to make a buy something, if you are a consultant, it may be for them to call or email you. There are smaller goals as well, such as signing up to receive emails, adding a product to a cart, using your address to map out a drive to your location.
What is a conversion rate?
The conversion rate is the number of times a user completes a goal divided by the number of opportunities to complete that goal. It is usually presented as a percentage.
An example: Think of a door-to-door salesman. For every 10 doors (s)he knocks on, 5 people will answer, and 1 will buy. The Micro-goal of getting someone to answer the door was 50% (5/10). The macro goal of selling a vacuum was 10% (1/10) or 20% of the homes who answered.
Conversion rate optimization happens when you can tweak your process to improve the number of people that not only come to your business but actually do what you want them to do within your business. On a website this can mean buying a product, filling out a form, or calling you.
The key to successful Conversion Rate Optimization
In order to optimize for conversion rate, you have to know what to optimize and who to optimize for. Analytics are the cornerstone of every successful CRO strategies.
Quantitative data analysis gives you hard numbers behind how people actually behave. Online you get this information from sites like Google Analytics. In real life, this can come from inventory counts and traffic counts.
Using analytics-based CRO can answer important questions about how users engage with your business.
Qualitative data analysis is the people-focused method and is more subjective. You’ll need the quantitative data to identify who you should be asking. You can’t optimize for all users, so optimize for your ideal user — that is, the user it’s most important to have as a customer. Surveys and User testing are the main ways to gather this information.
Qualitative analysis helps optimize for conversions by providing information about users such as:
Why did they come to your business? Why did they originally decide to visit you? What information or product appealed to them?
What do they think your business offers that makes you different from competitors? Is there an offering your company has that makes for a better experience?
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein
There are certain things that raw analytical data alone can’t tell you about your customer’s experience. But when you combine this information with your analytics data, you can gain a much better understanding of the best opportunities to optimize and engage the audience you’d like to target.
Methods to Avoid
Effective CRO does not include the following:
- Guesses, hunches and gut feelings
- The other guy is doing it (copying a competitor)
- Your boss says to do it (The biggest paycheck is not always right)
- Casting a wide net and maybe catching something out of dumb luck
All of these examples are not based on data. Randomly charging in the direction you want to go might work every once in a while, but spending a little time gathering data, analyzing it and testing your hypotheses will give you clear insights into your customers and how to reach them in the future.
Once you have found opportunities to improve your website traffic it is time to start testing. Using A/B or split testing you can determine the optimal strategy for your business. Split testing is the process of putting more than one version of your product or website out to the public. This could be different landing pages, different versions of articles, different pictures, descriptions or prices of the same product. Using Quantitative and Qualitative data, you can then determine which version in optimal for your audience.
Using CRO with your SEO Process
The Final step is combining your Search Optimization efforts with CRO insights. Using these strategies together will grow your business. When you can grow the quality of your business’s visitors and get them to convert the goals you have set for them, you will see your business grow. Stay focused on your goals, reevaluate how you reach your customers and how they find you, and you will find success. As always, remember to rinse and repeat for the best results.