What Is Conversion Rate Optimization? – Complete CRO Guide

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization? – Complete CRO Guide
16/03/2021 Soumodip Roy
19 min read

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization? – Complete CRO Guide

Conversion rate optimization – as the name suggests, it’s about optimizing your website or landing pages to improve your ‘conversion rate’. But, is it?

Outgrow 2021 product update

For instance, you have just started an eCommerce business and you decide to sell your products at a cost price (zero profit margins). People will start buying your products as they are cheaper. As a result, you will have an insane ‘conversion rate’. But if you keep selling at a cost price, your business won’t grow and eventually, you will have to shut down. So, is conversion rate optimization only about improving the ‘conversion rate’ or about exploring new business growth strategies? We will leave that to you for now.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the probability of website visitors taking a desired action on the website or landing page – an ‘action’ that can be considered as a conversion factor for that particular business.

What Is a Conversion?

In simple terms, when a website visitor takes an action that is predefined as a site goal, we call it a conversion.

Now, the site goal varies from business to business. If you are into eCommerce then a product sale can be considered as a site goal or conversion. On the other hand, if you run a travel blog then your primary conversion factor might be an email subscription.

To break it further, conversion can be categorized into ‘Macro conversion’ and ‘Micro conversion’. For an eCommerce business, when a visitor completes a purchase then it is a primary conversion or macro conversion. And along the road to primary conversion, there can be smaller conversions like signing up for newsletters, which are also referred to as micro conversions.

What Is Conversion Rate?

Conversion rate is the percentage of your website traffic that has converted. You can calculate the conversion rate for macro and micro conversions separately for better conversion rate optimization.

How to Calculate Conversion Rate?

You can calculate the conversion rate by dividing the total number of conversions by the total number of website visitors and multiplying it by 100 to get the percentage.

Conversion Rate Optimization Formula

Suppose 200,000 people visited your website or landing page last month, out of that 10,000 people bought your product.

So, going by the conversion rate formula, your conversion rate would be 5% (10,000 / 200,000 x 100).

What Is Considered a Good Conversion Rate?

Well, we can’t give you a definitive answer to this because conversion rates vary from industry to industry. But if you ask a thumb rule for this, we would say, do better than your last conversion rate.

However, you can compare your conversion rates with the average conversion rates of the industry you are in.

For instance, the average eCommerce conversion rate ranges from 1 – 2%. So, if you are running an eCommerce business, you can compare your conversion rate with this industry average.

We did some more digging to find out what the internet is saying about the average website conversion rate by industry. And this is what we found!

Average Conversion Rate by Industry

Unbounce researched lead generating landing pages and found the following average conversion rates:

Average Conversion Rate

What Are the Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization?

The CRO process requires a robust analysis of user behavior on the website. As a result, you will get answers to questions like – What do your customers want? How do they react to changes on your website? Why do they come to your site?

Apart from answering the what, why, and how questions, conversion rate optimization also has the following benefits:

– Increase customer lifetime value / Lower customer acquisition cost / Better ROI

One of the main benefits of running CRO campaigns is that it optimizes the chances of your conversions with every change you make on your website. Ultimately it will have a positive impact on your bottom line – better ROI. However, this statement is only true if you implement the change after a successful A/B test.

Also, due to improved UX, your customers keep coming back and you can convert your existing traffic time and time again. And as marketers, we know that retaining existing customers is less expensive than acquiring new ones. Studies show that acquiring new customers cost 5X more than retaining existing ones.

– Better UX

CRO being an ongoing process keeps improving the user experience of your website. And when users find your website comfortable enough to navigate through, they will keep coming back.

– Know your customers better

Data is the backbone of a CRO process. And it not only helps in your CRO but also helps you to understand your customers better. Analyzing the data carefully will help you understand your customer’s pain points, segment them and ultimately help you optimize better.

– Better SEO

Conversion rate optimization might as well help you boost your SEO efforts. According to Google, user behavior is taken into account while ranking pages. This means websites that offer a smooth user experience will rank higher on SERP. So, all the efforts you put into CRO will not only improve conversions but also help you boost SEO.

Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies

Here are some pro tips that you can implement as a part of your conversion rate optimization strategy.

1. Create clean and simple website navigation and structure

Websites must have a well-defined structure; else, it becomes a clutter of random pages. Your users should be able to navigate through your site with ease. Not only that, even Google uses your site structure to navigate and index your pages.

So, create a website structure that is clean and simple. Here’s an infographic of a well-structured website:

Site structure

2. Use interactive content instead of static lead forms

Forms often play a vital role in the sales funnel. So, optimizing forms at every touchpoint is quintessential to improving conversions. But the question is how?

Well, for our new readers, let us introduce you to interactive content. It has a lot of benefits but for now, let’s just focus on three. It’s visually appealing, engages the audience, and can collect leads.

Normal lead forms often miss the opportunity to grab the user’s attention. And do you know why? Because it lacks an attractive design and often fails to provide real-time value to the users.

Interactive content, on the other hand, is super fun to interact with and adds instant value to the user. And, it’s easier to capture leads when you offer something of value in return.

Here’s an example:

In order to generate leads for a company selling liquor online, Leads.ph created an interactive quiz titled “Which kind of whiskey drinker are you?”. And they placed the lead generation form right before the results showed up.

Wanna know how it turned out? Well, they managed to generate 53,000+ leads! Amazing, right?

conversion rate optimization

Must Read: How to Boost Lead Generation Through Interactive Content?

Here are a few basic tips that you should keep in mind while optimizing lead forms (static as well as interactive):

1. Place your form at the top so that your users do not have to scroll through to get to the form.

2. Make the headline copy of your form as a Call to action. Eg: Get your free offer, Sign up for free, etc.

3. Exclude unnecessary fields from the form. Ideally, you shouldn’t have more than 10 questions which are what BuzzFeed-style quizzes follow too.

4. Try to change the text of your submit button from ‘Submit’ to something like Download your free eBook, Save your seat, etc.

3. Use interactive landing pages

When users first come to your page, the design or the layout is what strikes first. Hence it’s the foremost element that determines a website’s success. And we have a suggestion that can transform your landing pages completely.

Try using Outgrow! It helps you create interactive content like product recommendations, calculators, chatbots, quizzes, etc. You can embed these interactive contents on your landing pages to make them attractive and engaging. Moreover, this no-code platform offers pre-designed templates that are clean, crisp, easy to use. In simple words, it’s everything you need for a good landing page design.

If you ever come across a 404 page on Outgrow’s website, this is how you will be greeted – a simple outcome quiz that recommends blogs to the visitors who would otherwise leave the page frustrated. A perfect example of how you can make your landing pages beautiful and interesting using interactive content!

Outgrow 404 page

4. Website or landing page copy

A well-designed landing page and site structure can help you gain traffic. However, a well-versed website copy can help you convert that traffic into leads.

Landing page copy should be clean, crisp, engaging, and easy to read. Keeping the audience engaged with good content can be your key to success.

Website copy includes two elements that can be modified:

  • Headlines
  • Body Content

5. Add interactivity to your CTA

Well, you must have read articles on how to write the best CTA copy in order to improve conversions. However, we think that simply improving your CTA copy is not enough. Try to improvise your CTAs with interactive content.

Suppose you run a financial advisory firm. And your website’s homepage receives a steady flow of traffic. So, instead of putting a passive CTA, you can greet your users with a ‘Savings Goal Calculator’. It will add value to your user, hence, making their interaction with your brand more interesting and actionable.

savings goal calculator

Here’s a live example of an interactive CTA on The Professional Wingman website.

conversion rate optimization

6. Improve page load speed

How long do you wait if a website takes too long to load? A few seconds I guess? So, it needs no explanation on how important it is to optimize page load speed.

page load speed

Page speed or page load time is one of the primary things that you should keep track of. You might have a beautifully designed and structured site, but if your site takes forever to load, you are in deep waters. Page load time directly affects your user’s experience, conversions, and Google search rankings.

7. Add Pop-ups

Sumo conducted a study and found that the average conversion rate of pop-ups is 3.09%. And if you can ace the art of creating pop-ups, the same study shows that you can expect conversion rates to touch 9.28%.

So, here are some pro tips that can help you improve your conversion using pop-ups:

Use interactive content as pop-ups: Static pop-ups are a thing of the past. Surely we can argue that static pop-ups still work, but interactive content pop-ups work better.

Did you know that interactive content is known to generate twice the conversion as static content?

Generally, static pop-ups are used to promote offers, discounts, etc. and it’s slowly losing the charm. On the other hand, interactive content pop-ups allow you to create contests, polls, quizzes, etc. And that’s way more attractive and engaging than static pop-ups. So, why waste the opportunity?

conversion rate optimization

Add a delay timer: Imagine that you have landed on a page and as soon as you land, a pop-up appears. Isn’t that annoying? So it’s better to add a delay timer, say 30 seconds, to your pop-ups.

Use cookies: Cookies can help you limit the number of times the pop-up is shown to a particular user.

8. Display social proofs, testimonials, reviews

Nobody wants to explore uncharted terrain. So, you must clearly display social proofs, testimonials, and reviews on your site to build confidence among your users.

Review

9. Add interactive chatbots to your site

Users often stumble upon queries while navigating on a website. And if they don’t find the solution quickly, they are bound to drop off. Hence, it results in poor conversion rates.

To address this issue, there’s no alternative to interactive chatbots. Tools like Outgrow help you create such chatbots where you can address the pain points of your users with personalized solutions.

Chatbot

10. Add a countdown timer to induce urgency

Human psychology works in mysterious ways. When time runs out, people tend to get anxious. And you can capitalize on this by adding a countdown timer on your website.

conversion rate optimization

A timer creates a sense of urgency among users and can improve your conversions. Notice the countdown timer at the top of the contest? Well, that will establish the fear of missing out among users, and eventually, it will improve the participation rate. Hence, improve conversions.

conversion rate optimization

11. A/B test your headlines

Statistics show that 8 out of 10 users read the headline copy after landing on a site. But, only two will continue reading the rest. If that’s the case, then it is crucial to have the right headline copy on your website. Else, your users will not read further and simply bounce off.

So, go ahead and A/B test your headline and find out what fits best for your case.

conversion rate optimization

12. Optimize for mobile

Almost half of the web traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices. So, if your website is not mobile optimized, you will surely miss out on a lot of conversions.

conversion rate optimization

13. Send cart abandonment emails

You can send email notifications to users who have abandoned their carts. Incorporate reviews, testimonials, trust seals, etc. to gain the customer’s trust. You can also give them exclusive limited-time offers and product links to complete their shopping directly from there.

conversion rate optimization

14. Offer free tools

Offering free tools like calculators, assessments, etc. on your site can help improve your conversion rate. These tools can address your user’s most pressing problems and if you offer such tools for free, it will improve the user experience. And conversion rate optimization demands a better UX. Hence, it is one of the best ways to improve conversion rates.

You can add a separate section on your website for offering free tools. Here’s an example of a financial advisory website offering free calculators:

conversion rate optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices

Well, in CRO there is no one rule for all or so to say ‘Best Practices’ that can fit in for everyone. However, you can always look at the common mistakes that people make while running a CRO campaign.

Having said that, here are some guidelines that you can keep in mind:

1. Use Interactive content as a part of your CRO campaigns

As we mentioned earlier, interactive content is a great way to offer a better user experience and improve conversions. It can keep your audience engaged for a longer period of time and slowly push them down the conversion funnel.

conversion rate optimization

A tool like Outgrow can help you create a variety of interactive content (polls, quizzes, calculators, etc.) with ease. It has a simple drag and drop interface that enables anyone from your organization (even with zero coding knowledge) to create highly engaging interactive content. Not only that, but it also helps you gather the much-needed user data to run a successful CRO campaign.

outgrow analytics

2. Don’t copy others

We as marketers often tend to look at our competitor’s website and if we find something interesting, we try to replicate it on our websites. But, every business is different, so what has worked for our competitors might not work for us.

So, always follow Step 1 of the CRO process we explained above – gather and analyze your own data and decide what to do.

3. CRO is an iterative process

CRO is a never-ending process. So, don’t stop after running one or two campaigns. Keep doing it on loop.

4. The hypothesis is a must

Before starting your optimization experiments, always form a hypothesis. Without a proper hypothesis, you can’t define your problems and solutions clearly.

5. Track your goals

Before starting your experiments, always make sure that you have the means to track your goals. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a situation where you have conducted an experiment but you can’t prove if your experiment has worked or not.

6. Don’t stop your experiments midway

Always be patient and let your experiments run their due course. Do not stop until it has reached statistical significance.

CRO vs SEO

We wanted to address this common dilemma among marketers- should we invest in Conversion Rate Optimization or Search Engine Optimization?

To start off, we must understand the difference between CRO and SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s position on different search engines’ organic ranking for specific keywords. When you are among the top, people will find your website easily, drop by, and ultimately convert.

Search Engine Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the probability of website visitors taking a desired action on the website or landing page – an ‘action’ that can be considered as a conversion factor for that particular business.

conversion rate optimization

Hence, SEO helps to bring traffic to your site, while CRO converts that traffic to facilitate business growth.

CRO and SEO should go hand in hand

Let’s look at two scenarios to understand why CRO and SEO should go together.

SEO vs CRO

Scenario 1:

Suppose you get 1000 visitors each day on your website and out of that you are able to convert 2%. You have tried everything at your disposal to improve your conversions, but it’s just not working out. Yet, you must grow your business. What do you do?

Well, if you can’t improve your conversions using CRO, you should focus on your inputs i.e traffic. You can work on your SEO and try to rank for more keywords. If you can do that, you will definitely improve your traffic.

Initially, you used to get 1000 visitors and convert 2%. So, you had 20 conversions each day. Now that you have improved your traffic, say to 1500 per day with the same conversion rate of 2%, you will be converting 30 people every day.

Scenario 2:

Going by the same example, this time you are unable to improve your search rankings. What do you do?

Work on your conversion rate optimization campaigns. If you can improve your conversions to 3% from 2%, you have achieved growth!

With 1000 daily traffic at a conversion rate of 3%, you are now converting 30 people every day!

Going back to where we started, ‘should we invest in Conversion Rate Optimization or Search Engine Optimization?’ – We would suggest, invest in both.

Few Conversion Rate Optimization Tools to Look Out For

Well, here are a few tools to aid your conversion rate optimization process.

conversion rate optimization tool

1. Outgrow:

The best tool to create interactive content that helps you in improving your conversions and capture valuable user data.

2. Unbounce:

Helps you create and test landing pages. It also has a robust analytics platform that helps you churn the invaluable user data.

3. Lucky Orange:

One of the most popular tools to pinpoint user behavior using heat maps, scroll maps, click maps, user recordings, etc.

4. Hotjar:

Similar to Lucky Orange, it helps you capture heat maps, visitor recording, etc.

5. Google Page Speed:

Helps you analyze your page load speed and provides recommendations for improvement.

6. Google Analytics:

Well, this needs no introduction. It helps you gather and analyze all the user data you need for quantitative analysis.

7. Optimizely:

Helps conduct tests across devices and platforms. This includes mobile apps, TV apps, and IoT apps. It also helps you with A/B and multivariate testing options.

8. Google Optimize:

Google optimize is a free tool from Google that helps you run split tests, multivariate tests, and redirect tests on your website.Conversion Rate Optimization tools

Conversion Rate Optimization Statistics

CRO is all about data-backed optimization, right? So how could we not show you some real stats to prove the importance of conversion rate optimization! Here’s our blog on Conversion Rate Optimization Statistics for you. Meanwhile, you can take a look at this infographic gif on CRO stats! Feel free to share!

conversion rate optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization FAQs

1. Is conversion optimization an iterative process?

Yes, CRO is an iterative process. Never make the mistake of stopping your CRO campaigns. You should keep doing it on the loop.

2. How do you optimize your conversion rate?

There’s no generalized rule to optimize your conversion rates. But here are some tips that you can try:

Use interactive content

Improve your website copy

  • Strategically place your CTA’s
  • Improve your page load speed
  • Optimize your website for all devices and browsers
  • Remove any distractions from your landing pages and cart pages
  • Try adding pop-ups but remember not to annoy your customers
  • Add urgency to your product page listings
  • A/B test your headlines and layouts
  • Try to keep the navigation as simple as possible
  • Remove unnecessary elements from your landing pages and forms
  • Add social proof
  • Add live chat

3. Why is conversion rate optimization important?

  • Helps to know your customers better
  • Increases revenue
  • Helps you leverage your existing traffic through growth hacking
  • Lowers customer acquisition costs
  • Increases customer lifetime value
  • Improves UX
  • Helps you make data-backed decisions
  • Improves brand credibility
  • Helps to get your website in Google’s ‘good book’

4. How long should you let your conversion optimization experiments run?

Again, there’s no definitive answer to this. But you must be patient and let your CRO experiments run their full course unless you have a statistically significant result.

5. How can conversion optimization affect your return on investment?

One of the primary benefits of CRO is that it helps to deliver a better return on investment (ROI) by lowering your customer acquisition costs and increasing customer lifetime value.

Wrapping Up

Is conversion rate optimization only about improving the conversion rate or about exploring new business growth strategies? Remember this question from the introduction?

Well, we hope you know the answer by now. Yes, CRO is not only about conversion rate but also about exploring new avenues for business growth. You can have insane conversion rates by giving heavy discounts or offering products for free. But, at the end of the day, you need to grow as a business. Having insane conversion rates with zero impact on the bottom line is of no use or even harmful sometimes. So, optimize to improve conversion rates along with revenues.

So that’s about it, but before we take your leave here’s an assessment on Conversion Rate Optimization that can help you understand how ready you are to start your own CRO campaign. Also, if you want to create a similar assessment for free then follow this link

 

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