While there are many ways you can drive people to your website or social channels, what happens when those users interact with your content makes all the difference in generating leads and revenue for your business.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies can help you get more conversions and grow your business.
In this guide, you’ll learn what CRO is, why it matters for your business, and best practices for achieving the best conversion rate possible.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of users visitors who take a specific action on your website, social channels, or other online marketing campaigns.
This involves understanding how users interact with your content, navigate your website, and, ultimately, take actions that result in leads and revenue for your business.
Examples of Conversions
Conversions are the result of users taking a desired action on your website or marketing campaign.
These actions can include:
- Purchasing a product.
- Signing up for a free trial.
- Adding a product to their cart.
- Filling out a contact form.
- Clicking a link.
- Downloading a content asset (like an ebook).
- Signing up for a service.
- Subscribing to your newsletter.
Ultimately, a conversion can be any action you want a user to take that results in you collecting their information, making a sale, or otherwise gaining insight into how they interact with your campaigns.
Key Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization brings unique benefits when it comes to SEO. These benefits are experienced by SEO professionals as well as the businesses they work with.
Some of the benefits of CRO include:
Increased User Engagement
Conversion rate optimization works to optimize your website and campaigns for better engagement and, ultimately, conversions.
An increase in engagement metrics can provide valuable insights into how your campaigns are performing and what entices users to interact with your content.
CRO leads to higher conversion rates, which means you are getting more bang for your buck when it comes to your marketing dollars.
You can land more customers without necessarily generating more traffic or increasing your marketing budget.
Valuable User Insights
The process of CRO requires you to better understand your audience, which will improve your marketing efforts and content overall.
You’ll be better prepared to reach the right types of customers with the right messaging at the right time.
Enhanced Customer Trust
Many actions require users to provide their contact information (email address, name, phone number, etc.) in exchange for content or information about your services.
This means users necessarily need to trust your site before they fork over their info. CRO helps you build customer trust and leaves a positive impression on potential customers.
You may have a finite pool of prospects you can tap into, but CRO allows you to make the most of your existing audience (read: traffic) to attract new customers.
By improving your conversion rate, you’ll be able to scale your business without running out of potential customers.
How to Calculate Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of users or website visitors, then multiplying this figure by 100 to generate a percentage.
For example, if your website generated 20 contact form fills and 1000 visitors in one month, your conversion rate would be: 20 / 1000 = 0.02 x 100 = 2%.
Calculating your conversion rate enables you to set a benchmark for how your web page or campaign is currently performing.
This means that any changes you make and the corresponding results you generate can be measured against your original conversion rate.
What’s Considered a “Good” Conversion Rate
There is no single, universal figure that qualifies as a “good” conversion rate. What’s even considered an “average” conversion rate vary across industries, niches, campaigns, specific conversion goals, and beyond.
A rough average (depending on who you ask) is anywhere between 1% to 4%.
However, the best measure of what’s considered average is to calculate your past and current conversion rates and compare them to future results for your particular business.
Instead of obsessing over what’s considered a “good” conversion rate (most businesses don’t publish this information, anyway), you’re better off digging into what makes your particular audience tick and then delivering the value they are searching for.
What Is the CRO Process?
Conversion rate optimization is the process of optimizing your website, landing page, or marketing campaign to improve the probability of a user taking a desired action.
This optimization process is informed by past user behavior, customer insights, and CRO best practices.
The basic process of CRO is as follows:
Surveying your audience and digging into past customer behavior analytics to understand what users are interested in, what they’re struggling with, and how they interact with your brand.
Using the insights gathered during your audience research to optimize your campaigns or web pages for conversions.
This might include writing more compelling web copy, adding enticing calls-to-action, redesigning your site for better user experience (UX), or otherwise removing bottlenecks from your sales funnel.
Most CRO changes are not one and done. You will want to measure your adjustments against different components to see which ones truly move the needle.
For example, you may test one call-to-action versus another to see which performs better (i.e. has a higher conversion rate).
Use analytics software (such as Google Analytics) to measure the success of your campaigns.
Create goals to track conversions and then calculate your conversion rate by comparing this to your total traffic numbers.
Monitor your analytics to track the success (or failure) of your campaigns or web pages. Make adjustments as needed to improve your conversion rate.
Components of Successful CRO
CRO is a comprehensive process that involves a variety of components, from the design of your landing page to the contact forms you use.
A successful CRO campaign requires an in-depth analysis of your target audience, multiple tests to measure performance, and ongoing optimization to ensure maximum results.
Throughout this process, you’re likely to address a few core elements that can be optimized for higher conversion rates:
How your website and landing pages look plays an important role when it comes to CRO. An aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-navigate design is likely to improve usability and make it easier for users to convert.
In designing your landing pages, work with a web designer who understands CRO and how users generally navigate a website.
The site should be accessible on mobile devices, include readable fonts and interactive menus, and otherwise make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.
Fast website load speed is an essential part of any search engine optimized website and is a component of CRO as well. The longer it takes to for your website to load, the more likely users are to drop off and go to another website.
Ideally, your website should load in under 3 seconds on both desktop and mobile devices. Decrease image file size and remove slow-loading website elements to ensure fast load time. This alone can increase conversions on your site.
Web copy refers to the words users read on your website and landing pages. Skilled copywriters are able to craft copy that speaks to the unique needs of your target audience. It’s not enough to simply write “off the cuff” and hope for the best.
This is where audience research comes into play. If you know what your audience is struggling with and the solutions they are looking for, you’ll be able to communicate the value of your offer – the features, benefits, and more.
Ultimately, you are trying to convince users that your service or product is the best solution for their needs.
A call-to-action is an often short, concise appeal to users to take some sort of action on your site. The most commonly seen phrases are “Contact Us”, “Buy Now”, and “Work With Us”, but you can certainly get much more creative.
For example, if you know your audience is interested in a particular offer, your CTA can be more obvious, like “Buy X Here” or “Download Y Now.”
A best practice is to make it obvious what users will be getting once they click on a link or submit their information.
Your site’s structure should be built with the primary goal of making your website easy for users to navigate. This structure typically consists of a layout of where your pages exist on your site and how they interact with each other
Most sites adopt a hierarchical site structure, with the most important pages existing in the main menu and subpages in the dropdown menu. Ideally, your web pages should not be “buried” more than 3 clicks away from the Home page.
Consider how a typical user might navigate your site. Even better, you should look at a content drill-down report of your site to see how users journey from one page to another.
This might look something like:
- Services page.
- Individual service page.
- Contact page.
- Goal completion (form fill).
Or, for an ecommerce site:
- Products page.
- Product category page.
- Individual product page.
- Add to cart.
- Cart checkout.
- Thank You page.
Overall, creating an easy-to-navigate website is key to increasing conversions, building customer trust, and improving customer loyalty over time.
Contact forms are the most popular tool website owners use to collect user information, particularly for service and agency sites. Ecommerce sites, on the other hand, might have individual product pages and a typical shopping cart function.
Your contact forms should be easy to use and functional. By this, we mean that users should easily be able to submit their information and these form fills should be collected within your website to ensure quick follow-up.
Here are a few CRO best practices for using contact forms:
- The fewer the fields, the better (typically). At the very least, you should collect information that allows you to follow up with leads in a timely manner. If you want to better qualify your leads, you can add additional fields, like Industry or Budget.
- Design matters. Good-looking forms typically equate to a better user experience. Make your text easy to read, use consistent styling, and make sure the submission button is clickable.
- Consider customer privacy. With the introduction of GDPR and other consumer privacy laws, it’s become increasingly important that you let users know how their information will be collected and used. You should always include a disclaimer that states what users are subscribing to, how you will be in contact with them, and whether they can unsubscribe at any time.
How to Measure Conversion Rate
There are a number of quantitative tools that allow you to collect data to track conversions on your website. These include general analytics tools like Google Analytics, website heat map tools like Hotjar, sales funnel tools, contact form analytics tools, and more.
Basically, any tool that allows you to: 1) track conversions or goal completions and 2) see website traffic data, can be used to calculate your conversion rates.
By measuring your conversion rate, you’ll have data on how your site has performed in the past and how it’s performing now.
Then you can use a variety of CRO tactics to generate even more leads, customers, and revenue for your business.
Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices – Do They Work?
CRO best practices are, by definition, practices that have worked for businesses in the past. This means that the quick CRO “hacks” may not necessarily apply to your business, nor might they be relevant to businesses in the modern-day.
With this in mind, businesses should be wary of adopting any CRO best practices without proper measurement and an in-depth understanding of their own target audience.
For example, it’s a commonly held belief that a few simple tweaks are all it takes to improve conversions. These “tips” often include:
- A/B testing headlines.
- Changing the color of CTAs.
- Including contact forms on every page.
- Always adding customer testimonials.
- Offering discounts.
Just because something worked for one business doesn’t mean it’s going to work for yours.
Your best bet is to focus on what’s working with your particular audience and then use your own creativity to make adjustments that will improve your conversion rates over time.
Uncommon CRO Tactics
Today’s most progressive brands aren’t following trends – they’re setting them. To stay ahead of the curve, you might want to adopt some uncommon CRO tactics and measure their impact on your business.
At the same time, keep a close eye on how users interact with your site and use these insights to make adjustments over time.
For example, some CRO-related technology and tactics to look into include:
- AI-driven CRO tools.
- Suggested Search technology.
- On-site customer surveys.
- Mouse tracking and website heat maps.
- Personalized product suggestions.
How to Improve Your Conversion Rate
The key to improving your conversion rate over time is to keep a close eye on your customer behavior data and monitor how users interact with your site.
Tools like Google Analytics can be used to measure goal completions, traffic numbers, user engagement, and more.
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for great CRO.
What works for your business will depend heavily on the interests and behaviors of your target audience, the offers you are promoting, the layout of your site, and so much more.
With this in mind, it’s still worth it to look into conversion rate optimization tips to improve your site over time.
This can include implementing UX best practices, A/B testing CRO adjustments, writing better sales copy, or fine-tuning your CTAs for better conversions.