Conversion Optimization: A Beginners Guide to CRO in 2019
17th April 2019
The time is 9 AM and the numbers showing in analytics spike. You shift in your chair, enthusiastic about the sales primed to roll in. And yet, your site’s visitor count starts dwindling and the office phone remains stays silent… nothing.
What gives? You can help but think.
Getting traffic to your site is something you know how to do. You’ve got the SEO, social media, and content marketing down. You have ads and paid marketing campaigns running — they seem to be doing well.
What you’re lacking is conversion optimization.
CRO is an all-together valuable investment akin to your digital marketing. With it, you increase the total people taking the desired action. You do more with what you’re doing well — but this is easier said than done.
Stick with us.
You’ll learn the conversion rate optimization basics in this guide. So, get your notes ready because is the most important guides you’ll read all year.
Conversion Optimization: A Quick Overview
Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is a process of improving outcomes. Most refer to improving sales with CRO but it can include a lot of things. This could include getting more newsletter sign-ups to social media shares.
Why Conversion Rate Optimization Matters
Many owners do one of two things:
Throw more resources at bumping up the traffic to increase engagement
Doubling down on what works and getting more from existing users
The fallacy of the first (traffic) is that it’s an infinite struggle. You can drive as much traffic as you want to a site but your conversion rate remains the same.
The other lets you save money on traffic generation.
CRO leverages analytics and data-driven decisions to convert more users. In doing so, acquisition costs plummet because you already have user attention. An owner could then use freed-up capital to offer more to those interested.
Setting a Conversion Rate Baseline
Knowing your conversion rate is the first step in its improvement.
Your conversion rate is this: (Conversions / Visitors) x 100% = CR %
You can apply this conversion rate formula to any trackable goal. This could include conversion rate for product pages to the individual add. So, in total, you’ll find what isn’t working for each stage of the marketing funnel.
Pick one item and dedicate your resources without overlapping efforts.
Put Conversion Optimization into Action
Now we’re into the juicy parts of the post: putting CRO into action.
The concept of CRO is quite simple: Compare A to B, then use the better one.
Inching an extra 1% conversion rate out of a goal may not seem like much. But, think of the value on a large scale. A 1% bump could spur thousands of more social shares, profits, and the like.
Central to CRO is A/B testing — let’s explore into how it meshes together:
1. Set Up Your Conversion Tracking Tools
There are many conversion tracking tools to choose from:
…and any platform you’re using offering detailed campaign data. These provide reports you’ll use in directing your CRO strategies and resources.
You could also use:
Surveys and polling
Heat mapping tools
Pick one (or several) and begin recording data. With them, you’ll identify well-performing pages, offers, and campaigns. You’ll also get insights on what isn’t doing well to which you could choose to improve it.
2. Define Your Intention, Goal, and Hypothesis
You’re answering these questions:
What do I want to improve?
What’s not working with it at this moment?
What could I do to make an improvement?
There are several items you could test — here are examples:
Headlines — Testing the copy, tone, and even the size
Usability — Removing elements to prevent distractions
Layout — Reworking the structure so it’s easier to understand
CTA — Trying a new colour, copy, or placement
Open Rates — Using different timing, emotion, and formatting
Quality Control — Comparing and removing low performers
Media — Swapping in/out photos or videos
Think of the end goal of your conversion efforts and work backwards. Set the goal, form a hypothesis how you’ll achieve it, then make a plan.
3. Run the Tests
Have your target for testing? Great, now you’ll break it in two:
A few ways of creating variables include:
Landing pages to test on-page elements
Scripts to test social media shares and ad copy
Create the two variants of a page and begin driving traffic split between them. Gather as much data as you can to later make an informed decision. Then, compare the results between the two — choosing the higher performer.
Variant A: The existing page
Variant B: The same page with a new headline
If you noticed an uptick on the later then it becomes your new baseline. You can return to this testing for further improvements. You’ll repeat this process over and over until satisfied with your conversion rate.
Quick Note for Success
Go for “big wins” when starting CRO versus inking out fractional changes. These are likely items like bounce rate and shopping cart abandonment.
Drive quality traffic to your tested items else your data becomes skewed. Organic search traffic delivers the best data since it’s natural user discovery. But, paid traffic does work given you’re targeting the right audience.
Conversion Rates and Desired Actions: Wrap Up
Conversion optimization lets you get more out of traffic and lead generation. In doing so, you’ll increase profit margins while saving resources.
That is… if you are willing to commit.
We shared an overview, strategies, and tools for CRO. We can’t guarantee you’ll see it effective if you only took notes and put it off on your “to do” list.
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