At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s important to have a well-designed website to drive engagement and to show your products and services at their best. But it’s even better when these things work together harmoniously to create a commercial outcome.
Getting a visitor to your website shouldn’t be where your focus starts and ends. The final step in the customer journey is turning a prospect into a customer, and this is where conversion rate optimisation can make all the difference.
What is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)?
Conversion rate optimisation is a structured approach to improving the performance and conversions on your website by testing how customers behave and engage with each page on your site, from tone and style of copy, through to call to action positioning and visualisation.
However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to CRO, the magic formula for driving more conversion activity is all dependent on your business context, and getting under the skin of how your buyers think and act.
At its simplest, CRO is about testing and analysing website interaction results, to unearth technical or design speed bumps which customers may face and be put off by. It can be viewed as the overlapping area between Persuasion Marketing, Experience Design and Scientific Method.
Persuasion Marketing is focused around delivering a strong value proposition that captures the interest of your buyers. This approach creates a motivation for completing your call to action by presenting it to the right people with the right message at the right time.
Experience Design is focused on more transactional elements and helps your website users complete an action by making it as simple and enjoyable as possible to engage with the structure of your website and individual pages.
Scientific Method brings into play testing how both of the previous aspects behave on page and how they affect your customer journeys, measured through continuous testing against hypotheses you have about site performance.
10 reasons why you should be looking to CRO to drive conversions
- Your website can always be improved
There are always ways to improve user journeys and to simplify the conversion process on your website, despite already driving good traffic or how well you think your website is designed. Your website analytics and tools such as Crazy Egg can provide a detailed picture of what’s working ‘on page’, and more importantly what’s not. Small and incremental change can make big impact.
- CRO helps you understand your audience
It’s important to understand that more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more conversions. Improving the conversion process will help you understand what areas of your online marketing are truly performing and what audiences are worth focusing your time and money on to improve the quality of traffic being driven to your website. On page engagement (or lack of) can also highlight micro area of focus for improvement based around user behaviour.
- Increasing spend is not the solution
The cost and competitiveness of search engine, social, affiliate and other paid advertising is continually rising, therefore it’s vital you address the current issues with your paths to conversion by focusing on the existing journeys of your website users. User paths aren’t always as linear as you imagine them to be when planning your content structure, so ‘real data’ can be invaluable in helping you to spot ‘persona’ trends and behavioural traits.
- It’s completely measurable
Using conversion funnels and in-page click data, you can clearly see the direction your website visitors are taking. Understanding drop-off points along the customer journey helps you to improve your conversion funnel by making design changes and creating alternative user paths and calls to action. CRO can be particularly useful for helping you to create a more impactful homepage to signpost site visitors to the information they want quickly and smoothly. Landing pages can also be A/B tested around CRO principles to determine your best conversion page structure.
- You’ll reduce your cost per acquisition (CPA)
Improving your website’s conversion process can drive down your cost per acquisition, meaning the cost of each new customer converted via your website will reduce. over time if you are CRO-focused. If you’re dealing with a heavy website traffic this can have a significant impact on your bottom line or sales and marketing pipeline.
- CRO improves ROI
By reducing your cost per acquisition through CRO you can maximise profits across online channels by only spending on those that drive conversions at a lower CPA. So CRO is a great method for helping you to identify the areas of marketing spend that just aren’t working for you – helping your budget by focusing your efforts on areas of best impact.
- CRO increases your marketing budget
Increasing profit by reducing your CPA and driving more conversions by targeting the right audience means your marketing budget is being used more effectively. Any additional budget can then be spent on additional online marketing tactics you know are most effective and profitable.
- CRO makes your website more attractive to others
Having a higher conversion rate makes your website more attractive to new and existing affiliates, more so than competitor websites. A higher performing website will also support your SEO efforts and move your site up the page rankings.
- CRO prevents visitors looking elsewhere
Serving visitors with the right type of content and keeping them on your website longer reduces their need to visit other websites to find the information they were searching for. CRO in this sense can drive brand loyalty if site visitors enjoy using your site and can easily interact with your site content to find the information they need.
- You’ll outperform your competitors
By offering your website visitors a simple, user-friendly journey, while serving them with the right content and doing it in a way that’s more engaging than that of your competitors, your customers are more likely to convert. This means you’ll quickly see more high-quality conversions and leads than your closest rivals.
There are huge opportunities available for businesses that look to CRO to optimise conversion rates, yet currently only a small percentage of marketers are leveraging its advantage. A report from Venture Beat reveals that the average ROI on CRO tools is 223%, proof that putting these tools into place can generate tangible results.
But bear in mind, it isn’t simply a case of implementing these new tools once, and then never looking at them again . You must review and test regularly and treat CRO as a long term commitment. It will be worth the investment though, which is primarily ‘time’, as CRO can generate more sales, more leads and more customers ,without having to drive additional traffic to your site. An easy win if you can perfect your CRO model!