Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is the missing link between driving customers to your website, and driving sales from the customers that actually visit your site.
Sure, you might have stellar leads, but are you closing the deal? Or perhaps you have a perfect landing page, but if no one knows about it, what good does it do for you?
These concepts, alone, do not do much for you. But when you can successfully combine them, you can track your success by focusing on conversion rate optimization.
You want your website to convert; conversions can occur in different places all over the site: homepage, pricing page, blog, landing pages, sales pages, etc. But did you know that each of these individual places can be optimized for a larger number of conversions? This process, you may have guessed, is called conversion rate optimization.
Why CRO should matter to you
Let’s say you walk into a brick and mortar store with an automated credit card paying system, filled with merchandise, but there are no employees around. Maybe you are looking for shoes, or a specific jacket, or you are just there to browse.
Now, imagine that you have a question about a product, need a specific size that isn’t readily available, or you want to make a payment using cash instead of a credit card; what do you do? If you can’t find employees, you’ll probably just leave the store and go to a different one that is better designed to suit your needs.
Now, take that same example, and imagine that your website is the store, and visitors are the customer. Do you want them wandering around, wishing they had guidance, or would you rather cater the entire experience to their needs, ensuring they will make the purchase before leaving?
The answer is obvious, and conversion rate optimization is the key to creating the ideal environment for your future visitors’ experience.
How to ensure Conversion Rate Optimization
So you know what it is, but do you know how to optimize your pages for conversions? If not, you’re in luck, because we are going to explain it for you and give you a set of CRO tools that you can start using now. Let’s start with methods to calculate your current conversion rate.
There are two situations to consider when calculating your website conversion rate, and the way to decide is based on the type of online business you run. If you have a website where users can convert multiple times, we’ll call you Type A.
Type A includes websites that sell products or experiences that the user can purchase over and over.
If your website allows users to only convert once, we’ll call you Type B.
Type B includes websites that sell a subscription.
If someone, we’ll call them USER 1, visits a Type A website, we’d take the total number of times USER 1 converted (typically through a purchase) and divide it by the total number of sessions that USER 1 accumulated.
So, if USER 1 visited your website 5 times, but only converted (purchased, signed up for, etc.) 3 times, we’d divide 3 / 5, meaning you had a 60% conversion.
Type B websites are different because their users can only convert once.
If USER 1, USER 2, and USER 3 all visit a Tybe B website, but only one of them converts (subscribes), we’d divide unique orders (subscriptions) by unique users (3 – USER 1, 2, AND 3), giving us a 33% conversion.
The first step to calculating your conversion rates is determining if you are a Type A or Type B website. If you offer both types, that is fine, just calculate CRO for different destinations on your website.
How are your rates?
If they aren’t as high as you’d like, don’t be too distraught. Fixing your conversion rate optimization isn’t as difficult as you’d think!
What is a good conversion rate?
You may wonder if your conversion rate is good, but you wouldn’t know without any context. What you need to do is either watch your conversion rate as it evolves through time and make sure it improves consistently, or see how you rank against the industry.
Now, when you compare your business to the industry, then there are some common pitfalls you’d want to avoid. One of these has to do with how the benchmarks are calculated. Often times the average industry CRO stats are not the best measures to rank against.
What if you could narrow down and compare your CRO efforts to your specific industry sector? Being able to find how businesses similar to yours perform will probably help you plan a better CRO strategy. Smart Insights has published a compilation of the average conversion rates for retail sites and other industry sectors.
3 key tools for CRO
Here you will find three easy to use tools to help optimize your conversion rates for individual landing pages, complete websites or throughout your sales funnels. Of course, if you’d like help, our experts here at DoneForYou are always more than happy to assist you.
You are hopefully already using Google Analytics, and if you aren’t, please sign up now. The data you can access is too valuable to pass up, and in the case of optimizing your conversion rate, the data we want is called “bounce rate.”
Bounce rate is, basically, when a visitor comes to your webpage and does not interact with it in any way. This could be because they immediately saw the information they needed and closed out, didn’t read anything, or visited by accident.
A bounce is when no recordable engagement with the landing page happens and the visit ends with a single-page visit.
Knowing your bounce rate for specific pages can help you optimize your conversion rates, and checking back on the data frequently will let you know if you are improving or not.
Google Analytics should also be used to track conversions using “goals.” Goals are events that you set, for example form submissions or successful purchases, with which you can track conversions inside Google Analytics.
When your set goals properly, then you are able to measure conversions across complete sales funnels. In other words, with Google Analytics goals in place you’d know the conversion rate for each traffic source and user path.
Crazy Egg and Lucky Orange are perfect examples of these tools, because they let you see which of your pages are getting clicks, how fast people are bouncing between links, and how long they are spending on each page. There are plenty of plugins for this if you are using WordPress, and they can help you determine where you need to increase your CRO.
A heatmap tool records visitor sessions, providing you with insights on visitor behavior while they’re browsing your website. They also show indications of user intent. Key features of heatmap tools for CRO include heatmaps and click maps. This is how a heatmap looks:
Speed Optimization Tools
Often times users get bored, and according to kissmetrics nearly 40% of users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Conversion is a tricky business, and speeding up your loading times could be exactly what you need to hook those users who are in a hurry.
Speed optimization is a science and an art by itself; one quick fix you can implement right now is to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network), like Cloudflare, to speed up content delivery. Simply put, what a CDN does is deliver your web page content using servers that are closer to your user’s location. With a CDN, your website will load faster.
CRO next steps
With these CRO tools and information you should have a solid, albeit basic, understanding of what conversion rate optimization is and how to start implementing a CRO process on your website and sales funnels.
If you have any questions about sales funnel CRO, please feel free to reach out to us on Facebook or schedule a strategy session. If you know your website needs to increase its CRO metrics but you don’t have the time to diagnose your problem areas, we are more than happy to help.