Digital marketing encompasses multiple different but equal parts worthwhile end goals. Search engine visibility, brand awareness, brand trust, and other metrics will converge to inform your campaigns’ effectiveness.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) typically handles many such goals, from search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings to user engagement. However, SEO arguably seeks to drive lead generation more so than increase conversion rates directly. While that is a very worthy goal, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) focuses explicitly on the latter part. But what is CRO, exactly? Let us devote this article to exploring all you need to know about it.
What Is a Conversion?
Before delving into CRO, it is vital to define our terms–starting with conversions themselves.
We typically define conversion as any desirable action a user takes. These naturally include completed purchases but extend far beyond them, depending on a website’s or marketing material’s goal. Google Analytics identifies two distinct conversion types:
- Micro conversions–activities that push the user down the sales funnel, such as form completions and email signups, and
- Macro conversions–completed transactions
It also divides them into four distinct conversion groups:
- Acquisition: creating an account
- Inquiry: actions that denote purchasing intent, such as product detail views, or interest, such as estimate requests
- Engagement: engagement with on-site media, including viewing infographics and product demo videos
- Revenue: actions that finalise purchases, such as appointments and reservations, and completed transactions
Therefore, CRO efforts will need to focus on the conversion type in question specifically. Seeking to increase engagement conversions, for example, requires an entirely different approach to increasing revenue conversions, despite the fundamental overlap.
Calculating Conversion Rates
Finally, on the front of definitions, let us explore how one typically calculates conversion rates.
The general calculation is fairly simple; (leads/visitors) x 100 = conversion rate %. So if a website has 1,000 visitors and 25 of them convert, that would be (25/1,000) x 100, thus a 2.5% conversion rate.
However, there are two distinct types of websites regarding conversions; sites where visitors can convert manifold and sites where visitors may only convert once.
In the former case, one may calculate a user’s conversion rate as such; (unique orders/sessions) x 100. So a user who visited a site 10 times and converted 7 has a conversion rate of (7/10) x100, or 70%. In turn, a site’s overall conversion rates would be (all unique orders/total number of sessions) x100.
In the latter case, a visitor cannot convert in multiple sessions. Therefore, the calculation, in this case, needs to be the general calculation above essentially; (unique orders/unique users) x 100. So a website with 1,000 unique visitors and 50 unique orders has a conversion rate of (50/1,000) x 100, or 5%.There are two distinct types of websites regarding conversions; sites where visitors can convert manifold and sites where visitors may only convert once. Click To Tweet
What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
Having covered these definitions, we may now better contextualise CRO.
CRO is a series of practices that seeks to optimise conversion rates, as the name suggests. It typically overlaps with Landing Page Optimisation (LPO), as it focuses on the on-page elements that drive conversions. Doing so focuses on increasing the number of visitors that convert instead of merely increasing visitors.
Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimisation
The benefits of CRO are plentiful, but we may safely merge them down into 2 major categories. Namely, an enhanced overall User Experience (UX) and better marketing Return on Investment (ROI).
1 Enhanced UX
CRO delves into all converting factors, from page loading speed and more straightforward navigation to refined Call to Action (CTA) buttons. In doing so, it enhances the UX across all four stages of the sales funnel:
- Discovery–improving the initial contact through an optimised website
- Research–highlighting a value proposition over the alternatives
- Conversion–facilitating easier conversions through simplified processes
- Post-sale engagement – personalising the experience for better post-sale communication
CRO synergises with and can be informed by various analytics and marketing tools. Examples include:
- Audience Segmentation through such software as Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Remarketing and retargeting through email marketing tools and Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, respectively
- Further content optimisations through website analytics tools like click, scroll, and hover heat maps
This kind of synergy, its marketing benefits aside, can offer many UX improvements through personalisation across customer journeys. Through acting on such insights as that Google Analytics gathers, you may provide your visitors with tailor-made experiences.
2 Better ROI
The process of CRO facilitates much better ROI for your existing marketing endeavours. Among other benefits, consider the following:
- Email marketing personalisation — audience segmentation allows you to personalise outreach to existing leads, from newsletters to follow-up emails.
- Better revenue without extra traffic — optimising conversions yields more revenue for existing campaigns without needing more leads to do so.
- More valuable page insights — focusing on high-value, high-converting pages allows webmasters to focus their tests on more lucrative modifications.
Elements of Conversion Rate Optimisation
Finally, before delving into the process itself, let us briefly highlight the elements that warrant it. While CRO professionals may focus on multiple elements, the primary ones are arguably 5.
1 Page speed
The very first contact a visitor has with your website is, in fact, its loading time. Research has shown time and time again that page speed directly correlates with bounce rates. For an example, Search Engine Journal reports the following, based on Google/SOASTA’s research:
- “A 3 seconds load time increases bounce rates by 32% (when compared to a one-second load time).”
- “A 5 seconds load time can increase your bounce rates by 90%.”
As such, conversion rate optimisation can only begin with trying not to lose potential leads over slow loading speeds.
2 Ease of Navigation
Once visitors have chosen to stay on your website, other vital metrics inform final conversions. Among them, consider ones that SEO stresses, such as the following:
- Time on site
- Pages per session
These are primarily informed by the ease of navigation. Indeed, users who can’t quickly and easily navigate from one valuable page to another will typically leave without converting. A solid, clean structure will address such concerns, improve conversion rates, and enhance overall UX in the process.
3 Landing pages
Landing pages are where CRO and LPO overlap by definition. The one aspect of landing pages they converge on most strongly is arguably aesthetics; how visually pleasing a page is. This can include many on-page elements but will frequently focus on layout and the psychology of colours. How colours and secondary elements incite engagement, facilitate better content absorption, and pronounce CTAs. Other elements will commonly include copy and CTAs, but those extend beyond landing pages alone.
On the subject of copy, this is the element that will ultimately allure your visitors to convert. In this regard, CRO may overlap with SEO and address the following:
- Formatting — is your content well-formatted, with headings, subheadings, bullet lists, and other elements breaking up large texts?
- Readability — does your choice of font, size, and colour match your website’s design and your brand’s identity?
- Style and tone — does your copy’s style effectively represent your brand and resonate with your audiences?
- Accuracy — is your copy factually accurate and up-to-date?
- Relevant — is your copy relevant to your audiences, and does it attract their interest?
Finally, CTAs are your direct calls for visitors to convert. As such, it is imperative for CRO to optimize them to drive more conversions. Here, consider such factors as the following:
- Visibility — are your CTAs immediately visible, or does visual clutter obscure them?
- Clarity — are your CTAs crystal-clear about what they offer, and do they present your propositions’ value?
- Urgency — does your CTA copy incite urgency to incite more conversions?
Naturally, much like the overall copy, some elements of CTAs will strictly depend on your own unique audiences. For example, a tone that may work for another industry may not resonate with audiences for yours. But other elements, like visibility and clarity, are arguably universal.
The Conversion Rate Optimisation Process
Having highlighted all the above, let us conclude by following the typical CRO process. While exact steps will vary from one campaign to the next, the process is conceptually identical in all cases.
1 Audience Research
Every such process must begin with research, and CRO does not differ. Here, you may use data from Google Analytics, heat maps, and other tools to gain insights into your audiences’ behaviour. Doing so will allow you to identify areas that may warrant improvement.
With such insights in hand, you may then form hypotheses. Your data may suggest, for example, that you need to make CTAs more compelling or that users lack purchasing confidence. The point of this step is not to reach concrete conclusions yet, but only to make educated guesses. Even if you’re proven wrong, you will have informed your subsequent CRO efforts.
With a solid hypothesis, you may then begin to apply modifications to areas of potential value. However, to ensure your implementation doesn’t hamper your current conversion rates, you should conduct controlled tests to gauge efficiency. Depending on your site and goals, you may consider one of the three types of tests for this step:
- A/B testing
- Split testing
- Multivariate testing
Your tests should soon yield some preliminary results. These will help you measure your theories’ validity and your efforts’ efficiency. Even if your modifications do pay off, however, you should still measure ROI; does their benefit justify the implementation investment? If not, you may need to turn your attention elsewhere.
5 Monitoring and Readjustments
Finally, once you’ve committed to modifications, you should continue to use your analytics tools to monitor their long-term performance. As with all marketing efforts, the need for readjustments to meet new market demands may arise. When it does, you will need to engage in CRO anew.
To summarise, CRO is an overarching set of practices that seeks to optimise conversion rates. Increased revenue aside, it yields the distinct benefits of an improved UX and better marketing ROI. It typically concerns on-site elements, including loading speed, navigation, landing pages, copy, and CTAs themselves. It is, however, a long-term endeavour that requires diligence and consistent monitoring to remain effective.
About the Author
Dylan Jacobson is a copywriter, editor, and digital marketing enthusiast working with Convert More. He frequently authors articles discussing the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, from Google’s algorithms to conversion challenges across industries. In his free time, he spends quality time with his family of 4 and their two dogs.
- PPC or SEO – Which Do You Need?
- Does Your Website Suffer from Poor Performance?
- Reasons Why Video is Good for Your Content Marketing
- What Are Some B2B Lead Generation Strategies Specific to the Nigerian Market?
- Why SEO Is the New Way for Businesses to Succeed Online
Did you like the article? Please pin it!