What is CRO? Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is an important phrase in the world of online marketing. Almost everyone knows about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it drives online traffic to your site. Unfortunately, many site owners have no clue what to do next.
How do you drive those potential customers to go from random surfer to actual customer?
That is where CRO comes in. While SEO generates traffic, CRO works to convert that traffic into actual leads, sales, or actions. Through a series of scientific processes, CRO can deliver steadily improving results.
But Really, What is CRO?
Simply put, Conversion Rate Optimization is the constant process of analyzing marketing and sales. Using accumulated data, you can develop best practices to achieve a higher rate of conversions. This means that your site is finely tuned to encourage visitors to perform a specific action. CRO helps your business convert random online traffic into a paying customer.
Types of conversions
Conversions can be broken down into macro-conversions and micro-conversions. Each relates to a different type of action. Examples of macro-conversions are getting a site visitor to request a quote, subscribe to your service, or purchase a product. Micro-conversions are getting a surfer to create an account on your site, sign up for an email list, or add a product to a shopping cart or wish list.
Techniques used to Determine Conversion Rate
Conversions are determined by action. Each time a person visits your site, the potential for conversion increases.
The consumer can perform an action on each site visit
If your site is set up so that there is more than one action that can be taken, the conversion rate would be determined based on the number of actions and the number of site visits.
For example, if Visitor A comes and explores your site, but does not complete an action beyond simple clicking around, that is not a conversion. The next day, the same visitor might return and sign up for an account – that is a conversion. On the third visit, the visitor signs up for an online course – another conversion. The same visitor has come three times, resulting in two successful conversions.
In order to determine your conversion rate in this example, divide the number of conversions (2) by the number of sessions (3). The result is that your conversion rate is 66 percent.
The consumer can only perform one action, regardless of the number of site visits
If your site only allows users to take one action, such as signing up for a subscription service, basing the conversion rate on visits won’t provide reliable results. In this example, a user might visit once and look around, resulting in no conversion. During their second visit, they subscribe to the service that you offer, creating the conversion. After that, they visit the site and access additional information available behind the subscriber paywall.
Each user is capable of creating one unique action, or conversion, no matter how many times they visit the site. In this example, a site may receive 2,000 unique visitors resulting in 500 of them subscribing to gain access to information behind a paywall. The number of subscription sales (500) is divided by the number of unique visits (2,000), giving that site a conversion rate of 25 percent.
Increasing Conversion Rate with A/B Testing
A/B testing, or split testing, is a way to determine what features work best on your landing page to create successful conversions. Most sites that employ this method utilize software programs that work behind the scenes on their sites.
The software utilizes “switches” to alternate between different landing pages. One page might have larger “Click Here” buttons or simply a different header. By alternating the views, and maintaining click-through statistics, you can gauge which view is more effective in converting the surfer to the buyer.
Split testing, normally conducted over a period of time, but can yield continuous and ever-improving results. The goal is to increase the click-through rate on your site.
Other Methods to Improve Conversion Rates
There are many different ways to improve a web site’s click-through rate. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people that “bounce” away or leave your site, without performing an action.
Having a “Call to Action” or “Click Here” button prominently displayed is recommended. A/B testing can help you place this action button in the best location on your landing page with the best wording. Your button might say “Subscribe” or “Add to Cart” or “Sign Up” or almost any word or words that will create the desired result. Split testing can help you figure out what works best with your specific audience.
Experimenting with different site layouts can help decrease bounce rates also. Your landing page should tell visitors what your business offers and why you are better than your competition. The instructions on how to get what you are offering should be clear and concise. Again, split testing can help you determine what works best for your site.
Use funneling to direct the actions of your visitors. This simply means to guide a visitor through steps to keep them on your site. A funnel, wider at the top and gradually tapering down to the bottom, guide your site visitors from a beginning to a final sale. First, you must attract them to your site. Once they are there, you need to engage them. Supply more information at each stage to keep visitors interested. Then you make your sales pitch. After the sale, be sure to remember your customers. Unless you have a one-time product, you want those customers coming back.
What Benefits Are There to Using CRO?
There are many other benefits to CRO that will increase your long-term sales ability.
One of the most helpful benefits of CRO is that it gives you a much better understanding of your customers. This improves the customer experience and can help determine other products that your customers will be interested in.
Using CRO to constantly improve your site will continue to build the reputation of your site. Getting consumer trust is huge for online retailers and service providers. Keeping that consumer trust is an on-going process.
CRO greatly increases your ranking on Google, which places you higher on search engine results. Most web users start on a search engine to locate websites that are offering something they desire. Online consumers generally click on the first results displayed on a search engine while ignoring the rest. By consistently utilizing SEO and CRO, your site will rank higher in search results, garnering those first-time visitors before your competition.