For traffic on your website to be valuable, your site visitors must perform a desired action on your pages. Besides making a purchase, these actions could include scheduling a product demo, subscribing to an email newsletter or following your social pages. So when you’re not seeing these activities on your site, what can you do? This is where Conversion Rate Optimisation, also known as CRO, comes in.
Conversion Rate Optimisation is the process of optimising website elements to turn site visitors into “known” contacts (i.e. collecting contact information) or even better into paying customers. Most of it involves designing and writing in a way that speaks to your target market, whilst at the same time driving each visitor down a funnel with a particular call to action (CTA) at the end.
Now you may be asking, when do you know you need to optimise for conversion? In this guide, we’ll discuss the basics of CRO, help you point out indicators of a poorly optimised site, and share improvement tips if your site or storefront needs work.
The Basics of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
What is a conversion?
In general, a conversion refers to a desired action being taken on your website. That in of itself illustrates just how important being strategic with your Call To Actions (CTAs) is.
For example, an eCommerce company will consider a purchase a successful conversion. However, a non-profit organization will be looking at something more like membership or a donation.
Here are the 10 most common types of conversion on a website:
- Product purchase;
- Signup for a subscription;
- Newsletter signup;
- Form Submission;
- Download (eg app/software);
- Engaging with chat or chatbot;
- Social follow;
- Button press*.
*It should be noted that the button press is a much more passive conversion than the previous 9 because it doesn’t actually involve the collection of any visitor identifiers.
So to summarise: a conversion is a factor you decide on for your business. It should be part of your online strategy decided before building your website or putting out an advertisement.
How to calculate your conversion rate
Your conversion rate (CVR) is simply the percentage of site visitors that performed your desired CTA (as above). To calculate your conversion rate, take the number of people who complete a conversion and divide it by your total number of visitors.
Let’s say you set sending an e-mail inquiry as a conversion. If 1,000 people visited your site and 30 of them sent an inquiry, your conversion rate formula would look like this:
How’s the Conversion Rate of your website looking?
Your conversion rate is a great indicator of how well your website is performing. We recommend that you keep an eye on it along with other metrics. To find out how you’re doing, check your site conversion rate using Google Analytics or a similar analytics platform you prefer.
In general, there is no overarching guideline for what a good or bad conversion rate is. Your Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) should be looked at in context of your industry, target market and CTA strategy. The goal of CRO, however, is always to improve so if it’s your first time checking your conversion rate and it’s only at 5%, make it your goal to increase that to 6% next month.
Having said that, I will mention that if your primary CTA (the action you most want to take on your website) is below 2% then running a Conversion Rate Optimisation campaign will extremely beneficial for you.
To put things into perspective: statistics show that on average a landing page converts at just over 2%. However, it’s common knowledge in the industry that conversion optimisation is an underappreciated art. Many businesses prioritise quantity over quality. Therefore the data is skewed.
Among CRO professionals, it’s agreed that 10% is the sweet spot that all websites should be aiming for.
Benefits of a Conversion Optimised Website
Having a low conversion rate isn’t directly harmful to your business, but it means you’re potentially missing out on welcoming a lot of new customers. To put it another way, if you have a low conversion rate then you are leaving money on the table, which is definitely an indicator of needing CRO for your website.
However, even the biggest businesses could use further optimisation on their websites. Conversion Rate Optimisation should be a continuous process for businesses wanting to get more out of their site traffic.
Apart from getting more customers from your current site traffic, here are a few more benefits to having a conversion optimised website:
- Your acquisition cost per customer goes down;
- The ROI for marketing activities goes up;
- You are able to earn more profits, which in turn means more money to be reinvesting in the company.
Conversion Rate Optimisation can be a game-changer for your business, especially if you have a limited budget for marketing. Optimising your page to match what your customers need help you get the most out of every dollar you’re spending to promote your business.
Conversion Optimisation in UI/UX
You may be thinking that Conversion Rate Optimisation sounds like a lot of work but one key element is simply adjusting your current website to match what your customers are looking for. In other words, CRO requires that your user interface and user experience are on point.
As with any work involving design, knowing your users is key to doing conversion optimisation right. Learn how they access information, what they’re looking for, and even how they speak. Only then should you proceed and optimise the following elements on your site:
Usability includes your site speed, ease of navigation, and optimisation to different devices (eg mobile responsiveness). If you find that you receive a lot of traffic from mobile devices, make sure that the text is displayed in a readable font size and that the images are an appropriate size for a mobile screen.
These are factors that every visitor notices first upon landing on a website. You want to make sure that these things are sorted out. To quickly check, you can run a quick technical SEO audit using a tool like GTmetrix.
Just FYI, one of the critical elements for optimisation is the images. They need to be optimised for web so they don’t cause your site to take too long to load. Additionally, think about how you can structure your pages so your visitors know exactly where to find what they need.
The other side of the coin is the actual look of the website. The design has to be in line with your brand strategy. Within this, you should have already highlighted your why and how that links to the needs of your audience. Your colours, fonts, icons and images should be chosen with care.
When a visitor lands on your website, they should instantly feel at home. This positive psychology is known to vastly increase the conversion rate of a site. Material Design is a great resource for techniques to apply to building high-quality digital experiences.
Align with Targeting
It’s worth reiterating that the information you provide on your website should be aligned with your target audience and what they would typically look for. Check your analytics — an oversight in this area may be the cause of a high bounce rate.
To optimise for conversion, make your homepage a summary of everything a potential customer needs to know. Communicate what you do, quickly clarify any helpful details, and be transparent with your prices.
Poorly written website copy can communicate unreliability. Develop a powerful marketing message that resonates with your visitors. Also, ensure that everything you write on your website is error-free and written in a voice your audience understands.
Installing a tool like Grammarly can help you spot grammar and spelling errors when writing copy. If you’re serving an international customer base, consider localising your copy for non-English speakers.
Tools to Increase Website Conversions
Much of conversion optimisation also includes reminding your site visitors to take action. You can do this by integrating tools that can gently nudge your visitors into performing the action you want them to.
Here are a few tools to consider, especially if your goal is to get customers to reach out:
Just as they’re called, pop-ups are sets of text and images that pop up in a certain part of your website. Most businesses use pop-ups to inform site visitors of ongoing promos or to encourage them to sign up for their newsletter.
The great thing about a popup is that they can be triggered without clicking a button. For example, you could instruct a popup to engage after a user scrolls a certain amount.
Pop-ups can be effective tools for conversion optimisation, but we recommend using them thoughtfully as these can cause an intrusion to a user’s experience.
Integrating a chatbox to your website can help potential customers get answers to their questions faster and could consequently encourage them to do business with you. In return, you should be collecting at least one piece of contact info. These are the messaging icons you usually see on the lower right of a website.
There are various chatbox apps you can choose from, like MobileMonkey and ZenDesk. You can use one of these services to integrate a chat assistant on your site, or you can have your website developer create a custom one for you.
If you count demos and appointments as a conversion, integrating an appointment scheduler on your website offers your site visitors an uncomplicated process to get there.
Calendar scheduling apps like Calendly allow you to list up your available hours and show them to site visitors interested in discussing your product or service further. Once they pick a schedule, a meeting will automatically be set on both parties’ calendars. It takes less than 5 minutes and has been proven to get more results than just displaying a contact number on your site.
Conversion Rate Optimisation as a Service
If you need help optimising your website for conversion, you can hire CRO specialists like Wow Ventures to identify critical points and implement a combination of site elements that work.
Here’s what you can expect to happen when you decide to hire a Conversion Rate Optimisation specialist for your website:
This stage includes identifying elements on your website that need to be adjusted to match your goals and your target audience’s preferences.
Done properly this usually requires special software to collect the various input information and up to a month of analysis to properly analyse the onsite behaviours of consumers.
After that the specialist will pitch you the results and give recommendations of how to improve the conversion rate.
A/B testing is the process of putting out two variations of the same element to see which variation performs better. In this stage, a CRO specialist will take all the site elements that needs improvement and create more effective versions of each.
Depending on how much traffic your site gets, A/B testing may take about 2–3 months to complete. If you’re short on time, your specialist may suggest running a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign to speed up this stage. The key to accurately determining a ‘winner’ when A/B testing is to get a good amount of people interacting with all variables.
In this last step, your conversion rate specialist will take all A/B test winners and implement them on your website. The result may be a complete overhaul or just minor but impactful changes to your messaging.
Conversion Rate Optimisation is a process every business should repeat whenever an opportunity for growth is spotted. Bringing in new customers could mean developing new marketing messages and page layouts. Keeping conversion optimisation in mind helps you stay on track and ensure that every site element has a purpose.
After a CRO campaign is completed, it’s highly recommended that you partake in maintenance of some kind. Usually, this is a watered-down version of the core CRO campaign. This will help you keep an eye on conversion rates and make small changes as you go.