What is Conversion Rate Optimization? Everything You Need to Know

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CRO 101 and 10 Pro Tips for Excellent Conversions

Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO is a term in digital marketing.

CRO is a method of improving a website’s capability to move users through the owner’s desired funnel and end up tapping or clicking on the wanted CTA or call-to-action.

The process is essentially increasing how much of your website visitors will take your chosen desired action. An action can be subscribing to a service, sending their email address, clicking on an ad, purchasing a product, or any other end.

For example, if you want to get users who are leaving the site to remain interested in your brand, you can use exit popups as an optimization. When the user moves the mouse towards the X button of the tab, a popup will appear and offer them a promo code requiring their email address.

The bait is the promo code, and the means for the user to receive it is to give their email address (the CTA) so that you can send the details (a valuable excuse). What you could get is that the user will not leave the site and use the promo code during a purchase (another CTA), or, at least, you have the email address for additional engagement with your email marketing.

Conversion Rate Optimization touches on a wide array of factors that impact conversion for your website.

Its range includes website aesthetics and design, ease of navigation, mobile compatibility, quality of content, loading speed, payment methods, proper checkout, and more.

One of the staple tools for checking the quality of the elements of your website when doing CRO is A/B Testing. This strategy allows you to check whether something you are going to put on your website works for your target audience.

A/B Testing ensures that you only use elements that work and get people to convert.

When done correctly, you will have a website that has excellent metrics – minimized bounce rates, low cart abandonment, high click-through rates, tremendous engagement and, most importantly, high conversion.

A Brief History of CRO

Conversion rate optimization is also known as website optimization.

CRO was born because eCommerce marketers started needing improvement for their website’s performance. This happened following the dot-com bubble in the 1990s, which was a stock market bubble that occurred because of rampant speculation of Internet-inclined companies.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization Everything You Need To Know

After that boom, technology companies have become more aware of their spending as they invested more in website analytics. As a result, website building became more accessible, and web developers made millions of flawed user experience pages.

In the 2000s, competition grew more onerous for online companies. Website analysis tools were then available, and more focus shifted to improving website usability.

Internet marketers had to produce metrics for their strategies and improve their website’s user experience.

In 2004, internet marketers had acquired tools that enabled them to experiment with website design and content variations. The experiments allowed them to figure out which layouts, copy, offers, and images will better the user experience.

Testing started becoming accessible and mainstay. Optimization based on testing became more prominent in 2007 when Google Website Optimizer, a free tool, was introduced.

Now, website optimization and increasing conversion are vital aspects of most digital marketing campaigns.

For example, in 2017, a study involving digital marketers showed that 50% of respondents believed that CRO was essential to their general digital marketing.

Conversion Rate Optimization’s principles have many similarities to direct response marketing. They are both marketing approaches that emphasize testing, tracking, and constant improvement.

Direct marketing was made famous in the early twentieth century. The marketing strategy was supported by the creation of industry groups like the Direct Marketing Association, founded in 1917.

The association later became the Data & Marketing Association, acquired by the Association of National Advertisers in 2018.

Direct response marketers, similar to conversion rate optimization as we know it, also use A/B response tracking, split-testing, and audience testing. The difference is that the other one focuses on mail, radio, and print marketing campaigns, while CRO is for online marketing of websites.

The CRO Process

The goal of Conversion Rate Optimization is to increase the percentage of your website’s visitors that click through your Call-to-Action. CTAs are usually submitting details via a form, completing a purchase, subscribing for a trial, and others.

The process involves systematic testing of alternate versions of your page or its process. When done correctly, CRO enables businesses to generate a decent amount of leads or sales without investing a significant amount of money on website traffic.

CRO effectively increases the marketing return on investment or ROI and overall profitability.

The CRO Formula

The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete an action set by the site owner. We calculate it as the number of conversions divided by the total number of people who visited the website in a given period.

Conversion Rate = Conversions / Number of Visitors.

For example, you had 100 website users on Thursday. During that day, 16 of them sent you their email through the exit popup.

Your conversion rate for that day and particular CTA will be 16%.

Another example is if your eCommerce site had 200 users on Sunday, with 100 of them buying at least one item on your menu. Your conversion rate for that day and particular CTA will be 50%.

Now that you know the essentials of Conversion Rate Optimization, here are TEN pro tips that will help you convert effectively.

  1. Base CRO on the Principles of Customer Service.
  2. Allow Guest Checkout.
  3. Save the Share Button for After Checkout.
  4. Use as Many Payment Options as Possible.
  5. Use Customer Feedback in Your Copy.
  6. Be Creative in Getting Email Addresses.
  7. Display Your Recognitions.
  8. Go for Free Shipping.
  9. Study Your Competitors’ Websites.
  10. Outsource Your Digital Marketing.

Pro Tip No. 1: Base CRO on the Principles of Customer Service.

Everyone appreciates excellent customer service in retail stores, shopping centres, terminals, airports, government offices, spas, restaurants, and other places where we expect good treatment for our buck.

The same thing goes for your eCommerce website. Again, you need to see through the eyes of a guest using your eStore and ask yourself how you’d like to be treated that will entice you to buy or subscribe.

An enormous 89% of consumers switched to a competitor after poor customer experience with a brand.

Check the user experience from the moment you land on a page through the navigation, shopping and checkout. Also, you can ask your friends who are into your kind of offerings to try using your website as a kind of test or FGD.

The principles of customer acceptance and approval are your bases for A/B testing. Find a group of people who are into your niche and test your website and its elements with them.

Users and their satisfaction should be your focus. You cannot convert them if you cannot please them.

Pro Tip No. 2: Allow Guest Checkout.

This pro tip is something that many eCommerce store owners miss. They often think that they have to get the most out of interested buyers by letting people fill out a form during checkout.

They might also think that they’re already interested anyway, and they will probably push through with a sign-up. However, that would be right only a long time ago when the internet was new, and everyone was excited to subscribe to anything.

Today, people see the internet as a means to getting things, and they want that chore done in a flash. If you don’t allow guest checkout, you will quickly increase your cart abandonment.

Out of the population, 68.6% of people find filling out forms to be a tedious process.

Another reason for this is that people today are conscious of their privacy and security. They fear getting hacked, and it is a legitimate threat for some people, which is why they won’t want to give you their details.

So, the key is to make it fast and secure for everyone. Make subscription an option in your eStore and allow guest checkout.

Pro Tip No. 3: Save the Share Button for After Checkout.

Here’s another problem with eStore owners who think they have to get most of everything from interested shoppers. So they will often place share buttons for social media on almost every page and every step of the buying process.

They do not realize that they are veering the shoppers’ focus away from the primary CTA that will give them revenue. So, what you have to do is to let them shop and pay, entirely focused on that process.

When you distract the customers, they might click on buttons that will take them away from what they are doing that will give you profit. Remember that they want things fast and convenient, and if you put too many distractions, your website will make them have a tough and long time that they won’t like.

If you want customers to share your product, display the share buttons right after checkout. It’s an excellent time to ask them to share when they are happy because of the satisfaction given by a completed purchase.

They are extra and bonus CTAs. Let them focus on the primary process and CTA first.

Pro Tip No. 4: Use as Many Payment Options as Possible.

First of all, knowing your niche market’s financial profile and payment preferences should tell you what payment options are non-negotiable for your eCommerce business. Secondly, you should include more than the required for everyone else.

Include all debit and credit cards, eWallets and even dabble in COD when you can. You can’t tell when a boyfriend (not your audience) buys his girlfriend (part of your niche) a gift from your store.

The idea here is to be prepared to serve anyone, although you are targeting a particular audience.

Pro Tip No. 5: Use Customer Feedback in Your Copy.

The best people to speak about your product or service is the end-user or the customer. They know, first-hand, the actual value of your product.

They say things as they are in reviews and recommendations, and they speak the truth about how good or bad your product is.

You can use what they say in your copy. They are perfect for descriptions and promotions.

But, of course, you won’t get any valuable positive feedback if you have a lousy product. Hence, you have to focus on development, improvement and quality checking significantly.

Pro Tip No. 6: Be Creative in Getting Email Addresses.

Today, people are digitally fatigued, and they find pings and notifications annoying for communications that do not bring value. So, the first thing you should do is to perfect your email funnels.

Make sure that you categorize your leads and customers properly and customize what emails each group is getting. Make your emails value-oriented, which means that they feel like they are getting something important from them.

And, of course, you won’t be doing emails without a mailing list.

Here are some excellent examples of creative email ad fishing.

  • Contests and Games – Let people win at least a promo code that you will have to send them via email.
  • Exit Popups – For people leaving the page, as a last resort to grab their interest, display a popup that offers a discount code they can receive via email.
  • Free Trials – For a service, you can offer free trials that involve signing up.
  • Freebies – Offer a free book or any gift that will require their email address for them to receive.

Pro Tip No. 7: Display Your Recognitions.

People believe in big brands and business authorities. So when any of them recognizes you, you must leverage the honour and display it on the “recognized by,” “featured in” or accolades area on most of your information pages, in tandem with your awards.

This adds to your brand’s authority, and users will believe and trust your website more. It would be best if you did this in addition to non-negotiable trust and security badges on your eStore.

Pro Tip No. 8: Go for Free Shipping.

People do not like things to get complicated. For example, seeing complex freight weight cost calculations while shopping can make a customer hesitant to checkout.

Find a way to offer free shipping if you deliver products. Then, adjust your prices properly so that you give the service but still profit.

One tip for starting is to offer free shipping when they reach a certain amount. But, take note that 75% of today’s consumers expect free delivery even on orders under $50.

Pro Tip No. 9: Study Your Competitors’ Websites.

This is excellent for when you are just starting your business and as you continue your operations in the coming years.

Your competitors are selling the same genre of products as you, and you are competing for the same target market. So you have to check what they are doing that is better than you and find out how you can outdo them.

Navigate their websites and see what works and do better on yours. Look at what reviews say about them and find a way to get the people’s attention to you by doing their best practices 10x better.

It would be best if you did this not only for your eCommerce website but for product improvement. So buy their products and see what works well that you can replicate and jump off upon for your development.

See what people need that they aren’t doing, website and product-wise. Then, do it and be unbeatable about it.

Pro Tip No. 10: Outsource Your Digital Marketing.

Now, Conversion Rate Optimization can seem linear, but it isn’t. It’s not just about creating a good website and running it without deep technical work.

Yes, you can create a Shopify or Wix website seamlessly, but the competition is unforgiving for eStores that do not implement technical CRO and SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

If you want to stand out and constantly increase your conversions, you will need technical expertise.

However, like most business owners, you might be product-inclined and more passionate about filling the gaps in society but aren’t digital marketing savvy.

Plus, with product quality, operations and production in your hands, you are already stretched out and won’t have the time to focus on digital marketing and CRO. You will need help.

Suppose you are starting an eCommerce business or looking for solutions that will increase your revenue. Then, hire an expert team to handle things for you.

With you focusing on the backbone of your business and a separate team doing all the CRO and marketing work, you will constantly hit high-level goals.

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