How to optimise your Conversion Rates (Peregrine Guide to CRO)
If you swing by our blog regularly, you have seen plenty of SEO related content. Today however, we want to talk about initiatives for increasing the percentage of visitors who take desired actions on your website. These types of improvement efforts are commonly referred to as CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation. Assuming the traffic generating elements of your digital strategy (SEO, PPC, Social etc.) brought in the right kind of web visitors, it is now time for them to fill out your forms, buy your products, sign up for your webinars, download your white papers or otherwise execute on any other calls-to-action you have in store for them.
Think of CRO as a crucial asset in your User Experience toolbox.
Conversion Rate Optimisation is part of your web design just as much as it is part of your customer journey. CRO by itself may not increase the quantity of web visitors right away, but the quality and quantity of your leads and prospects should get a noticeable kick. As you know, conversion rate is defined as ‘the percentage of visitors who complete a set goal’ - which means a CRO initiative done well will consequently increase said percentage. So far so easy, right.
How do you CRO like a Pro?
As with anything else, you start with what you have: data. Test and analyse your existing campaigns and conversions. Figure out where prospects drop off and why. You worked hard on those buyer journeys, now we need to iron out any hurdles. If you start from scratch without existing data, A/B testing is a good tactic for your CRO (change only one element at a time of course). Remember, the CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what's stopping them from completing the goals you set.
It is important to note here that your goals and conversions might vary in type and weight. So called ‘macro-conversions’ include things like an online purchase or quote request while ‘micro-conversions’ can be things like signing up for a newsletter or adding a product to your web shop cart. You may also want to measure and improve on goals like specific page views, submitted job applications, video views etc.
Using a data-based CRO approach answers questions about how users engage with your site, how and where they enter your site (e.g. homepage vs. landing page), where on a page or within your site they spend their time, and where they exit or abandon your conversion funnel. Google Analytics will provide all of the above and more to get you started. You can also look at devices, browsers, demographics etc. that may help you better understand your users and maybe even segment them to tailor your customer journeys.
In addition to the above analytics approach, consider more quantitative elements to complete the picture. Feedback pop-ups, user surveys, heat maps, session recordings etc. can help you realise what your users like, how they navigate your content, what they are looking for and what you might be missing.
We recommend applying CRO to all pages of your website, not just the ones you consider important (though that would probably dictate your order of priority). Ideally, every single page has a unique purpose and call-to-action, so it is worth looking at every single page for improvement opportunities. Why not start with your homepage? In addition to making a first impression there are some prime opportunities here to guide visitors further into your website. Then move on to other important core pages, event/product/service specific landing pages your blog etc. For extra boost, you can also double check your social media channels for appropriate (and diverse) calls-to-action.
Throughout your pages it is probably a good idea to have some more common CTA’s readily available. Thinks like your phone number, address and social channels should never be more than a click away. Do not overload your pages with links and CTA’s though, this is often more of a distraction than benefit.
For the most structured approach to optimisation, identify a conversion problem first, followed by defining an hypothesis & objective, and running experiments (A/B testing). Measure results (may take some time to get sample sizes with statistical significance) and analyse/document your results. Do we have a clear winner? Excellent, go with that variation and move on to the next project. If you can, consider the use of conversation rate optimisation technology. Many modern marketing platforms will have at least some degree of A/B testing included (emails, landing pages, etc.). There are also stand-alone solutions available, we would be delighted to walk you through some of our recommended options.
Identify (and kill!) your current conversion blockers
What are potential CRObstacles (yes, you read that right). There are some more obvious examples you can spot and address easily:
Call-to-action is hidden at the bottom of the page, does not stand out and/or blends into the remaining content (incl. wrong size, colour, placement, banner blindness)
Your encouraged behaviour does not match the buyer expectation, funnel stage or is otherwise context inappropriate, disruptive or simply does not make sense
The outcome or benefit of the conversion doesn’t match the effort (e.g. a ten-fields form submission in return for a one-page PDF may not be considered click-worthy)
Your web shop checkout page seems as legit as Joffrey Baratheon’s claim to the throne
Conversion refers to more than the clicking buttons of course, so this list is just a start. Depending on the nature of your goals, CRO can mean consolidating text, reducing form fields, condense images, removing distractions (such as picture sliders, uhh we do not love them), improving top-level navigation, measuring on page events, adding clarity to your processes, fixing your check-out flow, including CTAs in your social outlets, introducing self service tools, using real time messaging, and a variety of other techniques. Contact us if you want to brainstorm tactics that work for your business and online presence.
What else is there to know about CRO?
We already established that CRO does not directly impact SEO and search results, it still has several related benefits though. The insights it provides will help you better understand your key audience, and establish what language or messaging resonates with them the most.
CRO typically leads to better user experience by understanding what works well (and expanding on that) while cleaning out what doesn’t. A more professional look, feel, functionality and customer journey will also lead to increased trust in your site, products or services, which again has an impact on your bottom line.
Here are even more CROpportunities (yep, we did it again) for you to try:
Instead of graphic-based, try text-based CTAs in your blog posts.
A/B test headlines, website copy, content offer, images, form questions, and page design in your lead flow content.
You already know compelling copy has the ability to drive action and increase conversions for your business, now try being super specific with who you are addressing with your content for even better results in your conversion path.
Experiment with attention-grabbing, action-oriented CTAs vs. your standard ‘contact us’.
How to you know your CRO is actually working?
You want to keep an eye on your key metrics of course. Look into ways to report and improve ROI, but also check Analytics KPIs such as bounce rates, time on page, page views, visitors, click through rates (duh!) etc. The number of customers should increase as well as their overall UX satisfaction if you are able to measure that. Form submissions should increase and page load times go down, if those areas were part of your project scope.
BONUS: SEO & CRO - the dynamic duo
Without focus on SEO, you will have a harder time getting traffic in the first place. Without CRO however, the traffic you do get is likely to produce fewer sales. That’s why we recommend doing both continuously.
Hopefully these thoughts and ideas will encourage you to get CROfty (enough already!) and make the most of your digital setup. As always, we’re here to help if you need us.