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Marketing Channel: CRO

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About Marketing Channel: CRO

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of inspiring website visitors to complete a desired action. Desired actions range from completing a form-fill, providing contact information or completing a sale. The overall CRO process examines how customers and users navigate your website, what drives them to complete actions and what obstacles prevent them.

Conversions are commonly measured in customer sales, but conversion rate goals go beyond acquiring sales. Website visits and newsletter signups are more valuable for certain companies than pure sales. 

Testing is a vital component in CRO. Testing simple changes such as wording in a CTA button, or the color of the button, can significantly increase leads. It’s these types of optimizations that CRO provides greater insights into why and how you obtain qualified leads.

Why is Conversion Rate Optimization Important to Businesses?

Conversion rate optimization is a critical aspect in digital marketing, as marketers' main goal is to improve user experience, target and move customers through marketing funnels. 

Conversion rate optimization's goal is to eliminate the obstacles that prevent conversions in marketing funnels. Marketers evaluate a company’s sales and marketing funnel to determine where obstacles lie and how to remove them to move customers toward conversion.

How do I Calculate a Conversion Rate?

Conversion rates are typically calculated by the number of times a visitor completes a certain action (site visit, CTA button click, etc.) and the number of sessions it took to complete said action. It's normal for visitors to visit a site and leave, otherwise known as a bounce rate. A first visit is typically when a customer familiarizes themselves with your website, offerings and specials.

Conversion rate success depends on the product(s) or subscriptions a company sells. A company that sells one distinct service optimizes for one specific action. Whereas an ecommerce site that sells hundreds of products will track multiple actions and order completions.

How to Successfully Optimize Conversion Rates

In order to successfully optimize conversion rates, it’s best to acquire data about where, who and what you’re optimizing. Understanding the five W’s are foundational elements to successful CRO strategies and implementations.

Quantitative analytics provide solid numbers and insights into how site visitors behave when they interact with a landing page. Analytics platforms like Google Analytics, CRM platforms or even social media analytics tools provide vital analysis and insights into quantitative data.

Companies who perform quantitative analysis obtain information like:

  • Where site visitors first land on a website.
  • The devices and browsers users view your website from.
  • Customer demographics and interests.
  • The points where customers abandon the conversion funnel.
  • The site-wide features they interact with and how much time they spend on them.

Acquiring enough customer data informs the “Why,” behind user behavior. Qualitative data is subjective but still useful data to acquire. The most common way to acquire qualitative data is through form fields, satisfaction or on-site surveys.

Determining Conversion Goals

Setting achievable conversion goals require setting smaller goals that attract new customers and nurtures them through the customer journey. Micro goals, or micro conversions, help lead to the next, building customer relationships and trust along the way.

Conversion goals are typically determined by business models.

  • Ecommerce - Purchases, subscriptions, social media shares or reviews and ratings.
  • Lead generation - Form submissions, clickthroughs or social media shares.
  • Media and publishing - Comments, subscriptions, clickthroughs or likes and dislikes.
  • Customer support - Customer satisfaction survey completions, number of issues resolved or support material downloads.
  • Blogs - Page views, comments, subscriptions and clickthrough to product pages.
  • Branding - Downloads, printouts, page views or social post shares.
  • Case studies - Downloads and form fills.

All goals must be measurable with KPIs, otherwise conversion rates can't be calculated.

Essential Conversion Rate Optimization Improvement Strategies

  • A/B testing - A/B split testing tests the effectiveness of website copy and design elements with consumers. Marketers use A/B testing to publish two versions of one piece of content to test variables. Each test is applied to specific halves of a company's website visitors.

    CRO and marketing specialists examine the performance of variables in each test after a defined period to see what version produces more conversions.

  • Write effective call-to-action copy - Call-to-action buttons are an essential conversion feature in any piece of content and landing page. CTAs are most effective when they're attention-grabbing and inspire action. They often beginning with verbs like, "Purchase today," or, "Subscribe now." CTAs work best when they stand out clearly and convey how taking a specific action benefits the consumer.

  • Implement chatbots - Chatbots provide customer support upfront on your web page. Their natural language processors generate responses that mimic conversational language to answer commonly asked questions.

    Chatbots are excellent for quick customer support questions, which processes customers faster through the funnel than traditional step-by-step methods.

  • Offer incentives and coupon codes - Offers and incentives like free shipping or pop-ups advertising coupon codes for form fills are excellent conversion optimization tactics. This method is highly useful for ecommerce stores, product pages and checkout pages. Presenting offers with bold, prominent CTAs will help boost website conversion rates and make it easier to track overall conversions.

  • Provide content for every step of the customer journey - Conversion optimization requires meeting customers at every stage of their journey with the right content to facilitate their journey to completion.

    Top-of-funnel brand awareness initiatives like blog posts help generate interest into what a company does and what products they offer. Once customers are aware of a company's brand, content that differentiates their offerings from competitors like case studies and testimonials are key to keep customers moving through the funnel. Final steps like offering demos, free trials or coupon codes can help nudge customers through to conversion.

    There's no one-size-fits-all to create high-converting content. Each company has to determine their own best approach and engage in regular retargeting activities for successful conversions.

  • Using heatmaps, click maps and scroll maps to track user activity - Heatmaps are highly useful to track user activity on websites and landing pages. Mouse-movement tracking tools follow the user's journey and translates the data into a visual map. The map reveals patterns on how web page visitors read and navigate landing pages and websites. Crazy Egg's heatmap tools are widely used among digital marketing specialists for conversion optimization.

    Scroll maps function like heatmaps but instead track the points where users scroll down a page and when they leave. Scroll maps are best suited for web and landing pages with a lot of content, which is segmented into folds. Click maps track a user's clicks on particular pages and are useful to see what users interact with most on a landing page.

  • Automate workflows - Automizing workflows helps optimize work processes and aids in conversion rate optimization efforts. Marketing automation software's tools provide several optimization features that prioritize conversions.

    Software like email marketing tools track user activities like cart abandonment in ecommerce. The software automatically sends a cart abandonment email to the customer to facilitate a conversion.

  • Leverage retargeting to fix bounce rates - Most first-time site visitors often leave the page before completing a desired action. Retargeting efforts can re-engage lost visitors to complete a desired conversion.

    Retargeting efforts track visitors to your site and serve online ads as they visit other sites online. This process is most effective for gaining conversions from people who visited a company's highest-converting landing page. Inbound best practices like compelling copy and strong CTAs are still required to inspire conversions, otherwise retargeting efforts will fail.

Conversion Rate Optimization Tools and Analytics Software

  • HubSpot - A free tool that offers exit intent popup forms and CTAs to turn website visitors into leads. It provides high-level marketing insights by combining prospects with current contacts in existing databases.
  • BuzzSumo - Their software compiles a collection of widely shared content online from entered keywords or topics for comparison. The types of content include articles, videos, resources and more.
  • Google Analytics - Another free tool that tracks website visitor actions, including bounce rates and sources driving visitors to your site. Displays which keywords people use to find your page while tracking the devices they’re using.
  • heatmap.me - A great tool for exploring customer heatmaps, examining responsive web designs and providing real-time, on-site statistics. It’s a comprehensive tool that tracks actions on every feature on a site from photo galleries to slider bar usage.
  • Optimizely - A testing platform where marketers can easily create testing control groups and obtain large samples for A/B and multivariate testing. Robust reports are generated providing in-depth statistics on sign-up clicks, interactions and leads.
  • Intercom - Primarily a customer interaction tool, Intercom’s CRO tools provide qualitative insights into customer requests, experiences and leads.
  • Hotjar - Software for advanced CRO tactics. Hotjar provides heatmaps, screen recordings and more to track user actions on a website and how they navigate it page to page.
  • Clicky - Provides real-time webpage visitor analytics. Users can select multiple CRO formats that best meet their optimization needs. Features include heatmaps, scroll tracking and tracks visitor sources.
  • Qualaroo - Uses AI-powered analytics and reports to obtain website and app feedback, product and UX feedback. 

How CRO Benefits SEO Specialists

Search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization mutually benefit each other’s goals. SEO is about getting your website found on the internet and ranking high, either through paid or organic methods, in search engine results. Conversion rates increase when visitors are able to easily locate your page, view its products and read your content.

SEO specialists determine their success from conversion rate KPIs when users complete desired actions. SEO specialists experience distinct benefits from CRO in the following:

  • Increased ROI - Higher conversion rates indicate to SEOs what part of their strategies are working most effectively. Analyzing the key components that are driving conversions gives them optimization insights. They’re able to bring in more customers with well informed strategies, which boosts ROI.
  • Better customer data - CRO helps SEOs understand audiences and their actions, intents and what obstacles impede them from completing actions. SEOs can test messaging to see what speaks best to their customers and determine what language speaks best to the audiences based off CRO data.
  • Greater user experience - Website visitors are more likely to stay on-site longer when a website feels smart, easy to use and sophisticated. CRO provides insights into what works on your website. Identifying what works gives search specialists a better idea of what content to create, how to present it and the technical aspects needed to enhance a site. A fast, sleek website can create brand evangelists in your target audiences.

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