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Conversion Rate Optimization: What it is it & Why it matters

Posted by: Laurel Street / September 14, 2018

Conversion Rate Optimization: What it is + why it matters

What is conversion rate optimization?

What would you say if I told you I could help you increase clicks on a button on your website 71.2% simply by editing the copy? Or increase clicks on a link 24.93% by changing the formatting of the text? Better yet, what if I told you I could increase conversions by 46.95%, making the page 19.99% more valuable?

You would probably think I was full of s**t. But these are real numbers from Brain Bytes Creative clients. That’s the potential of a strong Conversion Rate Optimization strategy. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about the basics of CRO, how it impacts your bottom line, and how to know when you can benefit from a focused CRO strategy. Here we go.  

Everything you need to know about CRO in 100 words

You’re busy, and the internet is full of long articles about Conversion Rate Optimization. Let me save you some time. I am going to tell you what you need to know about CRO from a 3,000-foot view in the next 100 words:

In digital marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization is a set of methods used to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert.

A conversion can mean that the user becomes a customer, or more broadly, takes any action which brings them further in the funnel, one step closer to becoming a customer. This can include requesting a demo, joining a mailing list, downloading a whitepaper, to name a few.

More specifically, CRO tests headlines, design, color, call-to-action, layout, and copy variations to create the best-performing sites.

At Brain Bytes Creative, we know that CRO is experimental by nature. Yes, there are best practices, but each industry and each website has different users who behave differently. Because of this, we use a variety of techniques to understand and optimize each of our clients’ websites including:

  • user flow analysis
  • heat maps showing where users click and how far they scroll
  • session replays showing user frustration
  • form analytics including drop-offs and fields that slow users down
  • A/B testing (of course!)

Interestingly, finding the best variations sometimes includes failure as a necessary part of the optimization process, which you can read about here.

CRO is not easy.

How to know when you need CRO

Any website that has a call to action, whether it’s to request a demo, purchase a product or subscribe to a newsletter, can benefit from Conversion Rate Optimization. That said, there are several factors which make your site an especially strong candidate for a huge ROI. I like to think of these as “warning signs” that you need CRO urgently. Here they are:

  • Your site has high traffic but a relatively low conversion rate.

If your site has a lot of monthly visitors, congrats! That’s something to be celebrated. But it’s not enough on its own.

Here’s a simple illustration:

Imagine your company sells concert tickets (or sunglasses or roller skates or unicorns… let’s have fun with this!) Let’s say your website gets 10,000 visitors per month and your conversion rate is 4%. This means your site currently brings in 400 conversions each month. Now, let’s say you’re responsible for doubling that number. Yikes. That sounds daunting.

A Unicorn in the digital marketing space

Keep in mind: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is focused on driving visitors to your site and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is focused on helping those users convert.

Conversion rate = the number of conversions (clicks, purchases, sign-ups etc.) divided by the number of visitors to your website.

If you rely on SEO alone, you will have to increase your monthly visitors from 10,000 to 20,000 to achieve this goal. But if you also use CRO to increase the percentage of visitors who convert, you’ll find that it’s much more feasible to reach your goal. Increasing your conversion rate and monthly visitors each by 33% will lead to the same doubled conversions, and leave room for even further optimization.  

Enough math. The point is, you can make the most of the traffic you already have while creating space for even further growth.

  • Your website has high cart abandonment rates.

Cart Abandonment CROHave you ever checked your site’s form analytics or watched session replays to see where users are dropping off in the conversion process? It’s one of my favorite ways to gain insights into user pain points. Knowing where a user is dropping off can be very telling of problems on your website.

If users are abandoning their shopping carts (or other forms, like demo request forms) it’s especially alarming. Because it means that the user was ready to convert but something about your website pushed them away. Yikes again.

Luckily, a solid CRO strategy that includes form analytics can turn these numbers around. For one of our clients here at Brain Bytes Creative, we increased Request an Appointment form fills by 46.95% and increased page value 19.99% by removing a form field.  (Read the full case study here.) Then we continued to analyze the form and increased form fills by an additional 7.01% for the same client by reordering form fields and editing the copy on the form. The results from these kinds of tests can be pretty amazing.

  • Your site was designed more than a year or two ago and/or wasn’t designed with mobile and tablet users in mind.

Technology and the way people interact with it is changing constantly. Since 2014, the percentage of internet users who are online using mobile or tablet has increased from 48% to 58% in 2017. That’s a ten percent increase in three years. Crazy.

This is why it’s necessary to continually optimize your site for conversions. For one of our clients whose site wasn’t mobile-optimized, the CRO team here at Brain Bytes Creative decreased bounce rate by 10% for mobile and 15% for tablet simply by removing an alert bar that detracted from the user experience.

If your website was designed three years ago, it was designed for people who were using the internet in a totally different way. Three years from now, it’s bound to be different again. A dated site, even if it’s a slightly dated one, is another red flag indicating that you are a prime candidate for CRO.

CRO can change your world — or at least, your bottom line

CRO Results from stopping cart abandonment

What good is a site that doesn’t convert?

Imagine you’ve built a beautiful website. It’s beautifully branded, it has stunning graphics, clever copy, and loads quickly. It even ranks high on search engines and gets lots of monthly visitors. You’ve undoubtedly spent lots of resources on this beautiful site… but why does any of that matter if your site doesn’t drive users to purchase your product, request a demo, or at least join a mailing list?  

Obviously, a beautiful site is not very helpful unless it is bringing in business. The good news is a strong Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) strategy can fill that gap.  A strong strategy includes experimenting with various changes and iterating through those changes, optimizing your site based on which changes perform well. Over time, small changes lead to big results.  

I hope this article was helpful! Looking to give your conversions a lift? Brain Bytes Creative offers specialized Conversion Rate Optimization services using funnel analysis, user flow optimization, heatmapping, session replays, form analytics, and optimization, and of course, A/B testing. Click here to read more about our services or contact us!

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