You may have heard the term Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), and plenty of talk about how important it is, but do you know how to actually apply it beyond the theory stage? In this post, we look at the definition of CRO, and what steps you can take to improve yours.
What is conversion rate optimisation?
In a nutshell, CRO is about persuading more visitors to your site to take the action that you want them to take. For most commercial sites, this means persuading more people to make the decision to buy the product or service that is being offered, much in the same way as a store owner tries to talk window-shoppers into coming in to buy.
CRO is focused not only on getting more customers, but on getting more of the right kind of customers – that is, ones who will keep on using your services or products and engaging with you, rather than just being one-offs. CRO is also about finding out why visitors do or don’t take action, and taking steps to remove the obstacles that may be preventing the desired action from occurring more often.
Why does conversion rate optimisation matter?
Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that actually take action. So if out of 100 visitors, there are five purchases made, your conversion rate is 5%.
Optimising your conversion rate matters, because even in the most successful business, there is always a little room for improvement. By making it easier for people to take action, you should get to increase your return-on-investment, improve your business practices, and keep your customers coming back. It can also be a pretty comprehensive and informative exercise at very little cost!
Some areas to look at in improving CRO
- Site usability – it should be easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and to complete the purchasing process.
- Call to Action – this should be very obvious and clear to users.
- SEO – targeted keywords and phrases, quality content and clear titles are all important aspects to keep up-to-date.
- Site appearance and graphics – your site should be easy to read, well-spaced, and optimised for mobile devices.
- Methods of payment and security – these can be very important aspects for buyers when it comes to paying online.
- Testimonials – it’s important to have these visible from the landing page as they can act as ‘persuaders’ to site visitors.
Tips for testing and improving your conversion rate
It’s all very well following the above, but how do you know if it’s actually yielding results? Fortunately there are solid steps you can take to test what is actually happening when people visit your website. These include:
- Start by gathering important data. This might involve surveying your customers using Survey Monkey, Google Consumer Surveys or email questionnaires, and analysing website traffic to look for patterns of behaviour, such as through Google’s e-commerce tracking tool.
- Decide what you want to test after examining your data. For instance, if your customers indicate that site usability is a concern, you might decide test whether improving page layouts increases your conversion rate.
- Decide where to do the testing. For example you might only decide to do testing on certain pages, or on a particular product. In any case, using tools such as A/B testing or Google Experiments may be useful here. It’s also important to ensure that any new designs can run effectively on all browsers.
- Measure results using Google Analytics or other tools. If you find your actions have not improved your conversion rate, it’s important not to give up but to continue running tests until you get the results you are after.
It’s important to point out that in doing CRO, it’s vital not to fall for simplistic answers, such as simply changing the colour of your action buttons because an article recommends it. Nor should you just simply follow what other, albeit successful, businesses have done. There are no shortcuts to good CRO, and it’s important to put in the trial-and-error work yourself, in order to apply it to your own unique enterprise.