Explained: Conversion Rate Optimization

So, what do we need to optimize? Is it only the website for the search engines, or is it time to actually see where we are lacking as far as the engaging ability of our website is concerned and optimize our website so as to get the best of conversion?
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Is it only traffic that matters for your business?

Or is it the actual rate of conversion that really matters? You might go for an SEO that might guarantee you more traffic directed to your website, but does it really help you achieve your main purpose? You will definitely get more traffic within a short time, once you resort to link building techniques, but in majority of cases, the visitors fail to convert into potential leads and the leads fail to convert into customers.

So, what do we need to optimize? Is it only the website for the search engines, or is it time to actually see where we are lacking as far as the engaging ability of our website is concerned and optimize our website so as to get the best of conversion?

Yes, this is just a basic explanation of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), however it conveys a lot. The message is clear that your customers should find something interesting so they take the desired action on the website.

CRO

Often, you will hear the trade gurus talking about CRO, and how important it is for your business. “Conversion supplements the growth of your business”, and this post deals with the same thing, wherein I will discuss on how CRO could help you and what the things are involved in the same.

Firstly, let us understand the concept of conversion:

A conversion, in terms of your website, occurs when the visitor to your website responds to a call to action. It could be anything namely, an e-book download, a newsletter subscription, signing up for a how-to-guide, or simply making a purchase. You could influence them to take various actions that you desire by working on a certain things to optimize your conversion rate.

Calculating the conversion rate is simple:

Conversion Rate = Number of leads/sales forms filled up/Number or visitors X 100.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

CRO is all about how you optimize your website, so as to get the maximum results in terms of the visitors taking the desired action on your website.

An intensive analysis of the website is done which considers the performance, various technical elements of the website and implementation of the various solutions to check out which one will bring optimum results.

An Overview of the most basic terms related to Conversion Rate Optimization:

Let us quickly have a look at the basic terminology which you could also research on later:

  • Conversion Rate (CR): As discussed earlier, it is the total number of leads or sales divided by the total number of visitors for a given time multiplied by 100.

  • Goal: The aim of the owner of the website. In some cases, it is acquiring leads. In case of an online store, the goal would be sales.

  • Click through Rate (CTR): It is a parameter, which measures the success of an online advertising campaign. If an ad has been displayed a 100 times on a website and it has been clicked 3 times, the CTR of that ad is 3%.

  • Impressions: It is the amount of time a particular element appears on a page.

  • Conversion Funnel: It is a technical term used to describe the route taken by the visitor to complete your goal. Let’s say, a visitor came in from an advertisement or a search engine, surfed through the website and finally placed an order. So, this is the conversion funnel.

  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): As stated earlier, it is the process which requires us to improve the website so as to attract more and more visitors to take the desired action.

Back, on how to optimize your website for optimum conversion rates. With continuous testing, development, research and reporting, it is quite possible to funnel conversions and attain your goals. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are both dependent on each other and both form an overall online marketing strategy. With only traffic and no conversions there are no chances that you will meet your online marketing goals.

Optimizing For Conversions:

I know that this sounds repetitive, but SEO and CRO work together and a right campaign should close from query to conversion while meeting users’ expectations by giving them a high quality experience and optimize each and every step of the funnel. How?

  • Research: Firstly, before finding the right options and implementing the same, you need to research on the needs of your audience and also the browsing habits. In general, you need to research on the demographics, location, interests. In short, the whole buyer persona is looked upon in the research process. It is strongly recommended to have an efficient team of research experts who could get an insight into the mindset of the persons they are targeting.

Next comes, deriving your current analytics data to establish initial traffic, conversion metrics, bounce rate and other metrics as well. Also, keep on observing the landing pages on your website and their performance. The clearer the landing page is, the better the CRO.

Comparing your website with that of your competitors’ will give you an insight on what is working for them and which elements are missing from your website. Also check out how your competitors succeed in engaging with their audience. Check out the CRO strategy that they are using.

The core part of of a CRO strategy is establishing a conversion funnel that succeeds. It starts with Landing Page Optimization (LPO). You can test after identifying top-performing landing pages and beginning a funnel for conversion.

  • Development of the minute details: You cannot afford to overlook even the slightest details of your website while optimizing it for conversion. Even very small details have the capabilities of creating a strong impact in the users’ mind, propelling them to take the required action. The user first researches on product/services, than they make a choice and turn into our customers. There are some many websites out there which are your closest competitors and the user has to select from one of these. So what are those details that you need to keep in mind so that the user is attracted to take the required action on your site:

  • Size and Shape of the buttons for call to action (CTA)

  • Color of the webpage and the associated elements

  • Speed of the webpage at which it downloads

  • Layout

  • Sharp and Clear

  • Proximity

  • Contrast of the colors scheme

  • Flow of the content

  • Alignment

  • Benefits to the customers

  • Appropriate Call to Action message

  • Fields to be filled up

  • Winning Trust

Any changes that you make to your website should be tested and seen if they meet the taste of your customers. Your bounce rate will go down magically, once you implement the Strategies of the CRO

  • Run A/B Tests: Your ideas would be given the required direction with the help of a valid A/B test. The conclusions will be confusing and the outcome may not be as efficient without a proper A/B/ testing.

Simply put, A/B testing is a way to make some changes to your page and test them against the performance of the current page. This helps you in determining which page helps more in conversions. The A/B test involves testing two versions of the page where A is the controlled version and B is the variation. The testing is done with live traffic and measure what effect does it have on your conversion. Setup a goal for your online business and start an A/B testing and see which version of the site helps in achieving the goal. As the test is started, the visitors are equally divided between the two pages and then the conversion rate of both is measured in terms of the click on the CTA on both the pages.

If the number of conversions for a particular page is 2 out of 100 visits, the conversion rate for that particular page will be 2. In the above given example, the option A has higher conversion rate as compared to option B.

The following rules should be strictly followed for A/B testing:

  1. Each page should get a minimum of 100 visitors in order to come to a conclusion

  2. The span of the test should be at least a week, preferably 2 weeks, so that you could also come to know the days when you are converting.

  3. Don’t stop until you reach at least 95%

  • Gather feedback in-house: Your marketing department, which involves the customer support as well, is the best place to look out for getting ideas on better optimization. The marketing people know the mindset of the people very well. You will get a proper insight by interacting with the people who spend all day on the phone or chat with your customers or leads. You could ask your customer care department to make a list of all the problems faced by your customers on the website so that you could know which page to start working on first.

  • Gather feedback at conversion: Similar to the previous point you could get feedback, this time not from the in-house, but from your customers at the conversion point. You could use various tools which gives the option of live chat or in-page surveys to know the problem areas on the website. These tools could be embedded at the conversion page. You could ask questions like “What prevented you from (taking a certain action) today?” or “Is it something that you want to suggest about the navigating experience?”

  • Create Case Studies: Keep a record of the results after a test is successfully completed. Your case studies include the hypothesis, the results of the test and the lessons learnt. The same records can be used to conduct in-house training sessions which will help more in future projects. You could develop a format which systematically contains all the information for future reference.

  • Post conversion optimization: Your customer has placed the order or has taken any of your required actions and now comes the final page. Make sure that you say the right things, especially thank the customer for their valuable time and trusting you for their needs.

You could also do the following:

  • Ask for subscription through mail

  • Suggested products/services related to what they have purchased

  • As them to follow you on Twitter or Like on Facebook

  • Give some take-away as a way of acknowledgement

This post is purely intended to give an idea on what conversion is and how it could be improved by optimizing certain elements of your website and through various other factors. However, there is still a lot that could be done as far as CRO is concerned. Research more on A/B testing and split testing, conversion funnel and how to enhance user experience. As time goes by, you will become more adept with the rules of CRO and will be able to optimize and generate results quite rapidly.

About the Author: Sanket Patel has been associated with internet marketing industry for 8 years. He is the co-founder of Blurbpoint, a creative internet marketing company. He writes on the search engine industry and is an active blogger.

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