Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a constant process of optimizing your website to increase the number of conversions (signups, completed orders, collected leads etc.) from any given amount of traffic.
In the times when increasing website traffic is getting more difficult and expensive, conversion rate optimization is a natural choice for companies to maximize profits from their digital presence.

Why is conversion rate optimization important?

Let’s imagine a simple example: you sell a digital product (no variable cost to make it easier to understand) for $100. If your conversion rate is 2%, you need to attract 50 users to your website to sell a unit. Now let’s increase conversion rate from 2 to 3%. You need just 34 visitors to sell a unit or you will sell 50% more products with the same amount of traffic. Now you see why CRO is so important – it can simply save you money spent on marketing and improve return on investment (ROI) in acquiring new users.

What conversion rate optimization is not about

There are hundreds of CRO guides. Many of them include ‘examples’ like ‘we changed the color of a button from pink to red and our conversion rate jumped by 537%!’. Does it really happen? Perhaps. But such case studies often don’t include data sets. Basically, their results are not reliable so be careful with implementing changes suggested in them and don’t expect so impressive results.

The truth is that you’re likely to see just small changes in conversion rates after implementing one change (maybe unless you test offering your products or services for free with no conditions). Should it discourage you? No, it should encourage you to run more tests to accumulate positive changes and see a real increase in overall conversion rates.

What conversion rate optimization is about

Conversion rate optimization is about users. Try to fit in their shoes. What would they like to see on a certain landing page? Do they really need a story of your company? Maybe they prefer to see a tailored offer and a solid explanation what you’re trying to sell them and how it helps them solve their problems?

Also, CRO is a constant process. Tests can report an increase in CRO but it can not last forever. Trends change, your audience’s preferences might change. And your website should reflect (or even lead) those changes. Constantly test new ideas and analyze how (and why) they affect your conversion rates. But whatever you do – remember about your users and their satisfaction.

How to start optimizing conversion?

Don’t be scared, you don’t have to hire a highly specialized agency to perform CRO. You can try on your own as well. You need just a brief introduction and a toolbox. The basic set of tools includes:

  • A/B testing tool like Optimizely to test variants against each other and see which one performs better. Important info: for websites with low traffic, A/B testing usually won’t report reliable results so you can simply change things on the website as well and observe changes in Google Analytics. If you do so, remember to keep track of your experiments (you can add notes in GA).
  • Analytical tool – Google Analytics will work well to track your conversion rates and show where to look for improvements. An absolute must-have for all websites, not only for those interested in CRO.
  • Website survey tool like Survicate to collect feedback on your experiments and ideas for further tests. Don’t guess what causes visitors to behave in a certain way – simply ask them.

When you’re equipped with the right tools, you can start really doing CRO. I recommend this process:

1. Look at the number in Google Analytics. Look for important pages, the ones crucial for your business. For ecommerce, it often is shopping cart. For SaaS – pricing and signup pages. Check exit rates and how many people visit them without converting (basically, how many people visit signup page but go back and end up without signing up or buying). Focus on pages with the worst stats first – you’re leaking the most money there.

2. Use exit intent surveys to find out why visitors are leaving and turn their feedback into A/B testing ideas.

3. Run a test based on collected answers and observe results – both in Google Analytics and with another exit survey. Wait for data, analyze results, and choose the winning variation. You’re never done – after the first test, it’s time for more!

Tip: If you attract serious amounts of traffic with PPC marketing, you can also consider adding a landing page creator to your toolbox. Basically, you need a separate landing page for each campaign to offer visitors exactly what they are looking for and what you promised in an ad.

A tool like Landingi will be useful here – you’ll be able to create good-looking landing pages with no need of involving graphic designers nor IT. Of course, you can build landing pages in your content management system but it’s often more difficult and they don’t look as good (well-designed templates are one of the most important reasons why people choose landing page creators over CMS).

Summary

As you see, conversion rate optimization is less complicated that many people think and can highly improve ROI of your marketing efforts. So just choose your toolbox (analytical, A/B testing and website survey tool are the most common set) and start your first experiment!