“Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is not a trick, but a well-defined strategy that deepens as we explore.”
If you’re a business owner, your website is not there for charity!
You took time to design the perfect site to generate more revenue to your business either directly or indirectly.
However, have you given enough thought about how your customers behave once they land on your website?
A survey conducted by the Stan Team on our clients found that 8 out of 10 website owners didn’t consider the conversion rate as a factor before approving the design and content of their website.
The sad reality is that the website owners who fail to drive revenue approach SEO agencies thinking that it’s the panacea for all their troubles.
Nonetheless, despite the SEO agency helping the sites to rank on top of search engines and driving organic traffic, the conversion will not reach its peak.
The culprit here is the lack of initial attention to conversion rate optimization AKA CRO.
If you think your website is failing in terms of generating enough conversions from the organic traffic, this post is tailored for you.
What is a Conversion?
Conversion is any desired action taken by the visitors to your website that fulfills your primary or secondary goals.
You can take the example of an e-commerce store and a subscription based news portal.
The conversion of an e-commerce store is measured in terms of the online sales. On the other hand, the conversion of the news portal depends on the paid subscriptions received.
In digital marketing, conversions are tracked and assessed to make critical changes to the website.
Conversion tracking helps the website owners understand the persona of the target audience and modify the user experience, content, and the target segment to drive more conversion.
The process of making the modification to suit the buyer persona is the broader concept behind Conversion Rate Optimization.
Based on the end goal of your business Conversion Rate Optimization can be divided into two Micro and Macro Conversion.
What is Micro Conversion?
Micro Conversion is just a small step taken by your prospective customers toward achieving a bigger conversion goal that you have set.
The ultimate conversion goal, or the Macro Conversion, is usually achieved only after the visitors qualify different levels of the marketing funnels.
Micro conversion can be further divided into two categories – Process Milestone and Secondary Actions, says Jennifer Cardello from Nielsen Norman Group.
Category 1: Process Milestone
A process milestone represents the steps taken by the target user towards achieving a macro conversion. For example, a potential customer skims through a product page and adds it to their wish list.
Example of Process Milestone:
- Adding products or services to wishlist
- Spending time watching product videos on service page
- Asking for more information about the product through Live Chat
Category 2: Secondary Action
Secondary Action is very closely related to the funnel strategy as the user takes a desired action, which may or may not lead to a Macro conversion.
For example, your target audience will download the free ebook, which is in the middle of the funnel.
However, this doesn’t guarantee whether he/she will reach till the end of the sales funnel where you achieve the macro conversion.
Example of Secondary Action:
- Downloading e-book
- Dropping a Comment
- Signing up for a webinar
What is Macro Conversion?
As discussed earlier, Macro Conversion is usually attributed to a target user completing the final stage of your conversion funnel.
Marco Conversion can be anything from a user completing the purchase of an e-commerce product, requesting for a quote or filling up the lead generation form.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
Conversion Rate Optimization is a digital marketing strategy that involves organizing different elements within web pages for leading the target users to take a micro or macro conversion action.
The core concept behind Conversion Rate Optimization is to increase the percentage of visitors and converting them into leads and customers.
CRO is not a magic strategy, but a tried and tested formula can help you improve the user experience and eventually drive more results.
Web users follow a specific browsing pattern and if your page deviates, there is less chance of conversion in spite of organic traction.
If you take a closer look at your website structure, the homepage, service, pricing, and the landing pages are created with specific intent.
The conversion rate optimization methods for each of these pages may differ based on the end goal.
The CRO strategies that work for you may not work for your competitors as it greatly differs based on the end goals.
In the case of an online news portal, the end goal is to increase the number of subscribers and when it comes to an e-commerce website, the goal is to increase the number of purchases.
How to calculate the Conversion Rate of a website?
The conversion rate of your website is the number of conversions (macro goals achieved) divided by the total traffic generated by the site through all sources.
There are times when the same user may convert multiple times over a period of time. This is usually true when it comes to e-commerce websites like Amazon.
In such cases, it’s ideal to calculate the conversion rate based on the conversions that happened during each session.
Suppose you have an online gifting store where the number of monthly visitors is 100. If 24 out of those 100 visitors purchase gifts from your store in a month, then the page conversion rate is 24%
SEO vs Conversion Rate Optimization
During the days before the major Google Algorithm Updates, there was a conflict of interest between CRO specialists and SEO specialists.
While both of them are strategies within Digital Marketing, the disagreement was largely based on how the real estate can be effectively used.
While SEOs thought the design and content must be optimized to rank better on search engines, CROs cut across saying that both should focus on increasing the conversion.
In the post-RankBrain era, the margins separating SEO and CRO have disappeared. Now, they are mutually helping in bringing success to websites.
Today, user experience is one of the most important ranking factors that search engines like Google consider. This has resulted in SEO and CROs meeting eye to eye.
The need of the hour is landing pages that are both SEO and CRO focused.
This communion will help in passing down the prospects through different stages of your marketing funnel and finally achieving the Macro Conversion.
With the change of time, Google has started ranking websites that are creating engaging content, which essentially is the core behind converting a user into a customer.
When the search engines find higher user engagement, there is more chance of improved conversion through higher rankings attained.
Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices
As we discussed earlier, the conversion rate optimization strategy of your competitor may not work for you.
However, without testing the different optimization strategies, it’s really tough for you to move ahead.
A conversion rate optimization specialist can easily identify the dud strategies and save your money.
But what if you’re alone and need to move ahead with the right conversion rate optimization strategies that get you results?
If you’re a beginner, here is a list of CRO best practices that can help you get higher conversions without investing heavily.
There is no defined Conversion Rate Optimization strategy that you can use to improve the website conversion.
However, there are a few tried and tested CRO best practices that have been working for websites.
1) Identifying the Target Audience
If you shoot everything that moves, there are chances that the conversion will never happen.
In digital marketing, the understanding of the target audience is what drives each marketing move.
If you’re not clear about the target audience, the message will hit on brick resulting in no desired output.
The User Experience, content, CTAs and the assets, must be pointing at the interests of your target customers so that they take the desired actions that can accelerate the growth of your business.
The easiest way to identify the target audience is by looking at the persona of the existing traffic that you’re receiving to the website.
Their language, location, spending power, age etc. are important factors in optimizing the conversion rate of your website.
Checking the social media interaction happening over your niche is another way to identify your target audience.
Social media interactions can help you understand the target audience much deeper.
The interactions they are having online and the topics they generally discuss are hits for you to optimize the site.
2) Survey Users
This might probably seem as a traditional practice, but the inputs of the users coming to your website must be considered as the most critical.
In most cases, the survey will have questions that are kept brief so that the user doesn’t get annoyed.
Try to focus your questions (even polls are a good option) on how the user felt after arriving to the web page and the hiccups he/she faced during navigation.
Ideally, the survey should not come as an immediate pop-up soon after the user enters the site.
Preferably, it must be incorporated as an exit intent pop-up so that the user is not disturbed during any point until he decides to leave the page.
3) Collect and analyze data
Collecting and analyzing the data are vital practices for doing a successful conversion rate optimization.
If you’re new to conversion rate optimization, Google Analytics is the best best tool for collecting and analyzing data.
Once you’re a pro, try using tools such as Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, HotJar, etc.
The data garnered from the tools will help you come up with the right strategy for the conversion rate optimization.
Keep a tab on the different patterns that you see while analyzing the data. These are indications of how to optimize your conversion.
For example: If you find that there is a good amount of users coming to a particular blog post but not taking any desired action, this is an indication of CRO’s intervention.
You should also keep a track on the user engagement received through social channels.
For example: If you find that there are no conversions from Facebook paid campaigns but LinkedIn is driving more sales to your business.
The data can be utilized for the optimization of social media campaigns.
4) A/B Testing or Split Testing
A/B testing is the most widely used Conversion Rate Optimization technique to find which out of the two will drive high performance.
A/B testing is an important task that you as a CRO expert has to do on a consistent basis.
The conclusions that you come to are not conclusive until and unless, you have strong backing of A/B tests.
A/B testing involves comparing the performance of a page with two different Conversion Optimization Strategies implemented.
This could be different versions of the content, design, CTA button or other optimization elements used by your SEO expert.
The reason for conducting an A/B test is to identify the best iteration that will help in driving more conversion to your website. If you’re using tools such as CrazyEgg, A/B testing comes built-in, which gives you an edge over manually collating the data and announcing the winner.
5) Understand the Customer Journey
Before you start the Converversion Rate Optimization process, define the different levels of customer journey.
A proper marketing funnel setup will help you understand the optimization requirements for each stage.
Yet again, to understand this, you have to take the help of Google Analytics or other tools that help you extract the user engagement data.
For example: It’s possible that your website is receiving a lot of traffic through the blogs. Blogs are usually considered as the top of the funnel marketing material.
If there is zero conversion through blogs in the form of subscribers, you have a task at hand to optimize the blogs.
Take another example of a landing page designed for PPC campaigns.
If you notice that there are potential customers clicking through but not converting, there could be a serious drawback in conversion rate optimization that page, which you have to fix.
In both these cases, the optimization strategy used by the CRO specialist may differ. The key reason for this is the difference in the objective of each page.
The CROs concentrate more on the end goal while devising a conversion rate optimization plan, and this is mostly achieved by a thorough understanding of the customer journey through different marketing funnels.
6) Heatmap Analysis
Understanding how the target users are interacting with the pages within a website is critical to come up with a solid conversion rate optimization strategy.
Heat Map analysis is one of the easiest ways to understand the engagement of a user with a particular page.
A proper heat map analysis takes into consideration the scrolls, clicks selection, time spent on a page and exit pattern to derive a conclusive strategy.
Optimizing the page based on the heat map of the users is a sure shot way to increase the conversion rate of a website.
7) Guesses Increase Misses in CRO
One of the common mistakes that CROs make is to rely on their guesses. Of course, you may have found success with a CRO strategy for one website.
However, this cannot be as effective when dealing with a new one.
This is usually true when it comes to optimizing the design and content for better conversion.
The design of a website – the color combination and the CTA pattern may not be the same as the other.
This calls for an in-depth analysis before doubling down on the optimization strategy to improve the conversion.
The decision to make changes to the website must be backed up by concrete data.
8) Remove Elements that Affects Your Conversion Goal
One of the common mistakes that websites do is push a lot of elements to the page, either to get more response or to keep them engaged.
Unfortunately, in reality, these elements can harm the overall conversion of your website.
These unnecessary elements range from content to images to CTAs that acts as a distraction from achieving the micro and macro success that you have set for your pages.
If you come across any such elements, don’t think twice, just delete it!
This is especially true when it comes to landing pages that have a very focused macro conversion goal.
Any element that stops or deviates the user from achieving the set goal needs quick repeal.
Five Conversion Rate Optimization Mistakes
Your conversion rate optimizations strategies can drive real results if you ensure that some of the most common mistakes are addressed before you implement the changes. One of the major reasons that affects the optimization strategies is the failure to fix these mistakes beforehand.
Mistake 1: Forgetting the Target Audience
Website owners tend to forget the needs of the target audience and try to concentrate more about the features, benefits, and offers that they are providing.
The most common complaint that we hear from website owners is that despite a well-designed, optimized website with flawlessly written content, the website sees zero conversion!
The most common culprit here is the failure of the website to help solve the pain points of the target audience.
Usually, the tone of these sites, both design-wise and going by the content is too promotional.
Such websites do a miserable job when it comes to touching the emotions of the users. Most of the buying decisions are prompted by emotional intelligence.
When the content, images, design represent as a solution to the pain points of the customer (which usually trigger emotions), there is a high chance of conversion.
Mistake 2: Slow Site Speed
Some website owners do a lot of chest thumping after making the site live. On checking it, you will identify that there are a lot of Java and CSS used to making it look fancy.
Unfortunately, fancy websites don’t always lead to conversions!
Even if this site owner decides to hire a CRO specialist to fix the issue, the enormously sized resources that make up the website will hamper the conversion rate due to slower loading time.
According to the stats provided by Google, any website that takes more than 3 seconds to load losing quite a chunk of your target audience.
Mistake 3: Failure to Think Mobile-First
You have a really amazing website that is driving a lot of conversion. But wait, did you compare the number of conversions from desktop vs. mobile?
In a majority of cases, websites are built with a desktop-first attitude. However, in the days after mobile users outranked desktop users and Google announcing the mobile-first indexing, it’s time for a paradigm shift in designing websites.
If your users are interacting more through the mobile devices, strategize your optimization efforts accordingly.
When it comes designing your website, ensure that the primary version is built for mobile and later adapted to the desktop.
If you know about the responsive design concept, this is a total revamp of it. Responsive websites are currently built for the desktop and later it is adapted to other devices. Moving forward, this will become a thing of the past.
Mistake 4: Failure to Set Primary and Secondary Goals
This is something that most website owners try to do. Confuse users with so many CTAs and offers.
Yes. We understand that you need more conversions from the website, but diluting the purpose of a page with multiple goals is sure to backfire.
To be frank, selling multiple products or services through the same page is an utopia of website owners and it’s more like Waiting for Godot.
Focus on identifying the Micro and Macro goals and placing appropriate CTAs and other conversion-increasing elements to suit the end goal that you have set.
Trying to shoot left and right will end up in missing both so just concentrate on achieving one target goal rather than multiple.
Mistake 5: A Complicated Page Complicates Conversion
You can find designers and content experts who want to show off their expertise. However, a landing page is no place to brag!
While some writers frame sentences and paragraphs that only they can decipher, a few designers complicate their codes to add features that cause distraction to the landing page.
In both these scenarios, the conversion of the website gets affected as the user either leaves the website feeling embarrassed about himself as he failed to decrypt the meaning of the text or get carried away by the technology, without making a purchase decision.
If you come across professionals in this category, try to help them understand that your landing page is not their play area.
Top 7 Checkout Page Optimization Practices to Increase Conversions
The checkout page on an e-commerce website works the same way as a physical checkout counter of any store.
The only difference is that in the e-commerce site, the checkout process is done online.
A site may have a one-page checkout or multiple pages checkout depending on the options they offer on the page.
The checkout page design plays a pivotal role in the success of any business. If the checkout page is complex, customers are unable to proceed with the purchase transaction, which will force them to abandon the page in between the purchase transaction.
You will be amazed to know that almost 70% of customers abandon their cart, which indirectly affects sales. Though there are multiple reasons for cart abandonment, 26% of the customers find the process complicated. Research states that the best-optimized checkout pages have an abandonment rate of just 20%, which is not difficult to achieve.
For that, it is necessary that the checkout page is attractive and straightforward, and has all the options for customers, to complete the transaction successfully.
In this article, let’s have a view at some of the checkout page optimization techniques, which help customers proceed through the checkout process quickly, smoothly, and efficiently.
Checkout Page Optimisation Tips:
- Refrain from Mandatory Registration:
Users feel they are forced to register themselves for creating an account in case of compulsory registration. The above chart indicates that 31% of the users leave the page for the same reason. They also refrain from using the site because they love to have the guest checkout option while moving towards the payment page.
Optional account registration gives them the option of hassle-free shopping without creating an account.
You can also offer an additional discount for shoppers who create accounts for visitor data collection, but in the end, it’s ultimately their choice.
- Include Social Login Options:
When visitors don’t wish to spend time on sign-up forms since it is a tedious task for many, you may offer social login facilities like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, etc. for quick login.
This single click registration (on social login) has not only made the registration task quick and easy, but it also increases user sign-ups and reduces cart abandonment rate.
Social loginizer by Knowband has almost 15 social login options which you can incorporate on your e-commerce site check out page for customer data collection.
- Minimise Shipping Costs:
It is an ideal strategy that instantly gives you conversions is free shipping costs. Though many visitors take free shipping for granted, it is best to minimize the shipping rates or offer free shipping for deal closures.
Buyers keep a budget in their mind before selecting a product and finalize a selection based on the price displayed with the product. Little are they aware that there are some hidden expenses like shipping costs, return charges, etc.
High shipping costs on products may deter them from buying the product and force them to abandon the cart and final check out process. All you need to do is to adjust the price with the shipping cost instead of compromising the profit. It will make the customer happy by keeping the same price throughout the process.
- Multiple Payment Options:
Different visitors have different payment methods for shopping. If your e-commerce site is restricted to limited payment methods, there may be possibilities of genuine customers moving over to competitors, which increases the cart abandonment rate.
Different modes of payment like cash, credit card, debit card, etc. and digital wallet options like PayPal, Paytm, Google Pay, etc. lead to a high conversion rate. Establish a secure payment system that improves customers trust on your website.
Tie-up of multiple shipping services, with different shipping stores for quick delivery, works like icing on the cake.
- Trust seals:
Online shopping involves risk because the sites may be vulnerable to hackers, malware infections, or security threats. Credit card frauds, identity threats, overpayment, etc. are a few dangers of online shopping.
Amongst all these risks, SSL security works as a trust seal for your website. SSL certificate encrypts all the sensitive data like credit card details, bank account numbers, and passwords, etc. and makes in unreadable for cyber-criminals who attack the site. There are different types of SSL certificates which secure your website in multiple ways.
For example, you can use a COMODO Wildcard SSL certificate, which not only safeguards your main domain and multiple sub-domains but is easy to install and cost-effective too.
All SSL certificates give a visual appearance of trusted site seals, which not only creates a trustworthy environment for the customers but also gives them a feeling of security and safety of their transactions.
SSL is compulsory for e-commerce sites as per PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) as they involved in payment transactions, and this encourages customers to approach sites having SSL certificates.
- Page Optimization for Mobiles:
Customers love shopping, and with online shopping on the rise, they need not travel to physical stores to get their favorite items. Research indicates that mobile traffic is more than desktop traffic, which compels ecommerce businesses, to think about mobile optimization of checkout pages.
Research states that smartphone users make almost 79% of an online purchase in the last six months of 2020 year. There are many responsive and optimized WordPress or Magento web designs, which automatically change to the size of user screen, thus serving the same content to the mobile users. Optimize your site for these smart gadgets to increase the conversion ratio.
- Simple One Page Checkout Process:
The checkout process can be a tedious form filling process if it’s not optimized correctly. It distracts approximately 23% of the customers away from your site as per the above graph. Single page checkout is always better than multiple pages, because it’s convenient, quick, and customers can view all the fields on one page, resulting in better conversions.
Tips for a Quick Checkout Process:
- Use “Address Lookup” for auto pop-up of address and zip code
- Autofill form data from browser storage
- Save customer information, so repeat customers need not re-enter the same
- Auto-copy of shipping and billing information if it’s similar
Reduction of form fields like optional address unless it’s needed, shipping address unless it’s different, etc. helps in simplifying the checkout process and increasing the conversion rate.
Everyone wishes for a helpful checkout page, which gives them excellent profit scores. Simple fields, multiple payment gateways, SSL security, multiple options of products, mobile-friendly responsive site, and transparency in rates, all are responsible in making your checkout page useful, thus turning visitors into customers.
Conversion Rate Optimization Tools
Getting good traffic on your site will have little significance if you don’t find their contacts and try converting them to leads.
After all, your ultimate marketing goal is to get as many conversions as possible. So, here’s how you can enhance the user experience on your website through these conversion optimization tools.
Hubspot’s marketing automation platform allows you to customize pop-up forms without coding. It also allows CRM integration through which you can get a more in-depth insight into the behavior of your customers and prospects.
Unbounce allows you to create pop-ups, sticky bars, landing pages without the need for any technical expertise.
Besides, the app helps you to get a complete insight into your website performance and lets you run extensive reports with recommendations for improvisation.
This all-in-one CRO tool allows you to see and track what users are doing on your site, such as where they are clicking and how far they are scrolling down, etc.
Additionally, you can utilize this app for live chat, surveys, polls, and other advanced dynamic heat mapping features.
Hotjar allows you to capture screen recordings and heat maps that show what users do on your site. It also offers similar functionalities like Lucky Orange but comes at thrice the cost.
Now track your visitor’s behavior with ease using Crazy Egg’s suite of heat maps and click tracking. You can segment clicks by the source on your site to determine your links’ effectiveness. You can also run A/B testing on Crazy Egg to choose the best optimization technique.
Google PageSpeed is a free tool that analyzes the loading time of your webpages and suggests ways to make pages load faster.
Google Analytics is one of the best free tools for keyword analysis and also offers valuable data for CRO, such as the devices used by visitors on your site, their demographics, bounce rates, backlink sources, and other details.
AB Tasty is an all-inclusive CRO platform that can offer a personal touch to your campaigns and offer customer activation with A/B testing. The best part of this tool is its compatibility with various CMS and e-commerce platforms.
Optimizely helps conduct tests across various devices and platforms on mobile, TV and even IoT apps. The platform also offers A/B testing and multivariate testing to determine which control groups are significant.
Sumo utilizes several tools to drive traffic to your site and turn them into leads. The platform boasts a “Smart Bar” to increase email subscribers and a “share tool” to increase the rate of social shares for your site.
With more people losing their attention span on the internet, the time you get them to spend on your website is critical.
Today, if you get a user to spend a few seconds on your site, you are a winner!
Considering the time spent by the target audience on the internet, any site that gets the attention of your targets is a competitor, and you are battling for your share of screen time.
Once you get the users, you have 5-10 seconds to entice them and convert. If you miss out on this precious window, your target will become your competitor’s prospect.
By following the best practices, you can ensure that the visitors turn into your brand ambassadors and thereby grow your business.
Did try doing CRO for your website, let us know how it worked out for you. Share your experience doing CRO in the comments section.