What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
In digital marketing, there are two ways you can boost your sales online—increase your website traffic or convert more website visitors into customers. If you’re already investing in search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you have the former covered.
However, website traffic isn’t inherently valuable on its own. If your visitors never make a purchase, their clicks may boost your digital marketing metrics, but they won’t increase your bottom line.
So, how can you convert more of those hard-earned website visitors into paying customers? The process of conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help.
Below, we’ll define CRO marketing and break down the many benefits of a CRO campaign.
The ABCs of CRO
Before we jump into the benefits of CRO efforts, let’s define the following terms: conversion, conversion rate, and conversion rate optimization.
What is a Conversion?
Put simply, a conversion is simply an action you want your site visitor to take. There are two main types of conversions:
- Macro-conversions – A macro-conversion is when a site visitor makes a purchase on your website, whether they buy your product or sign up for your service. Macro-conversions are the most valuable type of conversions, since they directly produce revenue for your business.
- Micro-conversions – Micro-conversions are smaller actions website visitors take that occur before they make a purchase. Some examples of micro-conversions include:
- Filling out and submitting a form
- Contacting your company via phone or email
- Downloading an offer (such as an eBook, whitepaper, or free trial)
- Signing up for your newsletter
- Subscribing to your blog
- Adding an item to their cart
- Interacting with your online chatbot
Even though these actions don’t bring in money right away, they show that potential customers are taking meaningful steps on their customer journey to becoming paying customers in the near future.
An uptick in either type of conversion is a good sign.
What is a Conversion Rate?
A conversion rate is simply the percentage of total website visitors who convert on your website. By increasing your conversion rate, you can maximize the value of the website traffic you’ve already earned through SEO and PPC.
How to Calculate Your Conversion Rate
To calculate your conversion rate, all you have to do is divide the number of conversions you receive by your total number of website visitors for a given time frame. After that, multiply the resulting number by 100% to yield a percentage.
Conversion Rate = (Conversions / Total Visitors) * 100%
As an example, let’s say your website receives an average of 1,000 visitors per month. Of those visitors, roughly 20 end up making a purchase. This would mean that your website has a conversion rate of 2%.
Luckily, you don’t need to calculate your conversion rate by hand each time. Many useful analytics platforms can do it for you automatically. For example, Google Analytics can help you track your conversion rate for:
- Your entire website
- Specific pages on your website
- Your PPC landing pages
- Certain keywords
- Website visitors from various traffic sources (organic search, paid ads, social media, etc.)
What is a “Good” Conversion Rate?
In an ideal world, 100% of your website visitors would convert right away. However, the average conversion rate across all industries is just above 2%.1
A “good” conversion rate for your company will depend on your:
- Products or services
- Website traffic quality
- Desired conversion (macro-conversions vs. micro-conversions)
Rather than comparing your current conversion rate to another company’s or the 2% average, simply aim to increase your conversion rate over time through website optimization.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
So, what is CRO? A CRO strategy is the ongoing process of optimizing your website to increase its conversion rate. In other words, it encompasses any steps you take to proactively transform more web browsers into buyers.
Some popular CRO techniques include:
- Using heat mapping to see where your website visitors are clicking
- Finding out what your visitors think about your website via surveys and user testing
- Improving your website’s functionality and navigation
- Speeding up your website’s loading time
- Adjusting the copy of your headline, subheader, and a Call to Action that converts
- Shortening your forms
- Tweaking your website’s layout and design
- Establishing trust through testimonials, reviews, and money-back guarantees
- Using A/B testing to find out which changes are truly effective
The overarching goal of CRO is to identify and remove any obstacles that prevent your website visitors from converting, whether that’s a poorly designed web page, a lack of trust in your company, or poor messaging about your offerings. By using a combination of these CRO strategies, you’ll be able to accomplish this goal over time.
The Benefits of CRO
After SEO and PPC, CRO is arguably the most powerful tool you can use to increase your online sales. Here are a few reasons why:
#1 CRO Maximizes Your Marketing ROI
When you invest in SEO and PPC, your website should see a gradual uptick in traffic. However, this traffic may plateau at some point. That’s because the audience for your product or service isn’t infinite, and for that matter, neither is your marketing budget.
Fortunately, CRO has the potential to multiply your conversions without increasing your traffic. It empowers you to extract the most value from the traffic you already have. Better yet, CRO is often cheaper and easier than ramping up your website traffic, especially if you’ve already invested in SEO and PPC for a long time.
CRO is a lot like shopping from your own closet, rather than rushing out to the store to buy new things. There’s often a ton of untapped value in what you already have—you just need to find creative ways to harness it.
#2 CRO Yields Fast Results
While SEO often takes months to yield results, CRO can start working in a matter of weeks.
Since you already have a foundation of website traffic, any changes you make to enhance your CRO will be seen by your website visitors in real-time. Based on their reactions, you can find out how well your CRO efforts are working.
As long as you move in the right direction and follow the data, your conversion rate should start increasing as soon as you implement the right changes.
#3 CRO Can Uncover Valuable Customer Insights
Effective marketing requires an understanding of your customers’ needs, pain points, and preferences. The CRO process allows you to develop a deeper understanding of your website visitors, including:
- How they interact with your website
- What type of information and promotional offers capture their attention
- What type of messaging they respond best to
- What type of content they find most engaging
- How they move through your sales funnel
- Which subsets of your website visitors are most likely to convert
These insights can help you improve conversion rate and all areas of your marketing campaign, even beyond the digital sphere.
For example, you may discover that a certain demographic of website visitors never converts, no matter how much you optimize. This may lead you to conclude that this group doesn’t belong in your target audience anymore. Once you adjust your targeting accordingly, you’ll have more resources to funnel towards the audiences who actually convert.
#4 CRO Can Boost Your SEO
The process of SEO focuses on optimizing your online presence to impress Google’s algorithms.
Google’s primary goal is to offer its users search results that satisfy their search queries. As a result, Google rewards websites that successfully meet its users’ needs.
A high conversion rate shows Google that you’re effectively delivering what your website visitors are searching for.2 Thus, CRO can work in tandem with other SEO techniques to help you rank higher on Google’s search results pages.
#5 CRO Makes the Buying Process Easier on Your Customers
Effective CRO aims to remove any obstacles that make it harder or less appealing for your potential customers to complete a conversion. In other words, it makes it easier and more convenient for your customers to do business with you.
For example, you can set up PayPal in your mobile checkout process to save your customers the trouble of filling out their payment information manually on their phone.
By employing conversion rate optimization tools like this, you can give your customers a more pleasant buying experience and increase your conversion rate, making it a win-win for both of you.
#6 CRO Makes Your Sales Funnel More Efficient
Oftentimes, a potential customer will visit your website a few times before they make a purchase. Maybe they aren’t sure if your company is trustworthy. Or maybe they aren’t sold on your offerings’ benefits just yet.
You can expedite their journey through your sales funnel with the help of CRO. Since CRO techniques focus on building trust, clearly communicating your company’s value proposition, and encouraging action, it can reduce the number of interactions it takes to yield a sale.
You’ll also avoid missing out on sales from people who were on the fence, but left your website, never to return. Don’t let these potential customers become the ones that got away.
Capitalize On Your Current Website Traffic With CRO
CRO is a powerful process that can help you gain more customers and make the most of the website traffic you already have.
Employing CRO doesn’t mean you should give up on increasing your website traffic. When used in combination, SEO, PPC, and CRO can do wonders for your bottom line.
Now that you know what CRO is all about, you can start putting it to work in your marketing campaign. For more strategy, advice, guidance, and effective campaigns, reach out to us at any time. Here at Power Digital, we ensure your brand receives the traction it deserves.
- Business Insider. What You Need to Know About Ecommerce Conversion Rates. https://www.businessinsider.com/understanding-which-website-conversion-rate-to-use-2010-8
- Business Insider. How Google’s Algorithm Has Changed & The Top 25 SEO Companies That Can Adapt Your SEO Strategy In 2019. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/how-google-s-algorithm-has-changed-the-top-25-seo-companies-that-can-adapt-your-seo-strategy-in-2019-1027908182