What is conversion rate optimisation?

Conversion rate optimisation is the practice of making tested and proven improvements along your marketing and sales funnel to deliver more enquiries and sales and improve your ROI.

Depending on the nature of your business and whether you have a long or short buying funnel, people make instant or protracted purchasing decisions on whether to buy from you. At each stage and with each decision, potential clients can ‘drop off’ and fall out of your funnel. By concentrating on creating the right style, feel, emotions, information and visuals we can retain more of those people and ultimately sell to more people.

This lowers your cost per acquisition and your ROI is improved.

Some of the alterations may seem like small changes, but even seemingly minor tweaks to copy, layout, or design can have a big effect on conversions. For example, switching the colours of buttons can increase conversion rates by 10, 15 or even 20%.

Who should be involved in delivering CRO?

To deliver CRO changes to your digital marketing, customer acquisition strategies and website, you need buy-in from those who are responsible for each area. Website designers can be incredibly precious about their designs and may need convincing in terms of changing styles, designs and colours on a webpage to improve your conversion rate.

Your Marketing director, marketing team, designers and CEO need to be on board to have a holistic overview of the changes that you will bring to the organisation and the time it requires to change, test and implement winning modifications.

Whoever you involve, needs to understand the fundamentals of CRO and that means having an open mind on trying, testing and implementing changes. Not every idea or hypothesis will work, but the ones that do, go straight to the bottom line.

Why is CRO important to entrepreneurs?

You spend time and money marketing your business. Getting in front of people, making an impression, trying to get them to remember you and engage with you. CRO is about improving that process so more visitors remember, more engage with you and ultimately more buy from you.

The old adage is that 50% of marketing does not work, but no one knows which 50%. CRO is about reducing that guesswork. By working on every aspect of the buyer’s journey, we can improve the number of people – the right people, who visit and interact with your digital marketing. We can make a better impression on them when they engage with your website or marketing, and we can then get more of them to enquire or buy from you – depending on your business model.

CRO is not about spending more money and seeing what sticks. It’s about improving the current processes, to make it more efficient. Improving your marketing returns by 1% at each stage of the funnel can deliver 15-30% returns directly to your bottom line. Who wouldn’t want that?

Consider a hypothetical scenario where you sell a monthly service on your website. You convince 5% of people who visit your website to sign up for your product. Let’s say that 5% of your visitors are 500 people. 500 people will sign up for your product each month at an average cost of £50. Now, suppose you increase your conversion rate to 7.5%, meaning that 750 people will sign up for the product each month. This results in £3,750 in monthly revenue.

Nothing else in your business has changed. The quality of the product is the same. Your customer service is the same. The staff are the same. but by improving your Conversion rate you have increased your income by £1,250. The number of visitors to your website is the same and the cost of getting them there remains the same. The effectiveness of your conversion funnel has increased, so your income and the bottom line are increased.

If you can double your conversion rate, you will halve your acquisition costs.

The beauty is you can increase each touchpoint of your funnel by a tiny amount so they quickly add up to a doubling of your conversion rate.

How to create a conversion rate optimisation strategy

Firstly you need to do an audit of your current digital marketing and website. Understand what you spend where and what that generates.

  • How many people enter your funnel from where?
  • What are the stages of your marketing and sales funnel?
  • Where do people drop off?
  • What company assets do they interact with, and at what stage?

You need to start implementing data tracking systems about your visitors and customers, so you can gather evidence on what’s important to them. What they interact with and what information they are looking for at what stage. This is your customer journey.

You need this clear picture of where you are and your current conversion rate to be able to measure any improvements you make.

Once you have this clear breakdown, we can start to review where the biggest problems are. Where the biggest drop-offs are and start to interrogate the data to find clues on how we can reduce the problems and keep more people in the funnel.

What is a typical CRO strategy?

A typical CRO strategy includes 3 parts. We like to call it DTA. A bit like DNA, it is at the heart of what we do.

DTA - Data Test and Act graphic for conversion rate optimisation

Data Tracking & Analysis

Your first step is to start collecting data. You need to have a good idea of what data you want to collect, based on what actions your visitors take on your website. You may not get this 100% correct, to begin with, especially if this is all new to you, but as you start to collect data and analyse it, you will start to spot the gaps and you can then take action to fill those gaps.

It is also important to say at this stage that you will need plenty of people to interact with your website and digital marketing, so you can make informed decisions from the data. Having only a few hundred interactions is not enough to really understand what is going on. You have to have data that has reached statistically significant levels.

Testing

A scientific approach to testing is the best methodology for accurate results. Using software such as Google Optimize, you can make changes to

a website page (a little or lots) and track the results. The software will randomly show different versions of the page to different people and measure the resulting actions. It also remembers who has seen which version so they see the same ones again.

Testing can be used on websites, PPC ads or email marketing to name a few. A/B testing is a very popular way of testing, where 2 versions of an ad, email, blog post, font, headline, colour, call-to-action, button or page are produced and we measure the activity each version produces, depending on what result we require. The key to successful experiments is to only change 1 thing at a time, to truly know if it is that 1 thing that has made a difference to the conversion rate. Don’t try and change everything that could be a problem or you think is a problem, as the results will be watered down and you’ll be unable to decipher what is actually causing the problem.

Action

View the results and see if you have found a winning combination or solution. You can then implement and go live with that solution. Improving your conversion rate for that particular item. The process can then begin again, with new variations and experiments.

Remember to keep tracking after it goes live and make sure it continues to deliver.

Ideas to test to improve your website’s Conversion rate?

There are lots of different things you can look at, experiment with and test on web pages, adverts, social media posts etc. They can be big things, such as whole web pages or just the colour of a background or the font in a button. Either way, you’ll be surprised how a little change can make a huge difference. Here is just a small selection of things to think about to get you started.

PPC CTR’s

What click-through rates (CTRs) are you getting from your Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads or other Pay-per-Click ads online? Can you find an industry average? Are you above or below this? What effect could changing the words, the image or the headline on these ads have? Try and experiment with different messages, styles and offers. A small increase in your CTR, will deliver lots more people to your website and make any experiments on your website more statistically significant.

Website desktop & mobile UX

When trying experiments on your website, don’t forget there are 3 types of devices, users can use to view your website. Mobile, Desktop and tablet. Is your experiment for all 3 or just 1 of these devices? If all 3, are the results the same for all 3? Or does, say, mobile users, cause a massive increase and the other 2 have a slightly negative effect?

Use anonymous visitor recording software to see how visitors interact with your website on different devices. Is there something you need to hide or add on mobile? As these people may be looking at your website with a different purpose. I.e. if you are a plumber, a mobile visitor may be in more of a desperate situation and just needs your phone number really quickly – rather than examples of bathroom fittings.

Page load speed

Slow load speeds kill conversions – who has time to wait for a 10-second page to load? Especially if it may be the 4 or 5th page you are looking at. Run experiments to speed up your page load time. This can be through the way it is programmed and delivered by reducing the content on the page or programming content further down the page to load later.

You can measure the drop-off on the page, and whether speeding it up has made a difference. Depending on the platform your website is built on, there are many ways to speed up a slow-loading web page.

example of a fast loading website with high scores

Social proof

Do you have any social proof on your website? customer reviews, comments, and praise from past customers on how good your service or products are? If not, then try adding some. See how that affects Click-through-rates and conversions. If you do, can your customer testimonials be updated? Do you have better ones? Can you get better ones?

Also, do they look genuine? If they are just on your website, with no link to authenticity or 3rd-party review sites, they carry less weight and trust. Can you integrate with a 3rd party service, paid or non-paid? Google Reviews is free to use and is easy for people who have a Google account to leave a review for you.

Are they in the right place? Think about moving them on the page, adding more or less. Maybe they would work best on a separate page altogether, or they may work spread across the website – with relevant reviews on relevant pages.

Optimising your social proof can help build trust, increase your CTR and improve conversions.

Content and imagery

Think about the different types of clients or customers you serve. Think about the questions they ask you and what they are interested in knowing about you, your business, your product or your service. Does the content on your web page answer those questions?

It’s not only about the words, but also the imagery. The photographs and the videos. Do they do your service or product justice? Do they create the right impression and fit with your brand values?

Also, is it in the correct order to educate and nurture a sale or enquiry? Would the video of the product being used, work better further up the page, so visitors don’t have to scroll to see it? Or maybe, it works better further down the page, once they have a better understanding of the fundamentals of the product?

Experiment with moving content, try different versions and different locations.

CTA’s

Review your call-to-actions (CTA’s) or action buttons. Think about their location, size, colour and shape. Are they easy to find? Do they make sense – in that a visitor understands what will happen next if they click it? Many websites have buttons that say ‘Contact us’, but is that the best wording to use? Would ‘Request free quote’ work better or ‘book a free demo’ work for you?

Experiment with colour, shape and wording. A small change can make a huge difference. Most website designers like to make the website look pleasing to the eye. Using colours for buttons that blend in and overall have a pleasant feel, but we often find that means that visitors don’t ‘see’ the CTA. They scroll past and don’t know where to click. This means your website could be losing 10’s or hundreds of leads every year. A simple experiment can make a large difference to your bottom line.

Lead magnets

During the nurturing process of the marketing funnel, you may have a few lead magnets to capture the email address of potential future customers. These could be white papers, calculators or free giveaways. Whatever format they may take, experiment with them.

Try different headlines and different graphics. Update them. Can they be broken down into smaller parts so they are easier to digest and understand? Or if you have a few, can they be combined into 1 ultimate guide?

If you don’t have a lead magnet, can you create one? Psychologically lead magnets work well to build trust and get over the first hurdle of buying from you. When a potential client downloads a lead magnet, they are overcoming that fear of the unknown. They are saying the first ‘yes’. Yes, I will give you a try. Once they do this, they are more likely to come back and try more or buy from you.

Various Lead Magnet Landing Page Examples
Various Lead Magnet Landing Page Examples

Payment options

If you sell online, try different versions of your checkout form or process. What seems obvious and easy for you (because you created it, or have been using it for years) may not be easy for a stranger.

Use software to record visitors anonymously using your website. See where they struggle during the checkout process. What do they do? Why do they stop?

Think about changes you can make to make it easier for them. These changes don’t have to be major. Sometimes just an extra sentence on what to do, or further information on what comes next is all a visitor needs to understand and feel confident to click further. Other times it may require a deep dive into how the checkout process works.

When to implement conversion rate optimisation

To successfully implement conversion rate optimisation you need enough visitors to be able to get meaningful results from your experiments.

Once you have an app or website with visitors in the thousands, you can begin to experiment with Conversion rate optimisation and make changes for the better. Until you get to this point in time, it is best to work on increasing the brand and reach of your business so more people are aware of the company and you steadily grow the visitors to the website.

One of the biggest mistakes people make with conversion rate optimisation is when they try to make changes, from flawed data. Making decisions on what works best from a small sample makes it not worth doing. It would be better just to guess, as you’ll get the same result.

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Tools to help measure CRO

There are lots of SaaS and other online tools available to help you make changes to your website, set up experiments, track the data and analyse the results. Below are just some of the ones we use and are included in our XposureHUB service.

Marketing automation software

A core conversion rate system for collecting data about your visitors in 1 easy to use place. There are many systems out there for marketing automation software, but the 2 we use are vBout and SharpSpring.

VBout is a great entry-level system for those on a budget, whilst SharpSpring is a lot more comprehensive, but still great value for everything it offers.

These systems allow you to track customers and potential customers. They give you insight into their activities and can automate marketing for them on the website or email, depending on their actions. You can score them based on activity, so you know who is close to making a purchase decision.

By analysing the data you collect in the system, other experiments can be created and tested to see which visitors are the most profitable and most lucrative.

CRM

Most marketing automation software comes with a CRM. This allows you to collect data on your customers in 1 system and then interrogate that database for answers to questions.

By collecting customer information in 1 system your sales and marketing teams can find out about your customers and potential customers, giving them a better overall experience. Especially when your staff are on holiday or leave.

Both vBout and SharpSpring include a CRM.

Example of crm marketing automation software

Google Analytics

A pre-requisite for any website, Google Analytics collects anonymous data on visitors to your website.

Free to use, Google Analytics gives you data on everything you need to know about your own website. Therefore any experiments you set up to improve your CRO can be tracked and analysed using its data. It can also be used to dissect the data if you want to know how the experiment has worked between gender, location, device or other criteria.

You can compare data before and during the experiment. Has it improved? And why has it improved? Or maybe it hasn’t and why.

Visitor recordings

Visitor recording software can help you understand more about your UX on your website. What do people do on the website, and what do they struggle to complete? It can help you identify the problems on pages where people fall out of your customer journey.

All visitor recordings are anonymous, but you can group them together to get a good understanding of what visitors do who come from a certain place, or who use a certain device.

By collecting and analysing data you can find where visitors are missing any CTA buttons, or trying to click on images, graphs, or charts that are not links. It can help identify further information visitors are looking for, and which information visitors just bypass, because it is not valuable.

You can then implement experiments to try and solve the problems and see the difference that makes. Does it solve the problem, or even, does it just create a different problem?

Visitor recordings are a valuable tool to see in real-time what visitors are actually doing on your website.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps can help you identify the high-traffic areas on your website and the areas that no visitors bother with. With them, you can discover what are visitors really interested in. What do visitors spend time engaging with? and what do they just scroll right past?

If you have several links on a page, you’ll be able to discover which ones actually generate the click. Is this worded differently from the others? Is this a better CTA?

Heatmaps gather together visitors’ clicks or scrolling in a coloured image, which can save you time looking at individual visits. Creating a coloured map of a web page of hot (red areas) and cold (blue areas) and colours in between.

click move and heatmap tracking software example

Google Optimize

Google optimise is a great tool to set up and measure experiments on your web page. You can set up 2 different page versions against each other, or just change a colour on the page. It’s up to you what you want to change.

The software will then show the 2 different versions of the web page to different people and will remember who has seen which version. It also gathers together the results of that experiment to let you know the results. Which worked best? Which improved conversions, or did it not work?

example of a/b testing using google optimise

Use UTM’s

UTMs are free to use and easy to implement once you understand what they are and how they work. A UTM or Urchin Tracking Module is an extra bit of code at the end of a webpage address that can be tracked in systems like Google Analytics. This bit of extra code can tell Google Analytics more about where the visitor came from.

By using UTM’s in your digital marketing and digital advertising, you can track which sources bring the most visitors to your website and which ones bring people which eventually leads to sales or enquiries.

Google Analytics will track the stats for you, and by creating different UTM’s for different adverts in different locations, on different graphics etc, you can see exactly which ones work best for you and your business. You can go as granular as you wish to really see what works best.

Google Tag Manager

Now to implement a lot of these services listed above, you will need to add code to your website, to allow them to track and monitor what visitors, view, scroll, click on, interact with etc. This can create a lot of bloat in the code.

Google Tag Manager, allows you to add code to the website, using 1 piece of code, so it is easier to manage. You use the Google Tag Manager online portal to add your various pieces of code for your different tracking and then add 1 small piece of code to your website. There is even a WordPress plugin to make it easy. Google Tag Manager also allows you to test if your tracking is working correctly.

Tips for Successful Conversion Rate Optimisation

Don’t test too much at once. You need to be able to compare like for like, so if you test too much that is different you won’t really know what has made the difference.

Use A/B testing or split testing to see which works best. Using Google optimise you will be given what percentage of people took what action from your split test.

Set your conversion goals. To know if the experiment is worth it and worth implementing set a conversion goal you wish to achieve with this change. If you don’t meet this increase in conversion, can you change it in another way to reach your goal?

A scientific approach, by analysing your current data, creating a hypothesis and then testing, is the only way to make incremental changes that deliver lasting changes.

 

Xposure & Conversion Rate Optimisation

We work with business owners & marketing directors to build creative and results-driven marketing campaigns and websites that deliver an ROI. Based between Mansfield & Newark in Nottinghamshire our boutique marketing agency services provide hands-on experience and knowledge to businesses throughout the East Midlands.

If you need help with your marketing. If you feel your current supplier is not delivering for you or you are ready to proceed to the next level, then please get in touch. We work with businesses on a monthly bases to help them identify potential markets, create exciting online marketing campaigns and deliver leads and sales to the bottom line.

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