Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) has received a surge in popularity in recent months. If you’re in the marketing sector, you very well may have heard of it before and dismissed it as just another industry acronym. Well we are here to tell you to rewind and rethink your opinions on CRO, because we have a feeling you’ll be knocking on its front door sooner than you think.
What is CRO?
Conversion rate optimisation is the art and science of optimising your website to make the traffic your site already receives convert more. Put simply, turning more of your visitors into customers. This could range from getting more site users to submit their email details for newsletter subscriptions, ecommerce sales, media pack downloads, inbound phone calls, etc.
For example, let’s say you own an ecommerce site which sells organic honey. Although you have a well-designed site with ample content, you’re still not getting visitors to convert to customers.
CRO would come into play here, and would start off by analysing your conversion funnel, that is the user journey from homepage to product page to checkout, and would identify the key areas where your users are dropping off.
Following this, user testing is crucial in order to gain insight into why your customers aren’t converting. These insights bring to light any user anxieties when on the site, which elements are stopping them from purchasing, any UX issues that can be fixed, etc. This testing is a key element in understanding the psychology of your user base and should not be overlooked.
You would then take the insights you gain from analysing the user behaviours on your site, and optimise based on these points to make sure your users are effectively guided and motivated on their way to the checkout.
The crucial point to remember here is that CRO is not there to help you get more traffic to your site, it is there to help you make the most of the traffic you already have.
Why is CRO important for your site?
Without CRO you could very well have a raging torrent of users streaming onto your site, but if those users aren’t converting into sales tell me what the point of your site is? If you’re there to inform only, then pat yourself on the back and grab a drink (hello Wikipedia!). If not, then obviously something is terribly awry and CRO is the next card you need to play in your marketing strategy.
Being able to stand back from your site and have a solid understanding of your users’ desires, needs and interests will not only help you engage with them better, it will help you to find new ways in which to put them on track to convert on your site.
CRO loves Data
An example of the importance of CRO would be good here; sometimes it’s as complex as redesigning your site, or it can be as simple as adding a button, and in Nature Air’s case, it was the latter. Often the smallest things can cause the biggest effects, as they found out when trying to increase their key site page conversions:
Call to action (CTA) buttons are a key element of e-Commerce sites, giving attractive and convenient nudges along the sites conversion path to your users. Their placement therefore is of huge importance, as if your users cannot see the call to action, how are they to convert?
Nature Air, a Costa Rican airline, saw this, and wondered how they could get more conversions on some of their highest viewed pages on their site. They looked at their user behaviour data on these pages, and found that while there was ample informative content, the call to action wasn’t immediately visible on the page unless the user scrolled down.
By simply moving their CTA button to a more prominent position above the fold, they increased their conversions by 591% showing that the more obvious your call to action is on the page, the more likely your users will push that button!
Data is the big key here, and getting to grips with your user insights should be a priority now, if it isn’t already. Google Analytics is the primary data beast of choice for most marketers, and for good reason; reliable and easy to use (after a couple of rounds in the ring), it has all the basic data you need to see what’s going wrong on your site.
For CRO however, Google Analytics is just the tip of the iceberg. Digivate places a huge emphasis on psychology, and understands from years of experience that the user experience on your site is the primary concern when it comes to converting. This means that simply looking at GA metrics won’t cut it, and an extensive data collection process is needed:
- We initially begin with basic GA metrics for user activity (landing pages, exit pages, bounce rates, etc) but this data is not enough to create a fully informed CRO hypothesis.
- We then move to User Testing. This is where we use a ‘blind’ site user and watch their behaviours on the site. This gives us a first-hand look at how our user base interacts with the site, which pages they head to and which they avoid, etc.
- Customer Data is where we look to next. We compile surveys for past customers, using questions looking into their experiences on the site, how helpful they found the information on the site, what it lacked for them, etc. We also create mini surveys which we host live on sites to collect real-time user information about what is lacking on the pages they’re currently on, etc.
- Next we create Heatmaps; these are visual records that show the key areas of a site page where users click the most, stay the longest, what they overlook, etc. These give us a good grounding when looking to add, move or remove elements from site pages.
- This is when we begin our Competitor Research, which gives us the details into what your competitors are succeeding and failing in for future reference.
- Finally, compiling all the user data from the above steps, we create a priority list of fixes, draw up wireframes and A/B test page variations to ensure that the fixes we have implemented actually boost conversions for your site. This takes into account design, copywriting and user psychology to maximize your website’s conversion rate and revenue.
How does CRO work with SEO?
So we all know why SEO is important to webmasters; optimise, update and engage is the key behind succeeding in this practice. SEO focuses on improving your site for search engines (hence the name), and focuses on improving the ranking of the site in order to push it up to the #1 spot in SERPs.
Now if you only performed SEO on your site, you would definitely see an increase in traffic as your site climbed higher up the SERPs, but that wouldn’t necessarily translate to more conversions on your site, i.e more honey sold.
SEO brings the noise/traffic to your site, and CRO takes that traffic and steers it through your site to the checkout page. Now that’s an unstoppable duo!
Examples of CRO in Action
CRO isn’t simply a ‘content’ thing or a ‘visuals’ thing. It is a potent combination of UX, user research, design, testing and psychology to create the ideal experience on your site needed to create conversions. The following examples demonstrate this need for user testing and behavioural insights that are so crucial to CRO success.
Case Study: CloudSponge
Sometimes it may be necessary to undergo a more drastic CRO redesign, and a good example of this would be from CloudSponge. Their SaaS site was barely converting and they needed to find out why. After testing they realised it was mainly due to the UX on their site, or more appropriately the lack of it.
They ended up redesigning their site in line with their users’ preferences, adding more calls to action and more visual elements such as screenshots and demo videos. These changes created a 33% increase in conversions, showing that user experience on your site is a key step to conversions.
Case Study: Content Verve
An example of how psychology is applied to improve conversion rates is social proof. Testimonials and customer reviews (social proof) go a long way towards creating user trust on your site, and the more trust you have with your users, the more likely they are to convert.
Social proofing your product pages (adding testimonials and reviews) can create huge conversion increases, and should be something you strive to add where possible. Getting other people to endorse your product will always go towards building user trust in a sector where everyone is always looking for the next best free thing.
The example above, from Content Verve, displays this perfectly; with the free e-Book the aim was to get as many users to download the media as possible. Now surely, you think, the fact it’s free is all the incentive the users needed to click the button; you’d be wrong. The trust element comes into play here in a big way! People are offered free information every day on the internet, what’s so special about yours that they should forget all the others and download your book?
By including reviews from senior members of the marketing sector in their final page format, Content Verve gave themselves reputability, something hard to do without stellar reviews.
Site users who came across this page instantly saw the reviews, saw the reviewers job titles and decided ‘well if it’s good enough for a creative director, then it’s good enough for me!’. We are inclined to listen to and follow figures of authority, which is why the senior businessmen mentioned motivated users to click and download the e-Book.
Simply by adding strong customer reviews on their product page, they were able to increase the e-Book downloads by 65%, a huge boost and one worth remembering for future promotions!
Nowadays, marketers need to be able to understand who they’re talking to, what their user’s preferences are and why they act in certain ways. This is why SEO and CRO work so well together; like yin and yang, they need each other in order to grow your website and turn it into a money generating machine.
Crafting the right conversion rate optimisation strategy for your company isn’t simple, but it is easily done with an experienced team working with you. At Digivate we optimise websites by implementing our unique psychology based methodology, which means that we look deeper into the thoughts and behaviours of your customers to allow us to build a website that converts optimally. We begin by performing our unique Psychological Quick Wins Audit which gives us insight into how we can achieve specific ‘quick wins’, which are fast fixes that boost revenue and conversion for your site to give you results from the beginning. Our experience and history in applying psychological knowledge to conversion optimisation allows us to do this as one of our first points of call with our clients, giving them the quick wins they want and giving us the information we need to start building a comprehensive CRO strategy.
The great thing about CRO is that it’s easily added onto your existing marketing plan and ties in beautifully with your existing SEO.