What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation?

Megan Watts - Digital Marketing Executive

Megan Watts

7th April 2021

If you’re new to conversion rate optimisation (CRO), you’re in the right place. This back-to-basics article will explain what CRO is, why it's important to your website, your users and your revenue, and what you should consider when carrying out CRO. 

What Is CRO?

Broadly speaking, CRO is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors that convert into customers, or take any type of desired action on a webpage.

These desired actions could be a number of things, and they may be different for every unique business. Some common primary conversion actions include:

  • Making a purchase
  • Completing a webform
  • Requesting a call back

As the above conversion types are often primary goals, they can be referred to as macro conversions. But it’s worth noting that your site might also have micro conversions, which are smaller steps that consumers take towards a larger conversion goal. Some examples of this include:

  • Subscribing to a newsletter
  • Adding something to the shopping basket
  • Downloading a PDF
  • Watching a video
  • Creating an account

Conversion rate optimisation, then, is when you make changes to your website in order to increase your conversion rate.

How Do You Measure Conversion Rate?

Knowing how to calculate conversion rate is useful as it will help you to understand if any changes you make to your site increase the number of conversions.

Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions (desired actions taken) by the total number of visitors (sessions) and multiplying the result by 100 to get a percentage.

Here is the formula:

% conversion rate = (conversions / website sessions) x 100

For example, if a website had 1,000 sessions and in 50 of those sessions the users made an online purchase, we could calculate it as:
(50/1,000) x 100 = 5% conversion rate.

Take a look at our article, “Where to Focus Your Conversion Rate Optimisation for Increased Marginal Gains”, for further information on making improvements to your conversion rate and the tools that you can use to do so.

How To Improve Conversion Rate

Once you know your conversion rate, you will likely want to increase it by optimising your site, which is where CRO comes into play – as your aim is to turn more of your website visitors into customers.

The key factors to remember when optimising your site are reducing friction in the purchase funnel and enhancing the value of what you are offering.

In order to do this, some conversion rate optimisation techniques include:

  • Using a strong colour for all CTA (call-to-action) buttons
  • Placing CTAs above the fold or making them sticky
  • Using urgency to drive sales, such as time-limited offers
  • Making the most of testimonials and product reviews
  • Creating great webforms, perhaps with fewer form fields
  • Utilising CRO tools such as CrazyEgg and Google Analytics to analyse your web pages and find out which ones are underperforming in line with your conversion goals
  • Analysing where traffic drops off your website or when carts are abandoned and finding ways to improve this
  • Fixing any bugs, errors or usability issues

Steps To Take To Improve CRO

1. Identify your target audience

It is essential that you know who your audience is as you want every marketing message to find its target. It needs to be so compelling that your ideal customers can’t refuse your product or service offering.

Try creating customer personas to help you delve into the mind of your ideal audience.

2. Collect and analyse data

Use tools like Crazy Egg and Google Analytics to look for patterns and find out how people are interacting with your site.

You may realise a number of things, such as if people interact particularly well with a key page or you have noticed that you are getting a lot of basket abandonment on your retail site.

Whatever you find, you can use that information to boost conversion rates.

3. Run tests

Running A/B tests and heatmap analysis can really help you to focus on the most important pages on your website, such as your landing pages and product pages, that deserve special attention.

By doing this on those pages, you will see where people click and how they use the pages. You can then optimise them to increase conversions.

4. Be strategic about your CTAs

CTAs or calls to action can help you guide your customers where you want them to go. Therefore, it’s important to be strategic about where you place them and other custom elements to ensure that you are driving people to the right places.

Read this article on how to make your CTAs more compelling.

5. Reduce friction

You should look to remove any elements that give the user a reason to not work their way through the purchase funnel. For example, if you want to make the information more digestible, turn it into bullet points or scale down images to improve page speed. Improving user experience is always worth your consideration.
6. Read into Core Web Vitals

Google will soon begin using Core Web Vitals to assess the user experience of a website and rank it on search engine results pages accordingly. This means that Core Web Vitals are an important consideration for both CRO and SEO work. As Google will drive traffic to websites that provide the best user experience, knowing how and where to optimise your site is essential.

You should also think about what CMS you use. You can find out why Drupal is our go-to CMS here.

Are There Any CRO Mistakes?

“Mistakes” may be an exaggerated term here, but there are definitely some missed opportunities that could impact your CRO. These include:

  • Not having CTAs on the majority of your pages.
  • Not making your site mobile-friendly.
  • Not improving page speed to get pages fully loaded as quickly as possible. (See our article Is your website robust enough to deal with traffic demands?)
  • Not looking for and identifying pain points that your users may be experiencing on your site and therefore finding out what changes should be tested on your page (using A/B testing and/or heatmapping).
  • Guessing and not basing actions on what your data is telling you.

CRO Marketing Strategies

Here are some conversion rate marketing strategies that you may not have thought to do and could work really well for your business:

1. Add text-based CTAs within blog posts

We are told that it’s good practise to include a CTA at the end of a blog post, but they can sometimes fail to entice visitors to take your desired course of action. This may be because visitors might not read all the way to the bottom of a blog post, so scattering internal links within your writing may prove useful for improving conversions.

2. Add a popup to your site

Popups are designed to attract attention and make it even easier for consumers to interact with your site, with the aim of converting. Depending on what types of macro conversion you want users to take, think about what type of popup content may prove effective for your business. For example, you may use a small popup in the bottom corner to encourage visitors to start a live chat with you, or to sign up to your newsletter. Popups should be designed to be effective but not annoying or overly intrusive.
3. Consider automation

There are a number of reasons why automating workflows can benefit you. For example, if we consider email automation for an ecommerce site, you can send an email to customers who abandon their shopping cart as a reminder that they shouldn’t miss out.

4. Consider live chat software

It may be worth testing some live chat software, so that you can chat with your website visitors in real-time and offer support and guidance as needed. 

To increase conversions, it may be worth adding one to your high-performing web pages, such as your product pages to ensure your leads are nurtured.

5. Optimise blog posts

Blog posts opens the door to a big opportunity for conversions, so it’s worth identifying which of your blog posts have high traffic levels but low conversion rates and working on improving them. You could also update posts with high conversions rates to keep them relevant in SERPs.

6. Retargeting

Retargeting visitors who visited your highest-converting web pages or abandoned their shopping basket could instantly improve your conversion numbers, as you know that they are already further down the purchase funnel and interested in your product or service. Consider using Google remarketing ads for this.

Do You Need CRO Support?

Your main priority should be to keep your customers at the centre of your decisions, as they are the people that matter. Find out what their needs and hesitations are and learn from them to build a conversion rate optimisation strategy. The above actions can then follow based on your business offering and the data gained from evaluating your site.

If you would like any support in doing this, or with any other part of your digital marketing strategy, the SilverDisc team is at hand to help. Get in touch today.

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