All marketers want to achieve more (whether that be conversions, revenue, traffic, or what not else), but not all marketers want to put in more effort. It’s human nature, in fact—who doesn’t want to do more with less?
This scenario certainly sounds too good to be true and in many situations it is. When it comes to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), though, sometimes marketing fantasies can come true. Built on the principles of optimization and simplification, CRO is dedicated to allowing marketers to gain more from less. The catch, though, is that ‘doing less’ actually comes after doing more. In other words—CRO takes effort upfront, but once processes and pages are streamlined, your marketing team will find themselves able to kick back while conversions soar.
The ultimate marriage of data and design as well as science and art, CRO is the often forgotten ying to SEO’s yang. You see, while SEO is fantastic at increasing website traffic as well as enhancing overall web presence, it doesn’t do much with the audience it draws to your website. CRO, on the other hand, leads your qualified web traffic down a direct and frictionless path of conversion. Ultimately, it makes user experience better and therefore increases the likelihood of conversion, leading to increased positive ROI.
While most people associate CRO with web pages, it is the process of optimizing overall web presence. This means it could include optimizing any of the following: websites, landing pages, image ads, email, and other design related elements of one’s online marketing efforts.
Why Start Implementing CRO?
Driving traffic is no longer enough. Elements such as content overload, increased mobile usage, and the prioritization of user-friendly sites in search engines have all led to this.
We’ve all been in these situations — you utilize SEO, paid advertisements, and various other tactics to grow your audience. And even though your traffic skyrockets, conversions flat line. It’s a waste of time and money. What is missing in this situation is the follow through, the elements that will ensure your audience will perform the actions you want them to. If you don’t know what you want your audience to do–and you don’t make that very clear from the start–they will not know either. Along these same lines, studies have found that failing to optimize can cost companies big time.
For example, Nielson Norm group found that not proactively adopting CRO doesn’t just keep you from increasing conversions—it can actually negatively impact your revenue. Nielson illustrated their findings through a sample calculation of A/B testing a form on a website. Their sample calculation for this A/B test was: The conversion rate for the original form is 10%, and removing one question changes the conversion rate to 11%. Say, for example, that this form sees traffic of about 100,000 per year and the average business value of each form completion is $20. Asking that extra question ends up costing about $20,000 per year.
Yes, the simple act of removing one single question on a form could be the difference of $20,000.
Have I caught your attention yet?
Luckily, these situations can be easily avoided with the use of CRO. Not only will it help your website look better and increase the impact of your web presence, it should ultimately drive more sales and increase revenue.
While CRO itself is more of a philosophy/strategy than anything else, there are a variety of tools and technologies out there that can assist marketers in implementing CRO in their own marketing efforts.
Getting Started with CRO
The first step when starting with CRO is to calculate your current conversion rate in the same way that Nielson did in the example above. After all, you want to know what your baseline is and what your goals are in comparison to this baseline. Conversion rates can be calculated based on the following formula: the number of visitors to a site within a month divided by the number of conversions (conversions being whatever the goal of the page is–download, contact, etc.).
Once you have that solidified, looking into CRO testing, implementation, and measurement technologies will help marketers improve upon their baseline conversion rate. Below you can find a comprehensive list of CRO areas to get started in as well as corresponding tools that are great for marketers of various levels of experience and access to resources.
Page Building & A/B Testing
User Flow Analysis
Of course, getting started with these tools is the first of many steps you’ll want to take to increase positive ROI through CRO. By integrating CRO efforts with both analytics platforms and your CRM system keeping your sights on success is simple. You can track conversions, see what’s working, and then align with sales to justify the ROI of CRO efforts. Ultimately, this level of integration will provide a keen understanding of the audience you’re driving to your site and how they’re reacting to your CRO efforts.
As Leonardo DaVinci once said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Accordingly, your CRO work is never truly done. There can always be more to tweak, test, and optimize. Taking that first step and beginning the journey of CRO is half the battle, though.
It can be easy push CRO, UX, and design to the back burner based on the misconception that they’re frivolous and more concerned with ‘looking good’ than performing well. Remember that casual $20,000 you could be gaining from a slightly less complicated form, though.
As technology, along with visitor usage patterns and behaviors, continues to change and mobile surpasses desktop usage by large strides, that $20,000 you’re potentially losing from clunky design will only grow in severity. Elements such as instantaneous site speed, frictionless usability, and responsive layouts are increasingly becoming necessary to stay afloat.
Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Blurred Lines: The De-Silo-Ing of Marketing to discover why breaking down organizational silos is key to staying agile and ahead of your competition.