Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is one of the on-going areas that you have to focus on to get what you want from your website. Regardless of whether you’re business is B2B, B2C, or if you are a non-profit, CRO will pay dividends on the work that you do to increase the conversions from your website.
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Before we dive into how to can improve your CRO, it’s important that we take just a second to identify exactly what CRO is. Conversion Rate Optimization is defined as “The point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action.”, according to MarketingSherpa.
The contact or quote request it the most famous and measured conversion that there is. In fact, more often than not, this one conversion is what will lead business owners and marketers to decide if their website is working or not. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent every month as a result of this type of a conversion. And, in many cases, all of that money is wasted because of this one conversion point.
Conversions To Watch
There are so many more conversions that happen during the course of a prospective customer, donor, or supporter trying to decide if they want to engage with your company. A conversion could be someone downloading an informational paper, such as a case study or a white paper, from your website. Or, a conversion could be someone reading an article or blog post on your website. Or, a conversion could be someone reading the about us page on your website.
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All of these activities and more are conversions. Take a look at MarketingSherpa’s definition, again, and you’ll start to see that a lot of activities that we normally take for granted are actually steps towards the ultimate conversion of a sale.
To decide exactly what a conversion is, for your website, you have to look at what your buyer’s process for making a purchase decision is. As an example, many B2B companies have longer sell-cycles than B2C companies and as a result, B2B buyers will typically visit websites multiple times during their decision-making process. With each visit, they will research a different aspect of the company and its products and services.
So, in the case of a B2B company, the conversions that are important could be:
- Time spent on the About Us page
- Product brochure download
- Product spec sheet download
- Time spent on the delivery services information page
- Time spent on the Our Customers page
- Contact Us form filled out
As you can see, each of these conversions could stop this buyer from becoming a customer if either the information isn’t on your website, or they can’t find the information on your website.
The other thing to know is that the conversions that happen during a buyer’s decision process (their buy-cycle) will also change based on the buyer’s personality or the industry that they are in. As an example, a buyer with a very methodical personality will do a much deeper dive into your products, your business, and your company. Someone that has more of an A personality type, probably won’t dig that deep for information so their buy-cycle will be different.
How Do I Know What My Conversions Are
The easiest and most accurate method for knowing what your conversions are, it to set up your Google Analytics (GA) reports for the conversion points that are important for you.
The first place that you should look at for measuring conversions with GA is the goals section. Within your GA account, you’ll find goal templates that you can use or you can custom build a report that is specific to your business and your website. Google has a detailed article on how to go about setting up your goals, here.
The goals that you can set up include someone that fills out a form, like when they download a white paper or when someone spends a minimum amount of time on a page that is important to your sell-cycle, like when someone spends > 10 seconds on your About Us page. Then, you can also set it up so that you get a weekly or even a daily report on these important conversion metrics.
Before you rush into GA and start setting up your reports, take a couple of minutes to figure out what you want to measure, first. Because you want to get a baseline of where you are, currently, it’s important to develop your plan for measuring conversions so that months from now, your metrics will be consistent and you’ll have a realistic picture of whether or not your conversion rate is improving.
Once you have your plan in place and your GA reports setup you can start to work on improving your conversion rates.
When you start improving your conversions, start with one conversion point and work only on that one conversion point at a time. If you start working on too many conversion points at a time, you’re not gaining the knowledge that you need to continue the improvement process.
Here’s an example. Let’s take the scenario from earlier. Let’s say that you decide on changing the download form for a case study and you change the information on your About Us page at the same time. After about a month with these changes implemented you notice that your conversions are down from where they were when you started. Is it the change on your About Us page? Or, is it the changes that you made to the case study download form? When you’re doing multiple changes and once, it can be very difficult to know.
You’ll improve your conversions much faster and with better increases if you follow this methodology.
- Identify what you want to change and what your conversion metric for that conversion point, is.
- Create a hypothesis for what will improve that conversion point.
- Based on your hypothesis, determine what you will change on your website
- Make the changes that you’ve arrived at in your hypothesis
- Test! You can either A/B test or you can simply use your new metrics and compare them to your old metrics
- Repeat as necessary!
What To Try
If you’re still not quite sure what to try on your website to increase conversions, here’s a quick list of ideas:
- Reduce fields on a form
- Reduce the number of required fields on a form
- Use contrasting colors for calls-to-actions
- Improve the quality of images on your website page (no, really it works)
- Change the call-to-action language (stop using “Submit” on the submit button)
- Make sure your headlines make sense to your audience
- Write copy that creates urgency
- Change links to buttons where appropriate
- Personalize your website.
- Add trust indicators like testimonials, industry or certification badges