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What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

CRO is Conversion Rate Optimization

You may have been hearing more and more about it lately, since we are amidst another eCommerce boom due to increased online migration from the pandemic.

The idea behind CRO is simple: convert more of your website visitors into paying customers. 

Get more people to click on your CTA (Call To Action), or in other words, do whatever “the thing” is that you want them to do.
Subscribe to the newsletter. Complete and submit the registration form. Add to cart. Complete purchase. So on.

What makes CRO different than many other areas of focus for your website is that CRO is a systematic, mathematical and repeatable process.

If you get 1,000 visitors to your website each month, but only convert 30 of them into paying customers, you have a 3% conversion rate. Many companies will spend a fortune on trying to cast a wider net and bring in 2,000 visitors in order to convert 60 into customers, at the 3% rate.

However, if you build a machine that converts at 6%, you are getting your 60 customers out of the original 1,000 – without spending precious marketing budget on hit-or-miss Facebook campaigns.

  • Improving your CRO has greater impact on your SEO, via improved mobile UX, CTR (click through rates) and optimized page speed
  • Improving your CRO will naturally increase your online ROI, by definition, via increased website effectiveness
    (think of your website as your #1 salesperson!)
  • Improved CRO will even enhance customer trust, via social proof and enhanced security (HTTPS via SSL certificates)

How to start with CRO

Ensure you have accurate analytics in place via Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Core Web Vitals and/or Google Merchant Center.

Look at your analytics regularly and see what the data is telling you.

You want to keep an eye on referring domains – how people are finding your website, as well as what areas of the website (specific pages) people engage with.

Identify “stickiness factors” on core pages. How often they stay on the page – “Avg. Time on Page”.
How engaged they are with your content and how many pages they view – “Pageviews”.

Don’t shy away from the negatives. Focus on them so you can turn them around.

Analyze your “Bounce Rate” – the rate at which someone lands on your page(s) and leave (usually in seconds), without clicking or interacting with any of your content.

Look at your cart abandonment rate – the rate at which users add products to cart, only to abandon in the middle of the process without completing purchase. What causes this? Messaging, shipping, other hidden costs are usually the prime suspects.

Identify your “Exit Pages”. Your analytics tools will show you the “top pages” on your website in which users leave. Finding themes here can be super helpful to optimized conversion rates. If you see a specific product page is sending people away – find out why. Out of stock? Price point? Sold out of most popular sizes or colors? Page is broken in some aspect? Images not loading or loading too slowly? Something is sending people running for the hills and when you find out what that is, and correct it, you will see immediate benefits.

What tools are best for CRO?

Google Analytics is free and there are a number of other free tools you can use to leverage your data in the interest of CRO.
Google’s lighthouse tool, “Page Speed Insights“, is optimized for page load speed improvements.

Importantly, a core aspect of CRO is split testing or A/B testing. Simply stated, it’s having two versions of the same page that alternate to your audience (usually 50/50) via a third party tool or plugin.

You can use Google Optimize (free), or a more advanced platform like SEMrush (paid) or HotJar (free & paid) or Heap (paid).

These tools vary in research and discovery, to identify the problem, as well as the level of prescriptive fix capabilities. For example, Google Optimize or HotJar will only point out the problem, whereas SEMrush has tools to implement the actual fix(es).

The entire point of sound Conversion Rate Optimization being, ensure your website is a solid conversion engine before you exhaust your entire budget on driving more people to the same underperforming website or landing pages. By increasing conversion rates on your existing traffic, you can realize the same benefits for a fraction of the costs.

Learn more about Conversion Rate Optimization in the eCommerce Training Live program, or apply to have us do your CRO for you!

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