What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

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Tips for Optimization Last Updated: February 16, 2017
Author: Steve Herz
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

CRO is the pathway to higher ROI because it’s an acronym for “conversion rate optimization”

Conversion rate optimization is a strategy to optimize return on investment that combines a great many proven digital marketing tactics, including, but not limited to, SEO, PPC, internet marketing, website traffic, A/B testing, heatmap analysis, as well as more complex multivariate testing.

A More Detailed Explanation of Conversion Rate Optimization.
Simply, CRO is a process to quickly, efficiently, and effectively convert your website visitors into website “customers”. That conversion rate is accelerated when you create multiple touch points for your potential customers through a number of calls to action.

For example, the customer conversion can happen on your home page, or on a landing page. It may happen after someone reads a blog or see a video. Conversions can be when someone signs up for your email newsletter, buys something from your website, downloads your app, or just responds to a quick online questionnaire. In short, any action that supports your business objectives can define a conversion.

The fact is, the more often it happens, the lower number of website visits you need to achieve a goal. In CRO terms, you optimize  the visits-to-leads ratio because you’re taking your existing website traffic and optimizing your opportunities with them to convert. This will increase your ROI.

How is CRO Affected By Digital Marketing?
When you combine internet marketing with SEO keywords in organic content on your web site with new content, blog articles, newsletters, landing pages with A/B tests, e-books, and white papers, you can significantly raise your conversion rates in far less time than you might think.

But organic content is just one tactic for what is conversion rate optimization. If you add a pay-per-click ad words campaign to point your potential customers to specific segmented content, you’re actually pointing them to specific pages designed for conversion.

These pages can promote an excerpt of a white paper so they can download a thought leadership paper, subscribe to your newsletter or to sign-up for an upcoming webinar about a subject of interest to them. Either way, you’re using your conversion funnel to capture them as a lead so that you can send them future information about your company.

What Is CRO? For Design, It’s Wide Open.
You wouldn’t ordinarily think of it this way, but conversion rate optimization is very design oriented. You can set up two landing pages with identical copy, but you can test one color vs. another for the “submit” button to download a white paper or to “sign-up” for a webinar.

Perhaps you can test a different background color or a different color of headline or different page layout. There are many design characteristics that can impact the user experience and compel action. That’s the beauty of direct response testing. You never know how well something will perform until you actually test it.

Also, heat map analysis is a form of CRO that graphically represents a visitor behavior in a colorful matrix and tracked by your web analytics program. A heat map can help you understand what users notice, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior. This behavior feedback can really help improve your page design to better facilitate desired actions that lead to visitor conversion.

Is CRO Just A Guessing Game? NO – It’s a Systematic Approach.
Because CRO is a structured approach to optimizing your website’s conversion, it’s not a guessing game, an opinion poll, or a way to generate the most possible traffic leads with no way to track them.

It’s a way to use a conversion funnel like a PPC ad to a landing page to a product purchase or a consultation request.

It’s also a way to improve your call to action (CTA) by simply changing it from “Submit” to “Sign up now” or even something as analogous, but more successful than not as “Tell me more”.

What is A/B Testing for CRO?
CRO is frequently successful by using simplified A/B testing for alternative offers, different layouts,  a blue button vs. a yellow one, etc.

Conversion rate can include multivariate testing which is far more complex than A/B. For example, it can test multiple variations of images, copy, and/or calls to action to see which optimizes your conversions best.

For any test to improve your conversions, you have to ask yourself who are you trying to convert, what do you want them to do, how do you define a conversion to track, and what action do you think they want to take?

There are dozens of ways to A/B test. These can include the following, but A/B tests are most effective when they are kept simple and only one variable is tested each time. More often than that and you can’t easily determine which factor had the greatest impact on conversion rates:

  • Different email subject lines that are split 50-50 among your email database.
  • Testing two offers, such as “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” or “Buy 1, Save 50% on The Second Purchase”.
  • Put your offer in bold type in a colored or lined box at the top of the page, just as you would see in a direct response letter.
  • Test using one image vs. another image; or one image vs. the absence of one.
  • Test using testimonial endorsements of your products or services, with photos of your clients, the city or state where they live, or even a headline quote to each testimonial.
  • Test one headline vs. another, such as a long one vs. a short headline.
  • Test your headline’s size – which results in optimal responses?
  • Test using an endorsement seal like the Better Business Bureau or a trade group, or test using several, if possible, to add to your credibility.
  • Test urgency with a deadline date, a free bonus, or a discount if you buy now.
  • Test your page layout: one column vs. two.
  • Test the frequency of how often you send each email – a week apart?
  • Test using social media testimonials in your landing pages.
  • Test simpler landing pages vs. ones that are cluttered.

Want to Know More About Conversion Rate Optimization?
If you want to slash the time it takes you to achieve a return on investment for your website with campaign tracking, A/B testing, conversion marketing, heatmap analysis, multivariate testing, and more, we invite you to contact Moonstone Interactive today.

As one of  the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading website design and agencies, we’re experts in leveraging CRO for ROI. Our sites are optimized with a strong call to action to turn website visits into product sales or new customer leads.

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