Many business owners look at the overall number of website visits as a metric of success when it comes to digital marketing, thinking that more visits will equal more sales. Not to undermine the value of traffic in general, but when it comes to truly seeing a return on investment, just obtaining more of it doesn’t necessarily lead to increased sales. A more valuable measurement is, qualified traffic that converts. After all, the end goal of your digital marketing efforts is to sell your product, service, or to provide resource information and gather leads. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is how professional digital marketers achieve these goals. To better understand CRO let’s first take a look at what conversion rate actually is.
What is Conversion Rate?
Conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors that take a desired action, such as buying a product, filling out a lead form, or scheduling an appointment. For example; your current digital marketing campaigns are driving 20,000 visitors to your website per month. If you are converting at 2%, that means 400, or only 2 out of every 100 visitors are buying your product or services (or taking the action you want them to on your website).
What are your options if you want to increase your sales from 400 to 800 per month? Some of the more commonly suggested actions are to increase your digital advertising budget, or to invest additional money into other marketing channels to generate more leads. Unfortunately, in many cases, a large recurring increase to the advertising budget is not an option. There is another option though, and one that is often the most cost effective. Have you ever asked yourself how your existing website visitors are converting on your site, and if there are ways that you could encourage more of them to do so? Enter, conversion rate optimization – the analysis of your website sales funnel and the optimization of its on-page content to create the proper user flow that encourages engagement with specific actions or tasks on the site.
Conversion Rate Optimization:
CRO, on its core level, is about understanding who your target audience is and meticulously planning every interaction they have with your brand along their journey. From the first interaction with your company through an ad, Google search or referral source, right up to when the sale is complete, and beyond. This is not an easy task; it can mean taking a deep look into your advertising and creative process. Within the CRO process, all of the traditional elements of digital marketing such as landing page development, SEO, PPC and social media are mapped out and managed, not as individual projects, but as part of a single process designed to increase your return on investment (ROI).
When it comes to conversion rate optimization, understanding your customer’s persona, and giving them a clear path to follow without losing them along the way is vital to conversion. This means that everything they see, hear, or feel must be consistent along every step of their journey, and it must motivate them to take the desired action.
The most important factors in CRO:
When it comes to conversion optimization, there is always room to improve, and often in many areas, but here are a few of the biggest things areas of focus:
- Consistent use of branding and brand storytelling throughout your website touch points
- Understanding audience personas
- A planned path toward engagement using clear and consistent signals as to where the user needs to go next and what action to take
- Measurement of audience performance throughout the customer journey
How to address these items:
Storyboarding and Conversion Planning
When you watch a movie or TV show, everything that you see and hear, from costumes to scenery and soundtrack is meticulously planned to create a certain feeling, and to keep the viewer engaged until the end of the story. There are elements that are consistent though different scenes. Viewers recognize these elements and understand them to be part of the same story. The same is true of your brand story. Increasing conversion rates requires the same level of planning.
Understanding the different personas of your customers and what motivates them
When it comes to increasing conversions, it is important to understand that different types of visitors will have a different approach to your website. Studies using eye tracking have given us insight into personality types and how they will view your website. There are four unique types:
- Logical: Tend to focus on the top of the page
- Emotional: Tend to emotionally react to the content on the page
- Spontaneous: Tend to focus on interactivity, pictures, and what’s going on in the page
- Methodical: Tend to focus on data points, navigation, and flow of the page.
Website Design & Content
Considering personality types when it comes to website design and content is a top priority. This will include what colors, shapes and images to use and where on the page they should be placed to maximize conversions. It is also important to carefully consider and optimize your calls to action or CTA’s. This may mean having different landing pages for different types of personas.
Ad Planning and Design
Your customer’s journey starts when they begin their search for your products, services, or information your business provides. Infusing consistency of color, visuals, and messaging begins with the ads. For example, if you use one color scheme in a display ad, and when your customer clicks through to the landing page, and the color scheme is different, it can create a disconnect and cause the visitor to move on to the next website. Keeping your customer moving forward toward a conversion in your sales funnel is about providing consistency and brand recognition.
Web Analytics Analysis and Measurement
You have heard the term “data-based decisions”. Analyzing and measuring what your website visitors are doing, gives insight into how the changes you implement for conversion optimization are working. This where you gain understanding of what is working, and where adjustments may need to be made. It is a process of continual improvement. A CRO specialist will design A/B tests based on your analytics and ultimately increase conversions based on the results.
Why You Should Learn More About Conversion Optimization
Simply driving traffic to your website in the hopes that it will increase sales is not your only option, nor is it the best one. When you truly understand who your target customers are, and how to speak to them at every stage of their journey, you will lower your cost per sale, and cost of acquisition numbers. More importantly, with conversion rate optimization, you will increase brand recognition, ROI, and create happy customers who keep coming back.