There is a lot of content available on search engine optimization. It’s important to be effective at gaining visibility in search. But what if you were wildly successful in getting a lot of traffic but are unable to convert them into leads? That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.
Definition of conversion rate
Before you can do anything to increase your conversion rate, you need to know what it is. Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action. These actions could be completing a web form, watching a video, signing up for a webinar or purchasing a product. When they complete these actions, you have converted a stranger into a lead (or customer if they have purchased).
Let’s take a simple example. Your marketing activity attracted 100 visitors and 2 of them completed the desired action. That makes your conversion rate would be 2%. The math is 2 conversions divided by 100 visitors times 100.
What is conversion rate optimization?
Conversion rate optimization is increasing the quality of visitors and their website experience so that more visitors take a desired action.
Part of the CRO activity is to assess your marketing activities to ensure that you are reaching the right audience. If you are attracting the right audience, then the goal of CRO is to focus on the experience once visitors reach your website. A better experience will encourage more of them to complete the desired action.
Don’t underestimate the need to attract the right audience for your business. When you attract the right visitor, they are more likely to want what you offer. They will therefore take action and convert, boosting your conversion rate. If you are attracting the wrong audience, they will never convert and you will be wasting time trying to better your conversion rate.
CRO and SEO are different
Search engine optimization is the process of attracting more traffic to your website. If you are optimizing your web presence for the important keywords, then you should see increased traffic.
Conversion rate optimization is the process of moving these visitors through the sales funnel. When someone reaches your website, you want to ensure they can find what they need.
Benefits of conversion rate optimization
Any time you make your marketing more effective, there will always be benefits to your business. Some benefits of CRO include:
Higher return on investment
If you are paying for SEO and content marketing, increasing the conversion rate will increase your ROI. If you refine your market to attract more quality leads, you will inevitably increase conversions.
But there may be another benefit hidden in this. The right buyer is more likely to purchase more from you which would increase in the average value of each sale.
Better understanding of your customers
You can get many insights into what is important to your clients. We can see what they respond to when landing on your website. This will allow you to improve the user experience and path to purchase for your ideal client. Continuing to refine your content and products to their needs makes your business more valuable to them.
Improved visibility in search engine results
A better user experience gets rewarded by Google. Meeting your customer’s needs will keep them on your website longer. This signals search engines that the search and the result were aligned.
Simplified sales process
Creating a better experience means removing unnecessary impediments to working with you. If the visitor can easily see how you can help them, there is nothing in the way of them making a purchase decision.
Getting started with CRO
CRO like many other things in marketing is a process. A simple process to evaluate your current situation and apply improvements will make it easier to see results.
Clarify your objective
What is your ultimate objective for a visitor? You need to know what you want them to do, i.e. the conversion goal. You may have multiple actions available depending on where the visitor is in the purchase process. Understand this first so that you can evaluate the behavior flow of visitors on your website.
Determine your current conversion rate
You will need information from Google Analytics on visitors and goal completions. Sometimes a goal maybe to watch a video. Therefore, it may not be as obvious as someone filling out a form. This is your baseline information.
Metrics will also vary depending on the conversion goal. It could be pure number of new leads, average customer sale or cost per conversion. That will depend on your industry.
Understand the conversion funnel
The conversion funnel is the number of steps someone has to go through in order to complete the conversion. A review of that may uncover some roadblocks which cause visitors to drop off rather than complete the action.
Audit your visitor behavior
What happens when visitors get to your website?
- Do they quickly leave (i.e. bounce)?
- Are they spending time on the page but then leave?
- Do they browse to other pages?
What happens when a visitor is sent to a specific landing page?
- How much time do they spend on the page?
- Does the landing page focus on one action?
- Why do you think they don’t convert?
You need a clear understanding of where the process may break for most visitors. If visitors leaving without taking some action, there is a reason. This is where you need to come up with a plan for what to test and what improvements in the process could help conversions.
Elements to consider
There are many different ways to improve your conversion rates. The following elements are things to consider adding or improving in your conversion funnel:
Review the most popular pages of your website. Where are most visitors landing when they arrive? Review those to see how they flow, whether it is easy to navigate. Determine if you need to move elements around so they are quickly visible. Remove page elements that could be intrusive.
If you are running a campaign and sending visitors to a landing page, make sure your landing page is optimized for conversion. Remove all extraneous elements that distract and detract from the purpose.
How you speak to your visitor is important. If a visitor comes to your homepage, are you speaking to them about their needs or is all the content only about you? Keep in mind that your homepage has to convince people that you understand them and are there to help.
Formatting should used to make it easy to scan for information. Use headings, bullet points and short paragraphs.
Landing page content should only target the call-to-action for that page. Avoid anything that could result in a visitor being confused as to what you want them to do.
Call to Action
People need to be told what to do. Don’t make me figure it out for myself. Without a highly visible, relevant call to action, your website visitor won’t know what to do next.
If you have one on the page, make sure it is visible. Sometimes just moving the button or changing color can increase conversions. These are the things you need to test.
If you have a blog, you can add CTAs throughout the article. Just make sure the call to action relates to the blog content.
Forms are critical to conversions, especially if you are trying to gather warm leads. Review your forms for anything that could deter a visitor from filling it out. Ask for only the information you need, especially for email list signup forms. There are times where forms can be more extensive, but these are usually when a prospect is ready to make a purchase decision.
Overall navigation and website structure
If visitors can’t quickly find what they need, they will leave. If there is any confusion about what to do next, most will leave. When accessing your website, visitors want a simple, effective experience.
Be sure the person creating your website understands the value of simplicity for lead conversion. Make finding information easy. Too many clicks and you will lose them to a competitor.
Page speed and page load time can affect your conversion rate. It is one of the critical page experience factors that Google is measuring. Be sure your page loads quickly, especially on a mobile device. Make the user experience the best it can be.
Conversion rate optimization improves performance
As a small business, we don’t need to over complicate this. CRO improves the overall performance of your website and therefore, your business. Evaluate your website and remove anything that gets in the way of a visitor completing your desired action.
If you can convert more visitors into leads and leads into customers, you can get a better return on your marketing investment. Take the time to understand what your visitors need, how you can help them and then make it easy for them to get what they need.