Has a website ever annoyed you to the point that you’ve quit what you were doing and gone to look somewhere else? Have you ever walked into a shop and been unable to find what you were looking for, taking your custom elsewhere?

These situations happen when businesses don’t understand what their customers need. The good news is that in the online context you can avoid this problem with a technique called CRO …

Ok, sold, but what does CRO stand for?

CRO stands for ‘conversion rate optimisation’. It refers to a set of techniques designed to encourage a website’s visitors to behave in a desired manner.

The changes involved in CRO can vary from the simple to the dramatic. You could find that you need to change the text on a button – or you might end up rewriting an entire section of your site.

Conversion rate optimisation involves using techniques in a controlled and scientific manner. This means that proper use of CRO will always improve the way your website traffic converts.

CRO looks at your site as a whole, rather than as individual elements. This always yields a superior result in the long run.

The average ROI of a CRO tool is 223%

What is a conversion?

In this context, a conversion can be any metric or key performance indicator (KPI) you want it to be. If the aim of a page is to get users to click on a certain button, then this would count as a conversion. If you want people to fill in a form, then that would represent a conversion.

A conversion doesn’t have to be as simple as finalising a sale, either. Often it will be something that puts you on the path towards one.

Why does conversion rate matter?

If you run a business website, then you’ve probably spent some resources on driving traffic to it. You may have used search engine optimisation (SEO) and / or pay-per-click (PPC). So it goes without saying that you’ll want to make the most of all that effort.

This is exactly what CRO does.

This matters. You could raise the number of visitors to your site by 100%, but none of the extra people might end up converting. So you would have achieved very little. CRO solves all that.

In the example below, traffic to a website doubles once we apply SEO. But its conversion rate remains constant – at least until CRO comes along, that is …

Eradicate bottlenecks in your online sales pipeline with CRO.

In fact, CRO can help to bring more visitors to your site in the long run. It’ll give you a more useful site, which users stick to (lower bounce rate),and this will boost your SEO. Then consider the repeat custom you’ll stand to gain once your site becomes better for people to use …

Conversion rate is measurable. While its psychology might sometimes seem outlandish, CRO is a truly scientific discipline. All you have to do to prove the efficacy of a certain technique is to carry out some testing – which is easy to do.

How do you know which parts of your site to change?

Because CRO is measurable, you can hold it to account. It’ll be very obvious if one technique is working better than another. You can then concentrate your efforts in that direction.

But how do you know what to do in the first place? There’s no ‘perfect’ website, so you can’t just follow one set of best practices and expect results. This is where CRO research and your CRO plan come in.

Remember how we said that the ‘conversion’ in conversion rate can be any metric or KPI you choose it to be? Well now is the time to choose which ones to go after first.

The important thing is to be scientific about this. Don’t select one conversion over another just because you think you can improve it more easily …

While one conversion might be easy, another could potentially be more valuable. In this case, your efforts would be better spent improving that channel. Low-hanging fruit is not always the best way forward.

As an example, say you run a recruitment business. You carry out research on your site and determine a logical course of action for CRO. This is to try and increase the number of candidate signups within a certain job discipline. Once you’ve defined this as what you need to do, then you can begin to piece together the best way to achieve it.

CRO doesn’t look at actually getting people onto your site – because that’s the job of other disciplines (like SEO). CRO is about removing barriers to conversion. It aims to eradicate any friction that a user might experience.

Returning to our example, it would be easy to generate a CRO question from the research carried out. This would be: ‘why don’t more candidates sign up for job role X after they arrive at our website?

Conclusion: CRO is the solution to making more from your site

In this article we’ve shown that CRO is the smart way forward if you’re looking to turn web traffic into customers. Well-conceived, scientific CRO means that you can’t go wrong.

No website is perfect. Whatever level you’re at, CRO will improve the way you do business online.

By finding the real sticking points in your sales process, you can target them. CRO gives you the tools not only to identify friction, but also to tackle it.

The next two articles in this series turn things up a notch and look at exactly how you can do this. They look at CRO planning and how to find the best CRO changes to make.

We’ll show you:

  • How you can find the right method to make people click that button or fill out that form.
  • How good web design can lead your customers to make the right decisions.
  • Copywriting techniques to bring people round to your way of thinking.
  • How to use landing pages to create a foolproof sales funnel for your product or service.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge when trying to get customers to convert on your site? Let us know in the comments section below:


Author Matt

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