So far in our series of articles on how to be a CRO PRO, we’ve been looking at the basics. We’ve shown you how CRO works and how to write a CRO plan. Now it’s time to move on. Let’s get to the good stuff. How do you actually do CRO?
Types of CRO
When it comes to CRO, we’re aware of a very common misconception. To many people, CRO is about nothing more than making the odd change to a website and then reaping the rewards. Changing the colour of a button springs to mind …
But this doesn’t work – or if it does then it’s on a very small scale. There is no set of universal CRO truths waiting for you to upload it to your site.
It’ll take more than some fancy buttons to make your site convert.
Sometimes people do manage to hack CRO. Sometimes they do change the colour of a button and raise its conversion rate by 50%. But let us tell you a secret …
… those people’s sites weren’t great before they changed the colour of that button, and they certainly aren’t much better now.
Expecting this sort of thing to work is akin to saying that a stopped clock is still right twice a day. If you throw enough balls at a coconut shy, then you gon’ win a prize.
If this works, then it’s a fluke. It also means that your site’s optimisation is all over the place and needs fixing.
When it’s done right CRO could involve anything from small changes to huge ones. But the key thing to remember is that it’s always done in a scientific manner. You’re always going to be looking at the effect as a whole.
Although green buttons might sometimes convert better than red, this isn’t always true. CRO aims to go past making these random changes – using data and strategy to inform what you do.
It is … dare we say it … a holistic approach.
What’s the difference between UX and CRO?
If you’ve done any reading about CRO, then you may have heard the term UX (user experience) mentioned. UX and CRO overlap on many levels, but there is a subtle difference in the aims of the two strategies:
- UX is all about making things easy for your user. Ensuring that your site gives them the best experience possible within its remit.
- CRO is about making things better for your business. The aim here is to encourage users to take certain actions that are beneficial to you.
This means that the act of rewriting a webpage will often fall under both UX and CRO. The new page should make life easier for the user (UX) while increasing the chance that they will convert (CRO).
The same is true of design. A well thought-out interface should mean a happier user and a clearer path to conversion.
A major aim of CRO is to ensure that users get directed to useful information when they need it. An excellent way to do this is to create landing pages for certain queries.
Landing pages differ from home pages in that they have a single conversion aim. This is an efficient way to guide a customer down a tailored path towards a specific outcome.
To explain this further, let’s return to our previous example scenario. A recruitment agency wishes to increase candidate signups for a particular job role …
Landing pages get your customers to where they need to be
In this case, the creation of a dedicated landing page for the role in question could be a great option. The agency would be able to direct relevant traffic to the landing page from any number of sources. This might include homepage traffic, organic traffic, email referrals, or social media referrals. This optimises the whole customer journey by funnelling users towards relevant content immediately.
In our example, the landing page would contain information useful to candidates. The information should also relate to the specific job role we’d like the candidates to sign up for.
We’ll take a closer look at how to design a landing page in another article. For now though, remember that the key to this type of page is as easy as ABC: always be closing. Your call to action is central to this approach.
Creation of landing pages can also assist SEO efforts. If you think about it, the user doing the ‘landing’ will have a very specific set of needs. By fulfilling these needs to a high standard, you can help to ensure that search engines will smile upon you. This should lead to higher rankings. You then end up with a cycle of benefits as shown below:
CRO: the opposite of a vicious cycle
When we talk about copy, what we actually mean is ‘persuasive words’. The person responsible for creating copy is a copywriter – who always has a specific purpose in mind.
Your website’s copy should entice users into converting. CRO will manage and direct this – funnelling users into the most relevant areas.
Professional copywriting is a huge area, and it can take a lifetime to master. With this said, not every company can afford a copywriter’s services right now. So here are some copywriting tips that anyone would do well to pay attention to:
- Write in the simplest, most understandable manner possible.
- Utilise calls to action.
- Follow the AIDA model (which is actually quite simple).
- Ensure that your content doesn’t distract its reader from the desired outcome.
Following these four tips won’t turn you into a veteran copywriter overnight. But it should start to give your copy the edge it needs to work alongside a good CRO plan.
The most important thing to do is to ensure that your reader stays on track. In this case, we’ll be looking for a particular conversion. These tips all embody this to some extent.
Oli Gardner talks about giving the reader ‘cause to pause’, which throws them off track. This ‘cause’ might be something as simple as using the word ‘spam’ in the leadup to a call to action. If the desired conversion is for the user to sign up to an email list, then the last thing we want them to think about is spam!
We’ve already said that CRO is about more than the colour of the buttons on your site – and it is. You should design your site from the ground up with conversion in mind, rather than trying to bolt it on later.
But a website’s design plays a larger role than simply making it appealing to the eye. Good design will also help to ensure that users find information when they need it. Done well, this will lead customers through your sales funnel as well as any piece of copy could.
A good designer will pay attention to areas including:
- Negative space.
A designer will consider these things from the perspectives of all users. This includes the requirements of users with visual impairments or other disabilities.
Like copywriting, design is a massive subject, with many subtleties. As an example of what good design can do for your website, consider how your eyes work. Directional cues like arrows or even other human eyes can show us where we ‘should’ be looking. Our lives condition us to follow these cues – making them very effective. So if you need to lead your users towards a certain button or form, design can help you with that.
See what we mean?
Takeaways: let’s get this show on the road
In this series of articles, we’ve introduced a few aspects of CRO. It’s:
- Linked to UX and CRO.
- Something that benefits both you and your users.
As you’ll have seen from this article, CRO itself comprises many facets – some of which are quite complex. If you’re someone who has no CRO experience, then nothing’s stopping you having a go yourself. You might do well – or you might bomb. Another option is to go out and get some experts on your team.
The option you select will depend on how much faith you have in your own abilities – as well as your budget.
Because CRO is so measurable, it can also be a lot of fun. It’s like a game – you’re uncovering patterns in human behaviour which you then use to your advantage.
This also makes CRO the perfect option if you need to show the efficacy of your work to your superiors. CRO is jam-packed with useful KPIs.
At a basic level, you can tell a lot about how well your CRO efforts are working by looking at two particular metrics. Bounce rate and conversion rate will give you a worthy measure of your performance here.
Our goal, as always, will be a low bounce rate, coupled with a high conversion rate. This underlines how important it is that CRO works in conjunction with well thought out SEO. SEO done right will bring the right people to your site in the first place – enabling CRO to do its job.
Has CRO worked for you? Or have you started your journey more recently? Let us know in the comments section below: