Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is a process that marketers and business owners use to improve a website’s performance. Whether you’re looking to gain more customers or get more visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, there’s a good chance that your website can benefit from CRO.
It’s important to understand exactly what CRO is, how it benefits websites and when it’s necessary. In this guide, we’ll cover all of these points so that you can determine whether CRO is the right choice for you.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
You may have heard that conversion rate optimization is important, but you may not know why or what it even means.
Here’s a simple conversion rate optimization definition:
- A process of optimizing your content and digital assets to drive more visitors to take a certain action.
CRO helps improve your website’s performance and make the most out of your traffic. The process is structured, strategic and data-driven to help drive real, meaningful results.
For many businesses, the goal with CRO is to convert more visitors into customers (i.e. increase sales). But CRO doesn’t always have to be about sales and customers. It can also be used by informative, media-driven websites that may want to increase their email subscriber lists or video views. In this case, each new subscriber or video viewer would count as a conversion.
CRO is based on data, and that’s what makes it such an attractive option for businesses. Through the use of A/B testing two versions of your website, you can compare the results of your changes to see if your strategy is effective. CRO and A/B testing go hand in hand. They work together to determine your current conversion rate and whether your changes have an impact on this rate.
Prior to CRO, decisions to optimize pages and content were based purely on gut feelings or hunches. Today, websites have the data and testing capabilities to see whether their website should improve conversions and whether their CRO strategy is effective.
How Websites Benefit from CRO
Why is CRO so important? What are the benefits of conversion rate optimization?
In many cases, CRO is the simplest way to increase sales or reach your conversion goals. Other methods, like driving more traffic to your website, are costly.
Simply optimizing, or tweaking, some of your website’s attributes can help you reach your conversion rate goals. Following the top conversion rate optimization tips and making just a few small changes may lead to big results.
Here are some other ways websites benefit from CRO:
It Targets the Right Customers
CRO is all about tweaking your website’s content and assets to increase conversions. In other words, you’re simply trying to get more visitors to buy, subscribe, view (or whatever). These are people who are already on your website and interested in your product, service, information or content.
With CRO, you’re simply attempting to get more visitors (and people who are already interested in your offering) to take the next step.
When you use other methods to increase conversions, you may or may not be targeting the right people. You risk wasting your marketing dollars and your time.
Paid advertising is becoming increasingly expensive, but CRO is essentially free. Rather than spending time and money on driving new traffic to your website (which is costly), you’re making the most of the traffic you’re already receiving.
When you optimize your current conversion rate, you’re simply increasing the return on your investment.
It Reduces your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and Boosts Your Bottom Line
The higher your conversion rate, the lower your CAC. When you reduce your CAC, you also boost your bottom line. The money you would have otherwise spent on converting customers simply goes towards your profits.
It Frees Up Cash for Other Investments
Lowering your CAC and increasing your profits means that you’ll have more money to put towards other investments that help your business grow and thrive.
It Allows You to Make Data-Driven Decisions
As mentioned previously, prior to CRO, marketers and businesses would make decisions based on a gut feeling or hunch. They “believed” a page would perform better if they changed XYZ.
Thanks to CRO and A/B testing, marketers and business owners can make decisions based on data. If a simple change to the content or a button color helps convert more customers, you now have the data to show it.
It Boosts a Website’s Performance
Over the long run, CRO boosts a website’s performance and revenue generation. You won’t see these results overnight, but if done correctly, you should see incremental increases in your bottom line over time.
CRO is a long-term strategy, much like search engine optimization (SEO). While it may take some time to reach your goal, the results will be long-lasting if you use the right strategy.
It May Help with Rankings
While CRO won’t help with SEO directly, it can have some effects that may indirectly have an impact on your rankings.
The goal with CRO is to increase conversions of existing visitors, right? If you succeed in this goal, this means that more visitors will be spending more time on your website and visiting more pages. This also means that your bounce rate will naturally decrease. A website’s bounce rate is one of the many factors that search engines consider when ranking websites.
The lower the bounce rate, the better.
Higher conversions may also mean that your brand and websites naturally attract more visitors through shares and conversations on social media. An uptick in social media attention may also help improve your rankings.
It Allows You to Test Changes Without Commitment
A/B testing is the only real way to determine whether your CRO strategy is working. Prior to modern A/B testing, changes had to be implemented, tested and then changed back if they didn’t work as intended.
New testing tools allow you to tweak different attributes and content without having to make permanent changes. Visitors can be shown different versions of your website on the fly.
The great thing about the impermanence of this testing is that you can test and change things as often as you want without hurting your revenue or inconveniencing your visitors. This also means that you can take more risks and try new things that may have surprisingly positive results.
When is CRO Right for Your Business?
When should you take the plunge and give conversion rate optimization a try? Is it something that every business needs?
The answer really depends on your situation and whether you need B2C or B2B conversion rate optimization. Most businesses can benefit from CRO. After all, who wouldn’t want to increase their conversion rates?
That being said, there may be some situations where CRO isn’t necessary or practical.
CRO may be right for your business if:
You Have a Performance Goal You Want to Meet
If you have a goal of increasing sales or email subscribers by 10%, CRO can help you reach that goal without having to invest in costly paid advertising or other customer acquisition methods.
CRO is the simplest solution for reaching performance goals.
Your Sales Have Been Struggling
If you’re facing a sales slump, CRO can help lift you up out of that pit and improve your sales. Depending on the situation, you may need to implement other strategies in addition to CRO, but making a few small changes to your website can have dramatic results.
Something as simple as changing the color of a button or moving the position of your call to action (CTA) can result in higher conversions and more sales.
Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate
If visitors are landing on your website and then leaving right away, that should be a major red flag that something needs to change.
A high bounce rate can not only hurt your rankings, but also reduce your conversion rate. Making a few simple changes to your website assets and content may help reduce your bounce rate so that visitors view more pages and – hopefully – convert to customers.
You Want to Make the Most of Your Traffic
CRO can help you make the most of your traffic by increasing the conversion of visitors into customers (subscribers, viewers, etc.). Your website is already generating traffic. Why not use this to your advantage and focus on converting more of your existing visitors?
Sure, you could invest in paid advertising and other methods of driving traffic to your website, but that can get expensive. CRO is an inexpensive and simple way to maximize the performance of your traffic.
CRO can help boost your bottom line and help you achieve your performance goals, whether you’re looking for B2C or B2B conversion rate optimization. Virtually every website can benefit from CRO and A/B testing, particularly if they are struggling with sales and have a high bounce rate.
While CRO can provide many benefits, it’s important to remember that results won’t happen overnight. The process is a gradual one that provides incremental increases in conversions and your bottom line.