Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO (you know we love a good acronym in the digital marketing world) is the process of increasing the number of visitors to your website into actual conversions, leads or sales (depending on what your website goals and actions are).
It’s all well and good if you are getting loads of website traffic, but what if that traffic just isn’t converting? Why isn’t it converting? CRO is a key component of your whole digital marketing strategy.
It’s usually measured as a percentage.
Leads/sales generated / total traffic x 100 = your conversion rate.
So for example, if you get 1000 website visitors, 30 of which buy from you, your conversion rate is…
30 / 1000 x 100 = 3%
Now there are a lot of contributing factors to this conversion rate, and there are things which will lower it and things which will increase it.
Testing is a key element to the CRO process, as what works for one website/industry may not work for another.
Let’s take a look in more detail at some of the key things you can look at to get this rate as high as possible and start your conversion rate optimisation process.
Calls to action
Another acronym for you (take notes, might be a test later) – CTAs, or calls to action.
So what exactly is a call to action? It’s an element designed to prompt a very specific action from the website visitor. For example, it could be something like a ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Subscribe’ button, or on an e-commerce site the ‘Buy Now’ button.
They are usually simple, clear, and visually must stand out, so it’s obvious what step you want your visitors to take.
When creating your calls to action there are a couple of things to consider.
Firstly the language. It should be a strong command verb. It should be concise, and clear and encourage action. For the psychologists among you, it’s a very interesting area.
Use of language
Testing out different use of language is a vital way of testing what does and doesn’t work. Here are a few ideas for this language:
FOMO (yep another one) is the Fear of Missing Out. Try making your call to action time-sensitive. Create a sense of urgency, the idea of limitation or what they stand to lose if they don’t take action. For example, ‘while stocks last’ for e-commerce compared to ‘buy now’ suggests an element of missing out.
Be emotive. Play on your customer’s pain points to encourage action. How does what you are offering to solve their problems? For example, a normal ‘Contact us’ button could in the context of this article say ‘Improve your conversion rate’. After all, that’s why you might be reading this article right?
The other thing to consider for your conversion rate optimisation is the aesthetics of the CTAs.
Visually they should stand out. Think about using a complementary colour to your main brand colours to make them easily seen. Using a colour wheel to find a good colour can really help. Experiment with all caps, bold etc and see which works best.
Positioning is so important too. You should consider having two or three CTAs on a page. Keep one in the header where it’s always accessible. Then depending on the size of the content on the page, have one near the start, and again one towards the end.
Mix it up a little, maybe have one of them (at the bottom) image-based as opposed to just text.
It’s often the case you might have different CTAs on the page, so differentiate them but have a primary and secondary colour scheme for them. This should be consistent throughout the site. People like what they recognise.
We’ve talked before in previous articles about (wait for it) KISS – keep it simple stupid! Don’t confuse the users. Make sure it’s clear what you want them to do next.
And don’t forget Hicks Law – the time it takes for a person to make a decision depends on the possible choices: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time.
Ecommerce conversion rate optimisation
Now if you are looking to improve conversion rates on an e-commerce store, you are presented with a whole range of other things to consider.
Anything which makes the buying process difficult will result in a loss of sales/conversions. What are the potential blockers?
Product filtering will help the users find what they are looking for much more quickly. Not being able to find what they want leads to frustration. Have a search facility.
The checkout process needs to be as lean as possible. Abandoned carts are a huge cause of a low conversion rate. Allow for guest checkouts, and don’t spring any surprises with things like sudden shipping costs being added on at the last minute. Make sure they are clear.
Having multiple payment options available can help too. For example, having PayPal can make it easier for shoppers especially if out and about using their phones.
With e-commerce, you need to adopt the EAT principle. Make it Easy to shop (some say it stands for Expertise in your area), have Authority in your industry and build Trust with the shoppers.
Trust can be built with things like ensuring you have SSL and providing transparency with things like privacy, shipping, returns and refunds, and payment partners.
From a technical point of view, your website design obviously has to not only look and work great, but it needs to be fast.
We’ve discussed before how every additional second it takes the website to load can cost you, customers, lowering that conversion rate.
A well-built website from the start will lay dividends when it comes to working to improve your conversions.
There are lots of tools out there to help you track and monitor your conversions, the main one being Google Analytics. You can set up Goals which are triggered each time a specific action is taken. Then running this through the above equations will let you see what your rates are.
Trial and error will play an important part in the whole process.