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Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO): An Introduction

Conversion rate optimisation (or CRO) is, arguably, one of digital marketing’s most misunderstood elements. Many companies understand SEO, social media, email marketing, PPC and their roles in online success; but how many business owners could you have a decent conversation about CRO with? Probably only a few.

In this post, I aim to explain what CRO is, why you should be doing it, and how to get started.

So, let’s start with the what:

What is it?

CRO is, essentially, the act of redesigning parts of your website based on how your visitors are interacting with it, leading to a higher conversion rate, and as a result, a higher ROI.

In general, CRO tends to be more cost effective than finding more visitors when the major channels are covered. You are basically getting more from the visitors you already have: quality over quantity. One way or another, you are paying for your visitors and CRO can help you make the most of them.

How do I do it?

Let’s say you have an ecommerce website selling designer shoes. You drive traffic to this website using social media, SEO, email marketing and PPC; so you’ve pretty much got all the major channels covered and are experiencing a good amount of traffic.

What now?

At this point, CRO is likely your best next step. So, what do you do exactly?

Split testing

Split testing (or A/B testing) is a method of creating 2 or more versions of a page and sending 50% of the traffic to each in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

So, going back to our previous example: The first thing you could do is created a redesigned version of your homepage (made especially easy if you are using a drag-and-drop page builder), changing:

  • The layout –  Is your most important content at the top? Maybe try switching the ‘New In’ product carousel with the ‘On Sale’ one, etc.
  • The call-to-actions – Should that ‘shop now’ button be a different colour? Is that contact form in the best place? Maybe try moving it up the page, etc.
  • What you include on the page – Does the page give visitors a good, clear idea as to what to expect from your website? Maybe try linking through to different sections of the website, etc.

You can then use a tool such as Google Optimize to test your old homepage and new version against each other. The results of this test will tell you which page your visitors prefer to use, based on what they go on to do next (e.g. purchase a product, enquire, etc). You can then decide if you want to replace your homepage with the newer, more successful version.

The more experiments you do, the better. The only way you are every truly going to learn what your visitors do and don’t like is by split testing and analysing the results.

Goal funnels

One way to decide where to focus your CRO efforts to make the biggest impact is by analysing goal funnels. Goal funnels break down each step in your users’ journey before converting.

So, for example, an ecommerce website might set up the following goal funnel in Google Analytics:

Step 0: User adds item to their basket

  1. User visits cart page
  2. They then visit the shipping checkout page
  3. Then they visit the billing checkout page
  4. After inputting their details, they then visit the payment gateway
  5. To finally return to the confirmation page.

Let’s say 70% of your visitors exit your website on step 3: This suggests that they maybe don’t find the page that intuitive, or aren’t happy with the information being asked of them. What you can do in this instance is split test different layouts and/or different fields on this page. Maybe try combining the shipping and billing pages into 1 master checkout page? Again, the more experiments you do, the better.

Once you have experimented with this page, you can go on to see how many more of your visitors then complete checkout, and you can watch the revenue flow in.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this gives you some basic ideas on starting CRO on your website. As with a lot of things in digital marketing, you’re limited only by your imagination. So try some experiments on your website, set up goal funnels and split test some pages today!



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