A CRO strategy is one designed with the purpose of maximizing the conversion rate of a website.
In other words, it is any decision made to motivate users to perform actions that are in the interest of the owner of a website.
These actions are specific and vary according to the objectives you have set yourself to achieve, as shown below:
|desired objectives||Expected user actions|
|Generate more leads||
|have more subscribers||
|Get more users||
Optimizing the conversion of a website is a key factor for the growth of any business with an Internet presence.
In fact, a report carried out by the marketing firm Econsultancy found that more than 88% of the companies surveyed consider the CRO vital for their companies, while only 1% think that it is not worth the effort.
How is the conversion rate of a website calculated?
If you do not measure the performance of your CRO strategy, you will not know if your website is producing the expected results or if, on the contrary, it needs to be adjusted. As the scientist William Thomson would say, “what is not measured cannot be improved”.
Conversion rate (CR for short) can be calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors, then multiplying the result by 100 to get the percentage:
Therefore, if you had a clothing store that receives 1000 visits per month and of those users 50 bought a shirt, your conversion rate would have been 5%.
You can apply this formula to calculate any conversion of your website, be it a sale, a registration, a download, among others.
The higher the conversion rate, the higher the number of actions taken by users on the website.
Why is it important to work on the conversion rate of a website?
When you get your website to catch the attention of search engines thanks to SEO, you will start to get many visits, but this does not mean that you will have more customers or leads.
SEO helps you maximize the chances of getting website visitors who are interested in what you offer.
However, if you do not have a CRO strategy, you will be leaving the creation of leads and clients for your business to chance.
Working on the conversion rate is important, since it contributes to the growth of your business and prevents the competition from taking away your potential customers. In addition, it guarantees the use of the resources that you have invested in the web, such as SEO efforts.
What are the benefits of the CRO?
Aside from using your current website traffic to get more leads and increase revenue, CRO provides many additional benefits, such as:
- Reduce acquisition cost: By implementing a strong CRO strategy, you will reduce spending on more expensive techniques to attract and convert customers (such as advertising).
- Make advertising more effective: If ads are part of your marketing strategy, CRO will make them more efficient by preventing users who visit the website from leaving without converting.
- Get to know your customers better: The more you learn what your users do and why, the easier it is to optimize a sales funnel and customer loyalty system.
- Help marketing: by having a website that contributes to generating more income, you will have more money available that you can allocate to your marketing strategies.
- Improve your brand reputation: As your conversions increase, you will be more present in the lives of your ideal consumers. In addition, having a properly optimized website will make users have a favorable opinion of your brand.
What does a conversion mean on a website?
A conversion means that a website visitor has successfully completed an expected action.
For example, if your goal is to sell shoes, you would want users to take the following actions:
- Visit the shoes page.
- Add one or several shoes to the shopping cart.
- Fill out the payment and delivery form.
- Click the button to confirm the purchase.
A conversion is any action you want users to take. That is, conversions are desired goals.
They are often classified into:
- Macro conversions: These are the main goals you hope to achieve with the website. For example: complete product sales, get customers from the contact form, etc.
- Micro conversions: These are smaller goals that you expect users to make. For example: add items to the shopping cart, subscribe to a newsletter, etc.
Micro conversions usually precede macro conversions.
In CRO strategies, both concepts are necessary when designing a conversion funnel.
Types of conversions
The list below is not exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of the types of conversions that exist and how they work within a website.
It is the most common conversion objective and focuses on getting users to buy products from an e-commerce.
This conversion is common in companies that sell goods, whether digital (software, ebooks…) or tangible (mobile phone, apartments, clothes…). The sale of products is preceded by actions, such as:
- Visit the product page.
- Add the product to the shopping cart.
- Enter a discount code.
- Go through the payment and delivery funnel.
- Complete the purchase.
It is a conversion widely used by service providers such as agencies, consultancies or traditional businesses (plumbing services, mechanical workshops, etc.).
This consists of users showing interest in the company and entering their data in a form so that a customer service team can communicate with them. Some of their micro conversions are:
- Visit a landing page.
- Fill out a contact form.
- request a quote
- Make a phone call.
- Interact in a chat.
- Download an app.
This is the conversion used in subscription business models.
It consists of offering a solution to a user’s problem after paying for a membership or fee.
The most common actions that precede it are:
- Fill out a registration form.
- Request a free trial.
- Install an app.
- Join membership.
These do not represent an ROI for your business, but they will provide you with information about the attractiveness that users find in your brand. Some common micro conversions are:
- Visit a page: in your business there will always be more valuable pages than others and you want users to visit them more often. For example, landing, product, or contact pages. These do not represent a conversion in itself, but a step towards achieving it.
- Fill out a form: Forms are a mechanism that allow users to submit information. Depending on its purpose (contact form, registration, survey, etc.) you can use the information provided to enrich the customer experience, contact them, send them an ebook, among others.
- Download a file: This conversion allows you to track how interested users are in your website and its solutions. The download of catalogs, guides or reports are part of this conversion. Although preparing these files implies investing more resources in your content creation, it is an interesting way to stand out against the competition.
- Clicking a button: This action, in turn, can trigger many others. Other events such as the movement of the mouse pointer reveal information about which areas of the website attract the most attention from users.
- Share a content: this participation opens a new channel to attract users potentially interested in your content.
- Add a product to cart: Tracking this conversion allows you to discover shopping cart abandonment rates and analyze what you can improve within the product pages. In addition, you will be able to discover which products users tend to add more during the purchase phase.
What is a funnel or conversion funnel?
A funnel or conversion funnel is the series of steps that users take within a website to achieve a certain objective.
The funnel is a metaphor that shows how your potential customers are filtered as the conversion progresses.
In the funnel, each stage covers a specific purpose, such as arousing user interest or motivating decision making.
When designing a CRO strategy, it is essential that you recognize this journey and its stages to identify those steps that stop your users during the conversion.
What are the stages of a conversion funnel?
There are many models of a conversion funnel, since the stages vary according to the type of business. However, a traditional conversion funnel consists of 5 stages:
At this first level, work is done to publicize the brand and its values through digital marketing strategies, such as SEO or social networks. The purpose is that you attract the greatest amount of quality traffic for the following phases of the funnel.
For this stage, tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics are useful to know:
- What are your biggest sources of traffic?
- With what words do your users get you?
- With what words does your audience search for what you sell?
This phase consists of capturing the attention of the users. This is intended to pique your curiosity by browsing other pages of the website, reviewing products, or reading articles. The idea is that users do not leave the web so soon.
Here try to create attractive texts for the most valuable pages of the website and create articles with interesting content and headlines that add value. Keep in mind that first impressions are very important.
Also, try to take care of your brand image: make sure the web design is consistent and looks amazing to continue attracting users to the funnel.
Since moving to the next stages often takes time, take advantage of this time to develop a closer relationship with users and give them access to exclusive content in exchange for their emails.
From here, your users become potential customers for the business.
Now, these potential customers consider your product or service as a possible solution to their problems and/or needs, but they are not yet totally sure about taking the next big step.
This phase is when you will give future clients all the necessary information to help them make the most appropriate decision: choose you!
Some of the strategies you can use at this stage are:
- Get positive reviews of your products or services, or create personalized videos that motivate conversion.
- Nurture your leads (in case your business is a consultancy or an agency) through webinars, research reports, emails with interesting content or a portfolio of clients with whom you have worked.
The objective of this stage is to reduce friction during the final conversion process in order to achieve the long-awaited goal. Your mission here is:
- Design conversion forms that build trust. Do not add unnecessary text fields and include a personal data protection clause.
- Create calls to action that stand out. Do not settle for a button with a simple text like “buy”, instead opt for “buy now”, this is more attractive and creates a sense of urgency in the mind.
- Take care of the payment process. Give your customers the opportunity to use different payment methods such as bank transfer, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, among others.
You can also offer risk-free trials, free consultations, promotions, money-back guarantees, or showcase similar propositions that make your product or service stand out.
This last stage consists of starting up the loyalty system. The goal is that once converted potential customers will buy from you again in the future.
A few days after the conversion, you can ask your customers what they thought of the experience and if they would recommend your product or service to their friends or acquaintances online.
Take advantage of the power of social networks and invite your customers to be part of your online community. Use email marketing strategies to send them discount coupons or other special details.
Be creative, every little detail counts at this stage and remind your clients that you will be there to help them.
If you guarantee a good experience, customers are more likely to share their satisfaction with others who have the same problems they had.
How to apply a CRO strategy?
A CRO strategy involves looking for conversion obstacles and making the necessary improvements (content, web design, etc.) so that users complete the desired actions.
Properly optimizing a website is a task that takes time to discover what works and change what doesn’t.
However, the steps that we will show you below will give you a solid foundation to apply a CRO strategy:
- Identify the current behavior of users on your website.
- Define the ideal path of users on your website.
- Optimize your website based on the ideal user journey.
- Analyze the results obtained.
1. Identify the current behavior of users on your website
The first step in designing a CRO strategy is to define your objectives. What is it intended to achieve?
- Generate more leads?
- Increase sales?
- Improve conversion on a landing page?
- Optimize the product page?
If you define the objectives, it is easier to draw up an action plan, to know if you are making progress and if you have reached the expected goal.
Now, it’s time to calculate your current conversion rate and get relevant information about the website. For these tasks there are many tools available.
The first is Google Analytics . One of the best tools to extract data about your conversions. Thanks to it you will be able to discover in which part of the conversion process the users stop participating.
Then there are the heat maps (or heatmaps). These tools allow you to see what users are doing on your website and represent this data visually through a range of colors. The most popular such tools are Hotjar and Mouseflow.
You can complement all this information with qualitative data. Ask visitors through the customer service chat or in a survey how their experience on the website has been.
Qualitative data can be more difficult to collect if you don’t have many interactions on the website, but remember that you can use social networks to collect this information.
Once all this data is collected, you will have a more complete picture of why your website is not converting the way you want.
2. Define the ideal path of users on your website
The next big step is designing the expected user journey. As you know, if you want to make a sale, your visitors will have to go through each stage of the funnel until they reach the action phase.
And, although this is correct, it does not always happen that way. Depending on the complexity of your business, users may skip a few stages of the funnel until they reach conversion.
That is, user A can become a customer after reading a few articles, while user B only needs to see a couple of reviews to be convinced to become your new customer.
Of course, all this will depend on the type of business, your website and each of the people who visit it.
Once you understand the user journey, it’s time to design your hypotheses.
Example: Based on the data collected from website A, we can see that 55% of users visit the blog after visiting the home page. So, if the owners of website A made the newsletter signup form on the blog page more attractive, it would increase their conversion by as much as 6%.
As you can see, it is easier to optimize a website in this way. We recommend that you start with the most valuable web pages, such as the destination page (or landing page).
This page in particular is vital for conversion strategies, as they are more focused on a specific purpose such as collecting data from potential customers or motivating the purchase of a product or service.
3. Optimize your website based on the ideal user journey
It’s time to place conversion elements that motivate your users to take action. In marketing, these elements are known as calls to action or Call-To-Action (CTA, for its acronym in English).
Calls to action don’t just encompass buttons that dictate the desired action like “Click here”. They also include the message and the other elements that are part of the plan to convert the user, such as banners, pop-ups and forms, to name a few.
It is crucial to note that not all CTAs may work on your website. The key here is to test a few of them and do the necessary testing to see how users respond.
Add notification bars
Also known as banners, they are small floating or static bars that are usually located at the top or bottom of a web page.
They are great components for marketing, since in most cases they do not bother users. You can use them for:
- Post relevant business information. For example, a free shipping message, a text with business hours or announcing a new product or service.
- Generate a sense of opportunity with an irresistible offer accompanied by a countdown.
- Get emails. It is enough to capture a persuasive text that adds value followed by a small subscription form.
Consider using pop-up windows
A pop-up window is a design component that appears on the screen unexpectedly, interfering with the content of the website.
Pop-ups are characterized by being annoying, since they don’t disappear until you click to close them. Even its creator Ethan Zuckerman publicly apologized for inventing it.
However, this does not mean that it is a bad idea to use them, in fact, they will be of great help to you if you use them correctly. Here are some tips:
- Give users time to browse a web page or read an article snippet before displaying a pop-up.
- Use compelling calls to action and invite them to take action or learn more about your business in a subtle and suggestive way.
- Use cookie-based triggers to ensure that frequent users are not affected by a pop-up again.
- Avoid adding many fields when adding a form: keep it short.
- Have a close button visible and located in the corner of the window.
- Always thank users who have performed the desired action.
Pop-ups are often used to display a newsletter, offer, or downloadable content.
In recent cases, pop-ups appear when it is detected that a user is about to leave a certain page, such as abandoning the shopping cart.
Add banners or use slide-in boxes
Both components are an alternative to high converting popups as they are unobtrusive and unobtrusive.
Let’s start with the banner . This component is traditionally a rectangular box with conversion elements (form, buttons, etc.) that is embedded between the text of the blog articles.
In contrast, slide-in boxes are smaller, floating rectangular boxes that are activated when the user swipes vertically on the content.
Both components can be used for the purpose of providing additional content, making an offer or suggesting to users to be part of your newsletter.
Both the slide-in boxes and the floating headlines accompany users while reading the content or visiting the page. Therefore, your CTA will be visible at all times.
Add mental triggers
Also called mental triggers (or cognitive biases) are unconscious stimuli that the brain receives and affect the decision-making process.
Companies use these stimuli to understand the motivations of their users, in order to encourage the desired actions and increase the conversion rate.
Even though there are hundreds of triggers. We will share the most popular ones and how you can apply them in your CRO strategy:
- What does it consist of? When a person is not sure when buying a product or service, he turns to the opinion of others to get a clue of the most appropriate decision.
- How to use it? Try displaying logos of companies you’ve worked with, include testimonials from satisfied customers, or highlight your business achievements (awards, results achieved for your customers, etc.).
Sense of urgency and scarcity
- What does it consist of? As its name implies, this bias is to encourage users to worry about missing out on something important, unique and valuable. It can also be called FOMO, fear of missing out.
- How to use it? Offer discounts, promotions or exclusive gifts for a limited time. Make use of a pop-up or a headline that includes a countdown to highlight the offer.
- What does it consist of? People react to a choice according to the way it is presented to them. Example: When looking for an antibacterial gel, you are more likely to choose the one that kills 95% of germs, instead of the one that claims that only 5% of germs will survive.
- How to use it? Improve the text (or copy) of the most valuable pages of your website according to the emotional impact you want to generate.
4. Analyze the results obtained
Use the data extraction tools (Google Analytics, Heatmap, etc.) and compare the results obtained with the initial data.
If you got the results you expected, congratulations! If not, don’t worry, use the information collected to investigate what you have done well and what you need to improve.
Lastly, there is another way to apply CRO strategies called A/B Testing .
This consists of dividing your users into two groups and publishing two different versions of the website or a specific area of it (such as a contact form).
In this method you will apply the same steps, the difference is that you can test several hypotheses at the same time.
Case study: +40% more conversions with 3 simple changes
One of our clients who is in the education industry wanted to improve the conversion rate on their website. In your case, conversions are the number of users who sign up to your site for a free consultation.
At the beginning of the strategy, the company had a conversion of 228 registrations in a month.
After analyzing the user journey on the web and pointing out possible moments of user flight or abandonment, the following actions were taken:
- Reduce buttons in the main menu (from 10 to 7 options).
- Simplify design above the fold of the Home of the website. Several slides were replaced by a single image and a text and static CTA were added to the conversion destination, that is, the appointment request.
- Add CTA banners to the top 10 traffic items related to the service you are interested in selling.
One month after publishing the changes, the monthly conversions were 321 registrations. This translates to a conversion rate increase of 40.79% .
Conversion rate optimization is an essential factor for the growth of any type of business with an Internet presence.
If you understand the user’s journey through your website, you will identify the obstacles that prevent them from taking action and make them leave the journey.
A job well done will increase not only the credibility of your business, but you will also cultivate loyal customers who will become ambassadors of your brand.