Are you floating on cloud nine? Have you been floating on cloud nine because your site has a lot of traffic? Are you optimizing your site for conversions? Do you know CRO and how to boost it?
Here’s the thing, you could drive all the traffic in the world to your site, but if it’s not optimized for clicks, engagement, and conversions, all that traffic means absolutely nothing. You want to get your traffic to do something. Luckily, there are strategies to help make that happen.
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) Explained
CRO is a strategy that aims to craft on-site experiences to increase conversions and feed that bottom line. Many people associate CRO with monetary goals. And though it does aim to bring in revenue for your business, CRO involves a comprehensive process of analyzing site visitor behavior to minimize problems for your potential customers.
It’s essential to design a seamless digital experience, so your target customers can easily take the actions you want them to take. Whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, claiming a free audit, or purchasing your product, these processes need to be mapped out vigilantly on your site. Websites don’t simply house content—they should serve as interactive platforms where audiences are encouraged to engage with your brand, voice, and services actively.
CRO vs. SEO vs. UX
SEO (search engine optimization) and UX (user experience) go hand in hand with CRO to create an optimized, great digital experience, but they are all different processes. CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is more business-centered. It focuses on how to generate sales and how to turn visitors into customers. UX, on the other hand, deals more with the ease of use as well as feelings and emotions generated while a user is visiting your website. UX focuses on how to improve customer experience with the usability and accessibility of the site.
SEO works to boost traffic via great search engine rankings, while CRO tries to make the most of that traffic and create conversions. Ultimately, they all work best when paired together, so don’t neglect SEO or UX in your CRO strategy.
How to Begin Implementing CRO
The first step to becoming a master of website CRO is learning from the top CRO resources. Here are some of the best guides and lists for beginners who are looking to get started:
- Backlinko’s Conversion Rate Optimization Techniques: The Complete List
- Quick Sprout’s Definitive Guide To Conversion Optimization
- ConversionXL’s Master the Essentials of Conversation Optimization Guide
- Kissmetric’s A-Z Guide To Conversion Rate Optimization
- Qualaroo’s Beginner’s Guide To Conversion Rate Optimization
Once you’re familiar with everything CRO-related, it’s time to assess your website. Take a look at concrete data and analyze the trends of user behaviors. Which pages have lower conversation rates that you need to focus on? Which ones yield better results, and what do you think is working well about that page? Try out some user testing to get a full scope.
Important Pages to Focus CRO Efforts On
While you should be implementing CRO on every page of your website, some are more critical than others. Though not a lot of conversions occur on a homepage, that is where you make your first impression, so your efforts should start there. Next, tune-up landing pages, pricing pages, and then blogs. These four pages are critical to the conversion process.
Essential CRO Practices
There are so many different ways to go about CRO in marketing, and there are many small tweaks you can make on a site. However, there are some general best practices you should always keep in mind when making changes to try and optimize your web pages.
1. Keep It Simple—Reduce the Distractions
Let’s be real, no one wants to see a cluttered site; it’s anxiety-inducing, and people will just want to leave. It’s important to keep it aesthetically simple to ensure that your visitors have a positive, user-friendly experience. You can simplify your website navigation and get rid of the fluff in your content and landing pages to build this out.
2. Create Relevant Content
Numerous times, you’ve heard how important it is to craft relevant and valuable content for your audience from an SEO standpoint, but how does this apply to CRO? The art of CRO is crafting clear and easy-to-read content that still answers customers’ questions.
- Long-form content – Don’t be afraid to produce longer landing pages if it means answering relevant and helpful questions for your audience. After implementing a longer landing page, Moz increased their sales by 52%. Big Leap’s blog has great resources for creating great content from a marketing perspective. After implementing a longer landing page, Moz increased their sales by 52%.
- Sprinkle internal links – Add relevant internal links to fuel more value to your other landing pages and encourage click-throughs.
- Customer testimonials – Including some customer reviews and testimonials about your stellar services/products is a great way to win the affection of search engines. You can add a schema markup that will improve indexing and help enhance your credibility and authority with visitors.
3. Think Mobile
Today, we never go anywhere without our phones and mobile devices in our ever-connected culture. So if your site isn’t adapted for mobile, you’re missing out on nearly 54.4% of all website traffic worldwide and numerous potential leads. To make sure your site is mobile-friendly, you can start by using Google’s mobile testing tool.
4. Improve Page Loading Time
Forty percent of users abandon sites that take more than three seconds to load. Slow page speed makes generating traffic harder, but it also makes garnering conversions challenging. Amazon calculated that if their page load time is behind by just ONE SECOND, it could cost them a whopping $1.6 billion in sales each year!
So before your money goes flying out the window, take action and boost your page speed by:
- Using gzip
- Optimizing your code
- Cleaning out your redirects
- Optimizing your images
5. Test, Test, and Test
Each company is unique, so it’s important to test different variations of content or A/B test your site. A/B testing helps you determine which headline, copy length, images, call-to-action, and other factors will bring in the highest conversion rate for your landing pages.
Several A/B testing tools, such as Hubspot & Kissmetrics’ A/B Testing Kit and VWO, can help you build digital experiences that convert. Whatever you decide to go with, it’s important always to test early and often and test variables simultaneously to avoid skewed results.
How to Boost CRO Results
Once we have the basics down, we all need an upgrade now and then, so don’t stress if you find your site needs some additional optimization. Here are some ideas to boost your CRO even further:
1. Create Compelling CTAs
Your CTAs, or call-to-actions, need to encourage your visitors to take the action you want them to take.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing them:
- Use action verbs. Instead of generic language like “submit,” weave in action verbs like “grab yours”’ “buy now,” and “claim my free site audit.” The key is to elicit emotion and win interest.
- Personalize when possible. Hubspot discovered personalized CTAs had a 202 percent higher conversion rate than basic CTAs. This involved creating separate CTAs for leads and first-time visitors and using action language like above.
- Test variations. Not sure which CTA will work best for your audience? Test them out. With A/B testing, you can test different variations of CTAs and even other site components like headlines. Look into tools like Hubspot & Kissemetrics’ A/B Testing Kit and VWO to help your team make more data-driven decisions.
- Pair your content with a CTA. In other words, every piece of content on your site should have a CTA. This includes your blog posts, landing pages, and even videos (weaving in a CTA in videos gets 380 percent more clicks than standalone CTAs). You want to let your readers know what to do next.
2. Use Buttons
Instead of using links, consider using buttons for your most important CTAs. Buttons are more obvious and clickable.
CTAs that look like buttons can generate a 45 percent increase in clicks. And when you place them throughout your content, this can produce great returns. When content marketing agency Brafton implemented CTA buttons to their client’s article templates, this increased the client’s revenue by 85 percent in just one month.
3. Play with Button Colors
You’ve probably heard that colors incite various emotions and moods. The same can be said for button colors. Try testing out different colors to see which ones generate the most clicks.
Here are a few helpful facts to get some ideas brewing:
- Software company SAP discovered orange CTAs increased their conversion rate by 32.5 percent.
- Marketing automation company Performable found red CTAs improved their conversion rate by 21 percent.
- Jewelry retailer Helzberg Diamonds saw a 26 percent boost in clicks by adding an arrow icon to their CTA buttons.
- When comparing red and green buttons, Hubspot discovered red brought in more conversions.
The key is to have your CTA buttons stand out, but not in a way where they divert from your brand. Choose complementary colors and of course, always make sure the copy is on point.
4. Write Concise Copy
All those anecdotes, adverbs, and modifiers? Cut them out. They’re distracting.
The goal is to get your visitors to keep reading. Otherwise, you’ll bore or confuse them, and they’ll be hopping on over to your competitor’s site. So get to the point.
As you’re writing your copy, try to match the reading level of your audience. This requires tapping into your buyer persona—characteristics that make up your ideal customer.
Take time to flesh out your buyer persona to create messages intended for your target audience. The greater connection you can foster, the more trust you’ll gain.
5. Create Longer Landing Pages
Writing concisely doesn’t necessarily mean you should stick with writing short copy. In fact, you shouldn’t be afraid to go long-form, because you have to make sure you’re addressing all of your customers’ pain points and questions.
Long landing pages generate up to 220 percent more leads than shorter pages. So try testing a long page versus a short one and see which one brings in the most engagement.
6. Eliminate Unnecessary Links
We were serious when we said to get rid of all distractions. Spend time to evaluate all the links on your site and ask yourself:
- What purpose does this link serve?
- Does it provide any value to my prospects?
- Will this link take them to a site/landing page that will help our organization win more trust?
If it’s a no on all points, then you know what to do—remove them.
7. Pay Extra Attention to Your Headlines
There are no exceptions to this. As renowned advertising executive David Ogilvy said, “When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”
Your headline is the most important part of your landing and blog pages. Eight out of ten people will read your headline, but only two out of 10 will read the rest of your content.
Invest time to brainstorm a good list of titles before selecting one. To help you create a strong headline, here are a few formulas and examples to get you started:
- [Benefit].[Benefit]: Drive Engagement. Close More Deals.
- [Question].[Solution].: Having Trouble Sleeping? Here Are 10 Bedtime Apps to Try
- [Do Something] in [Period of Time].: Tune Your Piano in 20 Minutes
Try to address a pain point in your headline and include numbers. Then, A/B test different variations on tone, length, and numbers.
8. Use High-Quality Images
Invest in high-quality images, and stay away from cheesy stock images. Your photos should complement and enhance the look and feel of your site.
Consider including pictures of people to humanize your brand. If you’re selling a product, this will help people envision the item in their day-to-day lives.
And if you’re educating people on your company, photos of your team can help prospective clients connect more with your brand. Again, it’s about compelling people to keep scrolling and exploring.
9. Use Reviews & Testimonials
Over 93 percent of people make buying decisions based on online reviews. Social proof is always powerful. It provides assurance and reduces the risk for the consumer. More importantly, it helps you establish credibility and trust with new visitors.
Weave in reviews and testimonials from your customers and clients on your landing pages. Try to include them towards the top, so your readers see them sooner rather than later.
10. Add Pop-Ups
We know, no one likes pop-ups. They can get annoying. But if you do pop-ups the right way, you can win up to a nine percent conversion rate.
Here are a few to help simmer down the annoyances of pop-ups and use them to your advantage:
- Add in a 30-second delay timer on your pop-up. That way, you give your visitors some time to browse through your site without distractions.
- Establish a cookie to make the pop-up appear only once for each visitor.
- Make it easy for people to close your pop-up.
- Try featuring different offers in your pop-ups to see which one performs the best.
11. Implement a Chat Box
Live chat is quick and personal. It speeds up consumers’ purchasing decisions and gives a chance for them to engage with your brand.
According to ICMI, customers who chat prior to making a purchase bring in a 48 percent boost in revenue per chat hour and a 40 percent increase in conversion rate.
12. Incorporate Video
Whether it’s showcasing your latest product or creating a tutorial on how to use it, videos are a great tool to keep your audience engaged with your brand. Why?
In a culture where people are inundated with information, you want to provide content that will stick. Videos can do this.
13. Remove Unnecessary Form Fields
You want to make the experience as easy as possible. Asking your visitors to fill out a whole bunch of information is like asking them to come over and vacuum your floors. It’s a chore. It’s a turn-off. It’s annoying. Don’t do it.
Instead, ask them to provide only the essential information like their name and email address; you can collect other details later. Don’t force your shoppers to create an account as they’re checking out either. Always have a “guest checkout” option to help move things forward.
14. Use “You” Instead of “I”
If you have instances where you’re using “I,” “we,” “our,” or another variation, change them to “you,” or “you’re.” Focus on your prospect.
People outside of your organization want to know what your service/product will do for them. So instead of saying, “Our product comes with a free coupon,” write, “You’ll get a free coupon with your purchase.”
15. Streamline Your Ad Copy with Your Landing Page
You probably have PPC ads floating around online. And if they’ve been getting a lot of attention, great. Keep at it by ensuring your ad copy promises what your landing page (or whatever page your ad links to) provides.
As a business owner, you owe it to your audience to provide accurate expectations. In other words, say what you mean. Otherwise, you’ll have high bounce rates, low dwell times, and low conversion rates.
Reap the Benefits of CRO—Convert Today
CRO isn’t easy to do alone. Big Leap can connect you with our conversion rate optimization experts to investigate your user experience and provide innovative solutions to bring you more qualified leads. Big Leap has proven results with successful case studies. Get started with our CRO services today.