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Beginners Guide To Conversion Rate Optimization
Are you tracking your leads from ‘click to close’ in order to get the most out of your PPC campaign? How do you know if the best practices are being incorporated in order to test every single aspect of your Conversion Funnel, in order of importance? Are you simply “guessing” your user’s intent or are you 100% certain by harnessing the power of conversion funnel optimization?
Understanding Conversion Rate Optimization
In internet marketing terms, Conversion Rate Optimization is a method employed to increase the number of visitors a website gets and see them ‘converting’ to customers, or take any other action the business currently desires. It is often referred to as CRO in digital marketing circles.
CRO doesn’t have to be limited to your website only, but can also be used to optimize landing pages in particular or sponsored search ads.
5 Reasons Why CRO is SO Important
Room for more improvement – Even if you have a well-designed site that puts competitors to shame or getting an embarrassingly (for your competitors, that is) high number of users, you can always make the conversion process simpler, hence, getting better results in the long run.
Paid advertising is costlier and more competitive – Dishing out more cash isn’t the best answer, particularly if certain hiccups must be addressed in our conversion funnel. CRO lets you work with what you currently have, and help identify the real problems before investing more resources into the conversion process.
Optimization means you only get “ideal” customers – This isn’t just a simple process of getting the most conversions. You want people who absolutely love what you offer and actually complement your marketing efforts by telling everyone else how fantastic your business is.
CRO is more or less free – Conversion Optimization Rate takes advantage of the traffic you already have. You don’t need to invest more resources into getting visitors to your page; you’re just doing a much better job of making sure they convert once they arrive at the desired page. So you’re getting better ROIs through optimization, and converting a significantly higher amount of current visitors which in turn, is far more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
Isn’t CRO the same as SEO?
Many might make the case for SEO practically being the same as CRO – the former focuses on driving denser free traffic to your business by increasing the likelihood of visitors discovering you online through unpaid search results. Or PPC advertising to ‘purchase more visits’, just hoping to see more conversions.
In the young days of the internet, the general mindset was that once you’ve acquired the desired web traffic, the rest would just fall into place. Some businesses still follow this mindset today and as one of the best SEO company Toronto has ever seen, we have a different take:
Unfortunately, this isn’t even remotely true.
You see, traffic is just one part of the equation; attracting people to your website is necessary almost 100% of the time, but do you know the average ecommerce conversion rate is less than 4%? Those visitors are merely just checking the page out and not buying, signing up or completing the desired conversion goal you have planned. There’s money on the table, money that can be yours, only if you have a sound website conversion rate strategy in place.
Common Aspects of CRO – How it Works
Here are some of the components that go into the whole CRO process to ensure its effectiveness. Some of these take place even before a website is built:
A “persona” maybe be defined as an imaginary or estimated profile of a prospective website visitor or prospective buyer of your product/service. For instance, a basic persona for an Xbox gaming website in Manhattan might look something like:
Terry is 24 and lives with a roommate. He’s currently working part-time at a software house to support his graduate studies in Computer Science. He rides the subway for 20 minutes everyday to get to work. He loves fast food and Chinese. He also happens to love racing games on his Xbox and plans to buy a good racing wheel with his next racing game purchase.
Through these buyer personas, you can help break down the complex insightful understanding required to aid in the decision making process.
Personas are crucial to the CRO process because they let you decide how to best design the website, what content to have and specifically, the keywords you need to target for SEO purposes, just to name a few.
User Journey Depictions
Going back to Terry’s example, we should ask ourselves how Terry and others like him can find the Xbox gaming website from where they can purchase games, racing wheels and other peripherals. Based on Terry’s persona, what will be his first instinct when he arrives at the website? What path or pattern will ensue before he finally makes a purchase?
Answers to these questions form the basis of creating “user journey depictions” to better understand who our customers are. This puts us in a better position to provide value where it is truly desired. Much like buyer personas, user journey depictions help to understand the kind of changes that must be made to your website as part of the CRO effort.
Qualitative research methods like focus groups add a point-of-reference, just like buyer personas for example. The input from these qualitative methods are incorporated into the marketing system to generate meaningful hypotheses for split testing purposes. Scientifically speaking, marketing starts with formulating questions to ask visitors, and incorporating these qualitative research methods to develop a better hypotheses; CRO comes into play critically in this regard.
The popular social media management tool Buffer wanted to see a redesign to their homepage and part of the process entailed user surveys. And so they did a fair amount of user surveying and discovered that time saving and a better focus on work were two key reasons people kept coming back to Buffer.
However, Buffer didn’t rely on these surveys solely to redesign their website, but a mix of the aspects and features of CRO listed above – they were able to get multiple insights and devise methods to acquire hard data. After the launch of the new sight, they saw a 16% boost in new user conversion.
Demographic & Psychographic Targeting
It’s rather obvious how demographics influence CRO – if you’re marketing to someone in the UAE, you’ll be using a specific kind of messaging on the company web pages as opposed to marketing to an audience in the US.
Psychographics goes a step further and studies your prospects’ values, opinions, personality, interest, attitudes and lifestyles. So essentially, the former dictates who the buyer is while the latter dictates why they buy. Psychographic data can be collected in several ways such as surveys, social media, focus groups, sales and support teams and marketing data analysis.
Learn to make good use of these methods to determine ‘why’ your visitors want to buy, and you can effectively engage in CRO to convert prospects into buyers and help get them exactly what they desire.
A/B Split Testing
Select any page on your website and make a copy of it. Leave it (A) as is and make a second copy – make a single change to copy B like image placement, color of a button on the text in a headline. Now direct 50% traffic that usually goes to that page to Copy A and the other 50% to copy B. The test should run long enough to result in a sample size that’s adequate. Analyze the results and hold on to the copy that performs, and ditch the other one. Rinse and repeat. This is pretty much A/B testing in a nutshell.
The premise behind these tests is that the more you run them, the more your pages will convert traffic. You might not be able to determine exactly how much more, but you’ll see the results steadily improving; on one hand, there is a bit of guesswork involved when it comes to experimenting with A/B split testing, however there is none involved in choosing which copy performs better.
It’s quite easy to understand how A/B split testing generally works and the value attached to it. However, it isn’t the only thing you need, since it has limitations.
High-traffic websites that have more time and bigger budgets to put into CRO make use of multivariate testing to it a step further and produce more desirable results.
Multivariate testing changes multiple parameters deliberately at the same time to test a variety of combinations as opposed to just A or B. For example, you change your homepage’s primary photo along with the bold text over it. Multivariate testing provides additional data compared to A/B testing, where only one variable or parameter is changed at a time.
To elaborate further, if you run an A/B test on your homepage by modifying the photo and witnessing a boost in conversions; then run an individual A/B test to experiment with a new homepage headline, and againsee conversions going up, you might conclude that changing the photo and headline together, will result in even better conversions.
But if you put it all together to discover that it leads to lower conversions compared to what you got before any testing was done? In essence, multivariate testing keeps you from jumping to false conclusions.
Google is considered a haven of data that’s highly useful for CRO purposes. You can track conversions within the software, and all the data that leads to conversions. You can even keep an eye on data that does not lead to conversions, so you can decide what changes to make to your CRO strategy. It is best to leave all the nitty-gritty to a seasoned digital marketing firm that understands how the beauty of CRO works in order to maximize conversions.
How Businesses Get Ahead Using CRO
Landing pages play a very prominent role when it comes increasing conversion.
Once a prospect clicks on an ad or your company logo, first impressions are formed the moment they arrive on your landing page. ‘What does this page say about your business?’, ‘Is it easy-to-understand, gets right to the point and gives users what they desire?’, are some of the questions that need to be answered. Custom-built, conversion-optimized PPC-friendly landing pages let users know exactly what they’re in for and where to go next to get it.
Websites are tasked with several functions, all in the name of usability – the goal is to showcase what you do best while providing links to other pages, social buttons, signups for the weekly newsletter or a shopping cart in the top right.
A customized landing page is designed to give users what they want, fast. A direct headline and concise summaries of your products and service as well as a clear call-to-action form the basis. Forms and phone numbers should stand out and visitors should spend little time or energy deciding what to do next. A good marketing partner will always test new ideas on a regular basis, which is at the very heart of conversion rate optimization. Call us for a FREE consultation on our toll-free number at 1.888.566.257.
There’s more to it than just focusing on conversions: well-built single-purpose landing pages that give your business a voice by using modern and attractive yet professional design principles. Choose the AOK Marketing approach to match landing pages with your existing brand and layout. You can keep the original layout of your website though it really pays to redesign your layout according to the conversion-focused landing pages.
How to Optimally Create a CRO Campaign
Discover Valuable Visitor Segments
The first order of business is to understand the most valuable visitor segments and see what changes affect their behavior. Segmentation strategies let you make changes to the business model in order to give them a more personalized visitor experience.
Testing to Learn What Really Matters
Test layouts, design elements, content copy etc., to see what works best. This also includes images, text, graphics, headlines, messaging, colors, pop ups, pricing, promotions and other attributes to see what works best to convert more visitors.
Testing is an ongoing effort so that you can keep up with ever-changing user expectations, while keeping your pages fully optimized and a breath of fresh air.
Optimizing the Three Fs
Optimize the three Fs: first impression, flow and funnel. Test what first impression a visitor has when arriving on the main page, landing pages and other entry points like site links. See how navigation flow can be improved. And finally, review funnel pages as some of the more valuable changes can occur further down the purchase funnel.
The Data Decides
Extensive testing is the best way of learning what truly matters, how conversions can be increased and revenues per visitor can be bolstered.
Incorporate data analytics to understand how to boost conversions and revenue.
A well-rounded Toolkit
The best testing tools to use in the CRO process include heatmaps, clickmaps, analytics, keyword spying and more. Use them effectively to boost ROI and combine them extensively with testing and data analysis.
Use the AOK Marketing advantage to ensure the full spectrum of CRO tools and approaches are being employed to get you a competitive advantage.
The first impression a user has of your brand after clicking an ad is your landing page. What does your landing page say about your company? Is it direct, easy-to-read, and shows the user that you provide exactly what they’re looking for? We build custom, conversion-optimized PPC-specific landing pages for our client to make sure your users know exactly what they’re getting and exactly what to do next.
What’s Next for CRO?
You now understand many of the intricacies that go into building a robust CRO strategy and know a thing or two about some of the tools that go into the mix. Just to reiterate, optimization is a strategic and cyclical process – there’s always room for improvement. CRO is what keeps us off our laurels and our heads in the game.
The AOK CRO Solution
Bank on our guys to do all the testing intelligently and continually for you to maximize conversion rates. There are legitimate reasons why you should be on the CRO boat so choose the AOK competitive advantage to turn your website into your very best salesperson.