As digital marketing professionals, we spend countless hours developing strategies to drive qualified traffic to landing pages. The more targeted the landing page is to the user, the better the odds that they will complete a desired action – whether that be downloading an eBook, completing an online purchase, or booking an appointment.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is an approach to marketing that puts emphasis on tracking and testing how users interact with a website, then making data-driven changes and tweaks to increase the overall number of visitors that convert.
CRO answers the question:
“How can we convert more visitors into customers without spending more on traffic generation?”
Born out of necessity after the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000’s, Conversion Rate Optimization is now a major concept among some of the world’s most respected brands and digital empires. What was once a difficult sell to upper management, is slowly making it’s way to the top of the meeting agenda.
The ultimate goal of CRO is to help simplify the steps or tasks required for a user to convert on your website. This could involve the intelligent placement of call-to-action buttons, structuring your navigation to promote ease of use, or simply removing elements on a web page that may be distracting.
So when you think about it, Conversion Rate Optimization is all about creating a positive user experience by making it easier for the (targeted) website visitor to get from point A to B.
Let’s dig into some of the more popular CRO strategies that are being used online today, and some of the different ways you can implement these tests and tweaks to improve the overall user experience (and action) on your website.
1. Dig Into Your Analytics
I know this doesn’t sound like anything new, but before you make any CRO-fueled changes to your website, you need numbers and data to identify problems and opportunities.
This data can be tracked and reported on using Google Analytics (preferably with conversion tracking enabled) or you can opt for a more advanced solution that will provide features like segmentation and cohort analysis.
Learn as much as you can about who is visiting your website, how much time they spend on key pages, and where they might be exiting before completing a desired action. With the rise of mobile device usage, it’s more important than ever to have a clear idea of how users are interacting with your website and base your optimization decision on that.
2. Real-Time User Surveys
Though Analytics can be very revealing, it can only tell you so much about your website visitors and what they actually need in the moment. This is where user surveys enter the picture.
What better way to find out what your users want than to ask them when they’re on your website?
I know you’re probably thinking how much you hate being prompted to fill out a survey, but if utilized and positioned correctly, the feedback you collect will prove to be some of the most valuable data you have to improve the overall experience on your website.
Example: you own an ecommerce website and no matter how much effort you put in, you can’t seem to figure out why users are exiting the funnel at a specific step in your checkout process.
This is the perfect opportunity for an inline survey to get immediate feedback before the user has a chance to exit. In this scenario, a single open-ended question will provide all the insight you need as to why users are leaving.
Check out Qualaroo for more information on how user surveys can help you increase website conversion.
3. Monitor & Test User Behaviour
While user surveys are a fantastic way to justify investing in a CRO strategy, not all users will be able to articulate their exact frustrations in the moment. This is where user testing platforms can help bring high level intelligence to your CRO decisions.
CrazyEgg is one of the more popular user testing solutions. It allows you to see how users click and scroll through your website by using eye tracking technology and heat maps. Being able to see exactly where your users click and scroll is worth it’s weight in gold and can provide crucial insight when it comes time to redesigning your website, landing page, or checkout process.
Split-testing aka A/B testing is another method of user testing that involves creating two or more versions of a web page, each with slight changes to the design, content or layout, and then sending an equal amount of traffic to each page to see which performs best.
This can be accomplished for free using Google Content Experiments, which is integrated into Google Analytics, or by using a premium solution such as Optimizely which offers A/B testing, multivariate testing, basic audience targeting and segmentation, as well as out of the box analytics and heatmap capabilities.
It’s important to note that when it comes to user testing, and CRO in general, you’ll often get the best results from combining tools and capabilities versus using a single solution to base your decisions on.
So what’s next?
Remember, all of the tips and tools we listed above are for testing purposes. These tests need to be defined with goals so that you can determine a winner – and be sure not to call that winner too early. Stay focused on your goals, your users, and the experience you want them to have on your website.
Have more questions?
Leave a comment below or give us a call and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.