What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors who complete a website’s goal. You can think of CRO as an ongoing process that involves user research, data analysis, competitive analysis, heuristic evaluation, usability testing, and A/B testing.   

Conversion rate optimization is focused on persuading more of your website visitors to take the desired action you want them to take on a webpage, website, or within a campaign.

What is the Process for Conversion Rate Optimization?

The right conversion rate optimization process can provide incredible results, but you’ll be just as amazed by the process to achieve these results through the fact-based, data-driven scientific approach we will bring to you in this guide.

At a very high level, the CRO process involves:

  1. Conducting a heuristic evaluation for the site
  2. Conducting qualitative research and user behavior analysis
  3. Conducting quantitative research
  4. Conducting competitive analysis
  5. Prioritizing problem areas on the site and creating a conversion roadmap for your website (what pages need to be fixed)
  6. Determine problem areas on a website
  7. Analyze the page using the conversion framework
  8. Prioritize problems on a page
  9. Create a testing hypothesis
  10. Create new designs based on the testing hypothesis
  11. Conducting AB testing (or multivariate testing)
  12. Conduct a post-test analysis.

At Invesp, we’ve developed our CRO process known as SHIP – which stands for Scrutinize, Hypothesize, Implement, Propagate. Here is what the process looks like:

Let’s start with basic definitions for online conversion rate and conversion rate optimization.

What is Online Conversion Rate?

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action on a website, during a time period. Any valuable engagement your visitors make may count as the desired action, as long as it fulfills your webpage’s goal. Remember, every page should have a primary goal.

Video Source – What is Conversion Rate Optimization? | In 7 Minutes!

You can choose to measure the number of visitors who:

  • purchase a product
  • sign up for a newsletter
  • subscribe to a software
  • hire a service
  • download a free e-book
  • fill out a ‘contact us form
  • answer a survey
  • give a feedback
  • take any action a page is designed to encourage.

By measuring conversion rates, you find out if your pages are persuading visitors to take the action you want them to take on the page. The higher the conversion rates, the better your design and copy are reaching out to qualified prospects.

There are many goals, thus conversions rates, that you can track on your website.

If you are an ecommerce website, your website conversion rate is the number of monthly orders your receive divided by the number of visitors that come to your website.

At the same time, each page on your website has at least two conversion rates (if not more).

Let’s take your product pages on an ecommerce website, the goal of these pages it gets visitors to click on “the add to cart” button. And of course, the final goal is to get these visitors to place an order (convert on the website).

Another important thing to note is every website has micro and macro conversion rates. 

Micro conversion rate: this refers to smaller engagements that can happen on a site. A newsletter sign-up or a click on the “aad to cart” button is a good example of a micro-conversion rate on an ecommerce website. 

FigPii Heatmaps

Macro conversion rate:  this is the primary goal that you want your visitors to take on your website. For example, placing an order is the main goal you’d want visitors to take on an ecommerce site. 

What is Conversion Testing?

Conversion Testing is the process of conducting an AB or multivariate test to boost conversions of the website.

An iterative process by nature, CRO helps you in making assumptions about your website visitors and then testing these assumptions to measure how your market actually responds.

As a long-term process, CRO achieves sustainable, repeatable, and consistent increases in conversion rates through researching, testing, and analyzing visitors’ behaviors on your website. A good CRO program increases your site’s revenue month to month, reaching significant cumulative annual growth.

The best part? This result optimizes your current website traffic. More conversions, without the need of increasing site traffic.

The annual uplift in profits alone could justify a CRO program implementation.

But conversion optimization goes beyond the metrics and profits.

When performed correctly, CRO becomes a way of discovering more about your visitors and customers as well as your website and your company. A good program can give you precious insights to apply to other areas of your organization.

CRO is a new mindset. If you think you know everything about your customers, then CRO is not for you.

CRO is also not for you if you don’t set the right expectations. Don’t expect to change the color of a button and instantly receive more orders, forever. It is not going to happen overnight. You won’t set up a test or two and immediately achieve a permanent monthly uplift. CRO is a process to enable data-driven choices to increase conversions. No guesswork. No magic.

CRO is a culminating feature of your overall business strategy.

What Kind of Time Commitment Does Conversion Rate Optimization Require? ?

If ‘long-term’ has been mentioned too many times already and started haunting your plans of increasing conversions, check the short video below. You’ll understand that you may see initial uplifts, but the long-term commitment to CRO will help you continue to gain increases over time, never missing a beat with your visitors.

In this video, we talk about long-term commitment in CRO programs, during one of our webinars, and provide a timeframe to kick start projects.

Video Source – How to Run a Successful Conversion Rate Optimization Program by Invesp

Why Don’t Many Online Companies Focus On Increasing Website Conversion Rates?

These are the five main reasons many online companies do not focus on increasing their conversions:

1. Increasing website traffic is easier than increasing website conversion rates: To increase your offline sales, you train your staff, re-organize the store, run incentives, and conduct customer surveys. In contrast, it is a lot easier to increase your PPC campaign budget or daily spend; thus increasing the traffic to your site. Setting up paid campaigns requires little effort for most companies. Converting the new traffic these campaigns bring is much more challenging and requires a person or team to put together all the pieces.

2. Many companies failed at conversion optimization: We see it all the time. Companies launch a new conversion rate program hoping to increase their online revenue. They jump into testing right away. They do NOT follow a methodology in optimization. They randomly select pages to test, randomly test elements on these pages, and do not analyze the results of their testing program. A few months later, after a few failed experiments, they shut down the program. If you think about it, there is not a problem with optimization in this scenario. There is a problem with the way these companies approach conversion optimization. Random marketing does not work in any campaign. Good results require consistent and repeatable methodology.

3. Increasing conversion rates is complex: Increasing your website revenue requires you to anticipate and understand visitors’ cognitive progression (what information your visitors are expecting to see) as well as to provide them with that information. It requires you to focus on human behavior on your website, which is not an easy task. Many companies shy away from addressing this problem. However, would you stop doing something you know can help your business just because you think it is complex? Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the time and effort to understand it and reap the benefits from it?

4. Increasing conversion rates requires commitment: Just like any other type of marketing program, conversion optimization is a long-term commitment.

No shortcuts here.

CRO is not a light switch you turn on and off. Many companies fear pursuing a new activity unknown to them, but, ultimately, this is a numbers game. It is about calculating how much money CRO will require you to invest and what return you should expect. And that’s why every company should ask themselves: does the return justify the investment?

5. The Ego problem: CRO gives your visitors a voice in the design process of your website. The more analysis and testing you conduct, the larger the voice of the visitor will be on your website. That is a good thing. Well, most of the time. Someone in your team (might be you, your designer, your CEO) may discover the vast contrast between his ideas of what works best and the visitors’ actual interests. That is not always an easy pill to swallow. What’s worse is when the visitor’s voice points to solutions that go against the current trends. Do you still give them what they want or keep your site trendy and following the latest developments?

Which are the best Conversion Rate Optimization Tools

There’s no shortage of conversion rate optimization tools in the market.

CRO tools can help you understand the performance of your website by showing you how visitors use it. Simply put, these tools collect data about your visitors and website, therefore, helping you identify problematic areas on your website that are making visitors struggle.

Before I give you a list of the best CRO tools out there, it’s important to mention that these tools fall into three categories:

  1. Web analytics CRO tools
  2. Behavior analytics CRO tools
  3. CRO testing tools

1. Web analytics CRO tools: Show you what’s happening on your site

You can’t improve or optimize your site’s conversion rate if you don’t really what’s happening on it, can you?

This is where Web analytics CRO tools come in.

Web analytics CRO tools help you understand your site in terms of numbers. They offer you quantitative data to answer questions like:

  1. How long are visitors staying on my site?
  2. Which landing pages have the highest bounce rate?
  3. Which stage of the conversion funnel am I losing visitors?

Knowing answers to the above questions is important as it gives your optimization efforts a high chance of being successful.

2. Behavior analytics CRO tools: Shows the behavior of your website visitors

To get as many conversions as you can on your website, you need to provide an excellent experience that is in line with what your visitors want. So, how do you what visitors want?

Well, one way of doing that is looking at how they behave on your website.

Unlike web analytics tools, user behavior analytics tools can show you exactly what visitors are doing on your website by collecting qualitative data. You can actually rely on behavior analytics tools to answer the following questions:

  1. What’s causing visitors to leave the site without purchasing?
  2. Are visitors finding what items they are looking for?
  3. Which websites areas are frustrating visitors?

Without knowing the answers to the above questions, your optimization efforts are going to be fruitless.

FigPii Heatmaps

3. CRO testing tools: Allow you to compare and measure website changes

Testing is an important piece of the conversions rate optimization puzzle. The process usually involves testing two or more design versions of a web page in order to determine which version has more conversions.

Before you permanently implement changes on your website, you need to measure and see if they make your website better or not. This is why you need to have a reliable A/B testing tool.

RELATED ARTICLES: Top 10 A/B Testing Tools Used By CRO Experts in 2021

CRO testing tools can be used to test different web elements such as the position of a call to action button, web form size/placement, landing pages, website copy, website navigation, checkout process of an eCommerce site, pricing models, etcetera.

Now that you know how these tools work, here’s a list of the best conversion rate optimization tools:

Some of the above tools have similar features and only differ in price plans. However, our CRO team relies on the FigPii when it comes to understanding user behavior, and it is the only tool on that list that has a recommendation feature that pinpoints problem areas you should fix, right way, on your site. We also use Google Analytics as our main tool for tracking traffic data.