Branding

What is conversion rate optimisation

By Mark Ainsworth

For the most part, marketing tends to be aimed at driving new customers towards your website, and then getting conversions from there. The theory is that once someone is a customer, they will remain loyal to you if they enjoy your product, so it makes more sense to consistently aim your advertising at untapped customer pools rather than existing ones. 

However, conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is designed to draw conversions from your existing website traffic, in effect selling to the people who have already shown interest in your brand. It is important to focus on both new and existing customers to ensure the success of your business.

 

What is conversion rate optimisation?

Conversion rate optimisation refers to the process of enhancing or modifying existing elements of your website so that it encourages your customer base to take a certain action. It is a simple yet effective way to improve your marketing, creating more profit from your existing customers without having to do very much at all. 

Your website is likely to already be geared towards generating leads, but having someone working specifically on CRO helps you to find out which tactics works, which don’t, and what you haven’t thought of yet. 

You will look at various pages of your site, including the homepage, blog, landing pages and so on, and look for ways in which each page could be optimised for the highest possible number of conversions.

 

Does your business need conversion rate optimisation?

Almost all businesses can benefit from CRO, as audiences change over time so that even if your website is performing to the best of its ability right now, in six months this might not be the case. Conversion rate optimisation should be a constant process, where you are consistently evaluating data from your site and working out how you can make the most out of your website traffic. 

In fact, conversion rate optimisation might be more important than generating leads and getting conversions in the first place, as it makes the user experience on your website much easier and more effective. After all, there is no point trying to generate a huge amount of traffic to a website which is unappealing.

 

How to calculate your conversion rate

You should try to work out your conversion rate before you start optimising your webpages. This will help you to find the conversion rates of ad clicks, landing pages, blog posts and so on. 

To calculate your conversion rate, simply divide the number of conversions one of your pages has generated, by the number of people who visited the page. 

Pages with good conversion rates will have more conversions per amount of people who visited the page, rather than just a high number of conversion rates. If 1000 people have visited your homepage and you’ve got 25 conversions from that, this is not as good a conversion rate as if you have 50 people visiting your pricing page but had 10 conversions.

Once you know which pages are performing the best, you can then analyse what is going right on those pages and try the same elements on your other pages.

Here are three formulas to help you to set goals for your CRO:

  1. New profit goal ÷ average sales price = number of new customers
  2. Number of new customers ÷ lead-to-customer close rate percentage = lead goal
  3. Leads generated ÷ website traffic x 100 = percentage conversion rate

 

Conversion rate optimisation strategies

 

A/B testing

Although fairly time consuming, the A/B testing strategy is a scientific and specific way of working out which website elements are working, and which aren’t. For this you need to split your website traffic into two groups, and show group A one version of the website, whilst group B gets to see the other. These two versions will be practically identical, with one small change, so that you can see what audiences respond to better. 

Use this strategy to test things like different fonts, headlines, colours, buttons and calls-to-action, making a note of how many conversions you are able to garner from each iteration. This will help you to make the final decisions on which design of your page performs the best.

Remember only to test one factor at a time per variation, or your results will be muddled and you won’t know which elements were successful.

Some of the things that you can test using the A/B strategy include:

  • Headlines
  • Calls-to-action
  • Placement of buttons and images
  • Page layouts
  • Different types of copy (different wording etc)
  • Colour palettes
  • Images vs. videos vs. text

 

Use informal language

People tend to respond better to informal language when they are being asked to do something. Whilst many businesses think that it is important to be formal and professional when speaking to customers, the opposite can actually be true. In writing formally, the business creates a distance between themselves and the customer, while more colloquial language does not.

If potential customers feel that a business is ‘on their level’ as such, they will feel more connected to it and thus more open and inclined to listen to suggestions.

 

Sense of urgency

Creating a sense of rarity or urgency is a time honoured marketing technique that works very well for improving conversion rates. It is human nature to want something that other people do not have, and when we feel that an option is being taken away from us it makes us want it more.

There is a phenomenon known as the ‘paradox of choice’ which suggests that, when faced with too many options, we will tend to choose none and walk away empty handed. Creating a sense of urgency helps to negate this effect, even if you have a lot of choice on your site. Stating that certain options are likely to disappear soon makes them likely to feel more pressured into buying whilst the item is still available.

To create urgency, you can remove either:

  • Time – This item will disappear in two days!
  • Supply – There is limited stock in this item!

 

How to get started

Before starting any conversion rate optimisation project you need to rank each product based on PIE. This means its:

  • Potential
  • Importance
  • Ease

Score each potential strategy for your website out of 10, based on these three questions:

  • How much improvement am I likely to see from this project?
  • How valuable could this project be to my company?
  • How much time and energy will be involved in this project?

You can then use these figures to set out a CRO plan, identify people to work on each one, and assign one member of staff to oversee the entire project.

 

Wrapping up

On large sites which have a lot of traffic, even a small improvement in CRO can lead to a significant increase in sales, and since this way of increasing your sales take little investment in either time or money, then it makes eminent sense to add it to your marketing toolbox

Here at MaxWeb we build websites that sell, and we can certainly help you with your CRO efforts. Give our friendly team a ring on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk to find out more.

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