The digital marketing world consists of various processes that aim to increase sales and brand awareness, among other goals.

Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) are two of the most popular digital marketing strategies explored by all business categories. However, there’s another one that marketers shouldn’t miss, which is CRO.

CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimization, a series of activities focused on optimizing your website’s conversion rate.

In this article, you will learn the ultimate guide to CRO, including strategies and ways to create successful CRO programs for your business. Let’s get started.

What Is a CRO Program?

Conversion is a term used when visitors take desired actions on a website, such as subscribing to your newsletter or clicking a download button.

Consequently, conversion rate refers to the percentage of users who take these actions. High conversion rates indicate that your site’s navigation and design are user-friendly, and its content appealing to your target audience.

For a service-based website, it might mean users are filling out a contact form or hiring your services. While for an eCommerce website, conversion is when users make a purchase.

A CRO program aims to improve all aspects of the site to increase the conversion rate while receiving the same amount of people. In other words, it converts existing visitors to customers.

Also, conversions can happen everywhere, from landing pages to the checkout. That’s why CRO needs to cover all the essential site pages and identify which site elements to modify to increase conversion.

What Are the Benefits of CRO?

Optimizing your conversion rate brings in several benefits, such as:

  • Customer gain. By optimizing your site, you acquire more clients while receiving the same amount of traffic. Thus, your cost per acquisition (CPA) also decreases.
  • Improvement in website quality. Understanding what users are searching for on your website and what stops them from converting helps improve your overall website quality, both for potential clients and SEO purposes.
  • Ability to make data-driven decisions. Conversion optimization provides insights to help you create and improve digital marketing and CRO strategies.
  • Long-term profit. CRO ensures consistent conversions, improving your site’s profits.
  • Outranking your competitors. As CRO improves your content, user experience, and website performance, you’ll ultimately rank higher than competitors on the search engine results page.

How to Start a CRO Program

In this section, we will list the six essential steps to start and conduct a CRO program seamlessly.

Step 1: Understand Your Target Audience

First, you need to understand your audience, as they’re the focus of your CRO program.

Apart from improving their experience when interacting with your business, you’ll also learn their personal preferences and ways to turn them into loyal customers.

A user behavior analysis includes investigating their demographic and psychosocial backgrounds. It’s also important to learn how they behave on your site, like what page they go to, the average time spent, and what’s their user journey.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available for that, such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Google Analytics, and Facebook Insights.

Both Keyword Planner and Trends provide data on which keywords and terms related to your business your audience is searching. Also, it’s a good idea to check what your competitors are ranking for.

Google Analytics works similarly to the other two Google tools, but it focuses on website traffic and user behavior instead. It allows you to see which pages receive the most traffic and when visitors are the most active.

When it comes to social media channels, Facebook Insights provides data on which content works best for your audience, along with their engagement behavior.

Alternatively, conduct surveys among your existing audience. Create direct and concise survey questions and apply the users feedback to your CRO program.

Step 2: Set Your Program Goals

Once you gather data about your target audience, it’s time to set the goals of your CRO program. They include defining your key performance indicators (KPI) and which tools you will use.

Without clear goals, your CRO can quickly go over the budget or divert from your business goals. To set your program goals, start by doing conversion research. It combines qualitative and quantitative analysis about customer behaviors and acts as a foundation for the next steps of creating a CRO program.

Second, determine your conversion funnel. Each step within the funnel consists of different objectives, also known as the AIDA model.

It stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, representing the users’ level of interest and how far they are from converting. The final step, Action, is what a CRO plan is all about.

Use the AIDA model as a guideline to customize your marketing strategies and guide visitors through the conversion funnel. Consider what type of product you offer, the user journey, communication strategies, and conversion targets.

Once you set your KPI, targets, and conversion funnel, you need to define a timeline and the success metrics.

Step 3: Determine the CRO Calculation

Determining how to calculate CRO is essential to establish a sustainable system and understand the ROI of your CRO program.

As it’s focused on conversion rate optimization, the calculation revolves around conversion rates, the number of net new customers, and the lead goal. Let’s go through them one-by-one.

The conversions are calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors. Then, multiply the amount by 100 to obtain the conversion rate.

To calculate the number of net new customers, divide the net revenue goal by the average sales price.

Lastly, for the lead goal, divide the number of new customers by the lead-to-customer close rate percentage.

These calculations help when you plan the program, as they will provide a starting point for your analysis. Additionally, calculate other factors like estimated costs and margin ratio of the program.

Also, take a look at these calculations not only to determine your ROI but to understand how CRO is affecting your site.

Step 4: Understand What Triggers the Conversion

As you focus on increasing conversion, it’s important to understand what triggers it in the first place. It allows you to focus on more effective conversion factors and put less priority on those that aren’t.

The process starts by knowing how visitors find your site. Google Analytics is an excellent tool to get insights into user behavior.

Additionally, use a heat map to see which page is most appealing to the audience and what drives them to convert. Consider using a heat map tool to help.

After understanding the traffic sources and visitor behavior, create a relevant website experience to drive conversion further.

Step 5: Identify Your CRO Barriers

Your CRO barriers are the factors that prevent the conversion from happening. Understanding them works the same way as understanding what triggers the conversion.

To understand your barriers, find your site’s high-exit pages. These pages are where you’re losing the most traffic, and you can find them in Google Analytics under the metric called exit rate. Similar to bounce rate, exit rate refers to the last page visited on the session.

By identifying these pages, you can make the right decisions during the optimization processes. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, simplify your checkout process to decrease the exit rate.

Similar to the previous step, identify the least appealing or poor-performing pages on your site using a heat map and Google Analytics insights. Once you do that, start planning improvements.

In addition to that, check your website to make sure there are no broken links or other issues, such as slow-loading pages.

Step 6: Optimize the Site

The final step is about compiling your findings from the audience analysis, CRO goals, CRO calculation, and conversion triggers and barriers. Combine these into a CRO plan and apply the necessary changes to optimize your site.

First, start by updating the texts on your pages – your copy can either drive or prevent the conversion from happening. Pay special attention to landing pages, product descriptions, and CTAs.

Second, make sure your content is SEO-friendly. Do keyword research and optimize the pages and posts that receive a lot of traffic but have low conversion rates.

Third, optimize the website for mobile devices. If you are redesigning or launching the site, use a mobile-first approach. If you have an established website, check your site’s mobile-friendliness with Google’s tool.

Google's mobile-friendly test tool landing page

Fourth, increase the load speed. A poor and slow website performance drives people away and damages your business reputation. Continuously test the website speed and make adjustments according to the results.

PageSpeed Insights homepage, a website to test site speed

Examples of CRO Strategies

Now, let’s dive into conversion optimization strategies to help inspire you. Here are some of the best practices to improve CRO.

Use Content to Hook Your Audience

High-quality content is the number one strategy to gain audience attention and hook potential clients, ultimately increasing the conversion rate. Among all content types, videos make the most effective investment for CRO.

That’s because people are more likely to pay attention to videos rather than text. They help keep people informed about your business, increasing brand awareness and lead generation.

To effectively use videos, first, set a goal. It can be to promote new products through in-depth reviews or gain the attention of first-time visitors with short, actionable content.

Make sure to include a CTA to guide users to conversion.

Influence Audience with FOMO

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) marketing strategies create a sense of urgency, encouraging the audience to quickly take action.

To do FOMO marketing, set time-limited promotions, topics, or information. Follow the relevant trends to grab the attention of your potential clients or partner up with influencers. Make your message compelling and share it on social media.

A/B Test Your Landing Page

Landing pages are where users begin their journey within your website. Thus, it’s essential to optimize them for better conversions. One way to improve landing page quality is through A/B testing.

These tests help you understand which landing page elements help convert and which don’t, providing relevant data about user experience.

To A/B test your landing page, start by listing the page elements to focus on, like the buttons, links, or headings copy. Focus on one at a time to obtain consistent results. Once you know which elements work better, include them in your CRO plan.

Experiment with CTA

Aside from increasing user experience, CTAs are one of the most straightforward elements for experimenting on how to improve your CRO plan.

Place them at different parts of the pages and use different copies and styles to see which ones boost the click-through rate. To learn from an example, check out HubSpot’s success after changing the color of their CTA button.

Test CRO on High-Traffic Pages

Test CRO on your current high-traffic pages. Since they already receive many users, they have more potential for an increase in the conversion rate.

First, use Google Analytics to identify the site’s high-traffic pages. After that, determine which ones you want to test and optimize them based on user behavior analysis and other data you gathered.

Avoid Generic Copy

Copywriting should be insightful and inspire website visitors to take action. This is where understanding your audience is essential.

When you know who you are talking to, it’ll reflect on your copywriting quality. You’ll be able to focus on delivering the right message instead of merely promoting your product.

Deliver high-quality copy on your website and advertising material to keep people engaged and motivate them to become customers. If possible, personalize your copy to increase its effectiveness.

Provide Social Proof

Customers are more likely to convert when they trust a brand. Add reviews and ratings on your product pages to act as social proof and show your products and services are reliable.

Include articles that mention your business and ask customers for feedback. If possible, partner with influencers and relevant people in your industry to boost your efforts.

Key Elements of a Successful CRO Program

After understanding the steps to start a CRO program, let’s dive into the key elements of a successful CRO strategy:

  • Setting the right goals. Your CRO plan will work better if you set the right goals. They should be realistic yet achievable.
  • Practicing different testing methods. The conversion optimization efforts will be more effective if you test different methods to know what works best for your CRO program.
  • Maximizing your resources. CRO requires perseverance and consistency, as it is a long-term effort. Therefore, instead of over-investing in new resources, better allocate the ones you currently have.
  • Using competent tools. Aside from people resources, you will also need CRO tools to make your program successful.
  • Well-thought testing process. How you conduct the testing process also matters. A well-thought process includes using different devices and methods to ensure you’ve covered all areas of potential improvement.
  • Great program organization. A key element of a successful CRO program is a well-documented CRO process. Documenting your CRO progress helps you analyze the work done and see how you can improve it.

Conclusion

CRO is one of the most crucial processes for companies, regardless of their industry. It focuses on improving different aspects of your site to achieve higher conversion rates and, consequently, boost business growth and profit.

In this article, we’ve listed six steps to start a CRO program and some of its best practices. Let’s recap them:

  • Understand your target audience
  • Set the program goals
  • Determine the CRO calculation
  • Understand what triggers the conversions
  • Identify the CRO barriers
  • Optimize the site

We hope this guide helps you to start and conduct a successful CRO program. Good luck!