It’s time to make your website work smarter instead of harder. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a highly-beneficial process that helps businesses generate more qualified leads by increasing the percentage of conversions on their website. By understanding the way users behave within a customer journey or website, marketers can optimize their path to conversion by reducing obstacles and giving them more reason to convert.
CRO is an area that requires marketers to remain up to date with new processes and learnings. Consider this marketers guide to conversion rate optimization your new go-to as we keep it current with new learnings and industry advice.
We’ll be exploring all things conversion rate optimization, including benefits, best practices, and the helpful tips you need to ensure your website visitors are taking the desired action.
Conversion rate optimization definition
A conversion is any desired action, like filling out a form, signing up for a free trial or demo, or buying an item. A conversion rate is the percentage of users achieving conversion goals that ultimately increase the growth of a company. So if you're achieving a conversion rate of 10 percent on free trial signups, then 10 percent of your traffic is actually signing up.
In the most general sense, conversions are goals related to your main business outcomes. To make things easier, marketers split conversions into two types: macro and micro conversions.
Macro conversions are goals related to primary outcomes, such as:
Demo / quote requests
Micro conversions are smaller and contribute to making macro conversions happen. They can include:
Adding products to a shopping cart
Conversion rate optimization is the process of improving conversion rates by looking at ways to encourage users to take the desired action.
When looking at optimizing, it's important to take a more holistic approach rather than purely focusing on the conversion as there are many actions taken and experienced before that point.
When looking at your website’s data points make sure you’re understanding:
What is driving people to your website?
What friction points or barriers are making them leave?
What are the hooks persuading them to convert?
Conversion rate optimization benefits
There are plenty of reasons conversion rate optimization is well worth your while. CRO has an array of massive benefits, some of which include:
Making the most of organic traffic without paid ads
Improving brand perception through an optimized user experience
Increasing ROI and generating more revenue by converting leads into paying customers
Encouraging customer retention and repeat buying habits
Keeping customers loyal by providing them with the experiences they want they want
Improving customer insights by filtering out the wrong people
Reducing acquisition costs by avoiding pay-to-click methods
Optimizing scalability by turning more browsers into buyers, rather than mindlessly generating leads
Conversion rate optimization statistics
If you still haven’t been convinced of the importance of conversion rate optimization, we’ve sourced 16 statistics that will show you just how important a solid CRO strategy is for your brand.
A Facebook ad has an average conversion rate of 9.21%. (Wordstream)
Only 38.3% of businesses have a documented strategy to CRO. (CXL)
According to Econsultancy, for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.
Paid search represents 2.9% of all conversions by traffic source. (Smart Insights)
There is a 7% decrease in conversion rate for every one-second delay in a page loading. (Forbes)
Research has indicated that your blog’s headline can help determine the conversion rate, with 36% of people showing preference towards headlines containing numbers. (Monster Insights)
Only 22% of companies are happy with their conversion rates. (Econsultancy)
By increasing the number of landing pages from 10 to 15 your leads will grow by 55%. (Hubspot)
According to Monster Insights, B2B landing pages have an average conversion rate of 13.28%.
Only 38.3% of businesses have a documented strategy to CRO. (CXL)
Top-converting companies will spend at least 5% of their budget on CRO. (Adobe)
There are more people than ever before googling the phrase “conversion rate optimization”. (Google)
The best ecommerce conversion rates are for food and drink (3.58%) and health and beauty products (3.08%). (Grow Code)
When the call-to-action is 10 words or less, the conversion rate increases. (MECLABS)
Your conversion rate can increase by 120%, simply by reducing the number of form fields from 11 to 4. (Unbounce)
The average return-on-investment (ROI) when using CRO tools is 223%. From the survey results, 173 marketers shared that they gained returns higher than 1,000% and only 5% of respondents didn’t generate ROI at all. (Word Stream)
Conversion rate optimization tips
Website conversion rates can be a tough nut to crack. With rates lingering around 2.35%, increasing them can be frustrating not to mention expensive. Luckily, you can increase your conversion rates without overspending on Facebook or Google. All you need is a sprinkle of creativity, a dash of marketing automation, and these five cost-efficient tips.
Tip #1: Refine your CTAs
There's one simple thing that will make your website conversions twice as effective: your call-to-action buttons are short, sweet, relevant and located in prominent positions. A CTA button should be placed on each of your pages in obvious positions to ensure visitors can easily take their next step.
The more opportunities you give your visitors to convert, the more likely they will convert. But there's a fine line to tread here. Having CTAs everywhere on your page is only good if your CTAs are useful — try not to seem spammy or pushy. You want your CTAs to invite your customer to go deeper and extract more content from your brand - see Ortto's product page as an example.
Tip #2: Optimize your landing page design
The design of your landing pages matters. Clear, optimized landing pages give your customers a straightforward path to conversion. So generally, simpler is better.
A study conducted by Google showed that website visitors make their initial impression of a site's attractiveness within 1/20th of a second. Time and time again, visually cluttered sites were judged as less beautiful, less clickable, and more confusing.
To optimize your page design, build your landing pages with a product like Instapage. Instapage generates contextual, optimized landing pages depending on where your users are clicking from, who they are, and what they want. It's an easy route to go down if you don't have the capacity or budget for UX designers.
Tip #3: Try different form styles to find what works
Forms are a critical part of your lead generation and conversion process. But often, they're a stopping point for customers.
To combat this, make sure you reduce friction on forms as much as possible by enabling autofill, eliminating unnecessary fields, and turning fields into checkboxes/drop-down menus when possible.
Test multiple versions, color variations, layouts, and CTAs to get the best result. Your form should also match the theme and intent of your landing page (see tip #2).
To help you get started in creating a high-converting form, Ortto has a range of capture widgets suited for the type of industry you’re in. Simply choose the template that suits you and customize to fit your goal.
Once you've got the perfect form that's converting, make sure you follow up with the right actions as soon as possible. Leads don't stay hot forever.
Tip #4: Use testimonials to build trust
Testimonials are a surefire way to build trust and loyalty with your customers. Look at the way review sites like Google, Yelp, G2 crowd or Trustpilot have exploded: they're often a make-or-break factor for businesses.
Champion your customer reviews, awards, and best clients to let the world know your business is not only legitimate, but also above and beyond the competition. At Ortto, we encourage our customers to review us on G2 crowd, and also champion their reviews on our website.
Testimonials give potential clients the chance to see what others have to say about your product and company. To do it, get talking to your customers about your product and spread the good word as far as possible.
Tip #5: Videos
Videos are an extremely powerful medium for expanding your audience and bringing in new leads. On Youtube alone, there are well over 2.6 billion users worldwide who watch over one billion hours of video every single day. And if video content wasn't already popular enough today, a study claims video viewing accounts for 82% of all consumer internet traffic.
Don’t be put off by these high numbers, you don't have to do anything fancy for your video to get eyes on it. Explainer videos, screencasts, product announcements, and interviews all work a treat, and can be achieved on a range of budgets (a video production equipment setup can range between $1,300 to $10,000+). Currently, user generated content and TikTok “home-style” videos are incredibly engaging, so this lower-production video can work when testing video content, then bigger brand videos may need more investment.
A video's success can be attributed to three major factors:
Audience relevance - it's full of useful, actionable content regarding growth hacking
Call-to-action - what is the next step you want your audience to take
Make it engaging - Grab their attention in first few seconds
It's that simple. No need for a huge production team or expensive gear. If you can master it, the reach potential for video is simply staggering.
Conversion rate optimization best practices
Converting customers was never meant to be easy. Ultimately, you have to find out what your customers respond to, and what drives results. But as you’re doing that, it’s worth following these best practices to set yourself up for sustainable, long-term success. .
1. Profile and target your customer
This one may seem obvious if you're running a business, but many marketers don't go far enough when identifying their customers. Start with personas, but go beyond that and find out who (and who doesn't) belong in your target market.
Doing so will enable you to create messages that are highly targeted and personalized. Creating a data-enrichment journey is a great way to help identify your audience in more detail. Use a data enrichment email to ask your contacts a question then create a personalized pathway based on their response.
For example, find out the type of content your email recipients are after. In the example below the brand is learning more about their customer, plus ensuring that going forward only relevant content is sent to them. Each option provided will add that recipient on the new appropriate mailing list.
Ask your users brief, direct surveys that will give you insight into their wants and needs. Setting up a NPS survey in Ortto is a perfect medium for this. It's quick to complete and provides clean, clear feedback.
You can set up a NPS in-app pop-up using Ortto’s widgets software. This setup then allows you to segment the respondents and follow up with them through automated customer journeys. Be sure to collate and act on your feedback in order to optimize your conversion rate.
For example once the NPS survey has been completed, this triggers an alert via Slack, notifying your customer success team to react to the feedback. Meanwhile, depending on the respondents answer, they will be funneled into an appropriate customer journey, either thanking them for their positive feedback and asking whether they would be open to participating in a case study, or — in the case of negative feedback — letting them know that a customer support representative will be in touch within 48 hours to help resolve the issue.
3. Analyze and track everything
Optimizing for conversion rates means analyzing every customer avenue possible. In a nutshell, you need to know who, what and where to optimize correctly. To do this, you'll need to gather and track all the data you can.
Quantitative data analysis gives you the information you need to see exactly how people are behaving on your website. This means tracking key metrics through an analytics platform like Google Analytics. Or if you prefer to have everything conveniently in the same platform link Google Analytics as a data source with Ortto. As you make changes to your customer journey, keep an eye on your analytics data on your dashboard— you'll want to stay across what impacts your changes are having on user behavior, lead management and more.
Keep an eye the following key metrics to track the effectiveness of your CRO efforts:
Bounce rate: the percentage of customers who visit and leave without triggering an action or event;
Average time on page: the average amount of time all users spend on a single page
Page views: the total amount of times pages have been fully loaded
Unique visitors: users who visit a website more than once during a reporting period
Page load time: how long it takes for your page to load (the less, the better)
Referrals: websites or channels that push users to your website
Device: what mobile device, desktop or browser people are using
Demographics: your user's age, location, intent etc.
Drop-off points: where users are leaving your conversion funnel
Start tracking these metrics to gain a clear picture of customer behavior, then use this information to focus your optimization on areas of high traffic, high engagement or high bounce. This is the secret to successful conversion rate optimization.
4. Optimize your email subject lines using AI
Your email is only as good as the subject line, so to give your email the best chance of competing in the inbox, you need to make sure your subject lines are conversion-driving.
Ortto’s AI subject line writer tool not only accurately predicts the open rates of emails, but it generates alternative suggestions so you can be confident your emails will be seen.
5. Heatmap to find out what content is performing best
Heat mapping shows you where your users are clicking the most. Focus on high-traffic pages on your website, such as the home page or product pages. There are four great insights you can easily gain from heat maps:
Content length - See to what extent your users go on your blogs. How far are they scrolling down? Do they prefer shorter blogs?
Menu item placement - Which menu items do users click on most? If they’re popular, maybe it's time to rearrange them. If no one clicks on them, is it time to remove it?
Visibility of the CTA - Which areas are your users scrolling down to? Is there a CTA present?
Mobile usability - where are your users scrolling to on mobile? Is there a CTA present?
Heat maps are a great resource to see where people are clicking and how they're using the page. Once you have sufficient data then it's time to optimize and improve conversion rates.
Strategic placement of CTAs (call to action) will help direct your customers to where they need to go. Navigational panels, button placement and text placement can all be optimized. UX designers, UX writers or digital copywriters are all particularly adept at doing this.
7. Take steps to stop bots from spamming your forms
When you think spam can only affect your inbox, think again. Bots spam forms located on websites to try and spread malware, phishing links or sales messages. To ensure the security of your visitors plus the quality of leads coming through, add a CAPTCHA widget to your form and consider adding a double opt-in process for your new lead to confirm sign-up.
Here’s how it works: Once a visitor adds their details into the form and passes the CAPTCHA test, they are then sent an email to confirm their action. For example, 'confirm your subscription' for anyone who has signed up to your email list. The user will need to go to their inbox, open the email and click the link. This will verify that they are a real person, as it is highly unlikely a bot would take this step.
With less bots in your database, you’ll get more clarity on conversions. If you’ve just implemented this step for the first time, you may see your conversion rates drop. As disheartening as that may be at first, your business will benefit in the long run.
8. Don't slow your customers down
Follow CRO and UX philosophies to keep customers on a seamless path to conversion. It will take work as you'll most likely need to analyze and refine almost every part of your customer experience. The end result is more than worth it — increased ROI, a spike in sales and more satisfied customers.
But don't let yourself become complacent. Expectations and the market will change — meaning you'll need to stay on your toes to get the best conversion rate in the future and beyond. The more data and testing you do, the better your results will be.
Conversion rate optimization is the not-so-secret tool in making your brand sticky, the trick with it though is to dedicate the time and resources needed to ensure your brand’s online performance is running at its absolute best.
The effort put into CRO will be worth it. By even following our tips mentioned above and staying aligned to the best practices your company will notice the results of increased conversions and more qualified leads in no time.