Any organisation with a website, landing page, or mobile app knows that these platforms are nothing unless desired customers engage with them and take actions that lead to traffic, inquiries, or business. Every step taken should be a step forward in the customer journey, carefully ushering visitors along the path that aids both business and consumer.
Controlling those steps is the goal for every website owner. If you can get customers to convert, you can boost sales and brand reputation.
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the secret sauce that drives this whole process.
What is CRO
Conversion rate optimisation refers to the process used to increase website, landing page or mobile app conversions – conversions meaning the desired actions that users take on the platform in question. A conversion could be filling out a form, clicking a link, signing up for a service, making a purchase or any number of other actions that lead users on a journey toward the business’s desired outcome. Usually, that goal is a sale.
As with all things digital, the process of optimising conversion rates is not done with intuition or guesswork. There is a formula, and hypotheses are tested through A/B testing or multivariate testing.
CRO makes the users’ experience on the site as smooth and natural as possible.
Why is CRO so important for website performance
The platform businesses use to sell or promote themselves is the most important asset in the organisation. It’s the foundation. It’s where all business enquiries lead and where sales are closed. It’s both the starting and the endpoint.
Everything starts and ends with that page, site or app.
Unfortunately, many organisations neglect their website or landing page. They invest in ads, direct their attention toward social media strategies and forget that the website’s performance impacts the performance of everything else they do online.
If a target customer finds a brand on social media, they’re likely going to end up on the website. If they click on an ad, they’re going to end up on the website or landing page.
Imagine you’re running an advertising campaign. Ads promise site visitors. More visitors equal conversions. But ads cost money, and sites that aren’t optimised to boost conversion rates are funnelling budgets into activities that bleed out on performance when they reach the site.
Advertising is easier to understand, and the results are easier to measure. Therefore it’s more common for businesses to spend their money on ads. CRO, on the other hand, is like reinforcing the walls in a ship that’s still floating fine. It’s hard to see why it’s necessary when it’s hard to see the weak points, but those weak points can cause leakage and cost a business greatly. Patching them up saves a significant amount on advertising budgets and generates a significant increase in the percentage of conversions.
Less money spent, more money generated. CRO for the win.
Overly simplified, CRO ensures that every visitor, every lead, is given the best there is to offer – no leaks in the process. This tightly run work between website optimisation and advertising optimisation allows marketers and business owners to rest confidently that every dollar of their budget is purposefully spent, with no gaps in the strategy.
How to boost CRO
Boosting CRO is all about designing websites, landing pages or apps with the customer in mind.
Businesses must remember that users are extremely fickle. There are so many options online these days. People are often passive searching, making quick judgements and bouncing from one brand to another without even recalling where they were before.
Capturing conversions is about making the interaction with your brand so smooth that users are engaged before it’s even totally conscious to them. To do that, you need to understand what attracts your target customers and leads them to take action. Then you design the user experience around that.
There are many moving parts to determine how websites perform and how they can be designed to be more customer journey-centric.
Services businesses and product businesses will naturally follow a different formula. However, there are many steps in common. Below are the shared considerations that every business should include in a CRO audit. For a more comprehensive checklist, you can download our free CRO audit checklist.
First glance test
You have just a moment to grab attention and get a user to stay on your site. To do that, you need to assess:
- Are the services/products and their benefits/USPs are easy to identify by a quick page skim
- Is the page visually appealing and clutter-free?
Navigation menus, service/product categories, blogs or news and contact pages need to be simple to find.
Ease of navigation
Does everything flow together, enhancing the journey by answering questions as they move through pages? If you can get lost on the site, your users are going to get confused and bounce off. Every page must link together so that services/products and information are easy and intuitive to find.
If a user clicks on a menu link, does the heading given to that link align with what they will find on that page? For example, if you say “blog” but only have business news or press releases, this is misaligned with what the users might have expected.
It’s worth performing a critical review of every shred of content that’s on your site or landing page. Is it relevant? Is it easy to digest? Does it add value? Is it genuinely meaningful to the customer experience? If no, it may be worth cutting it out.
Is the site visually appealing? Are the fonts all the same? Is there a consistent colour palette being followed? All of these visual elements help to make a site pleasing to browse. Inconsistency is a red flag.
If your site’s load time is slow, that’s going to impact your bounce rate. Be sure to complete load time assessments and strategies on what needs to be done to boost your site speed.
Call to actions (CTAs)
You want to give your customers ample opportunity to take action without making it feel like they’re being spammed. A simple way to assess this is to consider whether the CTAs complement or flow with the content or the page and question if they’re relevant. If not, remove them or redesign them to be relevant.
Every website needs to have SSL, or users will feel uncomfortable and bounce off.
Content management system (CMS)
The CMS is where changes can be made to the site, and performance tracking can be set up. Not all CMSs work the same in this respect, so it’s worth looking at a CMS that enables the best performance outcomes.
Take CRO action to help your business thrive
Whether you do it internally or work with a digital marketing agency, like yours truly, it’s important to take CRO seriously. Making these changes can supercharge your marketing efforts, and verifying it with A/B testing and other assessments ensures you have clear, data-backed insights to guide your digital activities.
To get started on your CRO audit, download our CRO checklist and reach out to the team at AdVisible if you need a hand taking action to help your business thrive.