Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the process of getting your website traffic to convert at a higher percentage than they do now.
In other words, it’s all the changes you can make to your website to convert more passive visitors into active users who subscribe to content, download resources, and ultimately purchase your products.
To understand the definition of conversion rate optimisation and how it works, we first need to look at two elements:
What is a conversion?
What is a conversion rate?
What is a conversion?
A conversion is when a visitor completes your site goal.
There may be different levels of conversions for your site.
While the ultimate “macro” goal is to get people to purchase from you, there may be smaller conversions that lead to this goal – such as signing up to your email list, downloading a product guide, or creating an account.
These are “micro” conversions.
Both micro and macro conversions are essential. Lots of micro conversions will often lead to macro conversions because the visitor becomes more invested in your brand.
What is a conversion rate?
The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete a conversion goal on your site.
To work out your site’s conversion rate, simply divide the number of conversions by the total number of sessions, and multiply by 100.
For example, if you have 600 unique orders and 6,000 sessions, you have a 10% conversion rate. Increasing the percentage by even 5% could translate to a phenomenal improvement in sales.
Why conversion rate optimisation is an essential tactic.
Want to thrive and grow? Conversion rate optimisation is one of the essential digital marketing strategies.
You can always invest more to attract more traffic to your site, but if you can invest in converting more of those visitors, you have a sustainable business growth strategy.
Say you have a 10% conversion rate. That means 10% of people who visit your website will convert. But you want to make sure that 25% of people convert.
You need to adapt certain parts of your site, and strategy, to give them more opportunities to say "yes" to your offer.
But you can’t do this without understanding how users move through your site, their behaviour, what actions they take, and any barriers to conversion.
That's why data is a critical element of CRO.
There are other reasons conversion rate optimisation is essential:
CRO helps you understand your customers better. The process of CRO is all about understanding your audience better, finding the right potential customers for your business, and working out how to give them a better user experience. You can use these insights across all business activities – not just your website.
You can drive a better ROI. A higher conversion rate means you are fine-tuning what you have to get better results. So, you get more conversions without having to invest more in advertising to attract more visitors. You’re turning more browsers into buyers.
CRO creates a better user experience. CRO is about finding out what works and what doesn’t to ultimately make a better user experience. The benefits of this extend further than one-time sales – it can help you create a strong base of loyal customers and brand evangelists.
Examples of website elements that benefit from CRO.
CRO looks at the whole website experience for users, but some parts have a stronger impact on conversion rates than others.
Your homepage is often the first impression a visitor has of your website and even your business. Your goal is to retain them and guide them deeper into the site to convert.
Common CRO tactics include highlighting links to product information pages, a free offer signup button, and a customer service chatbot.
2. Pricing Page
For B2B business especially, the pricing page is essential to get right.
In addition to making sure pricing is easy to understand, effective CRO tactics include modifying the pricing intervals (annual vs monthly), including product or service features with the price, and including a contact number. Even highlighting the most ‘popular’ or ‘best-value’ pricing option can affect conversions.
3. Landing Pages
The whole point of landing pages is to encourage people to take action. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use CRO to get even better results from your landing pages.
For example, adding trust signals, such as user reviews and trust badges, can dramatically increase conversions.
Essential features of CRO
While every website is different, there are certain features that you need to get right as part of conversion rate optimisation:
Call to action (CTA): Tell visitors what you want them to do using a clear, strong call to action.
Forms: Use lead capture forms to build a list of leads you can with relevant content.
Multivariate testing (MVT): Testing is key to CRO. Test multiple versions of the same element (e.g. call to action button) to find the version that gets the best results.
A/B testing: Also known as splitting testing. As above, but only change one variable.
User experience (UX): Make your site easy to navigate and use on any device.
Conversion rate optimisation metrics.
Tracking metrics is a fundamental part of CRO. After all, you can’t improve unless you measure.
Guesses and hunches are not enough to get measurable results from CRO. Collect the right information and use this to make informed decisions.
Then, as you make more changes to your site, track the data to see what impact those changes are having.
Standard metrics to track include:
Return on Investment
Average time on page
Page load time
The more data you have, the more impact you can have on your conversion rate.
Use CRO tools like Google Analytics to collect and track your data.
The key is to look for patterns and trends in your data. For example, if you can see that visitors who find you via LinkedIn read your Testimonials page before going to your Pricing page, this is valuable information you can use to boost conversion rates.
Conversion rate optimisation offers a massive opportunity to turbocharge your return on investment.
By making a few well-considered changes to your website, you can make a dramatic impact on your conversion rate, and overall revenue.