When it comes to Internet marketing, most people hear about terms and services like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google AdWords or pay-per-click campaigns, remarketing, and email marketing. Sure, these can be great ways to drive traffic to your website – but if your website isn’t designed to get a conversion, what’s the point?
That’s like inviting a bunch of people to a party and not providing music, drinks, and food – nobody has fun and nobody wins. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a party – and we need to make sure everyone has a good time.
So, let’s start off with the basics. You might be wondering…
What is a conversion?
A conversion is an action taken by the end user to interact in some way with your company. There are many different types of conversions, including, but not limited to:
- Contact form submissions
- Email newsletter signups
- Phone calls
- Content downloads
- Product purchases
There is one main reason why we want conversions, regardless of the type: user information.
Even if you have an eCommerce store and selling a physical product is your number one priority, you’ll still obtain the user’s name, email address, phone number and sometimes an address. Now, even though you have already sold them a product, you have their information to pitch up-sells like related products, relevant content based on their purchase, and so on.
If you aren’t selling a physical product and someone submits a form, you now have a new lead for your sales team to follow up with. Any business owner with the mindset to squeeze every opportunity out of a client or prospect understands the value of knowing the average lifecycle of a client and how to leverage it in the best way possible.
Is there a one-size-fits-all approach to conversion rate optimization?
In a word, no. Your business is unique, and there’s no perfect out-of-the-box solution.
As such, every CRO campaign is unique as well. Of course, there are some industry standards that can be applied, but the biggest part of CRO is understanding the end user. As marketers, we need to put ourselves in the mindset of the user and ask ourselves the questions they’d be asking – and resolve their problem.
Let’s face it – no one is going to buy your products or services if they don’t have an issue that needs solving. If we can leverage the design and verbiage to help ease that pain, you’ve now earned trust. The more personable we can make their experience, the better results we will have in regards to conversions.
What are the major components of successful CRO?
This question really depends on the types of campaigns you are running, but the catch-all answer is:
Personalizing the user experience
You likely have multiple traffic sources, and each needs to be addressed and optimized separately. Every one of your traffic-driving campaigns is a living, breathing organism, and the users that they target are going to react differently to certain types of content and designs.
If we don’t take the time to understand the types of users we expect to visit our landing pages, we will never be successful in CRO. There are a plethora of aspects relevant to conversion rate optimization, but here are 3 things that are crucial to consider when personalizing customer experience:
Matching user’s intent with content and verbiage
If a user is coming from the search engines or a paid ad, we want to try and make sure the search query they used, or close variation of it, is included in the title of the page. This reassures the user that the content they are about to read has to do with what they searched for, and will help to lower bounce rates. We also want to include verbiage about how this product and service is going to ease their pain. We want to use words that invoke that pain and make them aware of it. This helps reinforce their thought of “I need to get this fixed now.”
Matching user’s intent with design
Knowing your end user really comes into play here. If we are expecting the end user’s demographic to be primarily female, we may want to consider using a color palette that is more appealing to them – maybe some softer colors. However, if we are expecting all males who love sports, we may want to use a more bold color palette – maybe some dark reds and black. It may seem silly, but this invokes emotion without the end-user knowing it. Using pictures that illustrate their pain or issue is very useful as well. Again, this helps reassure them that the page matches their viewing intent.
Don’t forget that the ultimate goal is to get the end user to perform some sort of action, like submitting a form. We need to make sure they know how and where to do it. This is where the call-to-actions (CTAs) come into play. These need to be the piece that stands out the most on the page. Be careful, however, that you aren’t using tacky, invasive practices. Your CTA should be prominent, but should look as if it’s supposed to be there. You should also use multiple call-to-actions. If you have one at the top of the page, you might consider putting another one further down when the initial CTA is out of view.
CRO & A/B Testing
When it comes to conversion rate optimization, A/B testing is your biggest asset. Making simple changes like the color on a button or the verbiage in a headline can have a drastic effect on the conversion rate.
You don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much a small change can affect your bottom line. Without testing, you’ll never know which variation of a page performs better. Don’t be afraid to do something outside of the box – these ideas typically yield the most surprising results and can lead you down a successful path you never expected.
Give It Time To Collect Data and Optimize
All too often, businesses run campaigns for a month or two, and because they don’t see an immediate return on investment, they shut the campaign down. This only guarantees that you’ll lose money.
Staying committed to your campaign gives you an opportunity to recoup the costs in the first few months.
It is very important to establish an initial strategy and let it run without any changes. If you begin making too many changes to the account immediately, how are you going to know which change resulted in better performance? Once a campaign has run long enough to capture statistically relevant data, we can make a change, let it run for another again for the same amount of time, and then determine which instance of the campaign performed better. Rinse and repeat.
There are some campaigns, depending on your strategy, industry, and competition, where you may see a positive return on investment in the first month. Most likely, however, most campaigns are going to require some informed tweaking. If you are a business owner who has hired a 3rd-party service to run your campaign, then you need to work with them and provide any insight that could benefit their efforts.
Conversion Rate Optimization Never Stops
So, you’ve run an A/B test and increased your conversion rate. You’ve done it! You are completed your conversion optimization efforts, right? If only it were that simple.
Businesses should never stop optimizing for conversions. There is always an element, no matter how subtle, that you can test to see if it can improve performance. Each and every month, you should have a plan on how to improve. The tests you’ve hoped would guarantee improvement will sometimes backfire, but don’t let that discourage you. In fact, this should spark your imagination in ways it hasn’t been before.
Continually challenge yourself and the norms to achieve your desired results. Stay committed. Trust your team. When it comes to conversion rate optimization, expect to fail in order to succeed.
How well do you think your conversion rate optimization efforts are going? We’d be happy to provide a free Internet marketing strategy analysis. Let’s have a conversation.