Conversion rate optimization, or CRO as it is commonly known in the marketing lexicon, is the systematic process of getting website visitors to complete the desired business goal.
This is of utmost importance to any business. All websites are built, ultimately, to serve the purpose of converting customers. This is applicable irrespective of the nature of business. So, you could be a B2B website where generating leads is of importance, or you could be a B2C e-commerce website where the ultimate goal is to convert the website visitor to buying online. Conversion is no less relevant if you are in the business of content marketing where you want to attract quality traffic to the site, or if you want subscriptions or sign-ups for a newsletter or blog.
As well as the differences in the purpose of CRO exercises between B2B and B2C applications as described above, it would be prudent, too, to moderate expectations in terms of turnaround time to yield results, based on the nature of your business. You are likely to see quicker conversion rate improvements in B2C sites. B2B typically tends to have longer cycle times, could have more decision-makers, and may make measurement and attribution of CRO efforts more difficult.
All businesses should define what their “Macro Goals” are with respect to the website under consideration, and then, if applicable, evolve a set of “Micro Goals”. For example, for an e-commerce firm, the macro goal is always about effecting online transactions, but micro-goals could be signup, and add to cart, increased time spent on the page, and so on.
Conversion Rate Optimization typically requires buy-in from various stakeholders and will be covered in more detail in the section on “Adoption & Implementation” challenges. Alignment on the key business goals builds a clear view of what is called the conversion funnel – the set of online actions that prospective customers are expected to go through in their journey to final conversion. Having achieved that, the different teams can plan and tackle the different aspects of the conversion funnel. Of course, we shall consider it a given that various marketing channels, paid or unpaid (usually paid if the website is still relatively new) are already bringing in a significant amount of traffic. It would not make sense to go down the route of trying to do CRO if the marketing channels are not bringing in much traffic in the first place.
Learn and adapt from the CRO best practices that are already being deployed in your industry rather than reinventing the wheel. This will give you a firm sense of the task ahead and give you vital competitive intelligence and benchmarking. For example, in a typical e-commerce scenario, 2-3% is considered a very good conversion rate.
What is CRO Software?
CRO depends on a wide variety of tools being used in each step, with a good CRO platform then integrating all this in a seamless and actionable manner. A lot of CRO is about data, which is generated copiously by these tools. The key is to be able to define where you will optimize, what you will optimize for, and who you are optimizing for. The CRO software should allow you to do the following tasks, irrespective of the actual underlying tools powering it.
Research in CRO typically encompasses a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative methods.
It would always be best to start here if your asset is a website that deals with large amounts of traffic. An e-commerce website is a good example of this. It helps you narrow down the areas you should focus on. It may reveal problems with certain pages, certain kinds of digital marketing channels, etc. The most popular tools for this include Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Adobe Analytics, Kissmetrics, among others.
You start with qualitative methods if your audience size is smaller, but each individual is very valuable. High-value B2B transactions are a good example of this. You could pursue a wide range of tasks, from online surveys to triggered feedback to even chatbots to do the same. Of course, there is also the tried and tested, invaluable method of visiting and meeting your customer face-to-face.
Qualitative and quantitative approaches are not mutually exclusive. You will typically need both to frame and test hypotheses and implement changes.
This is a key step but the role of software in it is limited.
Popular experiments include the creation of forms, custom landing pages, etc. The CRO software allows you to build this quickly without going into full development cycles
The most popular methodology of CRO continues to be A/B testing. A/B testing involves comparing the conversion results between the first version of the design (A), called the “control”, and a trial version of the same design (B), called the “variation”. A/B testing usually covers these basic elements.
I don’t care much for Best Practice -- I care about conversions. That’s why I test
Home page optimization
This could be as basic as ensuring that the right content and images are used to increase engagement and drive the customer forward in the conversion funnel.
Your landing pages aren’t Wikipedia. Stop adding unnecessary links.
Campaign landing page optimization
Enhancing the alignment between off-platform communication in the form of ads and content, and flow from the landing page
Call To Action
Calls to Action buttons, or CTAs, are one of the most experimented upon elements in CRO. Well-implemented CTAs can have a huge impact on eventual conversion.
The best design isn’t the one that [just] makes your company look cool and edgy and sophisticated. It’s the design that supports conversion, has room for cool copy, and power calls-to action that make people click the big orange button
Good software allows you to gain critical insights leveraging big data, data visualization, and, nowadays, even AI.
Given the high number of tools and integrations, not to mention stakeholders, it’s likely that you will need software to manage workflows, especially if the scope of CRO is very large.
Which Industries use CRO Software?
CRO is relevant for both B2B and B2C businesses.
B2B - Any business where the acquisition of leads is important is where CRO comes into the picture. Real estate, SaaS, consulting services, automobile, all are sectors that are big on CRO.
B2C - Any e-commerce website requires a bare minimum of CRO efforts at the least to acquire adequate traction. The larger the scale of the website, the more complex the CRO operations. D2C brands, multi-brand e-commerce portals are intensive CRO users
Who are the Users of CRO Software?
While the end-user is almost always business as an entity, it is usually the marketing teams who use a variety of CRO tools, applying them to content to social media marketing to performance marketing. Webmasters, product managers, and technology heads are all typical end-users of various CRO tools.