Conversion Rate Optimization Fundamentals: Tips to Help with CRO
by gardenpatch Insights on May 3, 2023 7:57:13 PM
Every digital company's main goal is lead generation to get customers. Conversion rate optimization helps you monitor if your visitors are taking action and interacting with your website.
Let's consider an example user navigating through a digital company's website. To understand user behavior and website traffic, including sign-ups and the checkout process, the main goal of the company aligns with their business goals is lead generation to acquire customers. Conversion rate optimization, a crucial act of copywriting and layout design, involves monitoring factors such as the quality of interactions with the website, and whether visitors are responding to the call-to-action. These benchmarks, such as the intent of the site traffic and effectiveness of the checkout process, are essential to gauge success.
Your sales funnel and marketing funnel, the software that represents the core engine of your website, is a constant work in progress. The reason it’s easy to get lost in a sea of conversion rate optimization (CRO) options that range from tools, methods, processes, and platforms that support, enhance, and ensure your paths and goals is that there are too many options! With various headings and headlines filling the spaces, the site's responsiveness becomes pertinent to attracting clients for a possible purchase, further indicating the need for an improvement in its strategy. The quality of these elements often translates directly to the bottom line of the business.
While doing your research, you can find all kinds of resources like:
- AB Testing Platforms
- Report AnalysisInsight Collection
- Recorded User Experience Sessions
- Website Heatmaps
- Metric Measurements
- Traffic Analysis
All these resources above bring highly effective and precious value to gather and reinforce your five fundamental critical points to improve your conversion rate optimization. These tools can help track user behavior and site traffic, ultimately improving the checkout process and sign-up rates—two key benchmarks for your company's business goals.
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Today I am focusing on sharing the five fundamental critical points that improve your conversion rate optimization that helps you take ownership of your website data results. These include understanding user intent, improving the checkout process, increasing site traffic, boosting sign-ups, and aligning these critical points with your overall business goals.
Let's dive into the critical key points of optimizing, increasing, studying, improving, analyzing, and spotting a missed opportunity during the conversion funnel process.
In the modern digital marketing era, increasing your website visitors' traffic through a pleasant user experience is essential. This process includes guiding visitors to become qualified leads that can grow into potential customers, at the same instance, catering to their purchase interests and intent.
What is conversion rate optimization (CRO)?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of goal-setting actions based on improving the website experience to follow a specific funnel path. It personifies an opt-in form, links to products or services, offers, live chat, and a clear deal-close strategy along with its proper CTA button, all measured by a percentage formula number of site visitors analysis.
In a more detailed explanation, a conversion splits into:
Micro-conversion: Total clicks to add to cart, email subscriptions, and clicked links by the number of product-page website visitors that include:
- Email List Subscriptions (Blog Post)
- Link Clicks
- Abandoned Cart
Macro-conversions: Total complete closed deals, including successful checkout process divided by the number of product-page website visitors that include:
- Product Purchases
- Quote Requests
- Service Subscriptions
Each conversion is worth analysis, whether from a macro or micro-conversion; they both need a proper hypothesis, insight, metrics, and tests. It's also important to consider sign-ups and the checkout process as benchmarks for your business goals.
As a digital marketer, it is vital to improve your A-Game and stay in the loop of what's new, what's better for a test, real-time data, real-time analytics, and as many insights as you can get from your traffic.
A conversion funnel based on a CRO strategy process focuses its efforts on five essential components I've discerned, with data analysis and optimization strategy shaping up as integral parts of this process:
1. Usability Test
Marketing is an ongoing process that involves experience, knowledge, and, of course, usability. This organizational session also involves understanding customer behavior, tracking your KPIs, and evaluating customer acquisition costs to acquire insightful data that impacts your marketing decisions.
This usability testing aids in identifying sources of friction, gaps, and unclear conversion funnel paths. Part of the CRO process is to observe how your website visitors interact with your landing pages, content, products, services, and funnel and how they respond to your call-to-action. Tools like heat maps give an intuitive and visually stimulating representation of these interactions.
The easy way to chart the course towards higher conversion rates is by doing research that ensures, for example, qualitative statistics to improve user experience (UX) using the vital heatmap analysis tool. The next chapter in this journey is understanding how UX can either attract or deter a user's attention. Here, companies can leverage strategies that revolve around particular features like 'calls to action' or CTAs for short, and split testing different versions for optimization.
Here are a few tools focussed on heatmap I've found:
- ContentSquare: Provides replays, heatmap analysis, behavioral statistics collection, AB testing report insights, conversion funnel flow, and the answers to generate a data-driven marketing strategy.
- Decibel Insight: In-depth data retriever includes behavioral alerts, errors, the why behind analytics reports, and error records.
- MouseFlow: Spots activity trends that are critical, conversion funnel gaps, interaction with an opt-in form, and enables on-site survey feature.
Using the tools above helps to understand and make relevant insights that improve and optimize these four following bullet metrics. Companies who have optimized UX reported significant boosts to their ROI, thanks in part to effective implementation of heatmap tools, targeted strategies, and well-placed CTAs:
- Accessibility: Load time, adequate design, easy-to-read structure, appropriate ALT tags, and functional links.
- Identity: Prominent logo, preciseness, unique value proposition, 5-second digestible homepage, clear and easy access to contact and company information.
- Navigation: User-friendly and organized menu, clear labels and short names, button and links quantity, consistency, and patterns.
- Content: H1 identification, optimized metadata, unobtrusive pop-ups, and advertising, concluding to a friendly user experience.
So, armed with this in-depth information above, what should your next move be? Ott Niggulis from CXL, a growth institute, says that after usability optimization to a product or service and a conversion funnel, you can expect a 50% increase in your conversion rate. His extensive knowledge of the CRO process and his data-driven approach serve as the framework for providing a comprehensive understanding of how data analysis can dramatically alter conversion rates.
2. Qualitative and Quantitative Research
While usability testing brings excellent insights, it is more than one step to ensure a successful target audience approach. It's about a journey that involves session capturing attention, generating interest, and finally converting that user interaction into tangible ROI, all while keeping the customer acquisition costs in check.
While retrieving numerical data from a website using tools and platforms is easy, what becomes hard is applying these insights into tangible strategies that companies can use to bolster UX and improve conversion rates, maintaining a thoughtful optimization strategy to achieve desired KPIs:
Here is when we return to the fundamental point: usability analysis. Though this mostly provides numbers, we can transform those numbers into psychological analysis responses—underlying reasons, motivations, and opinions that help in developing ideas of a hypothesis to dive into an optimized funnel:
Understanding your target audience, including the b2b market, is the golden ticket to the success of any UX strategy. A few questions need a proper answer:
- Who is my current site visitors?
- At which stage do users drop off a funnel?
- What is the genuine opinion of a user of my website?
- From where are your visitors coming?
- How do demographics impact device interactions on my site?
Here are a few tools that bring some light through AB testing and qualitative analysis. By using this tool as an example, you'll notice the mention of CTAs, which have proven time and again to be a powerful method of capturing user attention and improving conversion rates:
- Mixpanel: It is a tool that helps grow your business by learning why users convert, engage, and retain. This tool runs testing experiments on a self-educational process; it identifies trends, applies data-science techniques, and supports creating informed hypotheses to reach goals that tie your goal to metric conversions.
- Formisimo: Measures granular interactions that are fundamental to conversions and scores and compares reports to ensure good numbers. It focuses on multi-forms, and the performance review provides optimization opportunities to zoom in on determinative actions to improve the conversion rate on e-commerce sites.
The proper usage of these conversion rate optimization tools helps you maximize the qualitative core of your research. Furthermore, precise data analysis allows you to glean further insights and improve your optimization strategy. Take these split testing methods into account:
- On-site Surveys: You can not always interview specific users, but you can throw surveys on your website. On-site surveys reveal reasons, fears, gaps, doubts, and hesitations behind actions, from a current customer to a potential lead.
- Usability Tests: We already discussed how this works and helps, but we need to extract the behavioral analysis. Observing how your real-life lead and customer navigate (and stumble) around your site is a powerful stride to increase your conversion and improve the user experience.
- Interviews: I said before that interviews are not easy, and surveys are better for general visitors. Interviews are often a method used for actual and current customers; you can find people to interview on social media, LinkedIn introductions based on your persona, an existing customer, and cold calls to your audience. Although this last one seems risky, you have nothing to lose if you get an opportunity to find someone willing to talk to you.
- NPS: Net Promoter Score determines and confirms the key benefits, advantages, and gaps of your service, product, and website conversion funnel. Customers build a relationship with their providers. You have to ask: “How likely would you recommend us to a friend?” Spot the answer into three categories and ask yourself, “Why is that?”: ◦ Promotes ◦ Passives ◦ Detractors
Now, it is time to use multivariate testing and measure, converting those trends into actual numbers based on the data provided. Improve website conversion, ultimately boosting the overall ROI of companies, through quantitative research as part of your comprehensive CRO program:
This process helps quantify a structured and statistically educated decision, and the course of actions to benefit your audience. It aids in refining marketing strategies and making necessary tweaks that bring tangible results:
Start to prove and disprove your hypothesis after defining these characteristics from your research trait, behavior, opinion, and attitudes, framing the set proper goals in Google Analytics. This is where a detailed case study can provide deeper insights:
"Goals measure how well your site's homepages or app fulfills your target audience's objectives. Considering the location and personalization preferences of your audience is important. A goal represents a completed activity like newsletter signups, called a conversion, which contributes to the success of your business. Each goal submission is an investment in the success of your business.
Defining goals is a fundamental component of any digital analytics measurement plan. Having clear, established goals allows analytics experts to provide you with critical information, such as the number of conversions and the conversion rate for your site or app. Without this information, it's almost impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of your online business and marketing funnel. Many businesses use saas platforms like Google Analytics for this purpose.” (Source: Google Analytics)
GA provides a perfect way to monitor and measure how often your audience completes a specific action; here, you find a complete source of understanding and implementing actual goals to be measured. Understanding the difference in user behaviors could give you a competitive edge.
3. Competitive Analysis
Know that you're not alone in this world; around 10k (less or more) businesses provide the same service or product you offer. These businesses are constantly learning from each other and adjusting their strategies based on competitors' success and failures.
Understanding how your competitors differentiate from you is a cornerstone strategy for increasing your conversions and becoming a crucial part of any funnel. This difference could very well be the missing ingredient that could propel your business to new heights.
Doing a proper analysis of the competition starts by asking the right questions. These are not merely focused on the techniques used but also on the buttons and brand advertisements they are pushing in their campaigns. Such analysis often requires an investment of both time and resources, but the rewards can be significant.
- Who are my competitors?
- Which importance category do they fit: primary, secondary, or tertiary?
- What are they doing?
- What is their market position?
- Which is the Unique Value Proposition?
- Who is their target audience?
- What are their sales highlights?
Using traffic reports gets you new and more specific questions based on the category strategy, product, or service. Taking into account the different versions of these strategies and how they impact the industry can provide relevant insights. The information drawn from these reports can guide your campaign plans and optimization strategies, especially if you're planning a product sale.
By going through your process, you find different competitor analysis tools. Your product guides the category of analysis you get to start with; Hubspot brings a complete guide I’m sharing with you below. Taking cues from the brands that have left a mark in the industry is, in fact, a wise approach.
Marketing Competitor Analysis
The sales and marketing funnel are similar in structure but with different approaches.The Marketing Funnel is the primary lead generation where, when done right, the lead moves into a Sales Funnel. This transition not only embodies an efficient customer service strategy but also has an impressive effect on your website performance, and creates a positive impression on customers.
Marketing utilizes various means such as blogs, offers, videos, webinars, visuals, and more, all contributing towards enhancing the order value and minimizing acquisition costs. Moreover, a host of innovative improvements like informational areas such as FAQs, slide decks, press releases, case studies, and online and offline advertising, are strategically employed. This content plays a crucial role in nurturing leads and significantly increases conversions for an optimal return on investment.
In order to elevate your marketing strategies, it's crucial to analyze your competitors and their audience. Choosing samples from your competitor and scanning them can guide solid steps forward in your campaign strategies. Various tools aid in this process by providing a personalization and location targeted approach, offering you an edge in the market.
- SEM Rush: This platform includes SEO, advertising, and social media analysis. It is easy: log in, add your competitor’s URL, and dive into several insights of real-data reports. Check on SERP features and ranking, organic search, and media.
- Ahrefs: It is an affordable option that helps you with the research. Works by conducting a comprehensive analysis of your competitor’s domain. It provides an in-depth look at traffic, backlinks, organic search, and content gaps.
Sales Competitor Analysis
A comprehensive sales funnel analysis is fundamental during your competitor’s research. If your lead capture form includes a specific question about their actual provider, you can delve deeper into the reasons they chose their customers. The impressions, the motivation behind “changing provider,” gives you invaluable insights and advantages to wield.
This crucial analysis process can be ensured by going through your competitor's sales funnel. Learning, applying, automating, and steadily improving your path while going through your competitor’s funnel are fundamental.
Social Competitor Analysis
Observe your competitors, take note of how they engage and analyze what parts of their strategy are effective. Record which platforms they have social proof on, the engaging tactics they employ, posting frequency, the use of visuals, the number of followers and fans they have, content virality, and the personal connection they establish with each person involved. You can then use their success to address the pain points in your strategy, improve your efforts, and add more urgency to your engagement approach.
Here are some of the SM Platforms you may be looking for: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. But remember to check where else your competitors are showing up; if you're not there, chances are you're missing an opportunity. Tools you can use to measure these different outlets include efforts that incorporate user feedback to enhance your presence.
- Sprout Social: Ranked #1 channel for connecting and engaging with customers. Sprout enables an understanding performance of your competitors and tracks reports from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to compare against your profiles.
- Phlanx: If your product is mainly showcased on Instagram, you can use Phlanx. The engagement calculator shows how active your account’s followers are and allows you to analyze your competitor’s presence.
The audience engagement ratio is calculated based on the number of followers versus the rate of engagement content has garnered (likes, comments, shares). Always remember that every member of your audience is a unique person, and understanding their behavior can provide much-needed insights.
The Content Competitor Analysis is crucial and splits into two sub-areas: Engagement and Promotion, both stemming from marketing. This analysis determines the quality of your competitor’s content. If their audience engages and responds, people read their landing pages, blogs, and overall content, you can measure this success using SEO tools.
The resonance of their content updates and activity brings valuable insights to your DOs and DONTs. This piece will discuss SEO more in-depth later on. Feedback from your audience can help streamline your content and ensure it hits the right marks.
4. Data-Driven Design
Aesthetically pleasing designs are not always the ultimate method to increase your conversions. But by analyzing competitors' tactics, using data-driven strategies, and understanding acquisition costs and return on investment, you can find ways to beautify your process and make it more efficient. Everyone prefers an appealing and catching landing page, but best practices always remind you to keep it simple. As marketers, we direct our focus on accessibility and a structured funnel— these are the critical parts that serve as the lead generation key.
Structure your content
Your audience decides by reading your H1 rapidly to the main three lines of your landing page in less than a second, so it's imperative you step up and deliver educational, informative, and straightforward content. The way a brand designs this vital part of the website can, in fact, lead to significant improvements in their sales campaign. Your keyword placement and duplication can increase your traffic. Using the proper conversion rate tools to be precise on word usage can lift your website conversion rate on a larger scale. This can make a lot of sense once you consider variations in how different types of users search for keywords.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Although you get to understand SEO and its raging areas, it's easy to get sidetracked. If you have a few doubts about defining it, you can always seek feedback or check out this blog. There, you'll find examples that explain SEO and the related issues in a way that's easy to understand. Now, I bring you three main tools that I’ve used personally and found quite valuable:
Credibility is the key to engaging and increasing leads. If a site looks spammy, it doesn’t have any proof or external reinforcement, chances are you won't gain trust. Keep in mind, different users may perceive credibility differently, hence the urgency to test different variations.
- Google Keyword Planner: Google is the incubator of all these new terms, tools, and rules. You get to apply the correct tactics if you want to rank and optimize your conversions. Google is the #1 search engine. You want your business, product, or service to be the 1st to show up to your audience. GKP helps you find the best words, ranking, volume, and forecasts and also set budgets.
- MOZ: Has a toolkit that supports different areas of the SEO world. It has included a Keyword explorer. This explorer brings opportunities like Click-through rate from organic results, importance keyword setting, and potential, which relies on combining all metrics to increase your conversions.
- SEMRush: A highly useful, insightful, and complete platform providing research tools and analysis on Bing and Google searches. This tool also includes a long-tail keyword bank to find less competition volume keywords so you can rank higher.
Gaining trust, especially if you're a small business, is no easy feat. That’s why I encourage you to support yourself using Social Media. Be active, be engaging, and most importantly, listen to the feedback of the people who interact with your brand.
Broadcasting your projects, NPS, and blog posts are a good start; add an unobtrusive social media widget, invite users to engage, and be responsive with their opinions and reactions to bring social proof to your product or service. In sense of types, social media covers a wide range - from Facebook to Twitter, each has its own unique features.
5: AB Test
It is time to do it. You’ve gathered data, ran the analysis, mindfully considering the issues and options, had reports, and explored your audience; it is time to test your hypothesis, and confirm your fears and struggles to increase your conversions.
Digital marketing allows you to learn as you go; a changing world needs proof and tests. By testing different variables, you might find surprising examples of what does and doesn't work for your website.
Your website conversion rate says enough about how bad or good things are. A well-performed AB test helps marketers prove or disprove hypotheses using user experience, design, or copy tests. Here are the pillars of conducting your test:
Tests are subtle changes in small things that do matter. You can choose from button color, headline copy, images, message authority, CTA position, lead capture form fields, amount of copy, offers, and any other variable. Each of these examples shows a single variable - a different types of test you can run.
Your hypothesis can only get confirmed by using goal metrics. Your measurements must go live in every test you run; set them before running anything. We don’t want results-oriented goals but clear objectives that improve conversion. It can be helpful to keep these objectives in mind as you move forward.
The best way to track traffic is by seizing the number of users, contacts, and customers joining. Both tests must be equal on metrics and goals, so the report can be even and spot real differences in experience, traffic, and bounce rate. The issues to look out for vary from test to test.
AB Test Tools. Tools must provide the following data from both or all tests running: conversion, page views, visitors, revenue per visit, bounce rate, exit, source of traffic, and the medium of traffic, among others. (This may vary from platform to platform, emphasizing the different types and examples again.)
Take a look at these powerful tools:
Give time to your test. “Time is money,” I know; it is easy to jump to conclusions and set shorter amounts of time to the risk of not producing revenue. A lack of behavioral data can be harmful until you spot a pattern. You need to keep this issue in mind while planning your tests.
- Google Analytics & Google Optimize: The free options for tests. One of the best testing solutions for free! It lets you A/B test up to 10 full variants of an individual landing page and compare performance using a random sample size of visitors.
- Optimizely: One of the leading Conversion Rate Optimization tools offers two different products: Web, which is primarily for websites, experimentation, and deploying pleasant experiences to your visitors, and Full Stack is the product version that scales to mobile apps, business logic, and also voice bots.
- Adobe Target: Omnichannel approach, your visitor’s experience is personal while using different channels to approach them. You ensure a unified and progressive analysis of results.
- Multivariable Testing: while running tests one by one is better, we can use this tool to have the CTA of option 1, the bounce rate of option 2, and add a newer design asset as option 3, test everything on any channel at any time.
- AI optimization helps personalize every visitor's experience; using Artificial Intelligence is a modern way to keep it logical.
- Hubspot: Their CRM provides support in determining your sample size. It enables a 50/50 AB test on any sample. Besides, the AB test of website and landing pages provides support on email and CTA tests. (All these are only included if you are a HubSpot Enterprise customer).
Emails are faster to measure since they don't have many navigation options. Still, landing pages can be harder; set a timeframe, but leave it as a projection so you can feel comfortable with the data gathered and patterns spotted. Examples of both types will help you make sense of the effects of your changes.
And you got it. CRO fundamentals that, with a mind for detail and a commitment to testing, will improve conversion.
And you got it. CRO fundamentals that will improve conversion. As marketers, we need to remember that this is a trial and error-process, but this is the best way to ensure an increase in your conversion rate.
Every aspect from the usability test, qualitative & quantitative research, competitive analysis, data-driven design, and AB tests are connected; the success of each relies on the previous step's accuracy.
Each asset you use, from landing pages, opt-in forms, lead capture forms, CTA, visual, video, and social media, is connected. The proper conversion rate optimization tools, tactics, methods, and analytics tools are the core support of the five fundamental critical points to improving your conversion rate; use them wisely!
Do you need help with conversion rate optimization? Unable to attract potential customers? Let gardenpatch help!