So you've heard of SEO. You've heard of CTAs. You've heard of CRMs. But chances are one three-letter acronym has slipped under the radar: CRO.
What Is CRO?
CRO, aka conversion rate optimization, is the process of creating an experience for your website visitors that'll convert them into customers. Conversions happen all over your website -- on your homepage, your pricing page, your blog, and of course, landing pages -- and you can actually optimize all of these conversions. That process is of optimizing those conversions is exactly what conversion rate optimization is -- taking, say, your visit-to-lead rate from 22.2% to 25.4%. Or your lead-to-customer conversion rate from 1.4% to 1.7%.
Most often, when people talk about CRO, they're talking about web page or landing page optimization because those are owned assets that typically contain plenty of conversion opportunities to continually optimize. But CRO can be applied to social media, and is also often related to SEO.
There are lots of ways you can affect conversion rates -- that's why there's a whole discipline around CRO -- but there are three core areas you can focus on if you want to move the needle on conversions quickly.
3 Biggest Ways You Can Optimize for Conversions
Not all of your website visitors are created equal. Some are just browsing the web and stumble on your site and they will never buy from you. Others find it because they're interested in your industry, and may want to buy from you down the road. Others may find it because they want to buy from you right this second.
Because there are so many different types of people on your website and those people all mean different things for your company, sometimes you should think about focusing on one group's (aka one segment's) conversion rate -- not the web page's overall conversion rate. By focusing on converting the people who matter to your business, you'll see much better results than if you optimized for the conversion rate of everyone on your site as if they were one homogenous group.
If your marketing software allows you to use smart content, creating targeted content and design (the next two CRO tactics) for specific audience segments will help you convert those people more efficiently. For example, let's say you run a puppy adoption agency. Your website visitors might just want to learn about owning a dog, while your leads are actually more interested in adopting a puppy. With smart content, you could serve two different calls-to-action to those two different segments on the same page -- one CTA would be to learn more about owning a puppy, and the other would be about the adoption process. If you've properly segmented your site content to these different groups of people, you'll be able to improve your conversion rates for each group.
This is probably the stuff you're most familiar with -- the words on the page and the visuals you use to support them. Shortening the copy, adding more descriptive language, or even calling an "ebook" a "whitepaper" can significantly impact your conversion rates. Running A/B tests to see which copy and content format types perform best is a great way to make a dent in your conversion rate.
You can also change up the way your page is designed to see if more people will convert. Design CRO tests will include things like color, spacing, alignment, or even your page layout. Like the content tests, design tests don't have to be huge, sweeping changes. Changing just the color of your form submit button on a landing page could impact the number of people who click it, not to mention language, placement, shape, etc.
These are just a few ways you can affect your conversion rate, but they can help set up a solid foundation for your CRO experiments. Whether you decide to go run big or small experiments with each of these components, you could see very big payoffs if you remain dedicated to continual optimization.
Originally published Feb 20, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017