How Conversion Rate Optimization Can Help Your Business - 1Digital® Agency
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Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization; you may have heard of it. It’s a hot term in digital marketing and eCommerce, but it’s hardly new.

It can also have a big impact on the performance of your website and kickstart your marketing efforts by encouraging conversions – hence the name.

But what is it, how do you put it into practice, and why should you in the first place?

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

In short, conversion rate optimization (or CRO) helps to turn visitors into paying customers. It is a collection of processes that break down barriers to conversions on your website, or introduce new opportunities to elicit conversions that were not there in the first place.

It is not one thing. Rather, it is the sum of all efforts taken to make an eCommerce website as appealing to visitors as possible, eliminating all conceivable roadblocks to conversion, and actively encouraging users to “buy now!” no pun intended – although that CTA is one tiny drop in the bucket of CRO. 

Basically, the goal of CRO is to increase the percentage of visitors to your website who convert. If your current conversion rate is, say, 10%, CRO should make it higher. That’s what it all boils down to. 

The benefits of this should be self-evident, but I’ll enumerate a few here. 

On the Benefits of a CRO Strategy 

Unless your conversion rate is 100%, your website could benefit from a strategic conversion rate optimization plain. Here are some of the benefits.

  • You’ll learn about your customers: Here’s one of the most valuable aspects of CRO, even beyond the fact that, on its own, it’s intended to drive higher sales figures. Let’s say you make an effort to remove extra content on your website because you are concerned it might be a distraction, but your conversion rate falls. You’ve just learned that your audience cherishes actionable, informative content and that it does not serve as a barrier to conversions. That intel can be used elsewhere in your marketing. 
  • You’ll cut operating costs, specifically cost-per-acquisition (CPA): The more of your current traffic converts, the less your other operational procedures will cost because your margins will all increase.  
  • You earn more without even attracting new customers: The great thing about CRO is that, unlike most marketing channels, it really isn’t about capturing leads. CRO assumes the leads are already there, you just want to get as many of them to convert. That takes a big component of the marketing lift out of the picture. By making (potentially) basic adjustments to your website, you can earn more from the traffic that’s already there. 
  • You can maximize CLV: CLV, or customer lifetime value, is an important metric marketers use to determine how much one paying customer will spend during his or her lifetime. Ideally, you want this number to be as high as possible. By engaging in best practices for conversion rate optimization, you’ll help increase the percentage of visitors that convert, causing an upward trend in CLV.
  • You’ll build trust with customers: A website that earns more conversions does so because it seems reputable and trustworthy. That will impact not only your actual marketing efforts, but your brand in general.
  • You’ll be supporting your marketing efforts: While this is not often cited, it is true that conversion rate optimization can massively benefit your marketing efforts. For instance, take SEO and PPC. The more leads you get to a landing page, the better, but not if 95% bounce or just look around and then leave. By tailoring each landing page to the intended eventual action (conversion) you can align the page’s messaging and functionality with the visitor’s expectations, boosting the number that convert. In one fell swoop, you earn more and improve the metrical performance of your marketing efforts, both paid and organic. 
  • And, the bottom line, you’ll increase sales and ROI: This almost doesn’t need to be stated, because it’s the ultimate end game, but the deal with CRO is that since more visitors convert, your business makes more money. That’s the bottom line. 

Conversion Rate Optimization: Actionable Advice 

If you’re here because you’re wondering what sorts of things actually go into conversion rate optimization, here are a few of the more common items:

  • Make the page clear: This may sound like subjective or nebulous advice but it is actually among the most important aspects of CRO. Figure out what it is that your customers want when they land on each specific page and make it easy for them to get that, as quickly as possible. This will maximize conversions for that page and reduce customer frustration. 
  • Simplify checkout: If possible, make a one-page checkout. It should require the customer to fill in as few fields and click the mouse as few times as possible. Every single action the customer takes is a chance for an abandoned cart to materialize. Make sure the process saves their info but allow for a guest checkout option, too. Also, do not include any hidden fees. Make them apparent upfront. If any random charges show up during the checkout process the chances of an abandoned cart skyrocket.
  • Accept multiple payment gateways: Your online store should accept as many payment gateways as possible, including credit, debit, Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Pay and Google Wallet, to name a few. Fortunately, big SaaS platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify make this easy, but you should do the work if your platform doesn’t offer this functionality natively. 
  • Offer multiple navigation options: You need, at minimum, a search bar and a mega menu on your homepage. Both are necessary to deliver a high quality user experience. Breadcrumbs are another nice feature, as is a logo that takes the user back to the homepage from anywhere on the website. The sitemap should be kept up to date and accessible from any page on the website, preferably through the footer. Lastly, the homepage should prominently display top-sellers with a quick add-to-cart/checkout feature.
  • Make sure the page delivers on expectations: Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you were there for? Or have you ever visited a website and just had no idea what the purpose was? This will have a big impact on marketing. Basically, every page is intended to deliver on some sort of customer action. Is the page a contact page? A blog? A product page? In each instance, make sure it is as easy as possible for the visitor to find exactly what he or she is looking for. 
  • Boost page speeds: A fast website is one of the most important elements of success. It doesn’t matter what you sell or how well the website performs in other areas, if it doesn’t load quickly, people will bounce. Studies suggest that users will bounce in three seconds or less but many of them are quite old and if I had to guess, online shoppers are even less tolerant of slow websites now. Plus, a slow website is just not enjoyable to use. 
  • Site security is imperative: Have you ever gone to make a purchase online but stopped because you didn’t see the little padlock at the top of the screen? The same that goes for speed goes for site security. Let alone the actual risks of identity and financial theft, a website that doesn’t seem or feel secure just is not trustworthy, and that will hurt your brand in a big way.
  • Incorporate Calls to Action (CTA): Something as simple as “Buy Now” that directs the user to purchase is a CTA, although it is an overplayed one. Get creative with it and encourage users to sign up or purchase by advertising unique selling points or what the benefits of signing up actually are. 
  • Incorporate urgency plays: All else being equal, the use of urgency plays can be even more effective at encouraging conversions than calls to action. Great urgency plays include countdown timers to when a sale will end, or notifications about how many items are left in stock. If a customer wants to buy something, he or she will be more likely to if they see that product will soon be out of stock. 
  • Showcase reviews: They say something like 95% of online shoppers read reviews before buying and the truth is it might be even more than that. The point is, displaying reviews on your website can help sell because it will remove doubt in the mind of the visitor. In addition to reviews, UGC, or user generated content, can also help sell because it shows that other customers have bought and used the product and are happy with it.
  • Utilize multilingual storefronts: If your business does work internationally, having more than one storefront in more than one language can really help sell. This can help if some of your searches come from overseas or from areas in which potential customers speak a different language from yours. BigCommerce and Shopify both make this relatively easy. 
  • Accept more than one currency: The same applies here. If you sell internationally, the ability to accept more than one form of currency will really help you convert visitors into customers.
  • Offer live support: If a customer visits your website and can’t find what he or she came for immediately, there’s still hope. If that visitor looks for help and can’t get it, then you’re out of luck. Live support, either through a chat or a 24/7 customer support line, can help convert bounces into transactions by allaying customer concerns and in some cases even answering simple questions.
  • Display UVPs prominently: Does your website offer a money back guarantee? If so, make sure it’s front and center and shoppers know about it. This gives them peace of mind so they know they can buy without risk. 
  • Advertise your return/exchange policy: Likewise, customers will be more likely to purchase if they know they can return or exchange a product if they are dissatisfied with it after the fact. Make sure this information is visible on the homepage as well as on product pages.
  • Integrate with social media: A social media presence wherein you post valuable content and interact with customers will make your business appear more legitimate, boosting your CRO in the process.
  • Boosting the mobile experience: Nowadays, mobile optimization is conversion rate optimization, especially since upwards of 50% of eCommerce transactions are M-commerce, or mobile commerce, transactions. It just so happens to be the case that optimizing for mobile users will also result in happier, more satisfied customers, and benefit your SEO.
  • Engage in split testing: Split CRO testing will enable you to continuously refine your website, adopting practices and design elements that encourage users further down the conversion funnel, and abandoning those that hurt or make no difference. 

This is just a very high-level snapshot of some of the many ways you can improve a website’s conversion rate among the target audience through a cohesive, unified conversion rate optimization strategy. 

But they work. Put some of them into practice for your website today and see average conversion rates rise.  

We Can Do That

You can encourage website visitors to take the desired action, increasing conversions by following some of the best practices invoked in this article. Higher conversion rates for your eCommerce site are within reach through some of these CRO strategies. 

It is a lot of work though, and some of the items here are only applicable to specific industries and websites. If you have questions about how to improve your conversion rate before you get started, contact us at 888-982-8269 before you get started and we’ll let you know where to begin. 



Michael Esposito

Mike Esposito is a professional SEO copywriter spurned by a love of language and creativity. When he's not at the keyboard, you may be able to catch a rare glimpse of him enjoying the outdoors or sipping fine literature.

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