Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a critical element in your business’ digital marketing process. CRO looks at converting more of your existing traffic, and aligning your focus on making more of what you already have. It’s also one of the quickest ways to improve a digital advertising campaign.
What is CRO? And can it help grow my business?
By increasing the percentage of website visitors who take your desired action (goals), we increase both micro and macro-conversions. Micro-conversions are your smaller conversions such as filling out a form or signing up to an email. And macro-conversions are your primary goals, such as your users purchasing a product or service.
The CRO process involves digging deeper, understanding your key audience better, their interaction across your website and what’s stopping them from completing your goals.
Testing is the key – you can form a hypotheses about your user’s interactions, but you need to test and analyse what your users really need. It’s often the small changes, which can end up making the biggest impact. Let’s get started by helping you to increase your conversions.
Where should I start?
The most obvious, but often most neglected part of any project – where, and more importantly, how to begin.
Begin your CRO by analysing the user experience of your site visitors and identify any obvious barriers for conversion. You need to know why people are visiting but why their visits do not convert into leads or sales. Remember that the conversion process must be as easy as possible for the visitor and without any confusion. (Stick to the KISS principle in all forms of web design. Keep It Simple Stupid!)
Ease the journey of your audience that actively converts, so they can quickly and confidently reach a converting decision. Do not over complicate things. Keep information to the point and do not waffle…
Look for a conversion solution in line with your goals and develop a hypothesis to test. (Test it on family and friends – their input and suggestions might be invaluable). Ensure you can track the visitors interactions, analyse the results (Google Analytics is very useful and FREE) and implement the solution.
Does colour have an impact?
There is a psychology behind colour, and gains can be made by understanding what colour resonates better with your audience and enables your call to actions to stand out more. Test what combinations of colours in both your CTAs, backgrounds and fonts increase your overall conversion rate. For example, test the colours red vs green vs orange – does one colour have an effect when used in the background of your CTAs? Look at a contrast in particular, as well as those colours that compliment your overall design. You can also combine this with the ‘language’ used within the CTA, understanding what resonates better with your audience as well as highlighting to them where to click.
Find language and messaging
Find language and messaging that resonates with your visitors. By understanding your key audience better and what messaging resonates with them, you can make the necessary changes to your copy, headlines and CTAs to push them closer to conversion. Your website copy and language will steer your audience to take action, for example, to click a button to buy, download or move onto the next step. We have to therefore give them a reason, compelling enough to take action by adding value and relevancy. Split test generic words within your CTAs, such as ‘click here’ or ‘buy now’ with more tailored messaging, highlighting the benefits or scarcity.
Utilise personal terminology such as ‘my’ and ‘your’. You can also add value-based terminology such as ‘free’, ‘want’, ‘need’, ‘save’ and urgency-based terms such as ‘now’, ‘today’ and ‘ends’. Understand what their motivation is, and how you can speak to their needs consistently across their user journey.
Bullet points and numbers
People love lists and concise sentences. Split out your copy with bullet points, numbers and concise sentences to keep your users attention. Test the introduction of lists, remove the clutter and avoid waffle as this will increase your audience’s confidence in you and the chances of them moving onto the next step.
Take advantage of the reading and scanning habits of your users. By understanding how they interact with your pages you can place your CTAs to direct their eye more effectively. Utilise heat-mapping tools to understand how they interact with your design. From these insights test the placement of your CTAs, as well as the introduction of visual clues such as arrows to direct their eye to where you want them to look.
Shape and size
Size and shape can also have an impact on the likelihood of your target audience clicking your CTAs and navigating across your website. Increase the size of your CTA buttons, making them easier to find as well as changing the shape to see if they get interacted with more. Test different shapes such as square, rectangle, oval and irregular shapes to catch your user’s attention and stand out further.
Build trust with social proofing
Social proofing is another trust signal that builds confidence with your website visitors. It highlights how other like-minded individuals have purchased your products or services and are happy with their decision to do so. It’s about eliminating fear and overcoming objections, which can have a positive impact on sales and conversions. If not already added, ensure you test the addition of different social proof statements across different parts of your website.
For example, you can add testimonials, reviews, number of items sold and the number of customers that have purchased in the last hour/day/week. Test these across different pages and placements, such as within your hero image, above and below the fold, within your header hierarchy and in formats such as video.
Trust marks and badges
We’ve all seen trust marks and badges on websites (yes, we’re guilty thanks to our membership with the Web Integrity Group), but do they help? Trust marks are also an indicator of quality and assurance, which further increases your customers’ trust in your product or service. This can ultimately have a positive impact on your conversions, removing the doubt from your users taking the next step.
Add legitimate trust marks to your website and landing page copy – in particular around your CTAs. For example, adding logos which indicate that you are government endorsed, members of legal bodies and federations as well as fully trained and certified. Test if their inclusion affects your results, but be mindful if you have multiple badges as the combination of these would also need to be tested and might lead to confusion.
Adding pop-ups designed to attract attention and offer value, can be particularly useful in lifting conversion. They can aid in your efforts to keep users on your website and shop for longer or convert before they leave. HOWEVER, they can be seen as an overly zealous way to make the visitor buy more and are often more irritating than anything else… You have to weigh up the pros and cons.
Test the introduction of pop-ups in varied formats and placements, such as a slide-in box, drop-down banner or pop-up box. A particularly useful placement is on your exit page. Test conversion-driven copy and an irresistible offer to create urgency and encourage visitors to act now. This is seen as acceptable on the exit page, but will be frowned upon by your visitors if used on every page.
Look at the addition of instant messaging capabilities, such as live chat to high-performing webpages. These could include your pricing or product pages, encouraging interaction, rather than users leaving. Test the benefits of answering questions, building relationships and offering incentives pushing them closer to converting.
Simplicity can cause a positive uplift
We tend to always migrate to the easiest option to achieve a desired result. Test simplifying your CTAs and messaging to lift conversion. Tell your audience exactly why they should buy from you and what they will get out of it. You can also adopt this approach to your checkout process, by simplifying the experience from basket to checkout and removing any unnecessary steps to lift conversion.
Take what works and expand on it
With CRO you are trying to understand what is working well on your website, and from these valuable insights, act upon them. As you have a better understanding of the user experience, you will be able to take what works and expand on it further. Inevitably building on the positives will increase engagement and result in a lift in conversion.