Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices
What is CRO?
Conversion Rate Optimization, (CRO) is a technique for improving a website’s conversions, such as sales or lead form fills. It can be an intimidating proposition for a marketing team that is unfamiliar with the process. For those that do it well, it is a delicate balance of science, art and instinct.
You know what you want; increased conversions to grow your business. But conversions can mean different things to different brands.
What are website conversions?
Every website can have a number of desired conversion goals but there is typically a hierarchy in terms of priority. For ecommerce, product purchases or sales are most often the number one conversion goal. For SaaS, it’s usually web form completions or demos scheduled. Additionally, brands can identify micro-conversions or lower priority conversion actions such as signing up for a newsletter, adding an item to cart, creating a customer account or sharing a promotion with a friend.
What is a good conversion rate?
Average conversion rates differ based on a number of factors such as your business type, industry, the location of your site visitors etc. As a benchmark, healthy conversion rates can range anywhere from 2.5%-10%, but it’s important to factor these variables in when establishing your website conversion rate strategy and setting conversion goals. Recent studies have shown that the average ecommerce conversion rate is about 2.86% for established stores. Brands with new stores can expect to achieve between around 1-2% conversion rate. For B2B services, the average conversion rate stands at 2.23%.
Conversion rates will vary between the referral source, for example, organic search results typically have up to 8x clickthrough rate compared to paid ads. Despite ecommerce traffic mostly skewing towards mobile, desktop still typically converts higher at an average conversion rate of 3.9%, while mobile averages at 1.82%.
Conversion rate optimization best practices:
Once you have your target conversion and micro-conversion goals set, you are ready to optimize your site and begin your CRO program. If you haven't done this before, you may be wondering if you are doing it right. Below are some best practices that can help guide you on your CRO journey.
Best Practice 1:
Identify barriers, hooks, and drivers
Understanding current user behavior and how your visitors are engaging (or not engaging) with your website is a critical component to identifying how to improve the experience for them and ultimately driving them further down the funnel. Installing heat mapping software such as Hotjar or Fullstory will allow you to visualize what your visitors are doing on your site. These findings, coupled with analytics data will offer you the information you need to identify the following:
Barriers: What is stopping users from taking action on your site, what is causing them to exit?
Hooks: What is persuading users to convert to your site?
Drivers: What is bringing users to your site?
Best Practice 2:
Develop insights and hypotheses
Once you have been able to analyze the user behavior data, certain themes and insights will begin to emerge. It is important to start by creating buckets for these theories so that you can organize your testing efforts and rank them in terms of priority. As an example, we often segment this by page or user barrier. Further, we then assess the level of effort to address this challenge and the potential impact. Below are a few common themes we often see when we are reviewing heatmapping data:
What we see: Users clicking on static images
What this could mean: they are in need of a call to action
Tests to run: Experiment with making those areas clickable by driving users further down the funnel to a product page.
What we see: High cart abandonment
What this could mean: This is often due to surprises at checkout (added tax, shipping fees, extended ship times.)
Tests to run: If you cant eliminate added fees, you can communicate these fees with users before they reach the cart, or include messaging that incentivizes them to increase their cart value to reach a free shipping threshold.
What we see: Low engagement on banners
What this could mean: “Banner blindness” is a thing. Users are becoming increasingly desensitized to information displayed in the top banner bar.
Tests to run: Experiment with placing information in more prominent locations on your site or display it in a pop-up. (Warning; use pop-ups with caution as they can impact your core web vitals score and also translate into a poor user experience).
What we see: High engagement with the company info page
What this could mean: Users are curious about the background, validity, and reputation of your brand and want to learn more about who you are as a company.
Tests to run: Experiment with incorporating user reviews to promote your product through external voices. In fact, the average customer is willing to spend 31% more on a retailer that has excellent reviews.
Best Practice 3:
Split test your theories
There are so many variables that can impact the success of your site adjustments. Ensure you are creating multivariate tests beyond just A/B variants, in order to eliminate as many variables as possible.
Experiment with different creative (are users more likely to engage with product imagery or text, pictures of people vs lifestyle shots?)
You can also test language nuances. Are your users more likely to click a CTA that says “Learn more” vs “Buy now”?
Best Practice 4:
Leverage learnings and build from them
As a CRO agency that offers a number of conversion rate optimization services, one of the things we hear most from our clients is that there is significant value to a CRO program beyond just the increased conversions. The meaningful insights you will learn about your customers can be applied across your business organization, and some learnings may surprise you. Studying this data, measuring its impact, and then optimizing it even further is the best way to continue to refine your site for optimal performance.
Additionally, the landscape is constantly changing with new competitors entering the market, seasonal factors, and customers that are becoming more and more choosey about their online experiences. Continuing to adapt your website conversion strategy will ensure you are maintaining a healthy conversion rate over time.
For a free consultation or more information on CRO programs, check out our website or get in touch!