Conversion Rate Optimization & What It Can Do For You

May 2nd, 2017


How efficient is your website at turning visitors into customers?

If you could turn more of your website visitors into leads, you’d jump at the chance. Unfortunately this doesn’t just magically happen—there are several factors to consider. That’s why we’ve taken the time to break down the value in conversion rate optimization.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Before we ask this question, let’s first define what a conversion is. A conversion happens when a user performs a desired action on your website.

Common conversions include:

  • Someone clicking your phone number to call you.
  • Someone signing up for your email newsletter.
  • Someone completing a form for a free download or to get in contact.
  • Someone making a purchase on your website.
  • Someone filling out a ‘request a quote’ form.

Conversion Rate Optimization is a strategic approach to digital marketing that seeks to optimize the ratio of traffic to leads on your website.

Obviously everyone wants more leads, and in a perfect world every person that ends up on your website will convert. But the world doesn’t work that way. People are very finicky about whether or not they will commit to a desired action online. What Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) aims to do is to present a user with a scenario where they will have the highest likelihood of taking that action, whatever it may be.

Normally, CRO is carried out on dedicated landing pages. Often, these landing pages are designed to take all of the external distraction away, so the user is channeled towards the main conversion point, or desired action. It’s kind of like the old velvet rope maze in the bank—it clearly screams “LINE UP HERE!” We don’t want to give users a lot of options with these dedicated landing pages, we want to guide them towards the goal as efficiently as possible.

Again, the world works in mysterious ways, because it’s full of people. And people are funny. No one knows exactly what the right recipe is for conversions, just the same as advertising through one medium does not appeal to all audiences.  What we’re left to work with at that point is data.

In other words, how much traffic is getting to our landing page, and of that traffic, how many people are filling out our request a quote form? Let’s say it’s 1%. Obviously we want that number to improve. So, we need to go through the process of iteratively changing our landing page so that it gets more forms filled out.

The nature of CRO is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We don’t want to completely scrap our landing page and start again. We want to make slight changes that we can prove have made a positive effect. Sometimes that can mean changing the colour of an element, like the button people click to submit the form. Maybe we want to try paring down the text on the page, if we feel like there’s too much, and people are seeing it as a distraction. Maybe the form itself has too many fields to fill out and it’s scaring people off. Maybe the main website navigation is leading people off the page and away from our conversion point.

When websites are not architected with these conversion points in mind, and when pathways to conversions are not re-visited and adjusted over time, you run the risk of leaving money on the table. Someone hopping off your website without taking your desired action is the same as someone walking out of a store without buying anything.

How to Test Conversions

Analytics Matter

Many businesses make the mistake of assuming they do not need to use tools like Google Analytics to track their online conversions. We’ve run into several cases where clients aren’t sure what marketing initiative led to what leads. But our thought is: all of this data is trackable! What do you have to lose by tracking it? Collecting and analyzing your website’s data is critical to understanding your business, and in identifying growth areas.

Think about it.

The beauty of digital is that it allows us the ability to accurately track whether our marketing is working or not. As an accompaniment to analytics, CRO allows us the ability to test and tweak specific pages to ensure they are converting (selling) as well as they possibly can.

Make Calculated Changes

CRO also lends into a practice called A/B testing, or multi-variant testing. This means showing one version of a webpage to some visitors, and a variant to others. You can then monitor engagement on both variations. In other words, which one is getting more people to fill out the form? Do people fill out the form more often when it has a big red arrow pointing to it? Yes? Then welcome to our landing page, big red arrow!

Most businesses are unaware that you can conduct these experiments right within Google Analytics. You just need a bit of coding chops to set it up.

While positive analytics are great, negative analytics can be just as informative and helpful.

For example, you may choose to change the main “Get a Quote” button on your home page from red to blue, and track this for four months. If after that time you notice your conversion rate went down, then switch back to blue. Maybe the next test will involve making the button green. The point is, we should always strive to increase our conversion rate through data-driven, incremental optimization.

While these tests take time, the pay off of small-calculated changes can be hugely profitable.

Knowing What To Change

The process of identifying which elements of your site should be tested begins with identifying which parts of your business are under-performing.

You must ask yourself:

  • What are my key performance indicators?
  • What are my defined goals?
  • What are the major problems I am facing?
  • What are the specific needs of each of my web pages?
  • Which pages are most critical?
  • Am I tracking the right data?
  • Is my SEO set-up properly?
  • Is my website easy to navigate and useful to my audience?

Data-driven tests will help you to get into the mind of the customer and truly understand where your website is missing the mark.

In terms of how long you should track an experiment, that depends. Do you get sufficient traffic to the page you want to test? Are there seasonal aspects that will affect your data? How long the CRO experiment runs should be driven by what you’re testing, and whether you can expect to get a large enough data set to make an informed decision.

For example if you plan to track conversions from a landing page for a month, and after the month ends we still don’t have enough data, then perhaps we need to keep the experiment running a while longer.

Be sure to also test only one conversion at a time. Changing multiple aspects of a landing page at one time will really muddy the waters for your data. You need to be able to determine exactly what change led to the increase in conversions at the end of the experiment.

With detailed analytics data, honing in on specific areas of a website has been made substantially easier. However, without the guidance of a professional, who can truly work to unravel and take the time to absorb and understand your specific data, identifying these pain-points, as well as which conversion points to test, can be overwhelming.

To consult with our in-house SEO specialists about evidence base conversion optimization, and what our team can do to test various components of your website, contact Treefrog Inc. today.