What Is CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors converting on your site. Conversions are unique to each entity, but some common examples are filling out a form, becoming a customer, clicking a button, or making a purchase. The CRO process involves understanding how users browse your site, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them completing a conversion action. Typically the CRO process involves analyzing data, testing theories on how to improve conversion, and then analyzing the results.

Below is our list of 6 things every business should do before starting the conversion rate optimization process.

1. Basic Website Maintenance

Before getting started on conversion rate optimization you should do some basic website maintenance to ensure you are meeting best practices. Check for the following:

  • Malware/security issues
  • Console errors / code errors
  • 4xx pages
  • Forms and links working correctly
  • Website speed/performance checks

Any of the above can interfere with testing and results that are crucial to CRO. Testing on a website that is experiencing foundational issue is a too-common “cart before the horse” mistake that we see companies making. We recommend holding off on CRO until you’ve got your basic website maintenance addressed.

2. Analyze Your Funnel

Do you have a good understanding of your marketing/sales funnel? If you have not done a funnel analysis yet, you should do one before starting your conversion rate optimization campaign. Analyzing how your website traffic goes through the funnel for conversions, sales and signups will help you create benchmarks and look for dropoff points in conversions.

For example, your blog may be your leading source for website traffic, but a smaller percentage of people each month convert from your blog pages compared to other entry points – such as your pricing page or services page. This may be a funnel you want to work on improving.

A quick and easy way to visualize this is to use a funnel visualization tool to display the drop-off rate and conversion rates of your top pages.

3. Setup Detailed Event Tracking

Getting your website tracking setup properly can be a big task and something commonly forgotten until after conversion rate optimization has started. We like to start with detailed event tracking, channel groupings and heat maps. We recommend setting up some of the below tracking at least a month before your CRO campaign.

Event Tracking: Setting up Event Tracking in Google Analytics will allow you to track very specific events like scroll depth, video plays, and download clicks. These are essential benchmarks for any conversion rate optimization campaign.

Channel Groupings & Segments: Setting up specific channel groupings and segments in Google Analytics will give you an in-depth look at traffic that is converting and traffic that is not converting. This can be crucial in determining the effectiveness of your campaigns and can also be useful in identifying outliers and anomalies.

Heatmap & Session Recordings: Heatmap tracking and session recordings are the backbones of most conversion rate optimization campaigns. Access to Google Analytics is great but seeing how visitors are using your site, where their mouse is going and where they are scrolling can paint an entirely different picture than what you may envision reviewing the raw numbers.

4.  Gather Data

Depending on how long you have had your tracking setup it’s important to spend a month or two just gathering data. More data will give you a better baseline for your testing otherwise outside variables could be helping or hurting your testing without you realizing it.

Example: Seasonality is a real thing with some businesses, without having year over year data to show that numbers are up during some seasons and down others could lead you to testing elements on your site that are working fine.

5.  Quarterly Growth Objectives

Creating quarterly objectives to focus on specific funnels will help create more measurable and attainable results. Conversion rate optimization won’t always create big changes overnight, giving your tests a moderate time frame will help ensure your tests are validated.

When creating quarterly growth objectives try to prioritize them based on ICE

  • Potential Impact
  • Confidence of success
  • Energy to Implement

This will set your team up to tackle the easiest high impact items that affect your conversions.

6.  Choose Your Tools

A good A/B testing tool is at the heart of every conversion rate optimization campaign and there are a lot of choices out there. Figuring out the right tool for your business will depend on your team, how your website is built and how agile you need to be. Companies like Unbounce have made A/B testing and CRO incredibly easy, also Google has its own toolset called Google Optimize. There are several others out there and every business will have different requirements so its best to choose wisely and do your research.

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