Marketing & SEO

Getting Started: Your Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

Read Time: 7 min

When starting an online business, many business owners overlook conversion rate optimization. Which is not unusual. After all, running a successful eCommerce business takes a lot of work. You’ve got to source quality products, launch an eCommerce site, find a payment processor, and begin online marketing. You could start by blasting on social media and using paid advertising to drive traffic, but it won’t give you the best results. What will help grow your business is understanding what conversion rate optimization is and how to leverage it to drive sales, without spending more than you have. So, what is CRO?

First Off, What is a Conversion Rate?

The conversion rate refers to the percentage of web visitors that browse your website and complete a desired action. To define conversions appropriately, you must determine what the end goal is. This should be aligned with your business goals.

A common metric used is the eCommerce conversion rate. This is the percentage of visitors who purchased a product or service from your online store. These actions are measured in a set time period. Additionally, other common metrics online marketers use include a user:

  • Adding a product to their shopping cart
  • Adding a product to their wishlist
  • Signing up for emails
  • Sharing on social media
  • Clicking on a paid search ad
  • Signing up for a free trial or new account
  • Requesting a demo

We’ll be covering conversion rate optimization specifically for your eCommerce sales later on. Your optimization can be applied to any customer touchpoint, such as a landing page.

How to Calculate Your Conversion Rate

what is cro

In actuality, a “good” conversion rate varies across different sectors. There are different factors including the value of the transactions, nature of the industry, and purchase price. Therefore, if you’re looking for a place to start, the average website conversion across industries is 2.35 percent.

Calculating your conversion rate is pretty straightforward. Take the number of conversions that occurred and divide it by the total number of web visitors you had in a set period.

For example, if you had 10,000 visitors and 200 sales over a month, that is a 2 percent monthly conversion rate. You can adjust your conversion rate depending on time periods, demographics, and any other variables you choose.

So Then, What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Now that you understand how to calculate your conversion rate you need to learn how to optimize it for the best results. Of course, you could be happy enough with a 2 percent conversion. But what if you wanted to increase your rate by another percent? Another two?

Conversion rate optimization or CRO is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors to your website who complete an action. Therefore, it is a strategy that allows your business to harness different factors to complete a desired outcome. You optimize your campaign, ad, sign-up form, etc. to perform its best with your target demographic.

There are two things conversion rate optimization is focused on achieving:

  1. Reducing the amount of friction in your funnel
  2. Adding value to what you’re offering

What is CRO Beneficial for?

To achieve an optimal conversion rate, you must test several different methods and use the resulting data to help optimize your process. However, understanding exactly what CRO means for your eCommerce website will take effort. It’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to your business’ goals.

Here are three of the most notable benefits of conversion rate optimization:

  • Improves user experience. Since CRO is all about figuring out what works on your site, it improves how users interact with your website as a whole. As a result, users will be more likely to engage with your brand and share it with others. They will also trust your site when sharing personal information like their credit card number and email address.
  • Increases your ROI. With a higher conversion rate, you’ll get more out of your resources. Conversion rate optimization increases your rank on search engines and helps you bring in as many customers and sales as possible.
  • Gives you valuable customer insights. To reach your customers in the best way possible, you must know who they are. This process helps you get more familiar with your audience. You could even find a new audience for your business that you didn’t know existed!

6 Ways to Increase Your Conversion Rate Optimization

As discussed earlier, no two businesses share the same exact goals for optimization. In truth, there are many ways to achieve your business’s optimal conversion rate. Here are six methods you can apply to your eCommerce business.

1. Optimize for Accessibility

At the very core of conversion rate optimization is accessibility. But what does that mean when it comes to online traffic? It’s important that any user who clicks on your website can properly see all of its components. For this to happen, you must make sure the site loads correctly on different cell phones, desktops, and internet browsers. This can be done by running a series of tests with your programmer to determine load speeds. There are three popular types of testing:

  • Latency testing. Decreasing latency, or delays in loading, makes customers more likely to stay on your page. The longer a customer stays on your page, the more likely they are to complete the desired action. Google Lighthouse is a free resource that analyzes your load times and gives you tips on how to shorten them.
  • Mobile visibility testing. Does your website load properly on all major cell phones and tablets? Does the size automatically fit each different screen? Is it compatible with the new versions of operating systems? You’ll want to make sure your website is responsive, meaning it quickly reacts to clicks and scrolls. Optimizing photos for different size screens is also a key component to mobile visibility. Mobile users are most likely to leave a page because of slow or incorrect loading.
  • Cross-browser compatibility testing. Making sure your website loads on all kinds of browsers like Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge will help convert the traffic coming from those platforms.

Making sure your site loads quickly and correctly for all users on any device is fundamental to CRO and paramount to your success. Without it, you’ll experience high bounce-back rates (users clicking and immediately leaving) and miss out on tons of sales.

2. Identify Your Customers

conversion rate optimization

If you want to know your audience you need to analyze consumer behavior patterns. Accordingly, Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool every eCommerce website should use. With it, you can review your website traffic and see where your customers are coming from. Look for repetition and patterns, it will give you an idea of what your audience likes and dislikes. For example, if you have a significant number of visitors coming from Twitter, you might want to focus more attention on that channel, as opposed to a different one like Facebook.

3. Surveys

Sending surveys to your customers can also help you gather valuable insights that can be leveraged into sales as a part of your conversion rate optimization strategy. To get more responses, keep your questions limited and brief. Don’t ask repetitive questions, and focus on figuring out your customers’ wants and needs.

4. A/B Testing

Arguably the pinnacle of the conversion rate optimization process is running A/B tests. Also known as split testing, this is the process of showing two variations of a web page to different website visitors at the same time. When comparing the data on which variation drove more conversions, you can get a better idea of which one will be more successful on your website. The idea is to eliminate the underperforming version and continue testing new iterations of the winning version. This can be done by altering elements of the page like ad copy, images, colors, outbound links, conversion buttons, font styling, etc. There are many paid services and tools out there like Unbounce that will help you manage the entire project.

5. Address Questions and Concerns Up Front

Your customers should be able to easily find information like your customer service hours, contact information, shipping, and return policy. This also increases their level of trust in your business, which affects whether or not they will do business with you. Online reputation management is a real thing and can affect your profit margins.

Another way to convey pertinent information is by building a dedicated FAQ page that answers common questions. This should be accessible from every product page. If you sell clothing or other products where dimensions or size factor into the purchase, make sure that information is clearly and prominently displayed in the description.

6. Direct Your Customers

Your website’s structure should be built with the purpose of creating an easily navigable experience. Make a diagram of all your pages and how they interact with each other. For example, a user’s starting point is usually the homepage. From there, they can navigate different categories or subcategories to find what they are looking for. Make it simple and easy for users to move between points to find what they need in the fewest possible clicks. This concept also helps to identify your website’s organic click-through rate.

How to Start Utilizing Conversion Rate Optimization Today

You now have what you need to get started with conversation rate optimization. You can do so in the following steps:

  1. Determine your current eCommerce conversion rate for a set period.
  2. Create a goal of how much you want to increase your conversion rate.
  3. Use one or all five of the methods discussed to start increasing your conversion rate.
  4. Test, adjust, and remove friction points to optimize your results.
  5. Measure results and continue optimizing until you achieve your intended goal.

While every business has its own, unique goals and expectations for the future, there are certain conversions that every business owner can agree on. Increasing customer retention will increase website traffic and increasing profit are all benefits of conversion rate optimization. Just remember, CRO is a process and therefore will take time to perfect. Do your best to implement these methods and listen to what your customers are telling you.