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Marketing

Conversion Rate Optimization Guide

Businesses use various online marketing strategies to acquire new customers, from social media campaigns to PPC ads. However, some of these approaches require more effort, time, and money.

There is, however, one cost-effective method you can use to turn any site visitor into a customer, follower, or subscriber: conversion rate optimization (CRO).

We’re going to cover what is conversion rate, why you should care about it, and how to make your customers convert.

1. Analyze your visitors

Regardless of your conversion objective – a purchase, a newsletter sign up, or answers to a survey – you need to know who your visitors are and how they behave on your website.

There are several ways to do this, but some common methods are using a customer journey map, Google Analytics, and tracking tools like heatmaps.

Customer journey map

Marketers typically design customer journey maps to visualize how visitors engage with your business.

In this case, you can create a map to predict how a user interacts with your site prior to conversion.

  • Start with research: define who your target audience is and what pushes them to visit your site. Determine their age, profession, and interests.
  • Do this by sending out user surveys or performing usability testing. This way, you’re basing the map on real data about your users, not subjective hunches.
  • List down the steps a new visitor might take on their way to converting — from discovering your site and exploring it, to making the transaction.
  • Identify which aspects of your site could support or prevent them from advancing through the journey. This could be the ad copy, design, page speed, or other aspects.
  • If possible, go through the customer journey map on your own. This way, you can position yourself better in the user’s shoes.
  • Once your customer journey map is ready, check it from time to time.

You might find some unexpected variables that influence your customer’s decisions and conversion rate as you perform CRO in later steps.

If there are, include them on the map. In any case, update it regularly so that it reflects the customer experience more accurately.

Heatmap Tool

Zyro's AI Heatmap Tool showing where what elements viewers notice

Another way to analyze visitors is through a heatmap tool, which reveals how users behave on your website.

Zyro has a free AI Heatmap feature you can use if you want instant answers on how to improve your website.

All you need to do is upload a screenshot of your site to the heatmap. It will show the page elements that users will focus on the most.

The heatmap will indicate areas that get the most attention by coloring them red and blue from most viewed to least.

In the example above, you can tell that the person’s name is the most noticeable element. The call-to-action button and copy could use some work to make them more noticeable.

After seeing heatmap’s analysis, you can account for this and optimize all pages for the maximum conversion rate.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics Welcome page to set it up for free

Google Analytics is a great free tool to measure your site’s performance and analyze your audience.

For CRO, this tool can present you with some important information like:

  • Traffic source — whether they came from typing your URL, search engine result pages, referral sites, social media or other sources.
  • New and returning visitors — see which group has a higher conversion rate.
  • User behavior — reveal how long visitors spend on a certain page, the engagement rate and what actions they take. 
  • Cost per conversion — determine how much it costs you to convert a user. 
  • Bounce rate — the percentage of visitors that leave your website after only one-page view.
  • Exits — which aspects of your website are causing people to leave.

This data can be used to improve user experience. For instance, knowing which pages users spend the least time on can help you decide whether to remove or improve them.

Once you have gathered the needed information, don’t ditch these tools straight away. Observe your site’s conversion rate with these methods over time as you make modifications.

2. Conduct A/B testing

In CRO, A/B testing is a method of examining which version of landing pages, newsletters, or design elements, will result in a higher conversion rate.

A/B testing is done by launching two different versions of, say, a landing page, and analyzing which one performs better.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that the two pages should not look drastically different. In fact, it’s best to focus on customizing one aspect at a time.

For instance, if page A has a yellow call-to-action button, then page B might have a blue one. The rest of the content should remain the same.

Since you only change one variable at a time, A/B testing can be a less risky way to find out what resonates with your customers.

In contrast, rebranding your entire site can reduce website traffic and conversion rates if not done well. You might never know what aspects users are turned off by.

Also, A/B testing allows you to pinpoint exactly what aspect affects your site’s conversion rate optimization. However, A/B tests will only work if you have enough visitors to experiment with.

Testing on a larger audience will produce a more useful result, making it quicker and easier to determine which page has a higher or lower conversion rate.

To know how much traffic you need, use a sample size calculator. You can calculate how many users you need to conduct the tests on and how long you should run the study.

When you start to see a favorable result, you can assess the winner further.

For instance, consider directing more than half of the traffic to the winning page and check whether the conversion rate proves stable.

Finally, don’t forget to analyze the outcome as you go along. Find out why the audience prefers one version than the other. This analysis will guide you in customizing your web pages.

3. Optimize pages on your website

Once you have conducted the A/B testing, you should know by now which changes work and which don’t.

Based on your research, you can make the final changes to your web pages.

Most websites use the following five pages for conversions:

  • Landing page
  • Homepage
  • Blog
  • Pricing page
  • Checkout page

We’ll show you what you can do to improve each of them.

Landing page

A landing page promotes an offer to users.

Generally, it consists of a headline, persuasive copy, some call-to-action buttons, and some media that represent your product or service.

With landing pages, it’s important to clearly show what your audience gets from you. This is to ensure that they will be interested in exploring your site and becoming customers.

  • Begin by crafting a large and attention-grabbing headline that focuses on your offer’s benefits.
  • Throughout the rest of the page, elaborate on the key benefits in your copy.
  • Keep your information concise. Internet users prefer to skim than to read entire pages.
  • To further convince readers, add a FAQ section. This way, you can put to rest the common inquiries ew customers might have about your offer.
  • Create a call-to-action button that urges users to convert. For instance, you can add words like “Now,” “Today,” or “For Free.”

With Zyro, you can customize button text to your liking. Just click on a button and select Edit to modify the content.

Customizing Button Text on Zyro's website builder

Another tip to keep in mind is that an ideal landing page should accomplish only one specific task.

For instance, if you offer multiple products or services, make one landing page for each. This is to avoid causing decision fatigue within your audience.

Also, consider creating a one-page landing page with no navigation menu. This will make sure that your page is distraction-free and users can focus on reading all about your offer.

A great landing page example is Airbnb. Here, the lodging marketplace aims to get homeowners to list their homes as accommodation.

Conversion Rate Optimized Landing Page by Airbnb

The page instantly establishes what advantage you’ll get by signing up as an Airbnb host, right in the headline.

What’s more, it includes an estimate of your earnings so that the audience has a more tangible idea of the benefits.

As you scroll down, the page includes why you should host with them and how to list your accommodation. You also find a testimonial from a current host to persuade you further.

Homepage

Though a homepage usually serves to welcome visitors, there are ways you can optimize it for conversions.

For instance, you can treat your homepage similarly to a landing page. This means all the elements should be customer-centric — from the headline, copy, media, to the buttons.

However, what separates a homepage from a landing page is that you can offer much more information about your business — not just your offer.

Use the opportunity to build credibility by adding some comments, reviews, and case studies from past customers.

Consider adding logos of past clients. On Zyro, you can do this by uploading the logo image from the web or your computer. With our grid system, you can resize the logos as needed.

Edit Images on Zyro's Grid System

If you have more than one product or service, your homepage should also help users explore their options.

To ease their experience, feature a clear navigation menu with descriptive labels. Take a look at the following homepage by Capital One.

Conversion Rate Optimized Homepage by Capital One

Instead of combining all their products into one tab, the navigation bar categorizes each of them by type — like Credit Cards, Checkings & Savings, and Auto Loans.

This way, users can quickly go to their desired destination, which speeds up the conversion process.

Blog

Blogging has become one of the go-to online marketing strategies to bring in traffic. It’s important to include conversion-optimized attributes on your blog.

One way to do that is by creating content that invites readers to convert.

Take Sue Dunlevie as an example. As a blogging coach, she aims to provide guides and courses for people who want to make a lucrative blog.

To generate subscribers, her content focuses on running a money-making blog. When relevant, she includes a link to get a free guide, like at the end of this post.

Another method is to add your call-to-action buttons and opt-in forms on the sidebar, like this example from Nomadic Matt.

Conversion Rate Optimized Blog Sidebar by Nomadic Matt

These features expose your readers to more opportunities to convert.

Also, when making an opt-in form for your blog, only include the most relevant information. This reduces the number of fields and makes the signup procedure faster.

For instance, if your form is for building a newsletter mail list, only ask for the user’s name and email address. There’s no need for a phone number, a home address, or birth date.

Pricing page

If your company offers the same product or service with different packages and rates, you will need a pricing page.

This page aims to introduce each plan you offer along with its features, benefits, and prices.

For this, it’s best practice to be clear when explaining your plans. To avoid misinformation, many businesses present their pricing plan as a table, like this example from Booqable.

Conversion Rate Optimized Pricing Page by Booqable

Here, the content is organized from the lowest to the highest-priced. Users can easily compare packages and how each caters to their needs.

Additionally, the page highlights which plan is most popular. Calling attention to a particular package could be useful if you want more users to purchase it.

Another helpful feature of this page is the chatbot. With this, visitors can ask questions right away if they need more explanation.

When you offer discounts, point out the previous and reduced prices of your product or service.

This is to give a sense of urgency to the user and provide the feeling of getting a good bargain.

Checkout page

To ensure your customers move forward in the conversion funnel, your checkout pages should also be optimized.

Usually, the checkout process comprises the order summary, shipping information, payment method, order preview, and confirmation.

One option to make the procedure more efficient is to reduce the checkout pages. This will significantly cut loading times and speed up the process.

For instance, Nike combines the shipping and payment stages into one page. This allows customers to check what they have filled in previously and change the information if needed.

Conversion Rate Optimized Checkout Page by Nike

Another tip to consider to clearly state the price total and breakdown in the order summary.

Being transparent about the pricing will prevent users from feeling surprised when there are other costs included. As a result, this will reduce your cart abandonment rate.

Consider also enabling guest checkout. Requiring users to create an account before placing an order will lengthen the process, which might annoy some users.

4. Monitor your conversion rate

The last step in conversion rate optimization is to pay regular attention to your website’s conversion rate after you have made your changes.

Monitoring your site will allow you to compare before and after results and discover whether your efforts have resulted in better outcomes.

Keep using tools like Google Analytics and the Zyro AI Heatmap to observe your website’s conversion rate. Focus on which changes have contributed to its performance.

Lastly, evaluate how the changes have held up over time. You might have to conduct another conversion rate optimization in the future if the rate begins to falter.

What is a conversion rate and how to calculate it?

A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that have taken your desired action on your website.

Depending on your business and website’s purpose, a conversion could take various forms.

For eCommerce sites, a conversion could be users making a purchase. In blogs, this could mean new website visitors signing up for a newsletter.

There are two types of conversions — macro and micro.

Macro conversions

A macro conversion happens as a user achieves the main objective of your website.

Say you have a site for an accommodation business. Its primary function is to make reservations easier for customers.

If a new visitor books a room on your page, they will perform a macro conversion.

Micro conversions

On the other hand, a micro conversion is any time users interact with your business or website, but in a way that leads them to a macro conversion.

For online stores, this may look like a new customer creating a shopper’s account or adding a product to their cart.

Micro conversions might not seem as significant. However, knowing what they are can help find what drives users to move forward or drop out of transactions.

The process of converting site visitors differs from business to business. Generally, marketers design a conversion funnel to visualize the steps users take to convert, which are:

  • Awareness — spreading the word about your brand to the target market
  • Interest — enticing the audience with an offer they want
  • Consideration — persuading them to make the transaction
  • Conversion — the users perform your desired action

To calculate your conversion rate, divide the total of conversions by the number of visitors and multiply it by 100.

For instance, if there are 200 purchases made and you have a total of 5000 visitors, your conversion rate would be 4%.

However, this formula doesn’t take into account that some visitors may make more than one purchase if you don’t differentiate new from returning users.

If you want to know the percentage of unique converted visitors, simply divide the number of converted visitors by the total amount of users. Then multiply that by 100.

With the latter formula, you can see how much of your customers have made repeat purchases.

Why should you optimize conversion rates?

Conversion rate optimization or CRO is the process of modifying the user experience so existing inactive visitors convert.

In other words, the purpose of CRO is maximizing current website traffic to achieve your goals.

For many businesses, CRO’s main appeal is that it generates a high return on investment and helps companies grow in the long-term.

CRO can also help you be more informed about your own market and help to make smarter business choices.

The end goal of CRO is to make a user-friendly experience for your website visitors.

When your site is easy to use and appeals to customers, they will trust you and come back to make more purchases.

To demonstrate the benefits of CRO, let’s take a look at an example.

One of the most notable CRO case studies is Highrise’s website redesign. The company tested several pages to see which converts users best.

By the end of their tests, they concluded that adding a human element significantly increased the conversion rate.

Though it’s just a simple change, discovering this wouldn’t be possible without CRO.

In other words, conducting CRO allows a company like Highrise to identify what’s wrong with their website and fix it.

It can save you a lot of effort and money in other customer acquisition channels in the long-run.

Highrise's Conversion Rate Optimization Case Study

Grow your business with conversion rate optimization

Conversion rate optimization is a series of steps taken to improve a website’s ability to get users to take your desired action.

Many online marketers find conversion rate optimization a useful method to grow a business.

By simply maximizing existing website traffic, you can create revenue without spending more on another campaign.

To perform conversion rate optimization, all you need to do is:

  • Set up your objective — determine what you want to achieve by optimizing your website.
  • Analyze your visitors — with your goals in mind, use a customer journey map, the Zyro AI Heatmap Tool, and Google Analytics to discover how users engage with your website.
  • Conduct A/B testing — create two versions of your website. Split the traffic and direct them to different versions. Perform these tests gradually until you get closer to your final conversion-optimized website.
  • Optimize pages on your website — with the A/B test results, make the final changes to your web pages.
  • Monitor your conversion rate — keep track of your site’s performance and see if you need to conduct CRO in the future.

We hope this article has helped you understand all about conversion rate optimization. Best of luck applying what you’ve learned to your own business.

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