Any business that knows the importance of conversions can benefit from the conversion optimization process. Conversion rate optimization, also referred to as CRO, is a strategy that is designed to take a detailed look at all of the elements involved in a website or landing page and figure out where changes can be made to improve the rate of conversions by visitors. This process involves some research and planning, as well as access to the best growth tools for CRO, which will all be discussed in this guide.
How Conversion Rate Optimization Works
Put simply, the process of conversion optimization is one that involves figuring out where conversions are being missed on the website or landing pages and implementing new strategies to capture those lost leads and increase conversion rates.
Of course, conversions are about more than just sales. The bottom line is important, but there are a number of conversions that can happen at every stage of the visit that have nothing to do with making a purchase. Understanding where and how to get visitors to convert is half the battle in setting up an effective CRO strategy. Some examples of common conversions include:
Email or newsletter signup
Membership or free trial
Converting from a landing page to the eCommerce site
Converting to another specific URL or page
Any action that a website is attempting to get users to achieve is considered a conversion. No matter how small the action, it has an impact on the big picture. Understanding this is critical to a successful understanding, and execution, of conversion rate optimization.
Conversion rates, then, refer to the percentage of conversions that a website or eCommerce store makes. Again, these aren’t just going to be purchase transactions. That is definitely a conversion, and probably the conversion that eCommerce shops are seeking, but along the journey there are plenty of other places to capture users and create conversions.
What’s a Good Conversion Rate?
Now that people are paying attention, they’re probably wondering the same thing as many other marketers and conversion teams—what is an effective conversion rate? After all, it is nearly impossible to create a solid optimization strategy when there are no specific goals or metrics to achieve.
Across all industries, most landing pages have a conversion rate of just over 2.35%. This is often shocking to people who see it for the first time, but it’s the reality of the situation. Some sites in need of a strong optimization strategy might only be converting at 1.5% (or less), which means something definitely needs to change.
The top 25% of websites are seeing conversion rates over 5.3%, with the top 10% of websites managing to create rates as high as 11.45% or more. A successful website wants to be in that top 10%. It’s hard to get there, but it can be done.
To break it down, here’s what you can aim for:
5% conversion: Ideal, puts websites in the upper half of the pack
10% conversion: If it can be managed, this is optimal
15%+: Anything at or above this point is going to put a website among the best of the best
Identifying Areas of Improvement
There are a number of different places where conversion optimization can be implemented to help boost conversions and improve overall sales. The two most common issues that websites have in getting the conversions that they need are a lack of site optimization and a misunderstanding of who the target audience is (or should be), as well as how to market specifically to that audience.
Of course, there are any number of issues that could affect the conversion rates of your website. In order to determine which areas need the most attention, here are some of the common issues that are keeping just about every website from reaching its CRO goals.
Lack of Optimization
If users can’t get around the site and find what they need, they’re not going to stick around. When building a website, landing page, eCommerce store, or any other consumer-facing platform, it is critical that the design is simple, effective, and user-friendly. Perhaps the site has yet to jump on the mobile optimization train. This can also be a factor affecting conversion rates.
Mobile optimization, specifically, is a must for any business that wants to succeed these days. The average consumer will find a business via mobile before they visit a desktop site. Many users aren’t even working on desktop computers, which means that brands that haven’t already will need to develop a “mobile-first” strategy for optimization. Design for mobile compatibility and easy consumption, then add features for desktop and other devices.
One of the biggest issues that websites face when it comes to CRO is that they aren’t familiar with who they should be marketing to or they haven’t fully broken into their audience segmentation and found all of the possible ways to reach customers. It’s easy enough to come up with an idea of what people will most benefit from a product or service, but breaking down perceptions and gathering information about actual users is far more effective.
Companies that take the time to perform a little market research on their intended audience or customer base are far more likely to find the results that they desire when it comes to conversions. This is because they are already reaching out to the best potential audience and they have marketing tools and tactics in place designed to cater to each segment.
Often, companies get caught up in the fact that they’re selling something. Everyone knows that the ultimate goal of any business is to sell their product or service. In today’s marketing world, hyper-focusing on that aspect is going to make a brand appear in a negative light. It will either seem that the company only cares about making money, or that the brand is so desperate for business that they just want to push their products or services on people.
In digital marketing, sales have little to do with actually selling the end product or service. It's more about building relationships, creating a sense of authority for a brand, and offering visitors multiple conversion points that allow them to continue to engage with the brand even if they’re not ready to buy.
The Top Growth Tools for CRO
There are a number of different conversion rate optimization tools and marketing platforms out there that can help with these efforts. They are all created differently and have a variety of features to offer. Some platforms focus on one area of optimization or another, such as Google Analytics for keeping track of metrics. Others will offer a full host of optimization tools and solutions. The tools are listed below in no particular order and with no preferential status and may have different results for each user.
This is among the most popular CRO tools on the internet today and is used by as many as 300,000 websites that are looking to improve their optimization efforts. The platform is feature-rich and offers a variety of tools focused on optimizing conversion rates. The tool includes its own analytics and metrics resources, as well as page-level targeting and optimization, A/B testing, opt-in forms, mobile pop-ups, and even exit-intent pop-ups designed to catch users as they are navigating away from the page.
There are various packages and pricing options available with this platform, offering a chance for everyone to find what they need.
Those looking for a simple, user-friendly platform to build an inspirational shopping tool can count on iPaper Displays. Displays is a layer on top of your webshop that presents your products in an inspiring and engaging format. Your Display acts as a channel to convert the website traffic you have acquired into customers. You don't need to be a designer or developer to get started, all you need is your Google Shopping feed. It's a fast and easy to use tool that will help reduce your bounce rate, increase time spent on your webshop and put your products front and center.
3- Experiment Engine
This CRO platform offers a variety of testing tools and resources, including workflow management, detailed analytics and reporting, and A/B testing. There are plenty of options within the platform that help users create the perfect setup for their own optimization efforts. This platform offers different price ranges and structures, with various packages available for small and large businesses.
This WordPress plugin is designed to help websites monitor their lead generation with lists. Users will also be able to create pop-ups for CTAs and other forms, floating bars, scroll boxes, and other user-friendly features that can increase conversions and get people’s attention. There is a pro version upgrade that includes A/B testing, professional templates, and even helpful insights into user data and conversion optimization.
5- Google Analytics
Google is one of the leaders in website optimization tools and resources. Google Analytics, specifically, will provide a detailed analysis of page and website statistics, including bounce rates, conversion rates, site visits, session duration, and more. By tracking these elements, marketers will be able to improve each area, which helps with overall performance while also improving conversion rates.
This optimization tool is another one that is known on a first-name basis by many marketers. The focus here is on user behavior, which allows brands to then tailor the website to how people are behaving to increase conversions. One of the features that sets this tool apart is that it has a conversion mapping tool, which can help them see where changes need to be made and what things they can do to improve conversion rates. There are basic, professional, and enterprise packages available.
To inspire online shoppers today and encourage them to buy, you need to provide them with tools like online catalogs that allow brands to showcase its products. Online catalogs can benefit browsing shoppers and those who want to make a more informed purchase. Plus, there's an opportunity to create conversions and sales within the catalog by adding products links to website pages and so forth.
8- Google Content Experiments
This platform is a CRO tool developed by Google that is designed to integrate with Google Analytics to assist with all aspects of website optimization, including conversion rate optimization and reduction of bounce rates. This is done by identifying areas of content that could use some improvement and then providing tools to make necessary changes. Testing tools and other features are included on the platform, as well.
9- Google Pagespeed Insights
Google has a robust offering of marketing optimization tools and resources that users can choose individually or combine to create a marketing powerhouse. Pagespeed Insights can assist with optimization by diagnosing load time issues, analyzing user experience, and offering suggestions for improvements.
HotJar is always on the top list of marketing and conversion optimization tools. This platform is a personal favorite among many of the best marketers on the internet today, due to its inclusive features and advanced tracking options. The tool includes things like funnel tracking, triggered polls, heat mapping, session cams, and more. Pricing varies depending on the platform and level of features chosen, with multiple options available for various sized businesses.
It seems that companies today won’t hire a digital marketing expert unless they are HubSpot certified. To the average business, this might not mean much, but the fact of the matter is that HubSpot is a trusted resource for marketing automation and inbound marketing. It allows users to build full marketing funnels on the website, deploy personalized content, and perform user testing and A/B testing.
Optimizely is among the most popular tools for A/B testing available online today. It has been used by a number of marketing companies and brands themselves to assist with better website or landing page creation by testing various formats against each other and providing value-added insights.
This open-source analytics and metrics platform is an alternative to Google Analytics. It offers the unique option of 100% data ownership for users and total privacy protection, along with feature-rich solutions to assist with tracking website data that can be used to set new goals and create new conversion rate optimization strategies.
This newer CRO tool offers a variety of triggered surveys, segmentation for marketing optimization, A/B testing, and personalization features. The platform hasn’t been around as long as some, but it does have plenty of feature-rich benefits for users. Those who are looking to understand their audience better as a part of the CRO process can benefit from this tool.
15- WebEngage is a tool that allows users to develop new marketing campaigns that can cater to various CRO efforts. The platform offers personalized, highly-relevant campaigns for email, website marketing, text messaging, push notifications, and even exit-intent pop-ups. For those who already have analytics tools or know where optimization needs to occur, this platform is ready to get to work.
How to Choose the Best Tools and Strategies
There are six major categories involved in the conversion rate optimization process:
UX Testing (User Experience)
All of the growth tools designed to help improve conversions will focus on one of these areas of effort. For example, measuring the analytics of a website can be done with platforms like Google Analytics, as well as other similar third-party programs and platforms. To maximize your success with optimization, it’s best to choose a tool from each of these areas.
Of course, if optimization isn’t required in certain areas, such as if your lead capturing isn’t an issue, it's fine to skip those sections or tools and focus optimization efforts on where they are most needed. Brands should always implement a CRO strategy that includes testing and analytics, of course, because these are two tools that are invaluable to optimization efforts.
Conversion optimization is a process that can benefit any business looking to improve conversions, and ultimately sales. In today’s eCommerce world, making a sale isn’t enough. Websites need to build relationships, provide value-added content for visitors, and make sure that they are engaging people every step of the way to get those much-needed conversions. Although no two strategies are the same, any of the tools provided here will be an asset to CRO efforts.
Traffic is great, but traffic doesn’t make money. Think about the website or landing page like a physical brick-and-mortar store. People can come and linger, browse the products, and even turn around and walk back out without spending a dime. Some users might be ready to buy, but it’s best to focus on other conversions that will move people along the buying journey and help increase the authority and reputation of the brand as a whole.
If brands use conversion points to show the audience that they care about their needs, have the right solutions, and can offer other resources and tools as well, it will be much easier to build a sense of trust and authority, which will automatically increase conversions, sales, and customer retention. In today’s Internet, sales have very little to do with selling products and so much to do with selling the brand. That's where CRO tools and strategies can help.