Businesses invest a big portion of their annual budgets into strengthening their marketing strategies to maximise outreach and gain publicity for their products and services. And in this era of technology, many are placing more emphasis on digital and online marketing. According to Social Media Examiner, 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses in 2015, highlighting the fact that digital and online marketing play a huge role in raising the profile and visibility of a company and its offerings.
However, even if your marketing strategies successfully grow your business’ outreach, it’s not enough to just have people visiting your website and being aware of your products and services. You need to convince them to make that purchase. This is where Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) can really help to boost your revenue generation – by converting mere passive website visitors into active and engaged users that make purchases. CRO is an area that presents vast, untapped opportunities for marketers everywhere, and the strong positive impact delivered by fine-tuning your website will determine whether your business sinks or swims.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
In essence, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) seeks to understand what website visitors are looking for on a website, and provide them with it so as to increase the percentage of passive website visitors who either become customers, or heed a call-to-action on a webpage to produce the desired results. CRO employs analytics and user feedback to enhance the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a website, which could be anything from subscriber rates to average order values, all of which work together to increase conversion rates.
Some of the techniques used in CRO include enhancing your call-to-action, rearranging and relocating pertinent information and content, or even removing unnecessary clutter. Conversions can occur at any page on a website such as the homepage, landing page or even the pages of a blog. Therefore, it’s important that all webpages are run through the CRO ‘lens’ to ensure a higher number of conversions.
Why is CRO important?
When companies invest financially in a business decision, they’re looking for positive returns on investment (ROI) – this applies to marketing strategies as well, hence the large marketing budget so commonly allotted to digital and online marketing. Having a good CRO plan in place leads to higher conversion rates, which ultimately produces better ROI. Profit numbers are closely related to conversion rates, thus utilising CRO techniques – instead of expanding the advertising budget – means that the profits and savings go straight to your bottom line. Paid advertising has become more costly and competitive over the years, and any savings that can be gleaned from a marketing strategy is most welcomed.
Additionally, research has shown that it’s much more cost-effective to focus on converting the ready store of passive visitors into loyal customers, than trying to attract more new visitors. According to digital marketing blog Econsultancy, for every US$92 spent acquiring customers, only US$1 is spent converting them. Lower customer acquisition costs mean more room to improve on your offerings, which will bring in even more customers. A good CRO plan can double your conversion rates, which result in your cost-per-acquisition being halved – that’s some great savings right there!
Aside from giving your business good ROI and being cost-effective, CRO also helps to capture the attention of visitors and fulfil their requirements before they lose interest and look elsewhere. The average website visitor has a limited attention span, so an effective marketing strategy would be to secure his/her commitment to purchase early on, or risk losing the sale to competitors.
High ROIs, cost-effectiveness and high engagement rates aside, it’s important to understand that CRO is not just about getting more conversions, it’s about converting the right kind of visitors. Applying CRO techniques on your website for the sake of getting more customers – any kind of customer, regardless of whether he/she is the right fit for your business – is a lost cause. This is because a converted visitor who doesn’t really appreciate your offerings will not become a loyal brand advocate or a long-term customer and before you know it, you’ll be back to square one in terms of conversions. It makes more business sense to design your CRO techniques to appeal to your target market, which typically consists of visitors who are looking for the products or services that you offer, and turning them into long-term customers who will gladly help you spread the good word on your offerings among their social circles.
Also, at the end of the day, there’s always room for improvement in everything we do, and this applies to your business website as well. A website can always benefit from reviews, enhancements and upgrades, and this is where CRO can really do the job. A website that is well-optimised for conversions can help to increase and speed-up the conversion process, ultimately giving you better ROIs.
CRO focus areas
The whole idea behind CRO is in finding out what it takes for website visitors to be converted into customers, and putting those findings into motion. Doing this involves some measure of website reviewing, hypothesising and diagnosing, and a lot of testing. The simplest way to begin would be to consider the following: As a visitor to your website, which parts of the website do you find unappealing or confusing to follow? Is it easy to locate information that you are looking for? If you would like to make a purchase, is the process straightforward and simple, or confusing and off-putting? The best way to understand how someone thinks is, of course, to put yourself in their shoes, and that’s exactly what the process of CRO is all about.
Right at the top of the list of things to consider would be your call-to-action – do users clearly understand what the call-to-action is and where to find it? Calls-to-action are the gateways through which visitors pass when deciding to convert into customers, so having a clear call-to-action message greatly helps the agenda.
Clearing out the clutter is also an effective way to push up the conversion rates of your website. Nobody likes to sift through piles of useless information or be made to view countless gaudy graphics to get what they want. A website that has gone through the CRO ‘baptism rites’ contain only pertinent content, provide visitors with accessibility and easy navigation, offer an uncluttered and pleasing layout, is mobile-optimised, and has an easy checkout process. All these plus points will help put your potential customers at ease, entice them to linger for longer periods on your website, and feel more engaged with the content, ultimately pushing up the possibility of conversion.
Allocating an area of the website for customer testimonials is also a great way to let visitors know about your excellent service record. People love good customer service and if you’re good at putting customers first, your potential customers will surely love it!
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