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Conversion Optimization: Your Road Map to Build an Ideal Website

There are certain basic optimization strategies you can use to improve your conversion rate and see immediate results.

Last month, we discussed some of the common conversion killers that can drive your customers away. These conversion killers include slow websites, excessive ads, bad CTAs, bad user experience, etc.

Today, we will discuss basic optimization strategies to avoid more common mistakes and improve your overall conversion rates to see immediate results.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

CRO or Conversion Rate Optimization is a method you can use to optimize your website and landing page experience based on your visitors to help improve your visitors’ probability of taking desired actions like purchasing your page (1).

If you are running your own website, you may already know how inconsistent online traffic can be. And if you are not getting enough visitors to enter your sales funnel, there are already low chances of them coming back and performing your desired action. There is no other way for us to call it but a lost opportunity.

Fortunately, there are multiple methods you can try to improve your chances and get more conversions: running effective CRO campaigns.

When you have an excellent CRO campaign, it will save your time, money, and effort. At the same time, it will also help you explore new growth strategies you couldn’t even think of in the past.

In short, you will be more equipped to understand the usability of your website while also utilizing customer behavior tips and insights on how to improve your UX to achieve your desired results with CRO (2, 3).

Strategically, conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process, a continuous method of learning and optimizing. Often people ignore the “ongoing” aspect of CRO. So, make sure you follow all the elements right.

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What Does it Mean For You?

If you are wondering about the importance of conversion optimization, make sure you read this passage entirely.

Let’s walk through a real and famous example so you know why CRO is necessary for your business (4).

Back in 2013, the website of Walmart Canada noticed that a huge chunk of its ecommerce website traffic came from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (5).

However, the page was not optimized for mobile phones at all. And it resulted in two major issues for Walmart.

The mobile site had a terrible design, and it was taking too much loading time, two of the most proven conversion killers. What could Walmart have done to increase revenue from its online store?

  • Purchase more ads with Google Ads, for instance
  • Do targeted SEO
  • Hire more people
  • Offer deals, discounts, or more products

But, if you analyze the situation more carefully, you will realize that all of these options are terrible.

They are all extra options. These options require either more time, money or resources while offering entirely unpredictable outcomes. There is no guarantee if these strategies would work, and if they do, we can’t be sure how long they would need to kick in.

That’s where the magic of conversion optimization comes into play. You only need to optimize what is already there and create more revenue from your existing traffic and paying consumers.

It’s exactly what Walmart did and increased its conversion rate to more than 20%. They focused more on user experience than everything else.

Apart from boosting its loading time, Walmart also hooked its website on a fully scalable grid for easy navigation. All in all, its new design was improved and held up to modern user experience criteria.

The new website was responsive, fit itself exactly as per customers’ browsers and screen sizes. And since it’s Walmart, the company didn’t stop there.

As you may already know, the devil is in the details. The company also used A/B testing to determine what works and what doesn’t and came up with collected data such as how removing the “view item” or “add to cart” button for things not available to order drastically improved conversions or how businesses need to show which item is in stock instantly, or about to be sold out, a great urgency play by the way!

All of these improvements help customers decide what they wish to purchase and hence effectively boost conversions.

Now you see how conversion optimization is one of the most effective ways to increase your business’s profit.

Top six conversion rate optimization strategies you need to implement to improve your website’s conversion rate.

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(1) Trust and Security

This category includes anything that makes your site visitors second-guess the authenticity of your brand or website. It could range anything from simple things such as errors or bugs or bigger things that may not be easy to articulate or point out, such as a checkout that only seems “insecure” to your potential customers.

Small and medium businesses usually have the most prominent blind spot since trustworthiness in the user’s eyes can be based on a range of things. Users often can’t even explain why something feels off, but it can only seem a bit sketchy for them (7, 8).

If you also have an untrained eye, it is not easy to find some of these things; however, they can set off red lights to users. It includes:

  • Low visibility of people who runs the site
  • Too generic branding and website elements
  • Visual elements such as the logo that slightly changes on every page
  • New design, and anything that breaks away from convention

(2) Easy User Experience

Offer Excellent Proof-in-Numbers to Establish Trustworthiness, Source: Charity: Water
Offer Excellent Proof-in-Numbers to Establish Trustworthiness, Source: Charity: Water

Offering an easy user experience is all about getting rid of all small frustrations and annoyances standing in the way of people making a purchase (9).

It is not the same as building a good user experience. Instead, it is about solving issues that may look small individually, but your visitors will not have the patience to overcome when consolidated. It can include things such as:

  • Convoluted sales funnels
  • Repeated tasks
  • Too long check out processes
  • Pop-ups and too many widgets
  • Poor organization and bad categorization
  • Customization processes putting users in an endless loop

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(3) Knowing Your Customers

Achieve your website’s full potential by understanding your customers’ deepest motivations about making a purchase off your site (10, 11).

In several cases, such understanding may only come with research and time into your customers’ motivations and thoughts that have nothing related to your platform.

You will need to think hard about what your customers are doing in their lives. For instance, they could be trying to be great parents, a well-respected teacher, or someone looking to be seen as professional.

Once you are able to tap into your customers’ deeper motivation, you can understand how your business can enable them to get to their next phase in life (12).

(4) Make Your Offerings More Appealing

A portion of your visitors, commonly called “cart parkers,” has every reason to make a purchase. However, they need extra incentives (13).

You will need to give such visitors some types of incentives to turn their desire into a purchase. It can include anything that makes your offerings more appealing to purchase than a competitor’s or an offer that makes it appealing to purchase now instead of later.

It can include things such as:

  • Purchase points or loyalty programs
  • Limited-time deals or offers for abandoned carts
  • Bundled discounts
  • Reduced shipping for minimum orders or VIP members
  • Gifts and coupons with purchase

It is not only about a single purchase; you will benefit more from offering users the value of the transaction, which goes beyond a single purchase or service.

It is all about the motivation behind your customers looking to purchase your offerings in a simple explanation.

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(5) Easy Navigation

We all know someone who needs a live concierge in their lives to lead them where they need to be and offer them guidance to make the right decisions.

When we talk about ecommerce, it includes everything which would help users navigate seamlessly to a perfect product for them. It can help, including anything from highly curated collections to banners or landing pages customized to niche audiences.

(6) Offering the Right Content

Offering Content that Specially Caters to Major Segments of its Visitors, Source: HubSpot
Offering Content that Specially Caters to Major Segments of its Visitors, Source: HubSpot

Offering the right content is what most ecommerce operators spend their most time in and what most people often get confused with when they talk about conversion optimization.

Offering the right content includes value propositions, copy, images, and anything that ensures that the site matches the brand’s vision.

In short, it is about looking at the nuances of how your platform delivers information to your customers and answering questions that your users may still ask even after being on your website for a while.

You can ask your users what they would still like to make before making a purchase. You will be in amazement to know how much can come from that.

However, the most important thing is not adding the missing content to the screen. Instead, it is about ensuring that it is delivered to your potential customers seamlessly, quickly, and early enough in the funnel, so your users don’t waste their time looking for it (14, 15).

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Common Challenges of CRO

  • Enforcing your own thoughts over factual data
  • Putting together a proper CRO process
  • Budget allocation as per goals and actual results
  • Choosing the right CRO tools
  • Reaching statistical significance via an A/B test
  • Failing to track macro-conversion, not revising testing strategies, and not updating your conversion goals
  • Giving up on optimization after failing multiple tests. It happens; keep on learning!

Benefits of Conversion Optimization

Conversion Optimization allows you to optimize your website’s functionality and helps you understand the whys and hows of your visitors’ behavior.

Your online site won’t gain its full potential until you rigorously experiment with it (16).

There are two broad benefits of a CRO program:

Improvement in Marketing ROI

When you have a well planned and structured CRO program as per strong analysis, it will go a significant length in improving return on most of your marketing activities via:

  • Improving the quality and speed of experiments you run on your website: Conversion optimization will allow you to analyze the performance of your website via running tests and look for the best possible alternatives which improve your conversion rates. You can experiment with different elements on your landing pages to check areas that give the best results and gather data for a fundamental benchmark for your next round of tests and experiments.
  • Offering better revenue with the same incremental business return: One of the primary benefits of running a CRO campaign is that every change you implement on your website eventually increases your conversion rates, leading to an incremental win for your business.

Enhancing User Experience

With an effective CRO program, you can get an improved user experience across all lifecycle stages of visitors, whether they are there for the first time or a regular customer via:

  • Personalizing experience for your website visitors: Visitors are too impatient today. And unless you offer them a website that is easy to navigate with fewer clicks, they won’t stay around and start looking for an alternative option. However, you can make your website more appealing and relevant to your visitors by personalizing sections of your websites based on their device, geography, local time, and past browsing history.
  • Better insights into your visitors’ behavior:  The entire CRO process starts with understanding customers’ behavior via tools such as click maps and heatmaps. These tools tell you which site sections gain the most visitors’ time. Other CRO tools like user session recordings or replays help you understand their overall site experience. Such insights and data help you create a good UCX and further make way for conversions (17).

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Common Mistakes to Avoid While Running a CRO Campaign

  1. Making decisions based on biases over statistical data
  2. Writing SEO content that doesn’t align with your business goals
  3. Running small tests before big ones
  4. Running too many pop-ups and tests at the same time on the same page
  5. Not paying enough attention to common design elements such as putting automatic image sliders, using stock photos, not giving enough importance to videos, etc
  6. Not giving any weightage to CTA buttons like using the wrong color combination, absence of power words, wrong placements, etc
  7. Not establishing your trustworthiness upfront
  8. Complicated conversion funnels such as too many links, steps, too much attention on up-selling, asking for unnecessary information, hidden costs, etc
  9. Not creating a sense of urgency

Wrapping Up

CRO has become a mainstream effort, from mapping the site to strategizing different ways to improve site performance, A/B testings, and using results to improve marketing efforts. Not only does CRO allow you to understand how your customers think, perceive, and use your brand and its offering, but it also exposes you to an incredible data range to set your future business strategies.

In short, CRO is not another tool to enhance your brand’s online presence; it is “the” tool that can help you stand out!