What is CRO?
When you increase the size of your landing page call-to-action button to generate more conversions or set up specific conversion goals in your Google Analytics dashboard — you’re practicing conversion rate optimization to improve your marketing funnel.
Regardless of expertise level, a majority of marketers use some form of conversion rate optimization to improve their marketing campaigns as shown by this Econsultancy graph:
So, what is conversion rate optimization, (CRO)?
Let’s explain the concept by defining the two terms that make up conversion rate optimization, i.e. conversion rate and optimization.
What is a conversion rate?
Conversion rate can be defined as the percentage of people who visit a web page and click the call-to-action button and convert for that offer. A conversion can mean different things depending on the page goal such as a blog subscription, an ebook download, webinar registration, free trial sign-up, etc. For example, when a visitor registers for your webinar by clicking the call-to-action button on your webinar landing page, your conversion rate increases.
What is optimization?
Optimization is the process of improving your marketing-funnel (or a specific part of your campaign such as your landing page or a website page) so that visitors can easily understand the purpose of the campaign and convert on your offer.
All experienced marketers know the importance of creating an effective marketing funnel because the funnel helps engage, educate, and inform prospects about your product. If all the funnel stages have been tailored for prospects, transitioning them into dedicated customers becomes simpler.
This is what conversion rate optimization helps you achieve.
Conversion rate optimization is the continuous process of ensuring that the marketing funnel works successfully, in that it converts leads into customers with the help of different optimization processes. These processes include A/B testing, improving on-page experiences, usability tests, etc.
This guide will provide a detailed account of what conversion rate optimization is, the importance it holds in your marketing campaigns, and how you can enhance each component of your CRO strategy to yield the best results. At the end of the guide, you’ll also get a list of trending CRO techniques.
The importance of conversion rate optimization for marketing campaigns
Just having an online ad, a landing page, or a website will not bring you more customers, even if you have a consistent stream of traffic coming to your page through a variety of methods.
So, what do you need for conversions?
For prospects to convert, not only do you need to have a marketing funnel in place, you need to optimize the funnel.
Conversion rate optimization involves using elements of visual design, UX, psychology, testing, copywriting, and customer behavior to convince visitors to act at different funnel stages — which moves them further down your marketing funnel.
CRO is important for marketing campaigns because it helps maximize results. To maximize results, testing plays a significant role. Specifically, A/B testing and usability tests help improve your campaigns and ensures that you only show the best ad or page that gets the most audience engagement.
When you optimize your online experiences for your target audience, you convert more visitors into leads, and leads into customers. Hence, CRO lowers your cost of customer acquisition and retention.
To see the power of CRO in action let’s analyze two web pages, one that’s optimized for visitors and one that is not.
This 1-800-Dentist landing page is the first page we’ll showcase:
And now the homepage for Dr. Shoshany:
Both pages are related to the medical industry; both have a slider and information about the service. So which page is optimized?
The first one because it focuses on one goal.
Sure, both the pages have nearly the same elements but the arrangement and intention of these items are what makes one page conversion worthy and the other cringe worthy.
What’s the difference between the pages? The 1-800-Dentist page makes it easy for the visitor to go through the page to get to the conversion goal:
- The headline clearly explains what the service does for visitors.
- The copy is arranged in a readable manner and describes the service.
- The customer testimonials instill social proof and give visitors an idea of what the service can do for them.
- The phone number on the page allows the visitor to contact the service if they had any questions.
- The form is easy to fill out and is followed by a bright CTA button.
In contrast, on Dr. Shoshany’s page:
- There is no one clear headline on the page to explain what the service does, just a slider with images and short sentences, followed by a ghost CTA button that is hard to read.
- The copy is written in a small font, which is not very easy to read. Plus the copy is arranged in large paragraphs which also affect readability.
- The Public Transit Information buttons lead to a 404 page.
- All the videos are put in the left-hand corner which leaves the right-hand corner completely empty.
Optimization is the key to getting visitors to act, and conversion rate optimization ensures that your visitors click the call-to-action button — no matter where they are in the funnel.
How is conversion rate optimization different from landing page optimization?
While landing page optimization focuses on optimizing landing pages for visitors and getting them to fulfill a specific conversion goal, conversion rate optimization deals with the optimization of the entire marketing funnel — from the awareness stage down to the decision stage.
The difference between LPO and CRO is the scope of both approaches. The goal of landing page optimization is to generate maximum conversions whereas the goal of conversion rate optimization is to generate conversions on ads, landing pages, and website pages — helping you retain customers for the long haul.
In essence, landing page optimization is just one part of your CRO strategy.
Conversion rate optimization helps you get the best out of your marketing funnel. With the help of A/B testing, CRO tells you exactly which element (such as a headline or CTA copy) at each funnel stage generates the most engagement and which element needs to change for you to maximize conversions.
The next chapter will highlight the different stages of the marketing funnel, and later chapters demonstrate how CRO comes into play at each step.