What is CRO and why should you care?
Conversion rate optimisation, often abbreviated to CRO is, in a nutshell, the multitude of efforts you make to improve any and all metrics on your site, with a view to increasing user engagement.
When most people think of a conversion, they immediately think of making a sale.
But a conversion can be much more than that, taking into account many other goals (be them micro or macro) such as:
- Acquiring subscribers
- Receiving enquiry form submissions
- Getting your content shared on social media
- Downloads of a resource
- Selling a product or service
- And so on…
If your site is set-up to achieve any of these outcomes, then CRO is something you need to be aware of.
That’s because, in practice, you will be assessing the layout, design, and even the journey the user takes through your site and identifying areas you feel may be preventing anybody from following through on one of your goals.
And once you’ve identified one such area, the ongoing CRO process of applying a fix/new idea, letting it run for a few days, reviewing the results and testing again begins in earnest.
Because, let’s face it:
You want the people who visit your web pages to perform the actions you’ve laid out. After all, when you created the site in the first place you had a vision of how people would use it.
But getting that right at the very first attempt is pretty rare.
That’s why CRO is important – to help you learn how visitors are interacting with your site, what they want, and what parts of the site are preventing them from getting it!
CRO is cheaper than traffic acquisition
And besides, converting your existing visitors at a better rate is almost always cheaper and easier than acquiring more visitors, so if you want the site to see more action, making a better version of it is the preferred method, rather than trying to simply get more people to look at it.
With that being said, let’s take a look at 7 CRO fixes you can start addressing today…
1. User Reviews
It’s a well-known adage that people do business with those they know and trust.
So, if you’re not collating feedback from your customers, then you really are missing out. Quite simply, there is nothing more affirming than a host of testimonials and positive reviews to deliver the final nudge that will encourage somebody to take a chance on your product/service.
A study executed by Reevoo, who have access to the largest shopping database in Europe, found that impact on conversion rate grew exponentially alongside the number of positive reviews a site had.
That is to say, after reviewing over 1 million visits to product pages, they saw a pattern emerging that was clear as day:
The more positive reviews your site has, the better your conversion rate will be.
Social validation is a powerful tool in marketing, so without a meaningful volume of positive reviews visible on your landing pages and dotted throughout your entire site, you’re sure to be leaving money on the table.
2. Live Chat
There are a number of ways that Live Chat can be utilised to boost your conversion rate – so many that they actually warrant an article all of their own. But for now, we’ll let you know about some of the most important ones.
Firstly, to elaborate on the point made above, people trust people.
So, in addition to the reviews on your site which provide potential customers with peace-of-mind that other kindred spirits have already made a purchase and been happy, a live chat feature allows them to talk to a real-life person while they’re in the decision-making process.
A landing page, and even a chat bot, can provide all of the info a user might need, but (at the time of writing, at least!) there’s no way to accurately mimic human interface.
Having a real person handling your live chat queries will help you build a personal connection with your customers, and the personalised feedback they receive will lead to them favouring you when it’s time to make a purchase.
In addition to that, live chat is a great way to allow people to ask simple questions that maybe your landing page doesn’t cover (there’s a bonus CRO fix that live chat helps with – addressing any inadequacies of your landing page copy) and allows prompt responses versus the relatively cumbersome email and/or message form.
In fact, as much as 79% of people prefer live chat use because of the speedy replies they’re likely to receive.
3. Use clear CTAs
To begin with, stop writing “Contact Us” as your default Call to Action (CTA)!
Not only is this a bland CTA that is not compelling in any way whatsoever, it also breaks the rules of effective CTAs being specific and relevant to the goals of the user.
Yes, you want them to contact you; but that’s already obvious. What isn’t obvious, with a CTA like “Contact Us,” is why you want them to contact you. What’s in it for them? What specifically are you going to offer in exchange for them pressing your button instead of someone else’s?
And before you offer the rebuttal that the CTA within the context of the landing page copy should make it obvious what it’s referring to, why leave it to chance? What if the user is a skim reader who hasn’t taken it all in? They could be bouncing around a few options, and your weak CTA is not going to be the clincher.
The CTA should leave them without a shadow of doubt what they’ll achieve by clicking that great big button.
Then, once you’ve got a captivating, instructive CTA, don’t rest on your laurels. A/B test the hell out of it against revised versions with slightly different text and colours. Use a variety of placements on the page. Experiment with one CTA or many deftly inserted throughout the content. Then, give it a few days, review your results, and go again.
4. Make forms easy to submit
If there’s a sure-fire way to thwart form submission, it’s an abundance of questions that people don’t want or need to answer.
Eliminate as many fields from your opt-in/ enquiry form as humanly possible.
It would be nice to know how they found out about you, so you can incorporate that data into your inbound traffic reports.
But asking them after they’ve submitted the form or, better still, after they’ve made a purchase! This small adjustment will go a long way to help you achieving that purchase in the first place.
The use of social media tools to integrate with the fields of the form you’d like to obtain is a great workaround here. If there’s personal data that simply has to be collected, being very clear in your communication of this need is critical.
And if the form is unavoidably lengthy, then making it a 2- or even 3-step form will help improve submissions as micro-commitments made on step 1 will increase the chances of users proceeding with the rest.
Extraneous form fields are an obstacle between the user and a purchase. It’s your job to remove every conceivable obstacle from that path to make a purchase more likely. And this, over time, which will lead to a growth in overall conversion rate.
5. Use Google Analytics I: Address UX Issues on Mobile Devices
Few things will irritate a visitor to your site more than design issues and broken layouts.
It could be something small like a CTA not being centrally aligned on the page when viewed on a mobile device. Or something that is directly hindering your ability to obtain conversions, like an order form or ‘Add to Cart’ button that isn’t displayed properly when viewed in certain browsers or on smaller screens, forcing users to search around aimlessly only to leave and use a competitor’s website instead.
Thankfully, there’s a ready-made tool — and a free one at that — you can use to identify such issues. Assuming you’ve got Google Analytics hooked up and operational (and if you haven’t, you should be reading articles about doing exactly that before worrying about your CRO troubles) click on:
You should be sure to take into account a large enough data set, say year-on-year comparisons or a significant amount of conversions.
When reviewing the data, specifically that of mobile and tablet devices, look for any trends that may indicate a significant issue in your funnel.
A sudden drop-off rate on one of the pages, a reduction in number of users this year compared to last, lower number of transactions, decreased conversion etc. are all indicators that further investigation is required.
And don’t forget to factor in any design changes you made to the site and make a note of the dates they were implemented. If a design change coincides with a decrease in any of the above data-points, you may very well have identified an design issue in your sales funnel that’s hurting your conversions.
6. Use Google Analytics II: Address UX Issues on Different Web Browsers
Given the importance Google now places upon mobile devices and the ability your site has to adapt (or respond) to the many different screen sizes, the assessment of different browsers is somewhat less imperative, but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected.
Mobile usage may be higher than ever, but that doesn’t spell the death of desktop browsing just yet!
Heading back into our Google Analytics dashboard, navigate to:
↘↘ Browser & OS
You’ll be able to pull up a report that delineates performance as per browser (Chrome vs Safari vs Firefox and so on).
By studying the figures you’re presented with, you’ll be able to identify if there are any issues worthy of your attention.
To provide a simple example, should the conversion rate of Firefox users by markedly lower than that of Chrome and Safari, you should deep dive into the browser (by clicking on it inside the Analytics dashboard) which will show you detailed info for the various browser versions.
If there are any tell-tale signs of browsers not displaying your content properly, they are likely to show up here in the form of below-average performance.
7. Cost Transparency
Hiding transaction costs, service fees, taxes or any other some such additional fees deep in the order journey is not only going to jolt potential customers out of their procession towards making a purchase, it also smacks of underhanded tactics and shady dealings.
All the trust you’ve worked so hard to build up in laying out every minute detail in your expansive landing page, displaying an abundance of positive customer reviews and speaking one-on-one with the customer via live chat, will be immediately eradicated by utilising such a ploy.
Show the customer the full price as early as possible, and you’ll not only hold onto their trust once you have it, but you’ll also decrease the chances of anyone halting part-way through the ordering process.