What is Conversion Optimization?

By Terrance G Kern on December 11, 2017

There is always something catchy about internet marketing terms e.g conversion optimization and their acronyms. From SEO to PPC, CTR to CPC and CPA. While every industry has its professional terms, the ones in digital marketing do not necessarily scream jargon if anything they are pretty straightforward.

conversion optimization

The challenge, however, is the number of concepts you have to grasp and execute such that, there is always one or two crucial ones you could be missing out on. One concept that you are most likely forgetting is CRO; Conversion Rate Optimization.

What is Conversion Optimization?

You have probably heard about this term or even tried working it in your marketing strategy. If not, then conversion optimization is the process of increasing the share of visitors to your site who complete the desired goal.

Different websites and even web pages on the same site can have different specified conversion goals. It could be as simple as getting an email sign up, downloading an app or other software, completing a survey, contributing funds, sharing an article or the one for most e-commerce sites, making a purchase.

The conversion rate (CR) is the percentage of the traffic to your site that actually takes the specific action you desire them to take. Optimizing this rate ensures you make the most of the traffic you get to boost your conversions.

How is conversion rate calculated?

Depending on your desired goals and whether the customers can convert every time they visit or only once in a visit, you can calculate your conversion rate per session or per unique visitor. In the case of subscriptions and email sign-ups, your users cannot make new conversions with every visit.

This means you will have to calculate your conversion rate after dividing the number of goals achieved by the unique visitors and multiplying that by 100. In the case of daily sales or other situation where a visitor can convert with every visit, then the calculation is the same only this time you will use unique purchase orders divided by the total number of sessions.

So if the customer makes three or four purchases in one session, it still counts as one visit.

Why is CRO important?

The importance of optimizing lies in its focus and process. It is not about looking to increase your traffic but rather making sure that you turn most of your current ones into customers. Much of what it entails is simple analysis and testing different aspects of your site to keep on increasing its appeal to the visitors.

These are some of the benefits of conversion optimization and why you should include it in your digital marketing strategy.

  1. A better understanding of your target market – the process involved in conversion optimization allows you better understand your audience habits and preferences. You will be able to gain insight into what nature of message from design to words used best appeals to their needs.

It also involves identifying the right kind of traffic which will increase your conversions best. Conversion optimization is not just about increasing traffic but also how to get traffic that converts.

  1. A better return on investments: Much of your online marketing budget is spent on getting traffic to your site and conversion pages. By making the most of this traffic, you not only increase the returns on your investment but you also avoid having to spend more to earn more traffic and hence customers.
  2. It is sustainable and scalable: Every business and especially niche business has a finite number of customers. When you also factor in the high competition in the online space, it becomes even important to optimize the conversions from the visitors coming to your site.  As your business grows, it is not a guarantee that your audience will equally grow. With CRO, you are able to increase your revenue without running out potential audience
  3. Retain your clientele: An important aspect of your online venture is retaining your audience. This is only possible if you are offering a great user experience and solve their different needs in the best way than the competition. CRO allows you to achieve this through the different tests and analysis.


Strategies to help you with conversion optimization

In my experience, conversion optimization is easily executed when approached as a process with distinct steps. Following the key steps of conversion rate optimization allows you to build a seamless operation and it is easy to evaluate and change different aspects of your system as needs demands.

As already mentioned the key areas in conversion optimization are analysis and testing. This means the first step is gathering data on your current situation and the behavior of visitors when they are on your site. Your starting point is the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data.  Tools like Google analytics and customer surveys and usability tests are going to help you collect the needed data.

Once this is done then you will be in a better position for A/B testing. A/B testing is the foundation of every decision you make in digital marketing from how you will target your clients to the structure of your message to them and how they will interact with your site. In CRO, it is a significant part of the whole process.

If you are unfamiliar with A/B testing, then think of it as a scientific test where two aspects or features of the website are tested to determine which combination best resonates with the audience and drives them to undertake the desired action. Along with the collected data, A/B testing helps you avoid working based on your gut and guesswork but rather true actionable insights.

While it may seem hard work, I have always found A/B testing to the most interesting aspect of CRO and even in other online marketing processes. This is because you can virtually test anything and in different combination and even small changes can have a significant impact on your conversion rate.

The list of what you can A/B test on your site is long and includes content, calls to actions, copy, visual media, customer value proposition, site navigation and many more. With calls to action, you can change the text used, change the color of buttons, change the location of buttons and even the number of call to actions buttons or links per page.

Having grasped an idea of what conversion optimization is, why you should pursue it and the key steps in it, it is equally important to understand the mistakes to avoid in CRO. The first of this is borrowing A/B testing hypotheses from your competitors without having done research on your own. The other mistake most people make is giving up optimization after a couple of failed tests.

It is important that you understand CRO is a continuous and extensive process. Depending on your needs, skills and knowledge, and size of your site you may do it on your own. However, if you are looking for expert help, it helps when you are using certified professionals with proven accomplishments.

While there have been instances of companies doubling their returns after CRO, you should look to achieve incremental gains which add up to substantial conversions with every aspect you fine tune.



70 responses to “What is Conversion Optimization?”

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