What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

What is CRO?

Ever hear of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)? In a nutshell, CRO is an approach used to increase website activity through actions (downloading an app, newsletter sign-ups, etc.)

For example, if you’ve been pondering over optimizing your site to boost traffic, you probably have a laundry list of to-dos. Or maybe you are only focused on improving upon SEO to make your site more visible on search engines. No matter what you’re trying to do, the chances are high that you could be feeling a bit overwhelmed because of all the different possibilities or maybe you just don’t know where to start? Perhaps a combination of the three? No matter what, utilizing Conversion Rate Optimization strategy is an excellent place to start and even more so if you already use a tool like Google Analytics (GA)!

If you have GA set up, then you’re one step ahead already! You have access to LOTS of info that’s measurable (more on that later)!

Now to help paint a picture of how you can narrow down your focal point and ultimately find something worthwhile to improve upon (that’s measurable), we’ve come up with a scenario.

CRO Scenario:

Let’s say that your “Avg. Session duration over time” has dropped and you need to figure out why to boost it back up:

(At this point, you would be unsure of which actions you could potentially take because you haven’t done the research. You are only aware of the issue.)  Unfortunately, this is where a lot of people run into trouble because they end up assuming they know how to solve the problem even before they know what’s causing it.

Noticed that we just began?

Next, let’s assume this person skips research entirely and decides to increase social media posts because they want to drive more traffic to their site. (Decision based on experience where doing this before had unexpectedly boosted Avg. Session duration.) HINT: not a good idea.

Now, let’s say that this person’s supervisor also looked into the issue, BUT did the research. While investigating, she found out that the overall average sank because referral traffic from organic followers fell significantly during a 3-month period while traffic from social media profiles had increased. The supervisor did some more research and found that three months earlier, four pages were taken down for editing and never put back up. She also realized that 3 of the four pages previously had high amounts of organic follower referral traffic before they were taken down. So she published them again (without changing anything) and started tracking the analytics for a 3-month period. Her employee also stuck to his plan of increasing social media posts but didn’t track his results because he was 110% sure it would work.

Fast forward three months: the Avg. Session duration had increased, but not to previous levels. The organic follower segment had risen dramatically though! Problem solved on the web pages! However, referral traffic from social media had plummeted to an all-time low.

Why? They had lost a majority of their audience due to their fans unfollowing them because of the unprecedented increase in social media posts. They had started to seem “spammy.”

If you were in this situation, what would you do before implementing your next CRO campaign? What would the next step be?

How CRO Can Help and Where to Begin

Before starting, you’ll want to set a measurable goal. After you have a goal set, take down some notes based on of your analytics, let’s say, from the last 3-6 months. The analytics will show which pages or posts have been working and which ones need a bit more attention. Don’t hesitate to delve deeper into the analytics segments. You might be surprised at what you find!

Next, jot down any trends and pay particular attention to any significant dips or increases in page views, bounce rates, social traffic to your site, etc. Once you have the dates narrowed down, reflect on what happened (what you shared during those times, etc.)

Tip: Avoid basing CRO around what you want to happen, what you think others may like and what you think will happen based off of previous experience. See the trend? Conversion Rate Optimization is there to help you figure out what customers want. So when you notice spikes in activity, bring back whatever brought it on and then retest more from there. If you aren’t sure what contributed to a change, then it’s time to switch things up and focus on something else. Don’t implement something if it doesn’t make complete sense as to why you’re doing it and how you’ll be measuring it! Keep it as simple and as straightforward as possible.

A/B Testing with one guy thinking and another typing up the ideas on a laptop.

A/B Testing

Ultimately, Conversion Rate Optimization comes down to researching and testing what works best for your business, customers and at the same time what doesn’t. To figure that out, pay close attention to what your audience is doing, how they’re responding and take note! The ultimate goal is to understand what makes them tick.

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

Starting from scratch? Out of ideas? Not sure what your audience wants?

Send out a poll on Twitter or Facebook! OR begin by jotting down something that you’re curious about (that is measurable – can’t stress that enough!) and start keeping track of conversions with a tool like Google Analytics. Then take those numbers and review them a few months later. Side note: Don’t drive yourself crazy analyzing every day! It’s a colossal waste of time. Plus, it’s super discouraging because things fluctuate. Daily.

Quick tip: If you don’t already have analytics connected to your site, make sure to sign up for Google Analytics.

>> Fast Forward >>

Did the KPI you were testing increase?! Great! OR did it go lower than before?? Switch back to what was working better, do a bit more research and then create a new goal that you can measure, implement, track and review again! Rinse and repeat!

Sales divided by Leads, multiple by 100 and that equals Conversion percentage. Money goal divided by Lead value equals the amount of leads needed. A robot thinking of this in a thought bubble.

How To Calculate Conversions

Next, once you have some numbers to pull, calculate your conversion rate! Conversion Rates can be calculated by taking the number of sales and dividing it by amount of leads. Then multiply by 100. For example; you had 30 sales over the last three months from 75 phone calls. 30/75 * 100 = 40%. (you had a 40% conversion from phone calls)

Next, we need to find the value of your leads.

Let’s say you sell handmade wallets for $35 each. Out of those 75 phone calls, you sold 30 wallets, right? This would value the leads at $1,050 for 75 or $14 for ONE lead. How did we figure that out? Formula: $1,050/75 = $14. Why are these numbers important? With this info, you can figure out how many leads you need every month to help you hit a financial goal!

Let’s say that you need $8,000 to break even, and you make a profit of $17.50 on each wallet. You would need to gain 1,143 leads. To figure this out:

Calculate this first: $17.50 profit per wallet * 40% conversion rate = $7 is your average lead value

Then, use this formula once you have your average lead value: $8,000 to break even / $7 = 1,143 leads needed


Is CRO for me?

If you want a better understanding of your audience, Conversion Rate Optimization is it! It can take some time to figure out and set a measurable goal. Then test, track, review and improve! However, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Good luck!

Stay Tuned!

That’s it for conversion rate optimization (for now)! Stay tuned for additional UGH! Media blog posts and join our mailing list to receive future updates! We share a new blog every other Monday on helpful tips and how-tos that help you to connect the dots within digital optimization → Social Media | SEO | Optimizing Websites

So there you have it, a few ways to start implementing conversion rate optimization to help you meet your goals! If you’re looking for more conversion rate optimization (AKA website optimization) tips, check out these posts!:

In the meantime, stay tuned for additional UGH! Media blog posts! We make a new post on our blog every Monday that’ll help you connect the dots within all of your digital optimization/transformation pursuits!

→ Check out our services page for more info on Social Media Optimization (SMO) | Website Optimization | New services are on their way in 2018!

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Although we specialize in Conversion Rate Optimization (specifically within SEO, Social Media, and for Websites), we may not already be your digital solutions company. This post does not establish a UGH! Media LLC-client relationship. It is simply for informational purposes only. For more info, please refer to our disclaimer.

About Jarred at UGH! Media, LLC

Helping clients implement CRO strategy with a focus on SEO, Website Optimization and Social Media Optimization (SMO). + Content creator, blogger and digital marketing director! Interests: future of work (#FOW), business intelligence, AI and automation. On the side: day-trader, business development fanatic, remote work enthusiast and walking my pet Roomba, Rosie.

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