What is CRO?
Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the practice of enhancing a web page or an entire website to maximize conversion actions – i.e., purchases, form fills or phone calls.
Any business can improve their website performance with CRO. Some of the tactics, like improving page load speeds or shortening the purchase process, will pay dividends for companies of all sizes.
CRO works best when it is managed by marketers and website developers working in lockstep. Done right, CRO can measurably impact the bottom line for an enterprise.
Done right, Conversion Rate Optimization strategies can measurably improve the user’s experience on your web page or landing page and increase the number of actual leads and conversions.
Here is a great example of how simple CRO techniques and strategies can positively impact user experience and results for the enterprise business. When our client was successfully driving traffic to its landing page but unable to improve upon the number of completed form fills, iQuanti identified pain points for the users and developed tactics to increase user confidence in the journey to form completion. One solution identified was to make the phone number more prominent, assuring the user that help is at hand while submitting the application online and in improving confidence in the experience.
The resultant improvement in user experience led to a significant rise in conversion results for the client – pushing the call inquiries up by 41% and completed form fills by 21%.
Are CRO and SEO the same?
CRO and SEO (search engine optimization) have a lot in common, but they are fundamentally different activities. While SEO focuses on optimizing for search, CRO focuses on optimizing user experience once you are found.
Another way of looking at this in simple terms is this: SEO focuses on adding more traffic to your website (and is top funnel heavy), whereas CRO focuses on converting more of the website traffic across sources.
It’s possible to manage CRO and SEO under the same digital marketing program, however. Much like running SEO and paid search in tandem, taking a holistic approach to CRO and SEO maximizes both efficiency and performance.
What do CRO and SEO have in common?
- Both involve website optimization
- Both can have conversions as a KPI
- Both perform best when done holistically – i.e., in collaboration with other marketing activities.
What differentiates CRO from SEO?
- While SEO is geared towards organic search (i.e., natural) traffic, Conversion Rate Optimization tactics are typically geared towards driving conversions from both organic and paid channels that drive website traffic.
- CRO is fundamentally concerned with website visitors and their behavior, while SEO’s focus is search engine algorithms.
- CRO is oriented primarily to bottom-funnel activities; SEO should focus on every funnel stage.
- CRO tactics are mostly on-page, whereas SEO need to focus on both on-page and off-page tactics.
What are the primary benefits of CRO?
The primary benefits of optimizing for conversions include:
- Better user experience
Improving users’ “flow” through your website – even if it’s done with a view to growing your conversion rate – also has the benefit of delivering a better user experience on your site. That bolsters your brand and can even enhance SEO. The longer your visitors stick around, the more valuable Google views your website as being.
- Higher conversions
An obvious point? Maybe. But the most important point about CRO is that it delivers a better conversion rate. It does so by polishing your entire site to focus on a specific, quantitative goal – one that’s highly actionable for your internal teams.
- Improved channel performance (and better integration with what’s on your website
When you enhance your paid search and display ads around conversion optimization, you improve how your ads relate to your website content. That results in a smoother purchase flow and an easier sales process for the customer.
Key CRO techniques
CRO success requires the application of web-development best practices, as well as close internal coordination. For CRO to work best, marketers, developers and designers have to collaborate – and systems must be integrated. In our CRO practice at iQuanti, in addition to making all of these pieces work together smoothly, we find that the following elements are essential for CRO success.
1. Design for the modern user experience (i.e., mobile)
Today’s consumer engages heavily with digital media, relying on a multitude of different devices. The average American adult spends nearly 6 hours each day with digital media, 3.3 of which are on mobile.
Reflecting this trend is the emergence of mobile as a commerce channel. M-commerce sales now total more than $200 billion annually – 40% of the ecommerce total. The upshot for marketers: Any CRO project must be mobile-friendly, if not mobile-first.
2. Apply personalization
Personalization has been a holy grail in enterprise digital marketing for many years. McKinsey has found that personalization techniques can halve the cost of digital acquisition – while boosting revenues by as much as 15%.
In order for personalization to work, you need detailed customer profiles and a highly integrated tech stack. Especially as machine learning appears in more enterprise software applications, implementing personalization requires advanced technical know-how.
3. Comprehensively map the customer journey
By understanding what drives your customers to take action, you can improve your products and services around real needs. But the benefits of journey mapping go beyond product improvement: You also gain greater insight into where you can influence consumers to pick your solution.
When you know which keywords your customers are searching for, you can produce content that maps to those keywords. Similarly, if you know which journeys lead to a sale, you can point PPC ads or social campaigns to the upper-funnel pages on that journey.
4. Sync your acquisition efforts across channels
Much of the work of CRO is “on-page” – i.e., on a brand’s website. But just as multiple teams must work in concert for CRO to be successful, so too must messaging be synced across channels.
Imagine a paid search ad that cites a bank’s mortgage rates but points to a landing page about credit-card APR. Any consumer who clicked on the ad would likely bounce when they reach the landing page. And this kind of mismatch can hurt your Google Quality Score, making your PPC campaigns costlier.
The Final Word
CRO’s benefits go beyond better conversion rates. CRO can enforce discipline in all of your marketing channels, leading your brand to make smarter decisions and deploy spend more efficiently.
Learn more about iQuanti’s end-to-end Conversion Rate Optimization services here.