What is CRO's Meaning in Marketing?

Our blog about PPC, SEO & CRO was so popular, we thought we should expand on the topics, so here's a guide to CRO, what is it and why you should care.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) 
Noun

Analysing and implementing changes with the aim of increasing the percentage of website users who take the desired actions, e.g. sign up to a newsletter, purchase a product. 

What's the difference between SEO and CRO?

In a nutshell, SEO is bringing visitors from Google to your website, CRO is making website changes to improve the percentage of those visitors that complete your desired action (the conversion you are trying to achieve). 

If you can optimise your website to increase your visitors, but your website isn't optimised to convert those people into paying customers or detailed leads, then it's traffic for the sake of traffic and not of much use to you as a business.

When we work on SEO for clients, we always have an eye on the CRO too, as these two very different marketing skills compliment each other. 

Right, OK so what is a conversion?

The desired action on each website, or on various pages of a website, can be different and need to be considered carefully. 

Let's think about the big hitters, if you are selling your professional services online then a key conversion goal for your website it to get detailed leads for your sales team to follow up. 

If your website is an e-commerce site then your sales are your main conversions. It's the main action that you want your website visitors to take whilst they're on your website. 

These are your Macro Conversions (skip ahead to Micro and Macro Conversions).

Uh hu... and what is CRO in marketing?

In the majority of instances, you'll hear CRO in relation to the marketing plan for your website. Whilst most website designs have an eye to the CTA (call to action) for each page or section, the process of conversion rate optimisation starts by evaluating which pages aren't working, which are, and what the best practices are for your niche or industry. 

A key element of CRO work is to evaluate, there are a variety of tools which can be used to run tests, both qualitative (getting individual feedback on experience) and quantitative (large quantities of multiple choice answers to get an idea of majority preference). It's important to remember that your website is not targetting you as an individual, but large numbers of customers who may think differently to you. 

With experience comes a variety of quick elements to look into, things which are often overlooked or become diluted over time from the original website design. Lets have a look at some of them:

3 Top Tips for a Good Conversion Rate

Consistency 

Visitors want to be able to understand your website at a glance. Not only is it an advantage to have consistent formatting and design across your own website but also to keep up with the norms that people expect from other websites in your industry niche. 

Around Your Website

Not every page needs to look identical, but you should limit the types of blocks around your website to some consistent options which work in a variety of situations. For example on this page we use blue and grey as background colours to give clear visual sections to our content. We use the same design across our blogs, keeping them consistent. 

With Other Sites

For example, website navigation styles fall in and out of fashion for ecommerce sites pretty rapidly, so you need to make sure you select something that's going to remain modern until you're ready to get a redesign so you aren't left behind. Currently we see the best conversions from large, full width drop down menus with images on desktop for ecommerce websites. 

 Organisation

Your layout should be clean and clear, pages with similar content or involved in the same journey should be laid out in the same way. Headings should clearly indicate what visitors will find in different sections of the page and there should be plenty of white space to allow the eye to navigate the page easily. 

Images and text should lead clearly to a call to action and be organised around that button or form. 

 CTA

The absolute most important part of getting conversions is the Call To Action. Whatever kind of action you are trying to make people take, the call for them to do it needs to be consistent across your site and also similar to those they will have seen on other websites. You want your CTA to be immediately recognisable when the visitor hits the page.

Say you want to gather leads, you have a landing page that you drive traffic to which has the perfect text and images and a great layout. You need to have a button or, preferably, the form you want the leads to complete immediately available below the convincing text. Never expect your website visitors to click around to find the next step on their journey, as very few will.

3 Biggest CRO Fails

Too Much or Too Litte Content

Find the right middle ground between endless scrolling to get to the button at the bottom and not enough infomation to convince your visitors. In some circumstances it's advisable to have one CTA after your initial text and another at the bottom of some more convincing text for those who need more persuading. 

 No Colour ON your CTA

The whole spectrum of colours are available to you, if your branding only has two colours then you may struggle to highlight your CTAs, but professional branding usually includes one stand out colour for this exact purpose. We use a range of greys and our brand blue as our main colours, bright orange is used for small icons, links we want you to click and clear CTAs. 

Always driving to your homepage

Landing pages offer you the opportunity to more effectively convert your visitors. You can focus on the one action that is most relevant to those customers, for example from a Facebook advert for a specific service you offer, you want to send traffic to a landing page which elaborates about the benefits of the service (not the service itself) with one clear CTA to give their details so you can get in touch. If you send them to your landing page and expect them to navigate through your site on their own then you're expecting too much.

Now you know what CRO is, what conversions are and the best plans and the biggest mistakes, it's time to get into one of the important nitty gritty details...

Micro Vs Macro Conversions... What's the difference?

It's much like it sounds, your Macro Conversions are the big hitters, the purchases on your website is a great example. Detailed leads and enquiries are the other key marco conversion. This means that the visitor in question has done exactly the thing that you need them to do on your site. 

Micro Conversions are all the smaller hurdles that indicate people are on a path to the biggies. Here are some of the micro conversions that we often track for clients:

  • Duration: How many visitors are spending over xxx minutes on your website? In our case if people spend over 15 minutes browsing our website then they are likely to be interested in some of the services that we offer, and have really engaged with our content. The amount of time is different from site to site. 
      
  • Engagement: How many pages have they visited on the site? If you're reading this blog and look at two other pages then you have sufficiently engaged with our website to be considered a micro conversion. 
      
  • Contact: Have they been in touch or allowed you to get in touch? This can mean tracking clicks on email addresses, contact form submissions and newsletter sign ups. If you're tracking purchases then this could be a micro conversion for you.

This is all tracked in Google Analytics, the leading platform for keeping an eye on your website and how well it's working for you. Tracking conversions is not the only benefit - check out 5 Reasons to Use Google Analytics.

Lets Get Optimising

Unlike most marketing activity, CRO is entirely unique to you and your website. Specific elements are best to benchmark against what is working for your competition, but your CRO as a whole will be very individual to your business goals, website design and overall strategy.

In terms of where CRO fits into your business plan, it's very chicken and egg with traffic driving tactics. You don't want to spend all of your budget on CRO but have no methods of driving traffic to your website in place, as you'll have the perfect website which no one will see. You also don't want to drive traffic to a website which won't convert any visitors. 

The course of action we recommend would be to begin driving traffic and getting some initial data. Every Sonder website is designed with CRO ideas in mind but without data from your customers it's simply based on best practice methods.

Once you have a some steady traffic we can start to analyse where people are dropping off, where they are clicking and what might be amended to improve the conversion rate. 

Combining traffic driving and improved conversions is the best way to improve your profits, like this guy -->

If you have any questions about CRO and would like to talk over how we might be able to improve your website then get in touch

Posted by Becky Cockman on January 18th 2021

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