CRO is what turns average websites into successful, high-converting websites that get results. But where should you start?
We’ve pulled together a simple intro to CRO that will cover the basics and teach you what you need to know to get started, including what does CRO stand for? What is CRO? Why is it important? Read on to find out.
What does CRO stand for?
Any good introduction to a subject should always cover the very basics. So, let’s start there. What does CRO stand for?
CRO stands for ‘conversion rate optimisation’. Conversion rate optimisation is a bit of a mouthful though, which is why it’s usually shortened to the acronym CRO.
What is conversion rate optimisation?
Now let’s get to a CRO definition. What is conversion rate optimisation all about?
Conversion rate optimisation, or CRO, is the process of increasing the amount of conversions that take place on your site. What that ‘conversion’ is depends entirely on the specific goals of your site, and the action you want your visitors to take.
If you’re selling a product, for example, a conversion might be a customer making a purchase. If you’re building an email database, however, a conversion might be a visitor signing up for your email newsletter.
Your conversion rate is the number of visitors who take that desired action, divided by the total number of visitors to your site. The conversion rate optimisation process seeks to increase (or optimise) that conversion rate to get the most out of your existing traffic.
What does CRO involve?
There are lots of different elements involved with CRO, meaning your CRO journey can look very different to someone else’s.
Basically, CRO involves gaining an insight into your users’ behaviour on your website through analysing data. Based on this data, you can create hypotheses which you can then test to establish if they’re correct.
This might be something as simple as testing a button colour to see which coloured button gains the most clicks. Or, it might involve testing out if a new menu structure leads to more conversions.
Why should businesses care about CRO?
Conversion rate optimisation is one of the least expensive ways to grow a business. Your conversion rate has a huge impact on how successful and profitable your digital marketing efforts actually are. By investigating how your customers behave on your website, and what they like/dislike, you can increase their desire to take your desired action, and remove any conversion blockers from your website.
Many businesses overlook CRO, and choose instead to focus on generating more traffic. While traffic is definitely essential to any business, CRO works instead to make the most of the existing traffic by increasing the proportion of that traffic that converts.
Spending more time and money on things like paid traffic, or working to increase your organic visibility with SEO are both options for increasing conversions on a website. Optimising your existing site with CRO is another option, one which will lower your cost of acquisition and maximise your return on investment without spending any more money.
How should a business get started with CRO?
So, we’ve sold you the benefits of conversion rate optimisation, now it’s time to optimise your site for conversions. But where do you start?
We asked our in-house CRO expert Lilliana Miller how businesses should get started with CRO, and this is what she said:
1. Define your goals
The first key step businesses should take when embarking on a CRO journey is to define your goals. This is crucial because you need to know what you want the outcome of your tests to be, whether that’s an increase in conversions, a reduction in bounce rates, or an improvement of the overall experience of your site.
Without establishing these goals, you run the risk of tunnel vision testing, which is basically conducting lots of tests without any purpose, and when they come to an end you just shrug your shoulders and move onto the next one. Ensure you are working towards a specific goal every time you make a change to your website.
2. Check your data channels
Your next step should be ensuring that your data channels (like Google Analytics, Databox or other CRO tools) are set up correctly, meaning they are receiving accurate data from your site. If they’re not linked up effectively, they will pull through incorrect data and you might end up making changes to your site that could have a negative effect (or no impact at all) on your conversion rate.
3. Carry out an audit
Next, you need to conduct a full audit of your website, as well as usability testing, to understand how your potential customers are currently using your site, and where your conversion blockers are.
There are a range of really insightful CRO tools that allow you to gain an in-depth understanding of what your site’s visitors get up to when they’re there. This is another crucial aspect of an audit.
4. Establish what needs to be improved and why
Now you’ve got the perfect setup, it’s time to formulate hypotheses on what could be improved on your site and why, based on the data you’ve collected in your audit.
For example, you might have noticed in screen recordings that visitors to your site don’t scroll to the bottom of your landing page, meaning they don’t click your call-to-action that lives there. So, your hypothesis might be: Moving the CTA to the top of the page will increase sign-ups because more users will see it.
5. Test your hypothesis
Once you’ve nailed down your hypothesis and backed it with data, it’s time to implement your test. You can carry out your tests using one of the many CRO testing tools on offer, and make the most of their analytics features to keep a close eye on the reporting data coming in.
6. Analyse your results
After carrying out your test, your next step should be to analyse all of your data to see which version was most successful - and why. Using our example, this will involve seeing if more site visitors clicked your CTA after you moved it to the top.
If they did, then great! You can then deploy the winning variant across your site and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
If they didn’t, then you need to go back to your hypothesis and implementation to check for errors, before adapting it and retesting it. Perhaps you could try moving the CTA to a different section of the page, or enlarging it, or changing the button colour.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to conversion rate optimisation. What works for one website, might not work for another, so testing different variants is crucial to achieving success. For advice on which areas to direct your focus when getting started with CRO, take a look at these 9 expert CRO techniques for ecommerce stores.
This blog post features insights from “An intro to CRO and what it means for your business”, an episode from our Setup for Lifetime Value podcast series featuring CRO specialist Lilliana Miller. You can watch the full episode here.
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