11 CRO Marketing Methods To Seriously Boost Conversions
It takes time and money to create email campaigns, landing pages, and other goal-oriented resources, so you’ll want to squeeze every last drop out of them. With CRO marketing, you can carry out the enhancements that help your users to complete your key goals, which can help to promote your brand, increase goodwill, and increase revenue for your business.
What is CRO marketing?
CRO marketing is a way to increase the percentage of people who take a desired action, like buying a product, requesting a quote, or downloading a piece of content. CRO stands for conversion rate optimisation, which is essentially the same thing—a collection of techniques for increasing the number of people who “convert” for a particular goal.
Marketing is expensive. Getting people to your website, showing them adverts, and encouraging them to click on your social posts takes time and money, so when you do get customers to take these important steps, you want them to finish what they started and complete your final goal. This is usually directly tied to revenue like buying a product or service, but can be something that furthers other marketing goals like signing up for a newsletter, downloading an app, or signing up for an event. Anything that has a specific goal can be improved with CRO marketing. And it should be improved, because you want your expensive marketing assets to be as effective as possible, so that you earn your money back and then some.
What can be improved with conversion rate optimisation?
Any example of a well-optimised home page from DoorDash
These are some common goals that can be improved with CRO marketing:
- Buying a product or signing up for a service
- Upgrading a plan
- Viewing pricing pages
- Getting phone calls
- Submitting a form on a landing page
- Downloading or viewing a piece of content
- Downloading an app
- Social engagement such as shares, likes, and comments
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Clicking on an advert
- Watching a video
- Signing up for an event
To improve these goals, CRO marketing uses a combination of effective design principles, UX principles, great content, and methods like A/B testing. We explore these in more detail below, but in essence, the goal is to make your design easily understood, easy to use, and with content that answers every burning question. When these things are achieved, you will lead users through the design towards your final goal, where they will be more likely to proceed because you’ve checked all of their boxes in expert fashion.
How to calculate CRO
The conversion part of CRO marketing can be calculated with the following formula: visitors/conversions. So if you had 100 visitors to your landing page and 10 of them completed the form, your conversion rate would be 10%. But what is a good conversion rate? That’s a tricky one because it varies drastically depending on the following factors:
- Your industry—some goals are harder to achieve for certain industries. A store will sell more convenience goods than a car manufacturer will sell supercars.
- The platform—the conversion rate for your website will differ from the conversion rate on Facebook, Google, or another platform.
- The asset and goal being completed—web forms, banner adverts, content downloads…they will all have user flows and different conversion rates as a result.
If you’d really like a baseline for your conversion rate, you may be able to find some averages based on your specific industry and situation, but it’s more important to focus on your KPIs for the asset itself. Is your costly new eBook getting enough downloads? Is your website redesign helping you meet your goals for sales enquiries? These are the numbers you should be focusing on.
The benefits of conversion rate optimisation
If you’ve invested time and money into creating a website, adverts, or other marketing assets, you want them to perform as best as possible. Conversion rate optimisation helps you to achieve this, which can lead to these benefits:
1. Increase your revenue
Every for-profit business owner wants to make money, and by making your sales assets easier to use, more complete, and more enticing, you’ll convert extra customers and generate larger revenues. The sales assets that you optimise will be your enquiry forms, your product pages, checkout processes, and other assets directly related to revenue.
Optimising secondary assets like eBooks, email campaigns, and videos may also indirectly increase revenue because of their power to build brand awareness and credibility. These longer term assets can be equally (if not more) powerful than pure revenue-generating assets, and they should perform just as well.
2. Maximise marketing spend
If you invest hundreds of dollars in a spectacular, high-performing advert, the accompanying landing page should be just as effective. Otherwise the money is wasted. This goes for every marketing asset that you create, which are used to the max when you optimise their surrounding conversion process. It’s making sure that the entire process works for the consumer, not the odd part here and there.
3. Reduce your cost to acquire a customer (CAC)
The cost to acquire customers varies depending on your industry, ranging from as little as $5 to hundreds of dollars for competitive industries, or industries with expensive products or services. By completing conversion rate optimisation, your marketing assets will be working to their full potential, which reduces “waste” and brings down your CAC as a result.
4. Increase your customer lifetime value (CLV)
Marketing isn’t just about acquiring new customers. It’s also about producing value for your current customers, usually by creating useful content like blogs, videos, and eBooks. When these assets help your customers to solve their problems, they will love you for it, and will be much more likely to stay as loyal customers. This increases their customer lifetime value and boosts your revenue.
5. Broaden your brand’s reach
When a marketing asset like a downloadable eBook is popular, it naturally achieves a higher ranking in search engines and social platforms. Then a snowball effect starts to take place where the asset becomes even more popular, and your brand is suddenly on the radar of even more people.
This only happens if the download process for the asset is easy. If it’s not, they’ll leave the landing page like a flash of lightning, in search of a similar asset elsewhere. Before you know it, your precious, hard-made page is wallowing on page ten of Google where it may as well be invisible.
6. Improve brand equity
If prospects and customers are sailing through your landing pages, clicking on your adverts, and submitting enquiries on your website with ease, they will start to like your brand more and more. By applying good CRO marketing practices, you’re making them feel capable, and us humans like nothing more. With every completed action comes a little more brand equity which builds and builds until people positively love you, leading to more word-of-mouth sales, stellar reviews, and an army of loyal customers who happily march to your tune.
Methods for your CRO marketing strategy
A CRO marketing strategy can be broken down into two basic things:
- The goals that you want your users to complete, which you plan to optimise through CRO
- The CRO methods that you are going to use for your goals
With this in mind, first you need to identify your goals and their measurement of success.
1. Identify your goals
As with most ventures in business, you need a clear idea of what you want to achieve, and how you measure their success. If your priority is to increase awareness of your brand and get it in front of as many relevant people as possible, you can achieve this through content marketing, in which case your goal might be “have 250 people download our eBook with six months,” or “get 500 clicks from our Facebook advertising campaign over three months.” If you’re focusing on lead generation, your goal could be “achieve 100 leads using our new landing page over three months.”
Whatever your goals, they should be clear and measurable, preferably using a proven system like SMART goals. When you’ve created these and are happy with them, you can then get started on the optimisation side of things, which we’ll now explore.
2. Improve your content
Most businesses sell solutions to people’s problems, so when they land on their websites, more than anything else, they’re searching for the information that will help them to solve that problem. This could be buying a new car, signing up for a new mobile plan, or a million other examples of things that we need. So to improve the number of conversions on your website, one of the most fundamental things you can do is improve your content.
If you’re selling products, ensure that every single question is answered on the page. Specifications, materials, warranties, returns—try to anticipate everything that the consumer might want to know, and then answer it for them. The same goes for services. What does the consumer want to know, and in what priority? Add the most important content to the top of the page, and work your way down. The more thorough and well-written your content is on every page of your site—product pages, service pages, landing pages, email sign-up pages—the better your conversion rate will be.
3. Use conversion-centred design
Conversion-centred design (CCD) is a framework that allows you to achieve high conversions. It contains a list of useful principles that can help you to create exceptional pages on your website—here they are in summary:
A. Create focus
Creating focus means providing a single goal for your user. We’re already touched on this various times, but it’s worth repeating again: make sure that every piece of content is helping to sell your offering, with nothing superfluous remaining. If you’re optimising a landing page, this also means removing your navigation entirely, so that your prospects’ only path is to complete your form.
B. Build structure
Arrange your information in a way that shows a clear hierarchy, with the most important content first. This means using headings or sub-heading for each section, and adding your most persuasive selling points above the fold. A well-structured page is much easier for the prospect to understand.
C. Stay consistent
This goes without saying, but make sure your webpage is consistent with the rest of your website, with your branding clearly illustrated. This keeps things professional, and helps to build trust.
D. Show benefits
People will visit your page because they’re trying to get something out of it. So again, make sure you list the benefits of what you’re offering clearly, succinctly, and blazoned across the page.
E. Draw attention
Use typography, colour, and size to highlight your most important elements, and draw the user’s gaze. A good example is large text for your headings, and bright or highly-contrasting colours for your CTA button.
F. Design for trust
People prefer not to give away their personal information, particularly their email address. You can convince people you’re trustworthy with social proof, which includes customer testimonials, reviews, short case studies, or logos for companies you’ve worked with in the past. When it’s clear that you’ve done a good job for others in the past, people will be much more inclined to hand over their personal information to you.
G. Reduce friction
You’ll need to make your webpage super simple for your visitors, so that it requires the least brainpower possible. This means chunking your content, using simple, straightforward language, plenty of negative space, and a form that is highly usable (more on this below).
4. Elements to optimise
Web forms are an important thing to optimise in CRO
We’ve already covered a few of these in the CCD section above, but they’re worth going over in full. These are the most common elements that you can optimise to attain better conversion rates for your webpages:
- Headings—the heading of a page should contain the most powerful benefit for the thing you’re selling. If you were selling Rolls Royces you might want to communicate the car’s high status. If you’re selling air conditioning systems you may want to promote the system’s incredible cooling capabilities, or its energy efficiency. You get the idea.
- Copy or script—does the user have all of the information they want or need, and is it prioritised and laid out in an intuitive, logical way? This is possibly the most important task for good CRO.
- Form—web forms are how we submit our personal information, and they should be impeccably designed to achieve high conversion rates. That means following good UX principles like:
- Only including essential fields. If you’re not using the customer’s information for a field for marketing, trash it.
- Display the form in a single column, as these are much easier to complete.
- Make the submit button nice and bright.
- Make the form labels clear and simple. Remove unnecessary words like the “your” from “your email address.”
- Place form errors next to their associated field.
- CTAs—try to stick to a single call-to-action on your page, and make it highly visible. That means nice and big, with clear wording that describes what will happen when it’s clicked, and a colour that contrasts highly with the background.
- Colours—if you use a bunch of jarring, distracting colours on your page, the user may struggle to find what they’re looking for. Colours should complement and enhance the design, not distract.
- Imagery—images can be a tricky thing to optimise because it’s hard to know what works until you test. Try a couple of different images using a simple A/B test (more on this below) and see which one performs better.
- Mobile usability—it’s no secret that we’re obsessed with our mobiles. Your website, emails, and videos must work well on mobile, otherwise you’re disregarding the majority of your audience. As a side note, good mobile usability is critical for SEO too.
- Social proof—most of us like to check reviews or testimonials before we purchase something, especially if it’s expensive. So adding these kinds of social proof to your page can make a big difference for conversions.
- Navigation—if people struggle to find your conversion pages, how are they going to convert? Make your navigation intuitive for your particular audience, and try to use the language that they use. This can be found in customer research like surveys, and through keyword research tools like Semrush.
5. Focus on accessibility
Disabled people will browse your website too, and you have a responsibility to make them usable
A billion people live with some form of disability,1 which can make it harder for them to use websites and interact with digital media. Catering for these people isn’t just ethical, it’s ensuring that potentially large numbers of people can use your website and complete your conversion goals.
We won’t lie though—accessibility can be a slog to implement. You’ll need to do things like:
- Ensure that visually-impaired people can use screen readers to “read” your webpages.
- Use colours that pass Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which allows them to easily distinguish foreground and background content. In essence, this allows them to actually read the content on your website.
- Make buttons and links big enough to be easily clicked on. People with motor disabilities may struggle to click on tiny elements.
If you hire a good developer, they should implement accessibility guidelines as part of their standard work.
6. Review your analytics
Analytics can give you hints as to where people are struggling or succeeding on your conversion pages, through the following metrics:
- Time spent on page—if your average “time spent on page” is low, you may need to improve the headline or opening sections of content on your page. Maybe you don’t have a clear value proposition, or the headline is muddled. Or perhaps it’s the page’s layout that is confusing people.
- New vs returning—if you have plenty of returning visitors to your page, that’s evidence that something is compelling it. This suggests that you may not need to make drastic changes, but small optimisations instead (unless it’s paired with a very low conversion rate).
7. Improve your targeting
If you’re shelling out hundreds of dollars a week in targeted advertising but you don’t really know who your target market is, the things you’re promoting are bound to have low conversions. Similarly, you might be writing your webpage content, blogs, and email marketing campaigns for an audience that isn’t really yours, which is why you’re struggling to generate leads and sales.
Make sure that your buyer personas are up-to-date and accurate. Base them on genuine customer research so that they are properly validated and truly reflective of the people you call customers. Only then will you be able to target the right people, create the right content, and start to improve the conversation rates for your landing pages, emails, blogs, and other resources you’re promoting.
8. Complete A/B testing
A/B testing is a process that tests two different versions of something (version A and version B), so that you can understand which of them performs best. They are the testing method of choice for CRO because it reveals what is working in concrete terms.
When completing A/B tests, unless the two things you’re testing are drastically different (like two completely unique home page designs), you should only make small changes for each version. For example, you might test two of the same landing pages but with different headlines. Or you might test the two pages with the CTA in a different position, or with a different colour, etc. The reason for only testing small changes is because it tells you exactly what made the difference between a higher or a lower conversion. If you test too many changes, you won’t know what the improvements were for future designs.
Other common A/B tests include trying different:
- Body content, or snippets of body content
- Form layouts, or the fields included
- Images, especially “hero” images
- Phone number locations
9. Complete usability testing
Usability testing is a gold standard process for UX professionals, and it’s a relatively easy thing to do. It involves asking someone from your target audience to complete one of your goals—requesting a lead, finding pricing information, downloading a content resource, etc.—and then sitting with them and watching how they perform. You’ll be amazed at the things that people trip up on, and through no fault of their own. It’s just the way their brains work, and it’s your job to identify these mysterious issues so that you can improve your designs and boost your conversion rates.
The hardest thing about usability testing is actually finding the right people to test, but there’s plenty of helpful articles on how to do it. You will also have to pay participants, and should try to see it as a worthy investment because you can uncover some absolute gems through usability testing.
10. Try a heat mapping tool
Heat mapping tools show you where a user has scrolled and clicked on a webpage. They can give you an idea of what people are looking at, their thought processes, and how they make their way through your website, so that you can make improvements to accommodate them.
While these tools are useful, usability testing is much more effective because you’re actually asking them to complete a goal, and then watching them do it. They should also be encouraged to “talk out loud” which provides even more insights.
11. Send out customer surveys
Landing pages, social posts, adverts…they’re all for your customers, so why not simply ask them what they think? It’s such an obvious way to improve conversions, and happens to be extremely cost-effective. All you need to do is set up a test group (ideally some of your existing customers), ask them to look at, complete, or watch whatever it is you’re optimising, and then get their feedback afterwards. It’s like mining for gold but without the pickaxes.
CRO marketing helps you get more out of your marketing. Attracting people to your website or social page isn’t much good unless they complete the key goals that you set for them, whether that’s clicking on ads, signing up for trials, or something else of importance. When you work through the fundamental principles of CRO, you’ll guide people to your conversion goals, and your rates may skyrocket.
- Anna Fitzgerald, 25 Statistics that Prove Website Accessibility Matters, HubSpot