What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

How to get started with Conversion Rate Optimization


One of the key objectives of most websites is moving leads through the stages of your marketing funnel. The efficiency at which prospects travel through each stage has a multiplying impact on the number of website visitors that ultimately end up as customers. Healthy conversion rates throughout your funnel will exponentially generate a consistent number of Leads, prospects, and customers.

Conversion Rate Optimization, also known as CRO, is the continuous cycle of Measurement, Data Analysis, and Improvement. The definition on Wikipedia is, in all honesty, the best possible definition.

“In internet marketing, conversion optimization, or conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage. It is commonly referred to as CRO”

This definition sums it up. They refer to it here as a ‘system’, which is precisely what it is. It’s not a quick fix that you can perform on your website. It’s a methodology that is applied continuously.

How do I calculate Conversion Rate?

As we stated, a conversion rate is defined by the number of people who converted on a page and the number of people who visited that page. A conversion is the completion of a pre-determined goal on a page. A simple formula to calculate this is:

Measuring your Conversions Rates

The first step is accurately measuring your website’s Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. Getting good, valuable data is key to optimizing conversion rates. Here are some examples of KPIs you would measure for CRO:

  • Total Website Traffic
  • Website Traffic by Source, Page, Keywords, etc..
  • Conversion Rate
  • Goal Completions
  • Number of Leads, MQLs, SQLs, Opportunities, Customers
  • Revenue
  • Bounce Rate
  • User Behaviour
  • User Geography, Demographics, Device Type
  • The list goes on………

Most CRO-related KPIs can be measured using Google Analytics. You will need to set up goal conversion tracking for some metrics and link to your e-commerce website to track Revenue (if applicable).

Once data is collected, you can then analyze the data for opportunities for improvement. There is no specific timeframe for how long each stage of CRO should last. That is really up to the resources of your marketing team and how aggressive your goals are.

Analyzing your Data

Now that you have all your website data, you can start by identifying patterns and areas of concern.

I use a tool called Databox to build a custom dashboard, and that allows me to have a visual representation of my conversion funnel. This makes it easier to spot bottlenecks in the conversion path, where the drop-off rate is too high.

Google Analytics

You can create custom reports using Google Analytics to help show data that is specifically helpful for Conversion Rate Optimization.

For example:

  • User behavior reports can help pinpoint your user journey’s highest drop-off point. This can show data that can help you optimize the user journey for higher conversion.
  • Device reports tell you if mobile has a significantly lower conversion rate than desktop browsing. This could mean that your mobile layout is not optimized quite as well to convert users.
  • You can measure conversions by channel to see if any digital channels produce low-converting traffic. This can help you to tweak specific campaigns to attract more qualified leads.
  • You can run reports on goal completions by the browser. Different internet browsers render things differently, so by creating this report, you can check if there are any browsers where the users are completing goals far less than others.
  • You can measure site load speed and bounce rates to indicate if your website speed affects your conversion rates.

You get my point….. Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your conversion. It’s powerful; it’s free. Make sure you are making the most of it!

A/B Testing

A/B Testing plays a significant role in finding the conversion rate of a page. Often assumptions are made by marketers, and the best way to test assumptions is by benchmark testing.

Three main factors influence conversions rates:

  1. Calls-to-Action
  2. Conversion Path
  3. User-Experience

By conducting thorough comparative testing based on all 3 of these factors, you can continuously optimize conversions based on accurate data.

VWO is one of the most widely used enterprise-level tools for this and is a purpose-made platform for A/B testing and advanced Conversion Rate Optimization. Hubspot also has native A/B testing features.

You can also use tools like Hotjar and CrazyEgg for heat maps, scroll maps, and recording videos of user sessions.

Hubspot also has built-in analytics for Landing Pages, CTAs, Blogs, and Forms. All of which display views, submissions, and conversion rates. This allows you to efficiently which ones perform better than others, so you can optimize them accordingly.

Some Basic Ways to Increase Conversion Rates

There are a few tactics I have found that give your conversion rates a boost. These are just from my experimentation, and I encourage you to try different things out and find what works best for you.

CTA Color, Design, and Placement

Calls-to-action is what drives conversion. When we’re talking about a fraction of the percentage of a CTA click-through rate making a significant difference in your company’s revenue, the CTA becomes a big deal. There is a whole science behind CTA psychology, which I won’t go too much into in this post, but Neil Patel has a great blog post on this. Playing around with the CTAs on your website to find the highest click rates is not very time-consuming and worth it. Here are some variations to try out:

  • Test out different colors. Avoid red CTAs, as this is a negative color (notice how delete buttons are usually red?)
  • Try out different positions on the page
  • Test different CTA styles, such as rectangular, pill, semi-rounded, push, hyperlink
  • Test out different capitalization formats
  • Try different variations of action-orientated wording

Homepage Headings and Subheadings

It’s essential to structure your homepage headings in a way that encourages conversion. Some marketers fall into the trap of trying to be over-creative with headings. They usually end up with ‘fluffy’ text that doesn’t convey their value proposition.

An excellent way to structure it is:

  • Heading: Your number 1 benefit
  • Subheading: How you do it
  • CTA: Desired action

Another good way to approach it is:

  • Heading: Where am I?
  • Subheading: What’s in it for me?
  • CTA: Where to go from here?

Shorter lead capture forms

Seeing a form with 20 different questions that need three complete scrolls to see will probably fail to convert a high number of leads. People just get put off by long forms. Make it easier to ask them the fewest necessary questions. First Name and Email are all you need to get going with lead nurturing. A few more, such as Surname, Industry, Job Title, URL, Phone, etc., are essential too in some cases.

You can always use Smart Fields, available on many marketing automation platforms, such as Hubspot. Intelligent fields are fields that ‘swap out’ once the fields are already populated in the CRM.

For example, if you already know the lead’s Company URL, one of the form fields, your marketing automation can detect (via cookies) who the person filling out the form is and change the already-known field with something unknown, such as Phone Number.


Pop-ups, or slide-up/down banners, increase conversion by making a CTA or content offer more obvious. We are so used to seeing CTA-smothered blog posts or landing pages that the CTAs often become invisible. Pop-ups disrupt (in a good way) the user’s browsing, which makes the call-to-action jump out. Pop-ups can be triggered by a specific action, such as 50% scroll, exit intent, or duration on the page, meaning we can target the CTA timing appropriately.

Final Word

Having a website that consistently generates good quality leads pays off. It takes a lot of work to push decent traffic volumes to your site, so it makes sense to invest a lot of time and resources into making sure as much traffic converts as possible.

Just remember, CRO is an ongoing system and should always play a big part in your ongoing digital marketing strategy. You shouldn’t stop after bumping up a couple of conversion points by 1 or 2 percent. It should be something you do continuously, time and time again, to get a steady flow of inbound leads.

Most people want to design a website that they can leave untouched for a long time. Still, as you can see from what I’ve written, it’s an ongoing evolutionary process, along with carefully observing the conversion data.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *