What is CRO marketing and why is it essential for business?
Conversion rate optimisation or CRO for short, is the umbrella term used for any activity undertaken to increase conversion. For many businesses, attracting high volumes of traffic to their websites isn’t a problem, but enticing users to complete an action that moves them further down the sales and marketing funnel can be challenging. This is why CRO marketing is important. If your organisation has invested in digital marketing, like paid social media, organic and paid media expertise or a sophisticated website platform like Sitecore – you’re going to want to see some great results. CRO marketing maximises the efficiency of your organisation’s marketing efforts and helps your business to get tangible results.
Conversions can include anything from making an online purchase, to downloading a brochure. Whatever the action is that you want your users to complete, CRO tools and strategies are all designed with one overall goal: Converting visitors into leads, and leads into customers.
Macro and micro conversions
Two types of conversions exist, macro and micro. A micro conversion means a prospective customer has interacted with your brand. This might be a new sign up to your newsletter, viewing video content on your website, or following your social media accounts.
Macro conversions are when website traffic converts on a primary offer on your website. They could buy a product or subscribe to a service you offer. Both types of conversions are important, as micro conversions often lead to macro conversions in the future.
What is the CRO process?
The success of a CRO marketing strategy is down to the processes followed in your CRO plan. There are four essential steps involved that can be implemented to any organisation’s website:
It’s important to understand the journey a user takes on your website. This will help your business to track parts of the conversion funnel so that weak areas can be refined and improved.
Use the research you’ve gained to construct a hypothesis that identifies what specifically the improvement will be based on. For example, ‘based on our observations we believe this solution will address this problem for the audience and impact the goal by an uplift of %’.
The next step is to test the hypothesis through testing software. There are a range of testing methods such as: A/B Testing, Split URL Test and Multivariate Testing. Sitecore has a number of these tools within its out the box functionality.
Finally, evaluate your findings. If the hypothesis was correct, then great! You can send 100% of traffic to your successful design. If the hypothesis wasn’t correct, there’s still opportunity to learn from mistakes and improve next time.
Incorporating CRO marketing into your digital marketing strategy to drive conversions
Setting the right hypothesis within your CRO plan is important, but It’s crucial to develop an effective conversion rate optimisation strategy. This will help you capitalise on existing and new traffic. When taken out of context, CRO seems like a magical tool that can just be done in isolation to improve conversions, however this is not the case. CRO marketing is a strategy that cannot be done in isolation. which is why before undertaking any process you should ensure you have a well-structured digital marketing strategy to support it.
It is important to note that you can’t just “do” CRO, for CRO to be successful it needs to be supported by a set of clear aims and goals. CRO is not about making large scale changes. Testing and implementing minor changes to your sites content is key to enhancing usability, driving decision making, improving market research and user feedback.
For example, businesses who sell pens online and want to increase website conversions from 3% to 5% – find no simple task. It’s tempting to take the approach of enlarging the buy button or making it more visible to the user. This will force the user down a purchase path which will drive less conversions. Start by understanding your website users:
- what is important to them?
- what issues do they have?
- what do they want from a pen purchase?
Once you have a better understanding of your users (often personas are used to represent a type of user) you can start to look at all aspects of your site and the sales and marketing funnel through their eyes.
Build personas with user research
Personas are created to represent a type of user. This can help you identify the different needs your audience may have. These representations should be based on qualitative and quantitative user research and web analytics. A user journey map is another effective tool for businesses to use to understand their users. A human-centred design approach can improve customer experience and boost ROI.
Once you have a better understanding of your users you can start to look at all aspects of your site and sales funnel through their eyes. This will help you identify areas of your website that put up blockers. An example could be identified through user research. For instance, for a persona group within the pen website example, it might be important to know the types and costs of pen refills. If that information was not available within the product details page or easy to find, then it will negatively affect the conversions. Changing the layout could overcome this and help boost conversion rates.
How do businesses benefit from conversion rate optimisation?
94% of businesses agree that conversion rate optimisation builds empathy and understanding for their audience. The process of CRO helps enterprises understand their audience, both in theory and practice. The more we understand and learn from our user testing, the quicker we start to see results. As a process, CRO will yield the highest ROI because of its efficiency. 84% of businesses with a structured strategy will see improvements in their conversion rates. This makes CRO marketing a highly appealing and profitable strategy to implement.
The biggest misconception is that CRO marketing is expensive. Investing a couple of days a month to review your company’s site activity, to identify pain points will equip businesses to adjust accordingly and see large improvements over time. For example, if your site’s average conversion rate is 2% (which equals £2000 in sales a month), after three months of running a CRO strategy, the average conversion rate goes up to 2.3%. This means sales would have increased to £2300 – which is a huge increase. If the business investment was only £100 over the three months, that means within this example for every £1 spent the business would be getting £3 back.
How effective is your organisation’s CRO marketing?
There are many tools on the market that can be used to support CRO activities, however they all have their pros and cons. With Sitecore, you can use number of tools to run tests, implement changes and provide analytical feedback. If you currently don’t have a short to long-term CRO strategy or are not utilising Sitecore’s testing tools, then you risk missing out on a wealth of valuable opportunities. You might think your conversions are good and your site is performing well. But in our experience, there is always room to improve conversion rates.
If your business is passionate about meeting its digital goals and putting its users at the centre of its digital transformation strategy, then you probably have considered the importance of CRO marketing. We are a top tier Sitecore Partner with a wide range of expertise across our team. We have over 20 years’ experience helping enterprises to achieves their business goals with sophisticated Sitecore solutions. Contact us today to find out how to improve your CRO strategy.