Conversion Optimization – Why is it so Critical to Learn?

Imagine being an owner of an offline retail store. You get 1000 visitors to your store daily. But only 40 of those thousand visitors interact with your store staff. Most visitors leave within the first few seconds without uttering a word. They leave no traces. You would not be able to reach out to them again, only a tiny percentage of them may pay a second visit.

Can you imagine running such an offline store?

That’s a 4% Conversion Rate, considered above average in an online world. Web Visitors have a tiny attention span, most websites are lousy with poor content, and 4% is the industry norm.

Why Most Websites never make money?

So, you want to make tons of money from your website. Having a website as a source of independence or a passive income is great. You can choose your schedule, and no one is telling you what to do.

Internet entrepreneur is a million-dollar dream. So many people start a website or app in the quest to set up an online money-making machine. While in reality, only a tiny percentage of web businesses ever make money.

As an internet entrepreneur, you start with an idea. A website or app is just one of the things you need to have to run a business. Your expertise in design and development is limited.

When it comes to web presence and end up in the following scenarios

  • You have done very little research on your target customer and throw information on the web, expecting someone to pick it up.
  • You select a free WordPress theme and start filling up the placeholders without knowing what goes where and why!
  • Most information on your website is just filling up space. You are not sure why it is there and how it fits in your business objective.
  • People are coming to your website and leaving without interacting with you; most of them never return, and you have no idea how to even engage with them, forget about making money!
  • Most often, your website or app becomes a liability for you as the business owner. You will end up losing all your savings to the web development agency, not knowing why you ended up here.

What is a conversion?

Conversion is “A visitor taking an expected action that is measurable and has value for your business.” It could be filling up a form, sharing information, taking a quiz, calling your business, or making a purchase.

Based on their impact, the conversion can be divided into two categories – Macro and Micro Conversion.

Examples of Macro conversions are making a purchase, sending a request for quotation, calling your business, booking a table, placing an order, subscribing to a service, etc.

A micro conversion is signing up for a newsletter, creating a free account, adding products to cart, etc.

What is the conversion rate?

When you drive traffic to your website, you expect visitors to take a specific action. Conversion rate is your website visitors taking a particular action divided by the total number of unique visitors.

Conversion optimization starts with understanding your visitor the information they are looking for and how to make it available in a single click. It’s a systematic way of increasing the percentage of visitors who take your desired action, i.e., signing up for the newsletter, purchasing a service, placing an order.

Why conversion optimization is a critical skill to learn?

Conversion optimization is an unfair advantage you have over your competitor –

  • You can lower your customer acquisition cost.
  • Get more customer and enhanced revenue
  • Bring stability and growth to your business.

How Conversion rate affects SEO?

  • Conversion rate optimization helps you understand your customer. You develop insight about your customer which in turn helps you with your SEO.
  • Better conversion rate means increased dwell time, less pogo-sticking, and more repeat visitors.
  • Once you improve the conversion rate, you can expect a better ROI on your SEO and paid marketing efforts which means you have more money to spend to get more visitors.

Skills you need to succeed with conversion optimization

  • Persuasive Copywriting
  • Analytical mind – Ability to interpret the results quickly
  • Conversion-focused Web Design and Editing

How to get started with CRO?

To start with conversion optimization you need to do a comprehensive audit which would reveal the following

  1. Who is your target visitor?
  2. What action do you want them to take on your website?
  3. Where should they take that action?

At the end of the audit exercise, you should have clear goals for the optimization.

Determine the assets which you want to optimize?

Your online business is a big moving machine, almost everything is a candidate for optimization, you need to choose the right asset or you are setting yourself up for a failure. Start with small wins to induce confidence in your team.

Start by AB Testing the Friction points

Once you uncover likely friction points on your website by analyzing the behavioral and analytical data, it’s time for action.

You may want to improve website copy, call to action button, headlines, core message, etc. Often marketers fall for intuition when comes to what works best. Rather than just relying on your feelings, you should opt for a split-testing or AB testing some of the core elements of your conversion funnel.

For a detailed AB Test process, refer to this awesome guide by Hubspot

Improve website copy

Poorly written copy confuses the visitors. If they can’t understand the written words, they will not buy it. The purpose of your copy should be to communicate and persuade the visitors to buy rather than sounding intelligent. Start using tools like Grammarly or Hemingway app to write clear, error-free English.

Use this guide to understand how to write a great website copy.

Discover and fix Usability issues

Using the tools listed above including screen recording, eye tracking, and other similar tools you can discover a lot of usability issues on the website. Create a swipe file of page designs and understand why it works (Don’t just copy blindly). You can use wireframing tools to create work in process designs and take user feedback before getting it through code.

To check usability, validate your web page against the following factors

Useful Does it address your visitor’s needs? Does it answer the questions your visitor have?
Learnable Is there a learning cycle in using your website? Can you visitor use it without extra information or help?
Memorable What’s unique and memorable on your webpage? How will your visitor remember you while evaluating your competitors?
Effective Can user actually accomplish their tasks on your site? Like making a purchase, contacting you, etc?
Efficient Can a visitor use your site without spending a lot of mental energy?
Desirable Do people want it?
Delightful Does your visitor feel excited about your products and services?

Check this mega usability guide to understand web usability.

Steps to Improve Readability

Web users are conditioned to scan, they don’t read. They are looking for buzzwords matching their needs before they become interested in your offering.

  • Important things should get prominence.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Use grouping and create a clear sense of visual hierarchy.

Make Your Value Proposition Clear

Most websites falter with the value proposition. Check the value proposition your website has and how it’s clearly communicated on your website. Your sales copy may be suffering from the unclear brand waffles or curse of knowledge. Try to create a simpler version of rather complex brand communication.

Address Trust issues

Web users are skeptical by nature. Create a sense of professionalism by using clean typography, white space, and professional imagery.

  • Create trust by offering product and refund guarantees
  • Offer a free trial for them to try and see
  • Use safety logos, SSL certificate (user must feel safe while taking out his wallet)
  • Use socially identifiable proofs, use testimonials, case studies, user feedback

Tool Stack and Analysis

Tool type Why you need it Access it
Analytics tools Basic Analytical and behavioral data of your website Google Analytics, Google Search Console
SEO tools Helps you identify your top pages, traffic sources, and most linked pages Moz Pro, Ahrefs, MajesticSEO, Semrush, Alexa
Survey Interact with your visitor and find out what they really need Survey Monkey, Google’s the free customer Survey tool
Usability Tools Discover common usability issues in your website/App, Inspeclet,
AB Testing AB and multivariate testing helps you figure out the winning message, design, call to action, or other elements of your webpage/App Optimizely, Google Optimize, Unbounce.
Screen recording Want to see how user interacts with your web page. See their cursor moving with screen recording tools Yandex

Keep learning

Conversion Optimization Mini-Degree from CXL

As a current student of the CXL Mini Degree program, I find the program well structured and thorough. It offers an immense learning opportunity to anyone who wants to master and scale the conversion optimization.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Step by Step guide from VMO is helpful if you want to understand page-level optimization. It explains steps and experiments you can take according to the types of pages you are optimizing.

Conversion Rate Optimization: The Definitive Guide

Another gem of a guide from Brian Dean. If you want to understand how to create a high converting landing page, this guide is helpful for you.

8 week conversion optimization planner by Hubspot

Though, it’s a gated content, the conversion planner is has a decent content on conversion audit, split testing and creating a hypothesis.

Unbounce Conversion optimization

The unbounce pillar page for conversion optimization is evergreen, since its their niche, they keep adding good content on E-commerce optimization, website pop-ups and other industry-specific conversion content.