What Is Conversion Rate Optimization? [2020 CRO]

Any operator in the ecommerce world can attest to the fact that an influx of traffic doesn’t necessarily result in a spike in sales.

It is pretty disheartening to spend money and time on ads, web design, influencers, SEO ranking, online reviews, and all that to increase traffic – only for a major portion of that traffic to meander round your site and leave without making a purchase or whatever it is you want them to do.

So what do you do?

We are sure you have an idea. If not, you wouldn’t be on this site reading about Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO for short.

A perfect case study is German retailer, Budapester. They suffered from having high traffic and abysmal sales. Some years back, Budapester, a luxury fashion brand, was recording thousands of visitors every month.

Naturally, the company expected at least a decent amount of sales judging from the number of traffic coming to their site. But unfortunately, the reverse was the case. The sales were absolutely poor. 

The poor sales extended to the retailer’s mobile site, where sales were even discouragingly lower – less than half of the desktop version.

Budapest did what you want to do on your own website. They got down to work optimizing their site in order to increase their conversion rate.

They made some  tweaks here and there. Changes to their header, individual product pages, and shopping cart page. The final result of Budapest’s labor, as Growcode explains, was:

A rewarding 12.5% increase in conversion rate with the mobile conversion percentage reaching up to 29% each month. Not bad for 6 weeks’ worth of work.

In many ways, optimizing your conversion rate (which means the same as making a sale) is common sense and not rocket science.

Whatever you want to optimize your website for, this guide will help direct you to get the best results possible. You’ll learn what conversion is all about, why it matters, best practices, in addition to how you can get started.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Explained

What Is Conversion?

In online marketing, conversion happens when a visitor on your site takes that action you want them to take. It could be buying, opening an account, signing up for an email list, leaving comments, etc.

Some define conversion as when a visitor completes a desired goal. But in most cases, online business owners equate conversion with generating a sale, which is still correct.

If you sell on your website, your primary goal (or macro-conversion) could be for visitors to buy from you. You might also have smaller or micro-conversions, which are steps (e.g. signing up for emails) that lead potential customers up to your macro-conversion.

Examples of Macro-Conversions Include:

  • Purchase
  • Request for a quote
  • Joining a subscription plan
  • Signing up for a free account or trial
  • Demo request
  • Clicking an ad

Examples of Micro-Conversions Include:

  • Opening an account on a website
  • Adding an item to the shopping cart
  • Signing up for newsletters
  • Downloading a PDF
  • Filling a web form or taking a survey

At this point, we’ll like to state that what constitutes macro- or micro-conversions differ from site to site and from business to business.

What may be a macro-conversion for your business or site could be a micro-conversion for another business.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

While conversion rate refers to the percentage of site visitors that complete a specified action, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) means improving your content and website to increase conversions.

In case you’re wondering if SEO and CRO mean the same thing, they aren’t. But you need the two to grow your online business.

SEO drives more traffic to your website, while CRO aims to convert or enhance the efficiency of your website to boost sales with your current leads.

Optimizing your site allows you obtain higher value from the number of visitors you are currently receiving without having to pay for more advertising. 

To calculate the conversion rate of your site, you can use this simple but effective formula from Wikipedia:


                                                 (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

With the above formula, let’s determine your conversion rate if your website gets 2,500 users but could only convert 500 of those visitors.

Image Credit: Moz

In a situation where  your site is getting this kind of bad result (10%). It is an indication that you aren’t getting the most value from the current traffic coming your way. 

Why Increasing Your Site Conversion Rate Matters?

#1More sales and better profits

We’ve mentioned this before, but we want to touch on it a little. When your conversion rate goes up, it shows that more of your visitors are reading your emails, signing up for your service, and reaching your product pages.

More importantly, CRO helps you squeeze all the benefits out of your site traffic without the need for more potential customers.

#2Increase in Traffic

A high conversion rate means it’s easy for customers to navigate your website, find the products they want, and pay for it. Higher converting visitors leave glowing reviews, spend time on your website, and leave as happy shoppers.

And as we all know, satisfied customers are more likely to convince their family and friends to check out your store.

#3Enhanced User Experience

When visitors feel sophisticated and smart on a site, they usually stick around some more. Conversion Rate Optimization checks what brings about more of your desired goals so you can work on expanding that on the site.

Thus, leading to a better experience for your site’s users and turning them into your unpaid brand ambassadors.

#4More Brand Trust and Repeat Customers

Your site is your number one salesperson. When it looks professional, courteous, and readily answers customers’ questions, customers tend to trust more in your site and brand.

Brand trust makes it easier for users to share their emails and credit card details and visit another time.

Steps to Doubling Your Conversion Rate

Tear through your market. 

Before tweaking or overhauling anything on your site, you have to identify exactly who your potential customers are and, more importantly, who aren’t. Identify what their Hope/Dreams, Pains/Fears, Barriers/Uncertainties and evening make a list of the entire vernacular within your market. All of this will allow you to cater your website, marketing, and any copy/content to have it sound like you’re speaking directly to them. 

You want your marketing content to resonate with the right target. It has to be so compelling and specific that your potential customer can’t resist it.

At Ansel we compile a 360 Market Teardown and help you define an irresistible offer, destroy your competition and create a tsunami of new sales. 


Take a Survey

Ask visitors to complete polls or surveys. Keep questions simple and short to get more responses.

Steer clear of boring or repetitive questions. What you want are insights into target users’ specific needs and wants.

Analyze Your Data

Use CRO tools like Google Analytics, CrazyEgg, Unbounce, or Optimizely to look for patterns.

Could it be you’re getting more customers through Facebook? Or maybe customers tend to go to your About page before moving on to the Product page? Use that data to work on your site and content for better results. 

Conduct A/B Tests

A/B tests tell you which website change will give you the most conversions.

In A/B tests, different site’s features such as colors, headlines, font size, website design, buttons, calls-to-action (CTAs), and more are tested. 

To run an A/B test, you split your traffic into 2 or more equal groups. Group A traffic lands on a version different from that of Group B or the other groups.

Then at the specified time, the conversion rates of the groups are checked to see which is a site conversion winner. The key to getting the right answer with an A/B test is to change a single thing at a time. Test different variations of it.

(Image Credit: Optimizely)

Use Heatmap to Focus on Content That Users Love

Map your buyers’ journey through your site with a heatmap. Do leads spend much time on your blog posts? How far down do they scroll on each page?

Conduct heatmap analysis on your webpages, especially on important pages like the landing and product pages. Use the data to optimize the necessary pages for the greatest conversions.

Don’t Optimize On Guesswork, Stick With the Data 

It’s okay to start your experiment or test based on a guess, but that is where it should end. Once you start collecting data, your decisions should be based on the data or numbers tell you.

Everyone starts out with a guess, but that’s where the guesswork should stop. Once you’re actively collecting data, make decisions based on what the numbers tell you.

Lead Your Customers 

Use directional indicators and Call To Action (CTA) to lead your customers to the desired webpage. Be strategic with how you place navigational panels, arrows, CTAs, and the other directional elements.

Limit Friction

Remove elements that make users pause and promote objections. For example, if you want to make information easily digestible, rewrite it as bullet points.  

3 Tips That Make Your CRO Effort Successful 

When embarking on your CRO journey, you have to work on the next 3 things for your site to get the most out of your CRO labor.

Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

According to Statista, about half of the global web traffic comes from mobile accounts. In the first quarter of this year, mobile devices generated 51.92% of web traffic.

Looking at this data, doesn’t it make sense to optimize your online store to be more mobile-friendly?

Boost Site Speed

If you don’t want to lose prospects the way a leaky bucket loses water, your pages have to load at lightning speed. Your load time shoudln’t exceed 2 seconds max.

Add Positive Storytelling

During copywriting, include positive emotional responses in your articles to help readers envision themselves benefiting from your goods or service.  



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