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A CRO Guide for Marketers

As a marketer, pulling online traffic is one part of your job. But all that traffic you produce via ad campaigns, SEO, and SEM efforts doesn’t guarantee conversions. As a result, it has always been nothing less of a quest for digital marketers to identify ways that can help them generate high-quality leads to achieve better conversion rates.

what is cro marketing

Download Free: Conversion Rate Optimization Guide

This is where CRO marketing enters.

In this blog post, we will focus on what CRO digital marketing is, the best strategies to pick up and prioritize, and the CRO tools that are available for you to leverage CRO’s true power.

What is CRO marketing?

Conversion rate optimization marketing or CRO marketing is crucial because optimization enables your marketing efforts to edge over those who do not practice CRO marketing efficiently.  

CRO marketing is a process of increasing the percentage of your website visitors taking the desired action (such as subscribing to mailing lists, signing up for a free trial, filling out a form, or downloading an ebook).

These actions could vary from meeting your main business conversion goal to attaining micro conversions. For instance, site visitors making an online purchase on an eCommerce online store could be your primary goal, and clicking the ‘add to cart button, which would move them ahead in the sales funnel, could be a micro-conversion.

So, how can you get more website visitors to convert? When employing eCommerce conversion rate optimization tactics, remember: the first step is not looking at the visitors but looking within your company to identify your business goals.

What are CRO marketing goals?

First thing first. You must know what you want to achieve with your conversion optimization exercise. You need to zero in on a set of goals, and for that, you need to sit with your stakeholders and identify the critical metrics (also known as KPIs) that define your business goals.

Once you have identified the goals specific to marketing, you can use the A/B testing framework recommended below to test your conversion rate optimization ideas.

Do your research

Utilize Google Analytics and behavioral analysis tools, such as heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys, to gather behavioral insights from your existing website traffic.

Qualitative research, like surveys and behavioral analysis, complements quantitative data from Google Analytics. This combination provides a holistic view of visitor behavior, adding context to numerical metrics.

Understanding both the ‘what’ and ‘why’ is crucial for building a solid research bedrock for your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy. It’s the synergy of quantitative and qualitative insights that paints the complete story of user engagement on your website.

Image source: Ferpection 

Select key metrics

Identify the top key metrics that directly impact your business conversion goals—for example, free trial sign-ups, online purchases, etc. Don’t forget to make observations of these data as they will help you compare your conversion rates pre and post-experimentation.

Build hypotheses

Construct hypotheses based on each of the observations and combine them wherever required. You can fill the following to create and articulate a hypothesis: “I believe______, and if I am right then _______, because_________.” The latter part of the hypothesis is the qualification of the outcome that you expect and why you think so.

For example, I believe that adding customer testimonials on key pages will address the low rate of audience purchasing because testimonials will establish the credibility of our product/service as social proof. You can prioritize your hypotheses using the ICE model for efficient execution. 

Run your experiment

Optimizing your conversion rate marketing efforts requires exhaustive testing because you can’t maximize conversions straight out of the gate. To get closer to perfection and get more paying customers onboard, A/B testing your marketing strategies is critical.

Remember, A/B testing should be an ongoing process. Mentioned below are some important aspects of your site pages that significantly impact your conversion rate. 

  • Headlines
  • Images, videos, and visuals
  • Copy
  • Banners & links
  • Navigation options
  • CTAs

Numerous case studies show how optimizing page elements have helped thousands of businesses increase their conversion rates. For example, AMD, one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, is a VWO customer. They leveraged A/B testing to improve their brand image.

In one of their experiments, they aimed to increase social shares. Consequently, AMD tested six social icon placement versions, which resulted in a 3600% increase in social sharing with no adverse impact on the site’s overall engagement rate.

Analyze your test results

Study your test results for any uplifts in conversion rates (including micro-conversions). It’s imperative to run a test till it reaches 95% statistical significance, which yields relevant results.

Also, you should run a test for a minimum duration that accounts for traffic variations for both weekends and weekdays. Do remember to document your result metrics for subsequent experimentation activities. 

In the below section, I’ve listed some common and easy-to-implement tests that can kick off your conversion rate optimization journey smoothly and are likely to give you some quick wins.

CRO strategies to get started: focus on low-hanging fruits

Your high-traffic website has enormous potential to turn your website visitors into paying customers. You only need a direction on how to go about the optimization and conversion process. Your conversion rate optimization strategies could be both site-wide and visitor-level.

Here is a list of some strategies that you can implement:

Rule of congruence

Congruence in marketing can be explained as the alignment and uniformity of your brand voice across channels in the most intuitive way. For instance, your ads should match the image on your landing pages, leaving no room for confusion in your prospects’ minds.

The last thing you want is for your prospects to doubt your brand. You can determine and confirm what drives more traffic—the same image on the ad and the landing pages, or two different images. 

Use CTAs anchored within the blog text

According to an experiment by HubSpot, they captured between 47% and 93% of leads on one of their posts, using the text-based CTA. You can highlight your text-anchored CTAs within your blog posts or guidebooks. 

Try implementing these subtle conversion rate optimization tactics and see whether they yield favorable results. These little changes boost your conversions and move your test metric in a positive direction.

Example of anchor text CTA in a blog post
Image source: Hubspot

For example, Critique Jeu, a gaming and sports consultation company, changed the color of their anchored text CTA, resulting in a 22.8% increase in clicks on internal text links. 

Overall, you need clear and appealing CTAs, be it on your social media pages, landing pages, or any other page, that effectively convey your message. No visitor should be confused regarding what action to take next. 

They’re usually bold, and attractive, and are designed to grab your website visitors’ attention instantly. In the example below, Manna Natural Cosmetics saw an increase of 490% in its click-through rate by simply highlighting its product name and prominently highlighting the checkout CTA.

Manna Case Study

Create lead flows

A lead flow in conversion rate optimization defines the flow in which a lead is captured in exchange for an offer. It is a pop-up or a slide-in box that appears while you interact with a web page. The idea of this pop-up is to offer something to add value to your experience.

But it can be annoying, as it hinders your focus while you are reading on a screen to solve a problem at hand. Yet, in a few cases, it has worked well. For example, the below-shown lightbox drove a humongous 1,375% more sign-ups as compared to the sticky sidebar form on the landing page. 

Lightbox form:

Example of a lightbox sign up form
Image source: Aweber

Sidebar form:

Example of a sidebar form
Image source: Aweber

For B2B websites, especially those focused on lead nurturing, optimizing forms is key. Each form fill counts as a conversion, making it crucial to streamline the process and prevent abandonment. Maximize conversion rates by refining form field dimensions, adopting a single-column layout, and offering social media sign-up for added convenience.

In general, the shorter the form, the better it is. This is because people today do not have the patience to fill out lengthy forms. Try to distill your forms as much as possible. Ask for only those details that are of utmost importance to your business to be able to communicate with them. 

Regardless of how good you feel your design is, you must know how visitors feel about using your forms. For instance, you can try to find out where you’re losing more people in the process of filling them out. Heatmaps are a handy tool in this regard.

You can use Google Analytics to assess conversion leakage on forms or take a deeper look into conversion rates along the customer journey through micro funnel analysis.

Whatever method you use, analyzing your forms can help you pinpoint the part of the fill-in process that’s putting people off.

Optimize your conversion path

Remove the friction from the sales process for your high-intent visitors. These are those visitors that land on your website either through paid advertisements or direct search with the intent to convert. You can remove the friction by optimizing your conversion paths for different visitors.

A conversion path is an ongoing process wherein your website visitor becomes a marketing-qualified lead (MQL). For example, a few visitors might want to get down straight to work. In a B2B setup, your prospects might not want hand-holding across a typical, step-by-step buyer’s journey that you have crafted. Instead, they would need a call with a sales rep by jumping right in requesting a demo rather than a free trial.

Analyze visitor behavior, note these observations, and run experiments to find the best conversion path for high-intent visitors. A healthy conversion path for your website constitutes: 

Digestible content with a clear context

Address a specific pain point with a solution in your content. Connecting with your target audience through impactful content is the key to increasing conversions.

Knowledge of buyers’ personas

You should know who is your ideal prospect/customer. For example, you should know their demographics, psychographics understanding, etc.

Enticing CTAs

Action-oriented, congruent, and clear CTAs are the most enticing ones. But again, never overestimate your assumptions. You might end up shooting yourself in the foot without backing your hypotheses with data. Utilize the behavior analysis tools to embed CTAs in the right places on your website.

Optimized thank you pages

The conversion path comes to a full circle with an optimized thank you page. It will fulfill the promise you made to your visitor on your landing pages and allow you to push them further in their buyer’s journey.  

Flos USA, a pioneering lighting company, strategically optimized its entire conversion path to address the problem of low conversions on its retail website. By leveraging the capabilities of VWO, the team delved into behavioral analytics, generating valuable insights that fueled a series of tests over 18 months. The outcome was remarkable, with the checkout rate soaring by an impressive 125%

Cart page control and variation

Optimizing your high-performing content

Leaving your high-performance content unattended is akin to killing your conversions slowly. For example, your high-traffic blog posts should trigger you to push these visitors into your conversion funnel. You can do so by adding CTAs about your business within the context of your content most logically and intuitively. This approach is likely to yield better conversions. 

You can optimize your high-converting landing pages as well if they do not drive traffic. To do so, fix your SEO with semantic indexing and entities, which might result in an organic push from Google. Of course, this does not guarantee a high ranking on Google. However,  you can run an experiment to see if that works for your high-converting content pages. 

Further, leveraging VWO’s improved text recommendation engine, you can experiment with different copy variations on your website. Contextualized copy suggestions tailored to your brand will not only captivate but also inspire your visitors to take the desired action and convert. Take a free trial to explore the feature

Retargeting to re-engage website visitors

Your visitors may jump off your website for many possible reasons. However, you can retarget these users by using push notifications and also by optimizing your landing page.     

You can optimize your ad content with a well-crafted copy, engaging images, videos, and a compelling offer to target the lost visitors. With behavioral insights in place, you can also utilize website personalization for retargeting. You can utilize retargeting tools such as Retargeter and Adroll.

Further, the two-way integration between VWO and Google Analytics 4 will help you in retargeting your lost visitors significantly. You can use campaign data from VWO to launch several marketing activities through Google AdWords.

Suppose you own a health and fitness website, and after running a test, you observe that although visitors engage with exercise videos, not many of them subscribe to paid fitness plans. To re-engage these users, you can implement a targeted email campaign offering a limited-time discount on premium subscriptions. All you have to do is create a campaign audience in GA4, and initiate a retargeting campaign with Google Ads. Similarly, you can conduct tests targeting GA4 audiences on VWO.

These conversion rate optimization strategies lay the foundation of your CRO efforts. But lack of prioritization before implementation can leave you befuddled with the results. To increase your site’s conversion rate, organize your conversion rate optimization plan by prioritizing strategies for a logical and smooth implementation. 

Use videos and other new elements to your advantage

Improving conversion rates is about engaging and persuading visitors. Your landing page must capture their attention. Then, the pages need to convince them that they want to take the action you need. There are few things that are more attention-grabbing or persuasive than videos.

Many types of marketing videos can help increase conversions by communicating the real value to audiences. For example, in the case of an eCommerce site, use product demo videos to increase page time spent. See how Amazon uses videos to demonstrate its products and increase visitor engagement.

Image source: Amazon

A video can speak directly to your target audience. It can help you convey far more information in a shorter time than plain text. Animated GIFs and other engaging elements can also help engage visitors and boost conversions.

Download Free: Conversion Rate Optimization Guide

Prioritize your strategies

Assign a number on a scale of 1 to 10 to every strategy that you pick for your conversion optimization exercise, using the impact, confidence, and ease (ICE) scoring model. A higher score would mean that the CRO strategy should be picked and implemented early on in the pipeline. 

Now that you have a list of prioritized strategies with you, ready to be implemented, you must realize that strategies alone can’t help you succeed in your optimization journey. You will also need the right set of tools. 

Image source: Zeda.io

CRO marketing tools

Evaluate your CRO tools well before putting them to use. Here is a recommended list of tools you can utilize to amplify your CRO efforts. 

But here’s something you must remember when making this choice. Launching a successful CRO strategy often involves juggling different tools – qualitative tools for behavioral analysistesting tools for conducting different types of experiments, and project management tools for maintaining backlog and fostering team collaboration. 

Finding a platform that seamlessly integrates all these key capabilities isn’t always easy. However, VWO has consolidated them into one unified platform. With VWO, managing your entire optimization workflow becomes a streamlined and efficient process. Take a free trial to see how it all works.

Best practices

Your customers’ response and, of course, trends in your business goals should drive your CRO efforts. However, there are a few best practices that any CRO team should follow:

  • Always have your ideas, and assumptions backed by data, and test them before making any changes to your website.
  • Utilize the ICE model to prioritize and rank your CRO strategies as discussed in the above sections.

CRO marketing: on a rescue mission for the complex journey of the modern customer

An efficient conversion rate optimization strategy takes care of the complicated journey of a modern, 21st-century customer on your website. For example, a visitor’s journey on a travel website is not as straightforward as one would assume.

As shown in the below image, the flow involves several nuances that need to be taken care of while creating a website’s CRO strategy. 

Example of a user journey on a travel website
Image source: Miro medium

Identify the steps where your visitors get lost and break them down into small and easy steps to move things seamlessly. Never assume that your prospects or even customers know everything. Instead, always back your observations with data, empathize with your personas and implement changes only after testing your experimentation hypotheses. Following a proven process is the only way to find success with a conversion rate optimization strategy.

Watch how CRO helped Baby Tula drive 16% more revenue.

Way forward

Implementing marketing strategies for conversion rate optimization is not a one-time effort. It’s a persevering quest to be better than what you were yesterday. The best part about CRO marketing is that it does not interfere with your other existing marketing strategies; instead, it facilitates them to convert visitors better. 

Moreover, by trying to maximize value from your website’s existing traffic, conversion rate optimization ensures a high return on your investment without continuous spending on ad campaigns.

So, are you ready to improve your website’s average conversion rate and stay ahead of your industry peers? VWO integrates essential capabilities for successful conversion rate optimization and personalization strategies. 

Take a free trial and embark on this exciting journey! Happy optimizing! 

Niti Sharma
I've worked as a writer and editor in the B2B SaaS space for over 6 years. I read and write on all things CRO and experience optimization. I'm a chai fanatic and a paranoid parent. When I'm not copyediting or working on marketing projects, I love to spend my time reading. Besides B2B content, my passion lies in modern, behavioral astrology. I'm a dreamer and wish to write stories for children someday :)

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