Your First Steps into the World of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – Beginner’s Guide

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    Home / Growth / Your First Steps into the World of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – Beginner’s Guide

    Digital marketing has replaced the need to go to stores and make purchases. Today, you can add items to your cart with a few clicks and complete your process. Therefore, companies and marketing teams are focused on driving traffic to websites hoping that the increased traffic then converts to qualified leads and, eventually, sales. 

    Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is an invaluable way to ensure that people do not leave your website without buying anything and encourage customers to engage with your brand. The power of CRO provides the basis for sustainable growth, and optimizing your conversion rate is a great way to convince people to complete the desired action.

    Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies

    In this guide, you will learn how to start optimizing your conversion rate, planning a CRO campaign, and why you should focus on CRO.

    What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

    Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors to complete the desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form. Conversion rate optimization gained importance after the 1990s when technology companies realized the massive growth and adoption of the internet.

    As competition grew and companies started experiment with web design, improving user experience moved to the forefront. Testing became more accessible, and in 2007, with the introduction of Google Website Optimizer, conversion rate optimization became a key element of many digital marketing campaigns. 

    Why is CRO important?

    CRO is important to enhance your SaaS company's customer experience and achieve your conversion goals by tailoring your website and digital marketing strategy. Here are three key benefits of CRO:

    1- Higher Profit

    The more, the merrier, but make it the higher, the better. If your conversion rate rises, the percentage of people who engage with your content also rises. This is important to increase the number of actual buyers.

    2- Increased Traffic

    As your conversion rate increases, more and more people (aka potential customers) discover your website, interact with your product, and eventually make a purchase.

    Not only will they make a purchase, but they will also recommend your product to their friends, colleagues, or family. They will be more likely to leave reviews and testimonials about your service and it will be your social proof.

    3- Maximized Customer Value

    CRO improves the quality of your design, copy, or ads so that the quantity of time or money the customers spend on your website increases. Making customer-centric changes to your business improves the chance of a higher conversion rate.

    It also reduces the cost of acquiring new customers because you actively work to enhance the user experience; therefore, you get more value from existing users and visitors.

    How do you calculate the conversion rate?

    The conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors and multiplying that number by 100 to get a percentage.

    Conversion Rate Optimization Formula

    Getting Started - how to optimize your conversion rates

    As you are diving into the world of CRO, it is important to map how you can start and operate a CRO campaign. By following these steps, you can easily move customers through your conversion funnel. 

    Here are five steps:

    Identify Your Key Metrics and Target Audience

    Before starting a CRO campaign, it is crucial to know your target audience and what key metrics you will use to convert them. The success of your optimization efforts depends on perfecting your target audience—age, gender, job, hobbies and interests, location, and so on.

    After creating the perfect user persona for your business, you need to select key metrics which will help you calculate your conversion rate. Some key metrics include:

    • Subscription or submitting an email address
    • Downloading content
    • The amount of time spent on your website
    • Upgrading to a higher tier of your service
    • Completing a purchase

    1- Gather Data

    Once you are settled with the target audience and key metrics, it is time to analyze user behavior. Gather data on your customers and website, determine your traffic sources, and try to understand how users interact with your service and which areas you need to change to improve your conversion rate. Try to make predictions and form hypotheses to use later.

    2- Run Tests

    After you have gathered the necessary data and made notes for future changes, your focus should be on testing. In addition to testing tools, you can also conduct A/B testing (split testing) and multivariate testing (MVT). 

    A/B split testing, also known as split testing, shows two versions of the same page to two different groups or segments, but only changes one variable such as font, product description, CTA button, button color, and more.

    This test helps you evaluate which elements drive or diminish conversions. And according to a study, 56% of marketers prefer A/B testing as their primary method. 

    Multivariate testing (MVT), on the other hand, is used to test multiple variables of multiple versions of one webpage. MVT is great for determining which variables work best together. Therefore, it is usually recommended only for higher volume businesses.  

    As you are conducting your experiments, make sure you are tracking your conversion rate accurately and consider how you can improve every element on your site. You also must ensure the content matches the message to avoid confusion.

    3- Analyze

    Remember the hypotheses you formulated while you were gathering data? It is time to use them for analysis. Were your assumptions true? Did the test work? If you saw an increase in conversions, can you prove it conclusively? While analyzing, it would be best if to reflect on your original goals and key metrics.

    If your test failed, do not feel discouraged. Learn from your mistakes, understand what went wrong, and move on to the next step.

    Optimization results

    4- Repeat

    This final step is gathering new data based on your analysis, re-evaluating your key metrics and customer segments, tweaking your campaign, revising company goals and ultimately trying again.

    CRO is an ongoing process, and as long as you are learning, you are one step closer to increasing your current conversion rate.

    Conversion Rate Optimization: 5 dos and 5 don'ts

    Being a beginner is great in many ways—you can find inspiration easily, the sky is the limit for your ambition, and more. However, it also comes with mistakes. We listed the top 5 dos and don'ts to help you with your CRO journey:


    1. Use the latest tech
      Thanks to the advanced technology available in digital marketing, it is easier to form a conversion strategy and optimize your conversion rate. Using the latest technology will help you stay up-to-date with the industry and competitors.
    2. Measure your results
      You need to measure your results to make sure the changes you have made are working or if they are not working, measuring your results allows you to see why they have faults. Using tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot to capture and analyze data will help you save a lot of time and money.
    3. Collect data
      Having accurate data is the key ingredient of CRO success stories. Staying on top of your insights and results will ease the process of decision-making when it comes to revising your digital marketing or CRO strategy. Make sure your website is equipped with the necessary tools to collect data.
    4. Know your audience
      As you are gathering data and integrating tools to your website, you also should familiarize yourself with your target audience. Do you know what percentage of visitors are actually your future customers? Having a strong grasp on your potential customers will enable segmenting your conversion strategy accurately.
    5. Try something new
      We saved the best item for last! Thinking outside the box and trying something out of ordinary is good for your business (and improving your conversion rate). Keep your mind open for new ideas!
    Conversion rate optimization data


    1. Be afraid to try paid traffic to get started
      A research shows that there are 8.5 billion searches on Google per day. This must tell you that you need to gather data and get visitors quickly if you want to surpass your competitors. Paid advertisement on social media or search engines can give you the head-start your company needs. You must go to customers first before they come to you.
    2. Change too much at once
      We can agree that change is usually great to refresh your business mindset. Nevertheless, changing too many things drastically at once might make it difficult to determine which changes made an impact on your CRO. In fact, these drastic changes may decrease your conversion rate. It is best if you focus on one change at a time and analyze the results. 
    3. Ignore your instincts
      You know your business better than anybody else. Digital marketing trends change all the time and things come and go really fast. It is important to focus on your instincts and analyze data to understand where the problem is.
    4. Forget your business metrics
      Don't forget to track your essential business metrics when developing or revising your conversion strategy. Sales and profit make your company healthy; therefore, keep your metrics in mind when you make a decision.
    5. Make a decision too soon
      Making hasty decisions can cause you a great opportunity to connect with your customers which will hurt your conversion rate (and sales). Store needed data when you make a decision and try to change one thing at a time.

    4 Essential CRO Tools You'll Need

    Optimizing your conversion rate means more than increasing email signups, writing engaging blog content, or re-locating your primary CTA button although they are important parts of the process. However, when you want to increase the overall conversion rate of your website, your primary goal as a business owner or marketer is to maintain a viable conversion rate optimization process.

    Here are our four recommended CRO tools you can start using today:

    1- HubSpot

    Price: Free

    HubSpot defines their service as "Google Analytics meets SumoMe meets a CRM." Certain features are completely free to use and its exit intent forms tool allows you to change popup forms without using any codes. This feature also integrates with HubSpot's CRM.

    HubSpot CRO

    With HubSpot's platform, it is easier to gain insight into your website visitors and their behavior as they search through your pages. In addition, their easy dashboard informs you about which marketing efforts boosts your conversion and which need tweaking.

    2- Google Analytics

    Price: Free for Basic plan

    Google Analytics is one of the go-to analytics tool, if not the analytics tool for your business. With Google Analytics, you can track your website visitors and their demographics, monitor which keywords people are searching, devices they use to visit your page. Also, you can see whether visitors complete goals, where your traffic generates from, and more! 

    Although it does not provide you with linking specific emails or contacts to visitors, it is still a great (and free!) way to track analytics!

    Google Analytics CRO

    3- Optimizely 

    Price: Free with Start plan, other plans vary

    Optimizely has an AI-powered system that equips you with necessary features. To test, discover, and adopt a consistent conversion optimization strategy, Optimizely helps conduct A/B or multivariate testing across all devices including mobile apps, TV apps, and IoT apps. It also helps you determine which customer groups or segments are important for your strategy.

    However, they are not really transparent about their prices, but they receive high praise online for working well among marketers.

    Optimizely CRO

    4- Unbounce

    Unbounce is especially great for beginners because you can create and test landing pages, pop-up forms, and sticky bars without any developers. Their grader-style tool helps you compare the health score of your company with your competitors in your industry. It also alerts you whether your image is too large or your website takes too long to load, and gives a report of recommendations to improve your conversion rates.

    Final Words

    Long story short, conversion rate optimization can be daunting as a beginner. However, if you plan your steps and track important metrics, you can easily improve your conversion rate. Using essential CRO tools, testing, and gathering necessary data will also help you revise your CRO strategy.

    Don't forget to be open about new ideas and experiment according to your business goals! You are now ready to face the world of CRO.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you optimize conversion rate?

    To improve your current conversion rate, you need to formulate a CRO strategy involving your target audience, key metrics, essential tools, gathering and analyzing data.

    What does conversion rate optimization do?

    Conversion rate optimization increases the percentage of users who complete a desired action on your website. These actions can be completing a purchase, signing up for newsletter, filling out contact form, and more.

    What is conversion optimization plan?

    Conversion optimization plan consists of multiple steps. It starts with understanding your target audience and key metrics. CRO plan provides you with a list of necessary actions to increase your conversion where customers are engaging with your brand and completing desired actions.

    What is a good conversion rate?

    A good conversion rate depends on your definition of "conversion" and business goal. However, the benchmark for e-commerce businesses globally was around 2.7% in the third quarter of 2020. If you are not happy with your conversion rate, you should start the optimization process.

    Why is conversion rate important?

    Conversion rate is a great way to lower your customer acquisition cost and increase your revenue by maximizing the value you get from the existing customers and visitors. It also makes it easier to attract new customers and grow your business.

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