Now that you’ve finally gotten used to writing “2019” when you fill out forms, you may be considering a new CRO strategy to help you exceed last year’s traffic and revenue goals.
If so, you’ve come to the right place, and you’re acting at just the right time.
Now, more than ever, web visitors are more discerning and require an A-level web presence if they’re going to subscribe or buy from you.
A CRO strategy will ensure that every aspect of your website is tailored strictly for your audience while boosting traffic, leads, customer signups — and therefore, revenue.
That’s way below the national average, which is from 1 to 3%.
If you’re unhappy with your conversion rates, a CRO strategy can help.
It’s said that the mere use of conversion rate optimization tools delivers an average rate of return (ROI) of 223%!
Not only are you going to learn about a few tools in this article, but you’ll also receive actionable CRO advice that you can use to ramp-up your web marketing results even further.
Let’s get started.
What is a CRO Strategy?
A conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy is a way of optimizing each stage of your marketing funnel. By looking at each stage of your funnel on an individual basis, you may start to see holes where leads or revenue may be leaking through.
A CRO strategy will help you patch those holes for greater marketing success in the New Year.
Benefits of a Well-Aligned CRO Strategy
There are five primary benefits to ramping-up your digital marketing game with a CRO marketing strategy.
1. Earn More Leads
An effective CRO strategy ensures that every aspect of your online presence is designed for maximum conversions, be they clicks, subscribes, purchases, or phone calls.
While not every lead will turn into a sale, more leads equals higher chances of success. A CRO strategy is what you want to put into place when ramping up your leads database is one of your top priorities.
2. Improve the Quality of Your Leads
When you tighten up your digital marketing game with a CRO strategy, your message will be clearer and targeted for your audience. That means that only those with strong interest will be likely to flow through your marketing funnel, giving you ample opportunities to close more sales.
3. Make More Sales
With more traffic flowing in and stronger leads populating your database, and with a CRO strategy that makes your offerings irresistible, your sales are sure to rise significantly.
4. Increase Your Rturn on Investment (ROI)
When you’re not getting as many false clicks and irrelevant leads, your cost per lead will decrease, leading to more profit.
When your entire web presence is streamlined and the time from lead to customer becomes shorter, you’ll find yourself earning more leads and sales with the same marketing investment.
5. Improve Your Online Reputation
Google likes to deliver its users quality links to valuable websites. When your CRO strategy begins paying off and you begin earning more traffic and higher sales, Google is sure to reward you with higher search engine rankings.
With Google prominence will come even more attention from organic sources, helping to ramp-up your digital marketing success even further.
How to Create a CRO Strategy and Everything You Need to Consider
Before we get to how to develop and implement various CRO methods, it helps to visualize and analyze the marketing funnel.
The marketing funnel is divided into three distinct parts.
Top of Funnel: This is the awareness and discovery stage when prospects are just beginning to search out a solution to whatever problem they’re facing.
Middle of Funnel: This is the consideration stage when the consumer is seriously thinking about buying and is now looking at various choices.
Bottom of Funnel: Here is where the buyer is out to make a decision. Otherwise referred to as the conversion stage, this is where sales typically happen.
When you think of your entire digital marketing footprint in those terms, you can more easily find ways to improve your marketing message and entice more customers to flow through your marketing funnel to the ultimate conversion.
Keep in mind that we’re not just talking about your website.
Conversion rate optimization covers every aspect of your marketing footprint, which does include your website. It can also include your blog, paid ads, social media profiles, email marketing campaigns, and mobile apps.
There’s also video marketing and landing pages with forms, and so on.
A CRO strategy is about improving your efforts across the board so that your marketing game is tight and you’re doing everything you can to push maximum conversions.
Here are some ways to improve every aspect of your marketing campaigns with CRO.
Digital marketing prospects today want personalized messaging that speaks to their needs. This means that you can’t send the same messaging to every prospect and hope for max conversions.
Instead, an effective CRO methodology is to segment your audiences, if you haven’t already done so, in order to precision target your marketing messaging and overall campaigns.
Whether you are targeting prospects with your blog, email campaigns, or paid advertisements, your marketing messaging must speak to the prospect’s problems and needs.
For instance, for the consideration stage, blog posts might describe common solutions to problems. During the consideration stage, the idea isn’t to sell but rather to inform.
By providing your audience with solid tips, advice, and takeaways that set your brand apart, they’ll be hooked, and on they’ll move through the rest of your marketing funnel.
The same techniques should be used for your other campaigns that target those at the consideration and conversion stages.
To segment your audience properly, create buyer personas for each segment and be specific. The better you know your segments, the better targeted your messaging, and the better results your CRO strategy will provide.
New vs. Existing Customers
Don’t just focus on converting prospects into first-time customers. Instead, continue to communicate with customers so that they’ll return to buy from you.
Your conversion rate optimization strategy should ensure that you have blog posts, emails, paid ads, and landing pages reserved for the already converted.
You can earn repeat business by offering discounts, showcasing products and services that might interest them given their purchase history, or by sending a simple message asking them to come back.
When you can use your CRO strategy to improve first time and repeat conversions, you’ll have a conversion loop that ramps up your success with even more profit.
Market Basket Analysis
Market Basket Analysis is a savvy way for e-commerce sellers to find associations between the products they sell.
This requires a CRO analysis of the items you offer in an effort to discover if your segments are more likely or less likely to buy another set of items.
To complete a market basket analysis, you’ll begin looking for combinations of purchases that commonly occur together.
Examples may include makeup and makeup cases, shoes and shoe care kits and even socks, fishing poles and camping equipment, and so on.
The basket in Basket Analysis refers to a transaction, as this CRO methodology is commonly used by retailers, both online and off.
To find commonly linked items, you’ll use what are referred to as Association Rules.
Retailers today use powerful algorithms that can predict products for consumers with scary accuracy, especially with the use of artificial intelligence.
However, when conducting basket analysis on your customers, don’t just look for product associations.
You might have services that are commonly paired together. Look for times of purchase to see if more customers buy on Wednesday than they do any other day of the week, for example.
You might find that more prospects buy at lunch time each day or that they tend to use tablets in the evening as opposed to desktops during the day.
While it is true that this type of CRO analysis will require you to dig down deep into your website’s analytics data, the effort may be well worth it.
When you can find combinations of items, times, and other elements, you can use those as opportunities to fortify your marketing campaigns for higher conversions.
Next, we’re going to take a look at a few methods for building a solid CRO strategy and calculating whether it’s ultimately paying out.
Here you are going to calculate the return on your marketing investment.
To do so, you’ll take the sales growth that you’ve experienced and plug into the following equation.
(Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI
If your sales growth amounts to $5,000 and your marketing budget is $2,500, then your ROI is ((5,000 – $2,500) / $5,000) = 0.5 or 50%.
That would be an incredible ROI and that’s exactly what you should be aiming for. With a CRO strategy, exceeding your expectation is the overall goal.
Site Search Analysis
In an effort to make your site conversion-ready, you should always have internal site search enabled. This is a search box that allows site visitors to find pages without having to click on your menu.
To improve the effectiveness of internal search, you should make your search box easy to find with large text and sizeable input area. Ideally, visitors to your site won’t have to scroll to find a method to search for the pages they need.
Make sure you are checking Google Analytics for any pages that are landed upon through the use of your internal search function.
Google Analytics has a special tab reserved for site search user data. Make note of that data and remove pages that aren’t commonly searched for — or make them more targeted so that they’re selected by prospects and return customers.
Another tip is to add helpful text in the search box to guide visitors into searching.
With a more noticeable search box and by keeping an eye on your site search data, you can improve your searches for greater conversion optimization success.
You should know how much profit your campaigns are earning, which is a good litmus test for how your CRO strategy is paying off. When maximum profit is your goal, you should know which numbers to aim for.
To find out where your profit margins are currently, you can use the Ultimate Profit Margin Calculator created by Moz. (That’s a Google Docs link, so make sure you make a copy for yourself before adding or deleting any data.)
Using that CRO analysis calculator, you can determine the profit margins from your sales when taken into context with your investments like paid ads, sales, and other expenditures.
As your CRO strategy begins working, your profits should also rise in kind.
Product Interaction Layer Analysis
Here you are looking for patterns in product interest and sales from two layers.
There is the customer-driven interest and sales and then there is the layer that is computer-generated. Here is where AI may come into play.
For proper product interaction layer analysis, you should be using all means at your disposal, both customer data and computer-generated data, to seek patterns that will help your CRO strategy succeed.
Landing & Next Page Path
For this step of your conversion rate optimization strategy, you’ll want to turn back to Google Analytics. More specifically, you’ll want to go into Behavior Flow.
Next, click on the dropdown box near the top of your dashboard and select Landing Pages.
This report will tell you which landing pages are most popular and where drop-offs happen, which indicates that users are landing and then bouncing.
User Flow will also show you where visitors go next in their journey through your website.
Once you know which pages are the most popular and which ones visitors tend to select second, you can drive more traffic to those pages and bolster the next step pages to make them even more valuable.
Your CRO strategy should work to stop any page drop-offs to keep visitors browsing and buying from you.
Designed as a type of CRO funnel, this model involves four main steps, which are often referred to by the acronym AIDA.
AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Like the marketing funnel, the traditional funnel has taken many shapes.
Here is one example.
Below, you’ll find a B2B marketing funnel example.
Here we see AIDA broken down into the steps a lead takes before the conversion occurs.
Awareness: The customer becomes interested in what you have to offer and becomes a Lead.
Interest: The Lead exhibits interest and becomes qualified.
Desire: The Lead is motivated to become Sales Qualified, creating more Opportunity.
Action: The Qualified Lead takes the next step, which is to convert or ultimately buy.
As part of your CRO strategy, see how well your current marketing efforts line up with the AIDA and traditional funnel concepts.
You will then want to implement your segmented audience buyer personas to ensure you have an accurate model of buyer behavior. That data can then be used to make your CRO strategy truly shine.
Somewhere along the line, B2B marketers figured out that the traditional model doesn’t work as well as when you turn the funnel on its side.
Imagining the traditional marketing funnel on its side is a conversion optimization process that proposes that prospects enter the funnel because they’re looking to have a problem solved, and the final conversion is the light at the end of the tunnel.
With the horizontal funnel, the concept of AIDA still applies. However, unlike the traditional funnel, where every lead enters at the top, the horizontal funnel works differently.
Due to the prevalence of information and inter-connectivity with multiple platforms and devices, prospects may enter your funnel at any stage. They may enter at the middle, bottom, or at the top.
Your CRO strategy should ensure that your marketing message is tailored for all of those opportunities.
Remember, effective marketing in today’s digital world requires you to be personal. When you create messaging specifically for someone who has just entered your funnel at the decision stage, you are more likely to gain the conversion.
Do that for all of your segments and aspects of your marketing funnel and you can boost your conversions all around. That’s what an effective CRO strategy is all about.
Examples of Common CRO Strategy Problems
The good news is that most of the challenges you face can easily be overcome.
Head of Funnel
If your prospects aren’t becoming leads, something is critically wrong with your marketing message. Or, some aspect of your brand is turning off prospects completely, such as an ugly or outdated website.
To repair a “head of funnel” problem, ensure you are segmenting your audience and that you have one segment for the Awareness stage of the marketing funnel.
At this stage, prospects will be attracted to well-produced content that speaks to their dire needs.
Stand out and give actionable advice that prospects can use. That will make your brand memorable and prospects will be more likely to become a lead, easing them further down the marketing “tunnel” toward the illuminated end.
Existing Customer Flow
Once again, you should be dedicating part of your conversion rate optimization strategy to your existing customer base. Loyal customers who repeatedly buy from you represent constant returns on your investment.
Each customer earned was a product of your marketing efforts and you should have to spend less effort enticing them to return over and again, provided your quality control and customer service offerings are exemplary.
If you don’t have any current strategies to lure current customers back to your brand, there’s no better time than the present to begin.
You already know the process. Follow the marketing funnel, either traditional, marketing, or flipped onto its side for the horizontal version, and use AIDA.
Entice existing customers with a helpful email and direct them to sign up for your newsletter to sales qualify them, then present them with a discount to close the deal.
That’s just one example of how you can optimize your existing customer flow for an effective CRO solution.
New Customers Flow
Now focus on your new visitors and how they go from lead to customer.
Where are the majority coming from? Are they originating from your Google SEO efforts or paid advertisements?
Maybe a social media strategy is powering the majority of your lead generation efforts.
A CRO strategy should try to optimize every opportunity you have to direct traffic to your brand offerings.
This includes SEO, SEM, Social media, email marketing, and even events, radio ads, and TV commercials. Get the traffic flowing and then figure out through your CRO analysis and strategy how to convert those leads into more sales and higher revenue.
Start with originating pages by visiting Google Analytics and finding the Acquisition>Source/Medium reports.
Then, visit User Flow to see where visitors are landing and traversing to next. This is all valuable data you can use to fuel your CRO strategy for greater results all around.
Examples of Effective CRO Strategies to Try
You now have a lot of information to play with when it comes to boosting your traffic, leads, new customers, and repeat purchases from existing customers.
To provide additional information, here are some of the top strategies many B2B marketers are using today.
Retargeting Leads to Re-Engage
Retargeting is the concept of luring back a prospect who has once visited your website.
You may have noticed retargeting in action but didn’t realize it. If you ever visited a brand website, like Macy’s, you may begin seeing ads for Macy’s the next time you log into Facebook, for example.
Retargeting is an advertising method that’s based on the idea that consumers rarely make a purchase the first time they’re exposed to a product or brand.
Do you know what the number of times consumers will be exposed to your brand messaging before they convert is? You may be surprised to learn that it’s seven.
Retargeting ensures that your brand stays top-of-mind wherever your prospects may travel online, whether it’s on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or their favorite app.
Many platforms, like Google Adwords and Facebook, offer retargeting as an option.
Even if those customers merely touch and bounce, your brand will stay on their minds with ad retargeting.
Optimize High-Performance Blog Posts
A well-produced blog will have entries for those entering at every stage of your funnel, no matter which iteration you choose to follow.
From simply solving problems at the Awareness stage to advice that builds emotional excitement at the decision stage, and even luring customers back after they’ve already converted, your blog should cater to every segment of your audience.
To view your most popular blog posts, so that you can emulate your success with every other post you publish, find Behavior in Google Analytics, then click on Site Content>All Pages.
This will give you a list of all of the pages of your site, which you can then filter by searching for “blog.”
Once you see which blog posts are attracting the most visits, try to discern why they work so that you can develop templates for every blog post you create, and for all segments, from now on.
Key CRO Strategy Tips for Marketers
When putting this advice to good use, make sure you keep the following conversion rate optimization tips in mind at all times. Doing so will save you time and frustration as you put your CRO strategy into place.
Use Google Data Studio for Reports
Google Data Studio is designed to allow you to create custom reports that tell a data “story.”
You can interact with your reports, edit and set different time ranges, and even share your reports with others.
When you compile all of your most critical reports in a single platform like Google Data Studio, you can more easily make sense of the data.
To begin using Data Studio, click on the New Report tab, similar to selecting a new document in Google Docs.
From there, you will want to click New Data Source at the bottom right-hand corner.
From there, you can select from a wide range of report options, including Google Analytics.
The more options you draw from, the more diverse your reports will be, and the more you’ll learn about your audience.
All this data can help to improve your CRO strategy by giving you real-life evidence that your conversion efforts are working or not.
Optimize for Different Types of Platforms
Don’t just focus on your website when engaging in a CRO strategy. Today’s B2B marketers need to have a 360-degree view of their prospect’s journey as they go from lead to customer and then return for more.
This means that you should be using your conversion rate optimization analyses and strategies to improve your emails, blog posts, paid advertisements, and landing pages.
Your entire marketing footprint should be optimized for maximum conversions and the advice you’re learning here can help you do just that.
Use a Heatmap Tool to Understand Your Visitors
When it comes to your conversion rate optimization best practices, heatmaps let you see how your visitors act once they land on your website.
With heatmaps, you can see where your visitors have hovered their cursors, clicked on buttons, and tried to click on unclickable images, for example. In the case of the latter, heatmaps could help you make those images clickable for greater visitor enjoyment and a conversion boost.
You have many choices when it comes to heatmaps, but there’s one company that started it all: Crazy Egg.
As the first innovator of heatmaps, Crazy Egg lets you determine web visitor behavior and so much more. The best part is that the platform comes with a 30-day free trial.
Take Advantage of Crazy Egg Features
This type of data can help you determine how valuable your site happens to be and how well your visitors are achieving their goals.
Crazy Egg tools can even help you identify roadblocks, which could cause your conversions to suffer.
The best aspect of Crazy Egg is that you can A/B test various site elements with your audience in real time.
Whenever you have a CRO strategy ready to go, you can test your changes at whim and glean useful data that will improve your site and entire marketing footprint over time.
And when you take advantage of Crazy Egg’s 30-day free trial, you get to see how your CRO strategy will perform without fully committing.
Of course, once you see how useful Crazy Egg is for CRO strategy analysis and implementation, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t signed up sooner.
Your web marketing efforts are the result of immense market research and in-depth knowledge of your sales audience.
Once your marketing efforts are set into motion, it can be difficult to determine if they are as effective as they could be.
A conversion rate optimization strategy is an effort to get the most from your site and all accompanying platforms.
By segmenting your audience, understanding the various iterations of the marketing funnel, and by keeping a close eye on your audience while keeping various CRO methodologies in mind, such as product layer analysis and site search analysis, you can be well on your way to higher conversions.
Whatever you do, ensure you use Google Analytics, Google Data Studios and a platform like Crazy Egg to analyze your marketing footprint and test various hypotheses.
Only through data and testing can you eventually determine if your conversion optimization efforts are the best they could be, or if they still need a little work.
With enough effort and understanding of the above concepts, your CRO strategy is sure to pay off.
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