Do It Yourself: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) can be a huge, on-going project that needs consistent optimization and review. Some agencies even have entire departments with multiple specialists dedicated to CRO. The art of conversion rate optimization can be overwhelming so we’ve listed some low-hanging-fruit practices to implement on your site and/or landing page. Before diving in, let’s define conversion rate optimization:

What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of making and testing changes to your marketing materials (site, adcopy, landing page imagery, etc.) to increase the amount of conversions. This article will specifically offer tests and practices for your site or landing page. 

When looking at a site, a marketer must assume that the user needs their hand held throughout the entire process. We cannot assume they’ll do exactly what it is we want them to do on your website or landing page. We must guide them and make it as simple as possible for them to take the intended action. Here are our low-hanging-fruit practices to try out on your site:

First glance: what CRO changes should I make to above the fold of my site?

Above the fold is the concept of your site’s view upon immediate entry without scrolling or navigating. We want to assure above the fold has all of the most important information and calls-to-action as possible. A call to action is exactly what it sounds like – the desired action you want a user to take. This could be a “shop now” button if you have an e-commerce site, a button to a form submission (even better if you can place a small form above the fold), or a phone number if you want phone leads. 

If phone leads are important to you, we always recommend keeping your phone number in the header of the site for each and every page, as well as the footer, and on the contact page. The idea here is that someone could navigate several pages of the site – we don’t want them ready to take that intended action and they can’t find what they need. In these situations, it’s very easy to lose the lead if you don’t present your call to action in multiple and easy-to-find places within the site. Similarly, if you can accommodate for both, we always recommend having at least two different types of calls to action for lead generation sites. Some people hate talking on the phone and would rather submit a form and be contacted later while some people despise entering their information and just want to make the quick phone call. Giving the users clear options assures that if they’re ready to take that conversion step, their preferred method is available to them. With that being said, go ahead and throw a button in your header as well. They’ll see it the moment they land above the fold and know where to find it at all times. 

Perhaps a user decides they want to read additional information on your site before submitting a form, making a purchase, or giving you a call – another great and easy-to-implement practice is making your header sticky. This means the header stays with the user as they scroll. By doing so, your call-to-action-filled header will follow the user around at all times, so they should have no problem finding exactly what it is we want them to find. 

Here is a snapshot of JEMSU’s site above the fold: 

You’ll notice our phone number and our main call to action in the header as well as a second call to action before you even scroll. There are now 3 opportunities for users to do what it is we want them to do before scrolling. Additionally, we have very short, to-the-point content above the fold that clearly conveys what it is we do and a user can achieve with JEMSU. 

What calls to action do I use?

Some marketing professionals say it’s best to use consistent calls to action as to not confuse your audience. Others say it’s best to sprinkle different ones throughout your site to pique interest in case another one doesn’t work. We’re big fans of testing and implementing changes based on the data. Some of our clients have the same, consistent CTA. Others have different CTAs based on the data we’ve gathered. One thing we are certain of is that calls to action need to be short, sweet, to the point, and you-centric (if it matches your brand). By you-centric, we mean something like, “Start My 30 Day Free Trial” or “Get My E-Book.” Calls to action should never be pointed towards what your goal is as the business, “Give us your info,” for example. It shows the user is doing you a favor, not the other way around. There are a myriad of calls to action you can try, but testing is going to give you relatively definitive answers on which ones perform the best for you and your business. 

How do I make my calls to action stand out?

When a user is looking at multiple sites in their research phase, it’s likely that they see similar calls to action across multiple sites in their research. It’s OK to use the same verbiage as competitors (without directly duplicating theirs) but we want to make them stand out on your site – it’s simple for them to gloss over the same verbiage they’re reading across multiple sites. Make sure your calls to action are very clearly button clicks to forms, or that your forms are very clearly forms within your site. It’s best to use contrasting button colors to draw the attention of the user. You can test out different button colors and verbiage in A/B tests with programs like Google Optimize. We recommend not testing too many variables at once. For example, if you’re testing button color, keep the verbiage the same in the A and B portions of your testing. Then later or as your C and D variables, test the verbiage. While it may seem tedious, this process is going to give you the most accurate results to make your informed decision on. 

How can I increase my form fills?

Form fills are the most popular call to action on sites looking for lead generation. It’s very easy to fatigue a user with too many form fills. Try to keep your forms as simple as possible, ask for only the absolute necessary information you need from the lead. You can always contact them or set up a call for the information you need to close the sale. 

Earlier we mentioned wanting to make sure your form stands out – it’s important that your form is very obviously a form. Form fills can look just like regular copy on the site, put a border around your form, change your form fill colors to have some contrast compared to the background and – as we’ve learned – make sure the submit button has a good call to action and has the highest contrast compared to the rest of the page. And as a gentle reminder, try to keep only necessary form fills. It might make it easier on your sales team to gather as much info as possible, but keeping a short form will increase the likelihood of the user filling it out. If you have to qualify your leads a little bit, try sticking to one or two qualifiers outside of name, phone, and email.

Lastly, make sure you always have a form on your contact page and the contact page in the navigation. Most importantly here, make sure the form is above the fold. Once again, a user might not scroll and can miss the form entirely, even if it’s contrasted and very obviously a form. 

How do I increase purchases on my site?

E-commerce purchase CRO is much different than lead generation but utilizes similar best practice principles we’ve listed here. Some additional must-dos include proper nomenclature in your navigation. For example, printed catalogues are a thing of the past. Feel free to call your product catalogue “Products” or “Shop” rather than “Catalogue” in your navigation. It makes it very clear that the user can find all of your products or shop on that page. Similarly, make sure your product categories are more generalized and less branded if the name of the product doesn’t directly tell the user exactly what it is your product is/does. The Whirly 3000 might be your proprietary oscillating bedroom fan but the user might not know that right off the bat. 

You can also push to increase purchases by making sure you 1. Have a shopping cart in the sticky (don’t forget this) header of your site and 2. It properly reflects how many items they’ve added to their cart. Users are so used to seeing their product count in a little cart or shopping bag that they often leave before checking if their products have been added by navigating to the cart.

Lastly, run through your checkout process often and by different test users. Your checkout process might seem simple and straightforward to you, but it could be grueling for an everyday user. We recommend asking friends and those unfamiliar with your business and checkout process to garner feedback. 

We urge you to check in on your checkout process often because, well, sometimes sites and carts break. 

It’s also best to give your users the opportunity to checkout as a guest. While it’s great to have them load up their information for a better experience next time, you want that sale now. You can always require their email and market to them via email later (with a completed opt-in, of course). 

Speaking of email marketing to them later:

How do I get contact information from a user on my site?

Whether it be lead generation or e-commerce, gathering an email (or phone number if you’re willing to give them a call) of a user is incredibly valuable. It’s guaranteed that you’ll generate 10 times the amount of traffic versus the leads or purchases you hoped for. If you can get that contact information, you have a better chance of engaging them later on and turning traffic into conversions. A great way to do this is adding a pop-up to your site. More specifically, we’re big fans of exit-intent pop-ups. Exit-intent pop-ups allow you to gently nudge the user to give their contact information before they leave the site. Different softwares can trigger a pop-up based on time spent on-site or even their mouse navigating to the back button or the exit. Rather than aggressively hitting them with a pop-up that interrupts their flow when browsing the site, the exit-intent pop-up is the last ditch attempt at gathering their information. We love OptinMonster.

I can work on conversion rate optimization myself?

Absolutely. As we said, it’s a lifelong process that will always need consistent optimization and testing but these few actions we’ve mentioned can help set you up for success. Never forget to continue to test your changes and try something new as far as design and verbiage. As always, JEMSU is happy to take a look at your site and offer further suggestions for conversion rate optimization. Give us a call at 720-545-1555 or drop a line here!