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CRO the Acronym That Can Double Your Sales

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Imagine you are looking for a new house. In a street with many houses for sale you find the most beautiful one and decide to enter. But, what is your surprise when you realise that inside the house has leaks, no light and the wood creaks. Without knowing where to find her bearings, the only thing she wants to do is run away. 

Sounds like the scenario of a horror movie? But it's the reality of many websites that manage to drive traffic, but don't have the site ready to receive visitors and convert them into customers.

Knowing how to make the most of traffic provides sustainable growth for the company.

This guide explains:

  • how can you increase the number of conversions without increasing traffic;
  • what is the conversion rate;
  • how to implement the conversion rate optimisation (CRO) strategy.

What is a conversion rate and how is it calculated?

A conversion rate defines what percentage of your prospects have completed an action (the conversion). Normally, qhen you talk about conversion, you think of sales, but a conversion doesn't necessarily have to be a sale, it could be filling in a form or subscribing to a newsletter, for example.

Now, let's imagine we own a real estate company, have run an ad campaign and are already driving traffic to the website. Our conversion goal is to fill out the contact form. This month, we had 1000 visitors to the site, of which 15 became a lead, meaning they filled out the form.

Thus, our conversion rate is 1.5%. The calculation you make is 15 Leads / 1000 visitors = 1.5%. 

Conversion rate - how the formula is calculated

And is 1.5% any good?

What is a good conversion rate for my industry?

The truth is that conversion rate varies from industry to industryand even within the industry itself. Why is this happening?

The rate depends on many factors, from the product itself and its value proposition to the usability of the website. To put it simply: it is not the same selling a flat as selling a shirt, nor can we compare a shirt from mass market with one of haute couture

However, it is important to have a market benchmark so you can compare your performance with your competitors. Check the tables below to see how your business compares to the rest of the industry:

Website Conversion Rate

This graph shows the average and median conversion rate for each industry.
Source: Unbounce, 2021

This graph shows the average and median for each industry. Note, we are talking about website conversion, i.e. a solid structure with several pages, whose objective in most cases is to inform, to make the company and the product/service known. A good site has a call-to-action and may have other secondary ones. 

Let me give you an example: on Gigantic we have ?Contact Us? clearly visible along every page of the site, and this is our call-to-action main page; if a user visits our blog comes across the call-to-action secondary of ?Subscribe? to the newsletter. 

What I mean by this is that a website as a rule includes more information, links and distractions that can distract the customer from converting, and hence the overall conversion rate tends to be lower than that of a landing page.

Landing Page Conversion Rate

As I mentioned before, you can expect the conversion rate of a landing page to be higher than that of a website, because everything is focused on getting the user to perform just one action. In the following chart it is possible to check the performance of a landing page, comparing various forms of conversion: click or the completion of a form.

The performance of a landing page in terms of conversion in the form of the click or the completion of a form.
Source: Unbounce, 2021

E-commerce Conversion Rate

In e-commerce, the conversion rate is one of the main indicators, especially when combined with the value of the average ticket.

The graph showing the variation in e-commerce conversion rate according to industry.
Source: IRP Commerce, 2021

Going back to the initial real estate example, our website conversion rate was 1.5%, which is below the market median (2.6%). In this sense, it is important to first understand why and then how we can improve.

Why has the conversion rate decreased?

Falling conversion rates can be a worrying thing, but before you panic you need to assess the performance of your digital strategy and the influence of some external factors.  

Using Google Analytics, you start by comparing traffic and conversion rates over time and across channels. If only one of the channels is affected, then that's where we need to look for our problem. And if all of them are affected? In this case we will present you with 4 possible reasons and some solutions:

? Tip: "Do not put all your eggs in one basket - It is important to have several sources of traffic, because if you bet only on organic, for example, and from one day to the next Google's algorithm changes, you could lose a large part of your traffic in an instant. 

1. change in the website or landing page

Have any changes been made to the site recently? If so, see what didn't work and if it's possible to fix or reverse it. Put yourself in the customer's shoes, go through all the steps to conversion, is there a bug on checkout? One of the tools we usually use at Gigantic in these cases is Hotjar, which allows you to visualize the navigation of users within the site and identify their difficulties (such as the failure to validate the passwordfor example) and possible improvements.

2. New strategy for marketing campaigns

Often changing strategy can cause a drop in conversion. If you have recently changed your target audience or the keywordsyou're most likely trying to reach people who don't know your brand and need more time to convert. So it's important to give yourself time to see if your strategy is working.

3. Seasonality

Depending on the product type, the conversion rate can also vary throughout the year. For example, it is normal for a B2B company to experience a drop at the time of summer. In these cases it is important to allocate more budget to the better performing months.

4. Competition

If, in addition to the number of conversions, there has also been a decrease in traffic and clicks, it is possible that another player has appeared in your sector or that your competition is growing and stealing your qualified traffic. It is important to act soon, applying strategies such as: increasing the budget to get more impressions or defining the strategy to appear first in the results (strategy Printing Quota).

These are the possible reasons if your rate has changed suddenly. And, what to do if the rate was always so low, but now they want to increase it? The answer is: CRO!

What is CRO and why is it so important for your business?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) or Conversion Rate Optimisation is a process of improving various factors that can influence the way people convert. 

Increasing the conversion rate means more visitors complete the desired action, whether it's a purchase, form completion or video viewing. 

Looking at the formula I presented above, we notice two main factors that influence the conversion rate: site visitors (traffic) and leads.

Driving traffic to your site is important, but more than that you need to know how to manage it in order to achieve your marketing and sales goals. CRO helps you make the most of traffic, converting it into conversion and sales, then we see how.

Taking the initial situation, we had a 1.5% rate and 1,000 monthly visits, so 15 leads per month. Let's imagine that we made a site improvement that increased our conversion rate to 3%. So, continuing with the same monthly traffic of 1000 visits, we got 30 leads! This is an example that shows how With the same investment, the same traffic and in the same period of time it is possible to increase the number of customers and reach financial targets faster.

Now that you understand the importance of CRO, we will move on to the strategy and its implementation.

How to implement the CRO strategy?

A CRO strategy consists of applying various practices that help improve your conversion rate. We can say that it is a continuous improvement of your website in order to make it more and more efficient and intuitive. Just like any marketing strategy, A good CRO strategy goes through several steps:

Stage 1 of CRO: Data Collection and Interpretation

Before moving on to optimisation, you need to spend some time researching, analysing site metrics, running usability tests and even interviewing your existing customers.

Once you have enough data, it is important to know how to interpret it in order to understand not only how customers behave on your site, but also why this behaviour is happening and how to better serve their needs.

? One more advantage of applying the CRO strategy is to better understand your customer to adapt to them. Remember, Google rewards sites that show concern for their users by ranking their pages higher in search results.

If you don't know where to start, start by looking at the 3 main pages of your business:

- Homepage

This is the page where your users usually 'land' when they enter your site, so it's important to make a good first impression and leave them wanting to stay and explore further. What does your homepage look like? Does the customer know what your value proposition is, what products/services your business offers? 

> Action: Regardless of the type of business, there are several elements that are essential for the construction of a homepage. Check that you have them all and that the ones you don't already have make sense for your site.

- Product page/price

Of the most important pages on the site, as this is where the first step towards conversion happens.  

? Did you know that 53% of users choose a shop over another with an identical offer, only because the first offers free delivery? (Source: Statista)

Do you also offer the ports to your customers? And do you have this clearly visible throughout the sales funnel? 

> Action: See other ideas from e-commerce experts to try out on your product page.

- Landing Page (LP)

I'll start by saying that, at the outset, the goal of a landing page is conversion. Does your LP have a very explicit proposition? A call-to-action appealing? What about testimonials to put your customer's mind at ease?

? The average conversion rate of a landing page is 2.35%, while the Top 25% convert at 5.31% or higher. But, the goal should be to reach even higher, the Top 10%, whose conversion rates are around 11,45% (WordStream).

> Action: Analyse the elements that make up a good landing page and check that you have everything you need to reach your industry conversion rate. 

CRO Step 2: Test, test, test!

With the data from the previous step, knowing exactly what you should test, the A/B tests will make even more sense and better fit the reality of your site. It is a very complex process, however there are many tools that make it more rigorous and its results more feasible.

? A/B Test is a very frequent practice in CRO which consists of comparing the two versions of the same page/website/application to understand which one converts better. The first version will be your current page and the second has a slight variation, such as the colour of the call-to-action button. If you change too many elements at the same time, you won't be able to know exactly what influenced the change in conversion rate.

I believe that in the previous step you have already figured out what you should test with your customers. That's why we have selected just a few examples of the most frequent elements to test in CRO:

- Call-to-action

Call-to-action are buttons like ?Add to cart? or ?Contact us? which are used on websites and landing pages to guide the user to convert.

As a general rule the button should be clearly visible (size and colour), have the contrast to be easy to understand that it is a button and be located above the first fold.

Apart from the design, it is important to use verbs in the imperative (?download?) or the infinitive (?download?) and to be clear on the action we want the client to perform.

Want to know more? We've put together some other good practice, the best examples and more tips.

- Contact Form

According to Dan Zarella from HubSpotthere is an inverse relationship between the number of fields in the form and the conversion rate, that is, the more fields the customer has to fill in, the higher the dropout rate. The same study shows that 3 is the ideal number of fields that guarantees a conversion of 25%, on average. What if we increase the number to 4? The conversion rate drops by almost 5%.

However, as I said, nothing is better than experimenting with what works best for your business. So, the contact form of Gigantic is longer. The same is also true for Speissewhose website we built from scratch. Why was this? Due to the type of business and the reduced budget, this was the best way to qualify leads right from the start. 

You can't reduce your form, but you also don't want to lose conversions? Try the following options with your audience: divide the form in 2 steps, where in the first page you have 3 fields and in the next page you ask for 4 more, for example; or ask for the most basic information first and after a few days send an email requesting the rest. Another tip is to include the process bar, who has already filled 60% knowing that it is almost over, will hardly give up. See more recommendations here.

- Testimonials and Reviews

  • According to Trustpilot, 89% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. 
  • A other study reveals that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase on a website that has user reviews. 
  • And 72% state that positive reviews make them trust a company more (Source: Search Engine Land). 

These statistics make it clear that the opinion of third parties has a great influence on the purchasing process, also serving as a form of social approval.

That said, adding testimonials and reviews to your website increases customer trust in the company at the early stages of the funnel. In addition to conveying greater security in the online buying process, it decreases the bounce rate and helps to convert better.

Change button colour call-to-action, Decreasing the number of form fields or including a section on the site are small tactical changes, but sometimes you need something more in-depth. 

Therefore, I would also like to present some strategies more complex to try out:

- Marketing Automation (Email Marketing and CRM)

Marketing automation is the use of technology to automate marketing actions and processes, reduce manual work and increase the efficiency of actions (Source: RD Station).

We're talking about marketing automations when we get an email about some trainers we left in the shopping cart. Or when we finish filling out the contact form and immediately receive an email with a calendar to schedule the best date to call us.

The main objective of automation is to manage leads with minimal intervention from the team side: the tools analyse consumer behaviour, identifying their buying stage and potential interests, sending them the right content to take them to the next stage. Making the customer progress along the sales funnel.

Of course, behind this there is a great effort to set up a workflow for different leads, but when done well and adjusted to the reality of the company, several hours of work are saved.

Many businesses leave this process in the hands of experts. In Gigantic we work CRM and automation with different partners, HubSpot, RDStation and Active Campaign, which allows us to choose the ideal option for each type of business.

- Mobile-first

?94,9% of the entire Portuguese population accesses the Internet via mobile (Source: Digital2021). This being the type of device responsible for over half of all traffic to websites worldwide (Source: Statista). 

Today, the customer journey passes through various channels: it can start on a smartphone, where he does a quick search on a product during his lunch hour, move to a laptop when he gets home to see several reviews and in the end make the purchase in a physical shop. 

This process can take several days and it is therefore important to make the consumer return to our site, whatever the device. In this sense and taking into account the numbers presented above, optimising the site for mobile becomes one of the crucial points in a CRO strategy. 

Take a test in this tool developed by Google to evaluate the compatibility of your site with mobile devices. If you were not satisfied and think you can improve, these are some good practices:

  • Buttons and other elements (such as form rows, for example) should be proportional to the screen size to be easily clickable. 
  • Allow login to the site via Facebook.
  • Take advantage of auto-fill to make the search easier.
  • When filling out a form it opens various types of keyboards according to the information requested (See more here). 
  • Reading large chunks of text on mobile is exhausting. It's important to keep the same content, but make it shorter or more visual.

Using these techniques not only makes the mobile version of your site more userfriendlyIt also benefits from a better position in Google's search results, since in March this year Google started favouring sites that have a better performance on mobile devices.

- Remarketing

When someone visits our site, the famous cookies track their activity within it: the pages viewed, the products added to the cart, the checkout started etc. When the user leaves the site (often without converting), the cookie informs our ad platform which in turn creates a personalised ad, encouraging the customer to return to our site and convert.

In other words, using remarketing is create a second opportunity to drive the customer to the site and convert. It is the base action not only for a CRO strategy, but for any marketing strategy.

Again, always remember that what has worked for some, will not necessarily work for your site. Even though it's a widely used technique in marketing, applying CRO to your site ends up being a very unique process. The examples provided serve as inspiration, but the ideal is to test with your audience and work out what works best.

Stage 3 of CRO: Implementation and Tracking

Once you understand what works best with your customers, it's time for implementation. Without forgetting that the market is constantly changing and what is working well today, may no longer make sense in a few months' time. 

That's why CRO strategy is a strategy of continuous improvement. Monitoring data to find new ways to optimise your site should be a recurring practice, based on planning.

And here you ask which tools should you use and which metrics should you pay most attention to? It's normal that with so many paid and free tools at our disposal and the data we can get from them, it's sometimes difficult to understand what really matters.

- Traffic Origin

As I mentioned above, knowing where your traffic comes from and how each channel converts is very important, so you can bet more or less on each source. In addition, it is important to be careful not to bet everything on just one channel.

> Tool: Google Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels or Google Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium (if you have your Well configured UTMs you will be able to draw a number of insights from this).

- New User Conversion and Interaction

It takes just 0.05 seconds for a user to form a first impression of your site and decide whether to stay or leave (Source: CXL). According to Justin Mifsud, 88% of users will not return if they consider their experience with the site to be horrible.

Think about the image and message you want to convey in the short time you have to create a good first impression. See how users behave on your site, which pages they visit most and how you can improve their experience to keep them coming back.

In addition to conversion, indicators such as the time users spend on your site, the number of pages they view and the bounce rate are equally important, as they show that your site has interesting content for your target.

> Tools: Hotjar; Google Analytics > Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning.

- Cost per Conversion

When increasing the conversion rate it is important to take into account profit margins and cost per conversion. There is no point in having a conversion cost of £50 if the average ticket is £20.

> Tool: Google Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels (to analyse the conversion cost per channel).

- Exit Pages

Analyse the pages that make people leave your site. The user who has not completed all the steps is a lost potential customer. That's why it's important to see which step causes the most difficulty in moving forward in the conversion process.

Exit pages are also a great opportunity to remarket to people who have visited the site and not converted.

> Tool: Google Analytics > Behaviour > Site Content > Exit Pages.

- Charging time

Remember those 0.05 seconds I talked about above, for a user to form a first impression about your site? They are valid here too! If the site takes a long time to load you won't even have time to make a first impression, so you have to pay a lot of attention to the technical performance of the site.

?website conversion rate drops by up to 4.42% for every additional second your website takes to load during the first five seconds of page load (Source: Portent).

Site loading speed is important to provide a good user experience and directly impacts the conversion rate. In addition, it is an important factor for ranking in Google.

> Tool: Page Speed Insights.

Regardless of the CRO strategy used and your conversion goal, it is important to do the right thing setup of the same on platforms such as Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Analytics. Before you go any further, review our article ?The 5 Most Common Website Tracking and Analytics Problems? which will save you hours of work if something goes wrong.

Tracking the above metrics allows you to analyse the performance of various campaigns so that in the future you know what needs to be optimised and act before a small bug becomes a serious problem.

How can Gigantic help?

As you may have realised by now, Getting traffic to your website is not enough, you need to know how to work it well; do a thorough analysis of the site, choose between various CRO strategies to apply, constantly monitor metrics and changes in user behaviour and have the consumer as your focus. 

Also take into account external factors such as Google and Facebook updates that change their mechanism and can affect the positioning of your website. All this requires a lot of planning, technical knowledge and constant testing, requiring effort and time from the company. 

But don't worry because in Gigantic we have a team of professionals who seek the best strategy for each business and specific niche. We have a wide network of partners and our tools allow us to make a complete analysis of your online presence and define based on data the best way forward.

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