Knowing where to spend your time and money is hard enough for a small business owner. With digital marketing having so many different aspects, you can feel lost in a world of marketing tools, techniques, and strategies.
What if I said you could simply use the digital assets you have now but turn them into high converting, money-making machines, sounds great right?
Well, you can, conversion rate optimisation is the process of auditing all of your online marketing and taking steps to make it as effective as possible.
What is CRO?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of improving your marketing’s conversion rates, which are the number of people who complete a desired action divided by the total number of visitors to your marketing (this can include your website, email campaigns, PPC and social media). In other words, it’s about increasing your small businesses’ “conversion power.”
Why is CRO important?
Simply put, sales are everything for small businesses. But when you’re running a tight ship and can’t afford to waste money on ineffective marketing efforts, it seems like there’s no way to increase sales without spending more money on advertising.
This is where CRO comes in: with its proven methods and strategies for boosting sales while reducing costs, conversion rate optimisation allows businesses to maximize their ROI using existing resources.
Let’s take a look at an example using a simple service-based website:
- Website A receives 10,000 visits per month and generates 100 leads on average per month
- Website B receives 1000 visits per month and generates 150 leads per month
In this example website, A has a conversion rate of 1% but website B has a whopping 15% due to their diligent work on CRO.
Imagine the success website A could achieve if they applied the same CRO techniques and strategies. Sound good?
Stick around and we’ll teach you all of the CRO best practices alongside real-life examples that you can go away and apply to your site. Don’t forget a 1% change in conversion rate could be transformational for your brand, skyrocketing your business’s revenue and profits.
Why you need to know your conversion rate
You should be tracking your conversion rate, full stop. It’s one of the most important metrics small businesses need to know, it will help you improve your marketing efforts in every aspect and is a perfect metric to measure your business’s online marketing success.
9 easy-to-follow tips for conversion rate optimisation
We’ve listed all of the strategies we use to increase sales and generate leads across our portfolio of websites. Any one of the following tips could help turn enquiring eyes into loyal engaged customers so don’t miss out on some of the quickest wins in digital marketing.
Set some targets or goals
Before we start working on your CRO, there are a few things we need to talk about. First, it’s important to have some clear goals in mind. Ask yourself: “What do I want my audience to do?”.
For example, if you own a yoga studio and want more customers paying for classes, set a target of increasing sales by 20% over the next 6 months. If you want people who receive your newsletter to purchase an online course try setting a target conversion rate based on your email list and how many people buy.
Use great copywriting
Copywriting and how you resonate with your audience is one of the key pillars of conversion rate optimisation. Sympathise with the user’s problems and provide a value proposition that speaks to the reader, that’s it in a nutshell.
When it comes to creating high-conversion content, you should strive to be as engaging and clear as possible. It’s important to remember that your customers are busy people who don’t want to spend hours reading through your sales copy.
Copywriting can be applied to the following to improve your CRO:
- Website home page
- Landing pages
- Blog/service/product pages
- Email campaigns
- Social posts and profiles
- PPC campaigns
- Any other online brand presence
Keep everything short, simple, and easy to understand. It’s also a good idea to break up long blocks of text with bullet points or subheadings (see how we did this in our example above?). This helps you keep users engaged by providing them with quick information they can consume quickly on their way down the page.
The last thing I recommend is using words that trigger an emotional response in the mind of your reader—words like “free” or “guarantee,” for example.
Want to learn more about how copywriting can help your business? Head over to our helpful guide on copywriting for small businesses to find out more about how great copy can drive sales.
Ask for feedback from your customers
One of the best ways to improve your website’s conversion rates is to ask customers what they think. Your customers are the people who interact with your brand every day, so they’re the experts on how you can improve.
You can do this by asking them questions directly or indirectly through surveys and other tools available on your website, by email, or even on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
There are many free services that make it easy for small businesses to get feedback from their customers and market themselves in new ways—for example:
- Google Forms
Most of them include analytics as well so you can really dive into the data to see which questions people avoided, how many people left halfway through the form (time for fewer questions) and even how many of your audience chose to respond or answer.
If you’re looking to increase your conversion rate, you might want to take a look at your buttons.
The buttons on your website are the first thing your visitors will see, so it’s important that they are clear and easy to understand. If they aren’t, people will be confused and click away without completing your desired action.
Here are three ways you can improve the buttons and the conversion rate on your website:
- Use contrasting colours. People tend to click on what’s different from what surrounds it so if you’re website is all light blue you can use a powerful red to stop readers in their tracks and encourage them to take action.
- Make sure that each button has a clear label, so that users can easily identify it as the button they need. For example, “Sign up” or “Log in” are good labels for buttons that take users through the sign-up or login process.
- Keep it simple! Don’t try too hard with graphics or text around your button; keep it simple and clean so people will know exactly what they’re clicking on when they see it!
*Pro tip – You can use a colour wheel like this to find out the best colour for your CTA buttons. Simply enter the hex code that you use most commonly and select ‘complementary’, this will quickly show you the best colour for your buttons to really stand out and stop people from scrolling.
Audience segmentation is a core concept of CRO. It’s based on the idea that people who have similar needs and goals will respond well to different types of content, and they’re most likely to convert if they can find the right solution for them.
So how do you segment your audience? The first step is creating a list of target markets ie the specific groups of people who will benefit from your products or services, and therefore make good candidates for conversion.
As an example, let’s say you run a small business selling outdoor gear online. You might create segments like “travellers” or “outdoors enthusiasts.” Then, when creating your website copy and landing pages, use this list as a guide so that each page caters to one specific goal: travel planning advice for travellers; information about ultralight equipment for outdoors enthusiasts; etc.
Creating this highly targeted content lets you drill down into exactly what a segment needs to see or hear to take action and convert. Without segmentation, you’ll need to cater to a wide audience and you’ll never be able to get laser-focused on your CRO.
Use split testing
You can use split testing on your site to compare two different versions of a page and see which one performs better. The idea is that you show one version to some visitors and another version to others, then compare the results.
This helps you learn what works for your traffic type, and what doesn’t. You’re essentially creating a control group of real visitors who are seeing a specific page, so you know whether or not your changes improved conversion rates.
The most important thing about split testing is getting enough data before making any serious decisions based on it; the more users there are in your control group, the more accurate your results will be!
Sound too complex? Ten years ago you would have been entirely right but now there are fantastic tools you can use to easily set up powerful A/B testing. These include:
- Google Optimize
- Crazy egg
- VWO (Visual Website Optimizer)
- Hubspot’s A/B testing kit
- A/B Tasty
- Adobe Target
- Zoho Page Sense
Remove any barriers to a sale
One of the most important steps to optimizing your conversion rate is to remove any barriers to a sale. This means making it as easy as possible for your customers to find what they’re looking for and purchase from you, without distractions or hidden costs.
- Barriers to a sale or specific action include:
- Removing distractions on the website (like pop-ups)
- Making sure that all prices are clearly displayed and easy to find
- Ensuring that payment options are easily accessible and displayed prominently
- Shipping options are available (and also visible) when needed
- Removing any additional steps during the checkout
Try to think of your marketing efforts as a customer journey, any extra effort or obstacles will lead to a drop in conversion. The easier the pathway to your desired result the more of your audience that complete the journey, this is one of the pillars of CRO and is often overlooked by many small businesses.
Use free tools to monitor your progress
Once you’ve set up your conversion funnel, you can start to monitor the results. This is where free tools come in handy. There are several excellent options on the market that will help you get a better understanding of how users are interacting with your website, and in some cases even help you find out what they’re thinking at different stages of their journey. Here are two that you simply can’t do without.
This is probably one of the most well-known analytics tools out there for small businesses. It gives detailed information about what pages people are landing on, where traffic is coming from, which browsers they use and lots more useful data points. It also allows you to run A/B tests (alongside Google Optimize).
Hotjar is an all-in-one user feedback tool that allows you to get real-time feedback on how visitors view and travel around your website. Heatmaps provide you with all sorts of visual data you can use to improve your conversion rates. These include:
- Where visitors clicked or hovered over
- Scroll maps revealing how long visitors spent on each page
- Visitor recordings so you can see exactly how visitors interacted with specific elements such as buttons or dropdown menus
- Form analysis so they know how many fields were completed/left blank
- Polls after every visit so customers can tell companies what improvements need to be made
Understanding conversion rate optimization can help you get more out of your marketing efforts
We don’t recommend going and applying all of these strategies to your marketing today but consider taking the time to perform an audit of your marketing channels to see which ones could benefit the most from CRO.
If you like some of the ideas in this guide but don’t have the time to apply them to your business consider hiring a freelance CRO expert to help create a strategic plan for optimising your marketing efforts. Not sure where to start? Head over to our guide on outsourcing marketing for small businesses for loads of helpful tips on finding the right freelancer for your business,
*Pro tip – Initially you want to start with your biggest audience reach which is typically your website, it’s much harder to get more traffic than to convert more of the traffic you already get.
We hope the tips in this guide will help you grow your sales and revenue without breaking the bank. Don’t miss our other helpful guides on small business marketing below for more insight into how we grow small businesses with the power of digital marketing.