High conversion rates are a holy grail of every online business model. However, fine-tuning your online presence to turn it into a revenue channel is somewhat challenging. The most seasoned marketers spend tens of hours researching, planning, and executing conversion rate strategies for just one conversion goal.
Meanwhile, according to Econsultancy, only 22% of companies are OK with their current conversion rates. It provided an excellent opportunity for marketers successful at it to deliver conversion rate guides and boost their conversion rates even further.
If you are new to conversion rates, you might find the advanced guide too complicated to follow. Here is a practical and straightforward guide on how to boost your conversion rates. Since the niche jargon is often the first barrier you have to overcome, let’s address it first.
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What Are Conversion Rates?
Conversion rate is probably a phrase that you’ve stumbled upon a 100 times by now. It’s an essential phrase and the main building block of many guides online. Before jumping to the conversion rate, you need to understand what a conversion is.
Let’s say you have an email subscription form on your website and that your goal is for your website visitors to complete it and click subscribe. Whenever a visitor completes this action, it’s considered a conversion, which brings us back to the conversion rate.
Conversion rate is the ratio of visitors that complete the desired action or convert and the total number of visitors to your website. A low conversion rate means that your marketing is inefficient and that your web design disrupts the user experience – a good conversion rate indicates the opposite.
Why is it important? According to FirstSiteGuide’s Internet Statistics Recap, eCommerce sales are expected to reach $3.914 trillion in 2020. Improving conversion rates can help you increase your market size and generate more profit.
What is a good and bad conversion rate? For a conversion rate to be decent, it doesn’t have to be around 40% – anything between 2% and 5% is considered a good conversion rate. Now that you know what conversion rate is, how do you track conversion rates on your website.
Ways to Track Conversion Rates
Before you learn how to track conversion rates, you need to know what is the thing you want to measure. Do you want to see how many visitors register accounts with your website, how many of them subscribe to the mailing list, or contact you to request more information?
Each one of these actions can be a conversion goal. Once you set a conversion goal, you can start tracking conversion rates. There are plenty of ways to track conversion rates. You can use software tools to estimate how many people visit your website and compare it with the number that converts.
However, marketers want to make this process as streamlined as possible. Today, the most common way to track conversion is via a specialized software tool. There are a variety of conversion tracking tools. Each one of these apps tracks conversion rates in the same fashion.
You set the conversion goal, and the tool feeds back the data – the total number of visitors, the number of visitors who take the desired action, and the raw conversion rate percentage. Some tools even show traffic sources and conversion rates for each traffic channel. We will come back to tools and technical requirements for conversion rate optimization (CRO).
How to Calculate Conversion Rates
You can have one or several conversion goals on your website, and you can easily calculate conversion rates for each goal. You can do it for a specific traffic source and calculate the overall conversion rate of your website.
The formula for a conversion rate goes like this:
Number of visitors who take the desired action (convert) / Total number of your website visitors
You can take this formula and apply it to each one of your traffic sources:
Number of visitors arriving from Facebook that convert / Total number of visitors arriving from Facebook
You don’t have to memorize the formulas by heart – their purpose is to help you understand what conversion rate is. All the tools used for CRO feature built-in algorithms able to do these calculations on auto-pilot.
Essential Aspects of Conversion Rates to Optimize
One of the essential aspects of CRO is the traffic source. While the overall traffic is important, traffic sources are more important. Having high website traffic and low conversion rates may be a sign that you fail to reach the right audience. For future reference, all screenshots are made in the Google Analytics tool.
It’s important to know that different types of traffic have different intentions. For instance, search visitors and direct visitors may have higher engagement levels than referral visitors in your specific case. Optimizing traffic sources is essential.
You need to be able to reach diverse demographics segments. If you increase the number of sources, it can help you identify the most fruitful source. It’s easier to create a high-converting marketing funnel when you know which channel to focus on.
The conversion rate of new visitors is also an essential aspect of CRO. The first impression of your website is a factor that can drive higher new visitor conversion rates. The common tactics to improve it include improving the usability of the website and making content relevant and to the point.
Return visitor conversion rate is also essential. There are two aspects of this conversion rate to take into account:
- Did the return visitors convert the first time they visited your website?
- What action can lead visitors to convert now that they’ve returned?
Then we have interactions per visit and session duration. Every website visitor exhibits unique behavior when browsing your online content. Interactions per visit and session duration will help you understand how your visitors use your website. The information will help you increase the number of interactions, which will eventually result in a conversion.
Value per visit is the aspect of conversion rate that enables you to calculate the value of your conversion rate. The formula is simple. Divide the total income generated on your website with the total number of visitors. It’s a sort of conversion rate transferred into a real-world value. Tracking the value per visit can help you assess the success of your CRO and marketing efforts.
Tools and Technical Requirements for CRO
Back in the day, you had to be a wizard on the computer to master the CRO. Today, the entire CRO process is streamlined. More importantly, there are free online resources to help you learn how to use each of the CRO tools, even if you are an absolute beginner.
On top of that, there are guides such as this one to help you understand the most important aspects of CRO and factors that affect CR in general.
Technical requirements for CRO include:
- Proficiency in one or several tools used for CRO
- Knowledge in web analytics, SEO, PPC, and affiliate marketing
- Basic understanding of the psychology of website visitors
- Ability to run A/B tests and multivariate tests on websites
The list may appear comprehensive. Basic knowledge in all of these fields is more than enough to start a CRO strategy. You will learn and improve along the way, and if you are really interested in CRO, you can become an expert in a couple of years.
Now, back to the tools used for CRO. The leading paid solutions out there can help you analyze your website traffic and get insight into conversion rates. However, many marketers use Google Analytics. In fact, Google Analytics is currently installed and used on almost 30 million websites.
It is a free tool that comes with a complete CRO toolkit. We won’t dive into the specifics of using it, as that’s an entirely new guide in itself. You can follow the official Google’s instructions to master it.
Google Analytics is essentially a web analytics tool. If you want to use some other tool, there are great alternatives, including Matomo, Woorpa, GoSquared, FoxMetrics, and others.
While these tools help you analyze your traffic and measure conversion rates across all your traffic sources, you need to use additional tools to understand your customers, more precisely, how they interact with your website.
There are two free tools to help you do it. CrazyEgg has been around for quite some time now, and it’s used by marketers worldwide. It can help you generate heatmaps and get insight into your visitors’ behavior.
Recently, Microsoft also released a free heatmap tool featuring session playbacks as well. Clarity by Microsoft is also worth exploring as it was built with beginners in mind. It’s intuitive and easy to use.
Important Metrics That Affect Conversion Rates
The conversion rate is a dynamic concept by its nature because it depends on several factors. Here are the most important metrics that affect conversion rates.
Your website performance is one of the most important factors that affect user experience. Great loading speed is of the essence today if you want to improve conversion rates. Modern consumers are impatient – they expect the site to load the moment they click. You risk losing them if your site is not lightning fast.
Usability is another piece of the CRO puzzle. Visitors have to be able to find what they are looking for intuitively. Complicated menus, product listings, and over cluttered web pages can confide visitors and cause them to bounce off.
Furthermore, we have responsiveness as a vital SEO signal, but it affects conversion rates as well. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, so your site has to be mobile-ready if you want your mobile visitors to convert.
Finally, we have an SEO metric – your website rank in the search engine result pages. The search traffic brings engaged visitors who want to find more about the product or service you are selling. Improving your SEO will bring more organic traffic to your website and help you improve conversion rates.
Mistakes to Avoid When Optimizing Conversion Rates
As you delve deep into the CRO, you will discover that it’s a complex field. Optimizing and changing one element can affect your total traffic and conversion rates. Before you start planning your next CRO initiative, you should be aware of the common CRO pitfalls. Here is what you should avoid.
Don’t jump immediately to CRO before you identify your unique selling point. Markets are saturated with products and services, and you have to communicate the value you deliver to customers. Visitors have to be able to figure it out effortlessly. Feel free to include it in your ad copy and on landing pages as well.
Using flashy images and animations can help you grab people’s attention. However, be mindful of your website loading speed when adding high-quality images or videos. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights and keep your website loading speed in the green.
Assess your website design and usability. Good user experience comes from reliable design concepts. Don’t go reinventing the wheel with your website design. Use the tested and proven layouts to deliver an unparalleled user experience to your visitors.
Landing pages are the bread and butter of CRO. They can help you skyrocket your lead generation metrics. One of the most common mistakes is not delivering unique landing pages for specific customer segments and specific traffic sources.
Finally, if your goal is to sell products and services online, you should consider adding content with strong trust signals. With no signals at all, your CRO initiative will barely produce any results. Studies indicate that the commonly perceived risk factors include product risk, convenience risk, and return policy risk. Add social proof to your landing pages and home page to inspire trust from your new customers.
Working on boosting conversion rates is an engaging and creative endeavor, but there’s plenty of ground to cover, as there are many factors and metrics to take into account.
Now that you know which tools to use, what to pay attention to, and which mistakes to avoid, you can create your first CRO strategy. In the beginning, it will boil down to trial and error, but as you progress, you’ll become better at CRO, and you’ll know exactly what to do next.