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Conversion Rate Optimization 101: How You Can Increase Sales for Sustained Growth

It’s no secret a lot of focus goes into the strategies you deploy to bring people to your ecommerce site. But the relationship between increased sales and boosted website traffic isn’t that simple.

In many cases, sustainable growth requires looking inward and optimizing your existing website, customer journey, and other aspects of your business through conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Here’s what we know: the typical conversion rate of Google Ads for ecommerce advertisers is 1.84%, but the top 10% experience an astounding 6.25% conversion rate.

What are those 10% doing that the 90% aren’t? They’re using CRO techniques to create a persuasive experience that makes people pull out their wallets. The top 10% aren’t relying on hunches, they’re running tests, trying new landing pages, experimenting with innovative strategies, and making data-driven decisions.

That’s what CRO is all about. Making data-driven decisions based on facts, not biases.

Ask yourself this: how much effort has gone into optimizing your site to optimize the customer experience? Learning how to maximize conversions will have long-lasting effects on your business.

In this article, we’re going to cover the basics of CRO, including popular CRO techniques, best practices, and more.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization aims to increase the percentage of total visitors that make a purchase. Technically, a conversion can be anything you want it to be, such as signing up for a newsletter or filling out a form. Within ecommerce, conversions typically mean making a sale.

CRO is a collection of techniques that persuade people to become customers and make it easy for them to do so. You’ll need to know your conversion rate, so as a refresher, the conversion rate formula is:

Conversion rate = total number of conversions / number of visitors x 100

The resulting number is a percentage that tells you if a specific test is successful or needs to change. Conversion rates absolutely must be tracked over time and for specific tests, otherwise, you’ll have no way to gauge whether they’re working.

How to Get Started with Conversion Rate Optimization

Are you ready to make the most out of your traffic? Let’s explore the basics of what it takes to create a persuasive user experience.

1. Start By Fixing Bugs and Friction Points

Much of the conversation surrounding CRO is dominated by A/B testing and fine-tuning product pages. But before any of that matters, you need to start by fixing every possible problem with your site.

It’s crucial that every corner of your store is tested on multiple devices and browsers. You need to know if there are any bugs lurking in less popular browsers and devices. Load up your site in Internet Explorer and on specific mobile devices. Did everything work perfectly?

Even after every bug is squashed, there might still be friction points that make people leave. Site speed is the biggest source of friction that can lead to a high bounce rate. About 70% of consumers said page speed impacts how willing they are to make a purchase. The highest conversion rates happen on pages that load within 2 seconds.

Those statistics make it clear that site speed is a direct way to increase your conversions. If your site is taking 10 seconds to load, focus on that before diving deeper into other CRO techniques.

2. Make Decisions Based on Data

Conversions don’t happen in a vacuum. They’re backed up by other metrics that tell you how interested a visitor is in your products, such as:

  • Time on Site
  • Cart abandonment rate
  • Interactions per Visit
  • Click-through rate
  • Traffic sources
  • Bounce rate
  • Exit pages

Tracking the above metrics sheds light on exactly where in the sales funnel people are leaving. If you see the checkout page is a popular exit page, you need to discover why. Bounce rate too high? Your site speed might be too long, or the landing page is off-putting.

Track and measure each of these metrics alongside your conversion rate to paint a better picture of the customer’s entire experience and what’s preventing them from becoming a customer. Every piece of data can help you make informed decisions, rather than guessing what’s going wrong.

If you are experiencing a high CTR, but customers continuously bounce within seconds of arrival, there may be a larger technical issue impacting the user experience. This is where CRO comes in. An effective CRO strategy will use the data available to identify page load speeds, whether headline copy, imagery, and general are relevant, as well as other factors that may lead to high bounce rates.

3. Conduct Regular A/B Tests to Gauge Effectiveness

A/B tests are the cornerstone of CRO since they highlight the effectiveness of specific changes within an isolated environment. Sometimes called split testing, this technique calls for sending the same type of traffic to two different versions of the same page. After a predetermined time frame, one is declared the winner and becomes the new version.

Remember the top 10% of Google advertisers with a conversion rate that’s three times higher than average? They might be writing brilliant ads, but they’re absolutely conducting A/B tests with every change they make to collect relevant data to guide the decision making process.

What should you change and evaluate with A/B testing? Anything you want, but popular changes are:

  • Displaying different coupons or bundle offers
  • Altering the time delay before the pop-up appears
  • Displaying real-time purchases
  • Changing how many testimonials are displayed, or where they’re displayed
  • Organizing your categories differently
  • Updating the design of product pages
  • Trying out different product descriptions

Almost any change that can be made to your store can be tested to see if that change is worth doing. Remember the previous section, make your decisions based on data, not hunches. The more tests you do, the more informed your decisions will be.

4. Explore Other CRO Strategies to Boost Conversions

Even though A/B testing is an essential CRO technique, it’s not the only way to increase conversions. Other CRO strategies include:

  • Optimize thank you and order confirmation emails by including coupons or encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter
  • Send abandonment emails to remind customers to come back and make their purchases.
  • Offer free shipping
  • Clearly display your refund policy
  • Refine your about page to round out your brand’s image
  • Make your contact page way more than a form by adding links to social media profiles and other contact methods

A running theme with CRO techniques is frequent and ongoing testing. Each of the above strategies should be regularly tested to see if specific changes increase conversions. Can you make the refund policy more noticeable, or maybe change the policy itself?

Turn CRO Into Your Competitive Advantage With Emarketed

A successful CRO strategy is only as good as the traffic you are sending to your page. That’s why you need effective PPC campaigns in place if you want to conduct meaningful A/B tests.

Emarketed specializes in running PPC campaigns that drive relevant traffic to your website, so you can truly understand if your CRO techniques are making an impact. A small sample size won’t be enough – you need an expertly crafted PPC campaign to draw in a large amount of traffic to make your tests meaningful.

Are you ready to get serious about CRO with powerful PPC campaigns? Reach out to our conversion specialists today to see how we can maximize your results.