What is Conversion Rate Optimization? 5 Best Practices

A conversion is an act of moving a lead from one stage of the buying cycle to another. In digital marketing, it typically refers to a visitor clicking through from an ad or landing page to sign up for gated content in return for their email address or purchase of a product or service. Conversion rates are used as indicators of website performance and can help identify areas that need improvement. Identifying the areas of improvement, and fixing them, is conversion rate optimization.

Several factors can affect a website’s conversion rate, including the quality of the content, the design, and layout of the site, as well as how easily visitors can find what they’re looking for. Ultimately, it’s up to website owners and webmasters to ensure that their content is top-quality and easy to navigate, to maximize potential customers’ chances of converting. 

A high conversion rate means more people are finding and clicking on your content, which can result in higher web traffic and greater brand awareness. So if you’re looking to increase both the quantity and quality of your business, you will want to first increase website traffic and then focus on conversion rate optimization. 

In this article we will go over everything there is to know about converting traffic, and conversion rate optimization. First, let’s dive into what conversions are.

Table of Contents

What is a conversion?

A conversion is the percentage of people who take action on a call to action (CTA). This could be anything from downloading an ebook, signing up for a course, or clicking on an advertisement. By understanding how your CTA affects conversion rates, you can optimize your overall marketing strategy.

CTAs are often designed in two ways – persuasive and activation. Persuasive CTAs are designed to convince the reader to take specific actions such as signing up for a mailing list purchase. Activation CTAs help activate users so they can begin taking those actions immediately.

It’s important to choose the right CTA design for your business and audience in order not only to convert more people but also to keep them engaged throughout their entire journey with you. By testing different designs and gauging user feedback regularly, you’ll be able to create content that sends viewers directly where you want them to go!

Moreover, with conversions, you should also consider the differences between the two different types of conversions: micro-conversions vs macro-conversions

Micro-conversions vs macro-conversions

Conversions are split into two categories: Micro and Macro. Both play an important role while analyzing a particular call to action, or lead generation/capture tool. First, let’s look at what a macro-conversion is:

Macro-Conversion: Can be defined as your overall end conversion goal along with the user’s conversion experience. Usually, it is one of the final steps in the process before an actual sale or purchase occurs. These macro-conversion goals are typically either a transaction or a subscription. 

In other words, they are conversions that generate revenue and provide the most information about the whole conversion process. 

Micro-conversions: These conversions are classified as any metric that is being tracked along the conversion process up to the end goal. Think of them as the baby steps that had to be taken to accomplish a goal. 

To put it more simply, micro-conversions usually mean a visitor watches a video, clicks on a call-to-action (CTA) button, creates a new account, clicks on a social link, or even views a specific page in your sales funnel. 

One thing to remember is that even though the process is important, these micro-conversions should not be used to evaluate the overall success of one of your experiments. They should just be used as supporting evidence, or to add additional insight to the overall process.

Why are conversions important?

Conversions are important because they help you track your progress and see how changes in your marketing strategy are affecting the number of people who are converting on your website. A conversion is any action taken by a visitor that leads them from point A (where they started) to point B (the point where you want them to end up).

There are many different ways that conversions can be tracked, including click-through rates, completion rates, and average time spent on a page. By understanding which areas of your website produce the most conversions and making necessary tweaks to improve those results, you can maximize the potential for success with your online marketing efforts.

Conversions are one of the most essential metrics you can follow as they provide information about the overall sales funnel performance. Moreover, by monitoring micro-conversions you can identify friction points in the conversion process. Monitoring the process, and reducing friction points will help a business in increasing conversions and sales.

Moreover, you can consider basic conversions as the foundation for conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies. Without knowing the number of conversions you have, you won’t be able to conduct A/B testing to further optimize your conversion rate.

Remember, that conversion numbers and data are an important aspect to measure overall, however, they are not a stand-alone metric and have little value unless placed within the context of sample size and duration. 

Now that we have a good understanding of what a conversion is at its basic level, let’s take a look at what conversion rate optimization is.

What is conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process used to improve the conversion rates of your website or online campaign. Conversion rate optimization involves tailoring your content, ads, and marketing strategies based on user behavior data. By understanding what converts better and using that information to improve your operations, you can increase the number of people who make a purchase.

Depending on your business’s goal, conversion types can include:
– Generating leads
– Increasing leads
– Sign up for emails/ newsletters
– Filling up a form

One common CRO strategy tactic is to design effective ad formats that are appealing to users and engaging enough so that they will want to click through to learn more about the product or service being offered. You may also want to consider testing different types of advertising budgets in order not to waste money on campaigns that are not performing well. This can be done with A/B testing and multivariate testing.

Lastly, it’s important to keep track of how users are interacting with your site or campaign so you can make changes as needed. This includes tracking things like bounce rates (the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing one page), time spent on pages, and clicks-to-conversions ratios (CTRs). A way to track user experience and interaction on your website and streamline your conversion optimization strategy is by using Google Analytics.

Why is conversion rate optimization important?

When it comes to online marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is one of the most important factors that can affect your bottom line. CRO is the process of optimizing web traffic flows so that you have a higher percentage chance to convert site visitors into leads and customers. This helps to increase revenue and decrease costs associated with customer acquisition and retention.

Conducting conversion rate optimization is essential to websites as it will reduce the overall customer acquisition costs. Whereas, you will be able to lower the customer acquisition costs as you will be able to gain more value from the traffic and visitors your website already has. By optimizing your website’s conversion rate you will be able to increase revenue per visitor, acquire additional customers, and ultimately, grow your business’s sales.

One example of this is that, if a landing page you have currently boasts a conversion rate of 15% and it has 1,000 visitors every month, your page will be generating 150 conversions per month. However, if you focus on optimizing the conversion rate, and learning what the barriers are, you can increase the overall rate. If you are able to increase it by another 10%, you would see a huge increase and bolster a 60% increase in conversions resulting in 250 per month. 

What would a 60% increase in conversions mean for your business?

When working with your call to action, and increasing their conversions, there is always room for improvement. Moreover, it should be one of the most important things to focus on for your online business. The most successful companies are constantly tinkering with and iterating their websites and apps to provide better user experiences in order to increase conversions.

By focusing on CRO strategies throughout all phases of your online marketing strategy – from targeting online ads to building better user experiences – you will be able to boost ROI while achieving measurable business goals.

Getting started with optimizing your conversion rate optimization:

To get started, make sure to conduct research and see where your website is currently lacking in terms of conversions. Once you have identified friction points in the conversion process, you will want to come up with some new innovative ideas on how to change your current conversion rate, call to action buttons and optimize them better. This can be done by examining other CTAs and strategies on your website that have a high conversion rate.

After you have workshopped a few ideas, you will want to conduct A/B and multivariate testing. By conducting A/B CRO testing, you can experiment with different iterations on your website and monitor their performance. 

Set up a timeline, and monitor the experiments. After they finish, check the data and see which one performed better. Next work with your team, or recent customers to try and understand: what were the reasons that your CTAs had a better conversion rate?

After you have a winning combination from your tests, sit down with your team and run the whole practice again. You won’t be able to solve all your conversion problems in one go. So make sure you conduct the practice as many times as needed to get the desired results.

Now that we know about the importance of conducting A/B testing and reiterations of our CTAs to optimize our conversions, let’s look into how we can identify optimization goals to target.

Establishing conversion metrics

When working on website conversion rate optimization, the first thing to identify is what the particular goals of each website page are. Ultimately what you define as the success metrics for the webpage will depend on the type of industry you are in, and what you are working towards.

Example of a conversion metric to track: 

  • If your company sells cowboy hats online, one of the most important conversion metrics would be: how many hats were sold. 
  • Another conversion metric to monitor would be if visitors are adding products to shopping carts, but are not completing their purchases.

Moreover, some other conversion goals to monitor could include:

  • E-commerce: Product sales, add-to-carts, shopping cart completion rate, email newsletter sign-ups
  • Media: Page views, ad views, and newsletter subscriptions
  • Travel: Social shares, booking conversions, ancillary purchases
  • Business to Business: Leads generated, deals closed

Let’s take a look at our cowboy hat example and our abandoned shopping cart problem.

In this example, we can track the number of people placing cowboy hats in their shopping carts but abandoning their shopping carts at the end. Therefore, we could look at a few different elements to optimize our conversion rate better. These could include:

  • Looking at the entire buying process and see if it is more difficult than it should be
  • Are we omitting information from the buying process until checkout? Such as added costs or fees
  • Are there shipping issues related to the buyer’s location?
  • Should we automate some email marketing tactics to notify the shopper about the abandoned cart, and provide discounts?
  • Can we use a popup to notify the shopper about the cart before they exit the page?

Next, after a potential solution is chosen, you will need to test it to see if it changes the outcome and leads to more conversions or not.

Finally, as mentioned above, the first thing you should determine is your goals, and what your conversion metrics will be. Once you have identified your optimization goals, you can begin focusing on your audience’s behaviors, and use the data to improve their experience through conversion rate optimization.

1. Which conversions to track & which to ignore

In conversion rate optimization, most of your conversion goals – either macro or micro – can be narrowed down to a few actions by the visitor: Page views, submissions, or even clicks. 

With only a few exceptions, the majority of your conversion goals will be monitored by these three actions. Thus, by knowing the metrics to watch, businesses that are going to be conducting a conversion optimization experiment should choose one macro-conversion and a few micro-conversions.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind: 

  • Track: Track any interaction that may take place while conducting an experiment that could be affected by the variation in your test. For example, if you are changing the wording of a certain CTA, you should make sure that you are tracking the number of clicks that specific variation is getting. Another example could have to do with a website rearranging the menu items or orders. Whereas, you then need to track user interaction with each of the overall menus and especially with the ones that changed. 
  • Do Not Track: Don’t track any general metrics on your website that might influence or affect your overall decision to implement the test if it turns out to be successful. No need to track every detail that you can see on your analytics platform.

When in doubt, just remember, It is usually best to do more tracking than less. You never want to realize too late that you should have been tracking a certain feature and missing out on some important data. 

Usually, businesses that rely on lead generation will find that the conversion occurs over the phone. If this is your situation as well, you can use phone calls and final sales as conversion numbers for your macro-conversion. Call volume can be used as a micro-conversion indicator, but remember, to determine the success of an experiment you should use final sales numbers whenever possible.

2. Identifying opportunities to optimize

After identifying your conversion metrics, you will want to focus on the next step in conversion rate optimization: choosing the portion of your conversion funnel to optimize.

A best practice is to optimize the part of your funnel that receives the most traffic and generates the highest numbers of conversions. By choosing the well-performing conversion part first, you can see the benefit more immediately.

Other places to consider when determining where to start include pages that are significantly underperforming when you compare them to the rest of your site. Just as choosing well-performing pages can generate the greatest immediate impact, so can choosing underperforming pages. 

Identifying conversion optimization opportunity example:

A cowboy hat e-commerce website has a page for selling Cattleman Cowboy hats and receives a great deal of traffic. However, the page has an extremely low conversion rate compared to other pages on the website. By focusing on this page for conversion rate optimization, the e-commerce business will be able to reap benefits quickly, as the site already has significant traffic. 

High-traffic pages that have low conversion rates could be gold mines for increasing sales!

Optimizely has a great case study that shows how companies like Sony, Microsoft, Spreadshirt, and Smarter Travel were able to improve their websites and mobile apps through conversion rate optimization techniques.

Key takeaways:

  • Optimize your most well-performing pages first
  • Optimize the weakest pages you have in terms of conversion rates
  • Focusing on these distinct pages will produce the most immediate and greatest impacts on your conversion rate optimization goals

So we know what conversions are, what conversion rate optimization is, and which conversion metrics to monitor, but we don’t know what a good conversion rate is. In the next section, we discuss ‘good’ conversion rates for different industries and website traffic sources.

What’s a good conversion rate?

Average Website Conversion Rates
Average conversion rate across different industries

A good conversion rate allows you to achieve your marketing goals in a short amount of time. It should be high enough so that you’re able to make more money from each sale and low enough so that the cost of advertising is not prohibitive. Some factors to consider when calculating your conversion rate include how many leads you generate per dollar spent on ads, what percentage of those leads turn into customers, and how often those customers return (or churn).

Once you have calculated your overall goal for conversions, it’s important to find an effective way to reach those targets. This can involve using generic or proven marketing techniques such as email campaigns, social media posts, or search engine optimization (SEO). Once you’ve reached your desired results, continue tweaking your strategy until it continues generating positive ROI.

To get an idea of what good conversion rates are across different traffic channels, see the table below:

ChannelAverage Conversion Rate
Amazon Advertising9.47%
Google Ads3.75%
Microsoft Advertising2.94%
Social media0.71%
Average conversion rates across different traffic sources

Additionally, you can find sector specific average conversion rates in the table below:

IndustryAverage Conversion Rate
B2B Ecommerce3.2%
B2B Services3.5%
B2B Tech1.7%
B2C Ecommerce2.0%
Cosmetic and Dental2.3%
Professional Services9.3%
Average conversion rates across different industries

How do you calculate conversion rate?

The number of conversions is divided by the total number of interactions that may be tracked to a particular conversion throughout the same time period in order to determine conversion rates. Your conversion rate would be 5% if you had 50 conversions from 1,000 interactions, for example.

Conversion rate formula:

(total number of website sessions/total number of website conversions)*100 = Conversion rate

You can use our free conversion rate calculator to help you see how good your conversion rate is.

Conversion rate calculator:

Calculate your website’s conversion rate with our free conversion rate calculator tool:

Is a higher conversion rate better?

Typically a higher conversion rate is better. A higher rate means your lead generation tactic is getting more people to complete your desired call to action.

That being said, there is more to the question. Whereas it depends on the specific business and marketing strategy that you are using. A higher conversion rate generally means more customers who convert into paying customers, which in turn leads to increased revenue and profitability. 

However, if the conversion rate is high for acquiring email addresses for a free tool, but all the emails are fake or never used, then the conversion rate doesn’t matter as much. Ultimately, it is important to determine what kind of results you want to achieve and then work towards finding conversions rate optimization tools and strategies that will help you reach those goals.

How to increase conversion rates:

website conversion best practices

Below we go over five different strategies to increase conversion rates on your website.

1. Use a CRO planner

Blog posts are a great way to share your thoughts and ideas with the world, but they can be difficult to convert into leads or sales. That’s where a CRO (customer research optimization) planner comes in handy.

A CRO planner will help you identify which topics are most popular among your target audience, and then focus your writing on those topics. This will help you increase your conversion rate by giving you more opportunities to share your thoughts and ideas about the things that matter to your target audience.

You can also use a CRO planner to track which blog posts are performing best in terms of engagement and conversion rates. This will help you tweak your writing style and improve upon what works in order to increase overall engagement and conversions.

2. Shorten your forms

One of the quickest ways to increase your conversion rate on blog posts is to shorten your forms. There are a few things you can do to make them shorter and easier to complete, including:

  • Use bullets instead of paragraphs for explanations. This will make it easier for people to scan through your form and find the information they’re looking for.
  • Make sure all fields are neatly presented and labeled, so people know what they need to input.
  • Use simple language that people can understand. Keep things simple, straightforward, and easy to read!
  • Use images or videos as accompaniments to your form if possible – this will help explain the information more clearly and visually.

Overall, making your forms shorter and easier to use will help you convert a website visitor into a subscriber or buyer!

3. Include social proof

Adding social proof to your blog posts can help increase your conversion rate.

Social proof is the phenomenon where people tend to act in a way that conforms to the social norms of their group or society. This means that people are more likely to make decisions based on what other people around them are doing.

One way you can use social proof in your blog posts is by including images or videos that show how your readers have benefited from what you’ve written. This will help legitimize your content and increase the chances that people will take action based on it. Additionally, make sure to include strong call-to-actions at the end of each post, so readers know what they need to do next to get the most out of it.

4. Track how people interact with your site

One way to increase conversion rates is by tracking how people are interacting with your site. This data can help you to identify which sections of the site are being used most often, and it can also help you to figure out what content is working best.

You can use this information to create more effective ads, redesign your site layout, or develop new features that will make your site more user-friendly. By tracking how people are interacting with your site, you can ensure that your efforts are directed in the right direction and that you’re maximizing the potential of your business.

A tool that is great to track how people interact with your website is Hotjar. The tool gives you a visual representation of website visitors’ interaction on your website. It provides heat maps of your pages showing you exactly where they move their mouse and what website elements they are looking at.

5. Add live chat

Adding live chat to your website can help you increase conversion rates by providing a way for visitors to interact with you directly.

When visitors contact you through live chat, they’re usually more willing to buy your product or service than those who contact you through other means. This is because they’re not just talking to a faceless person on the other end of the phone; they’re speaking to someone who looks like them and can answer their questions in a personal manner.

Live chat also allows you to provide support immediately, which is often crucial for customers who are using your product or service for the first time. This eliminates the need for them to go online and search for FAQs or read long explanations — they can just ask their question and get an immediate response from you. 

All in all, adding live chat to your website can be one of the most effective ways in which you can increase conversion rates.

Key takeaways: What is conversion rate optimization?

Learning how to monitor the performance of your website, and track the buyer’s journey is essential for increasing your sales. Conversion rate optimization is a technique that can be used to reduce friction points along your sales funnel. It will allow you to streamline the process of buying and convert more website visitors into customers.

If you need help taking your conversions to the next level, contact us today. We have worked with various companies around Oregon to help them generate more leads and sales. As an Oregon SEO company, we provide conversion rate optimization services to help your online business succeed!

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