Building a sustainable business depends on conversion rate optimization (CRO). It's what transforms visitors into subscribers, and subscribers into paying customers – and that's what grows a business.
Before investing heavily in marketing, you need to be sure that website visitors won't fall through the cracks in the funnel before even giving you their email address.
Otherwise, you're effectively throwing money away and burning your target audience's interest in your business, both now and potentially further down the line.
Implementing and optimizing CRO tactics is one of the most impactful things you can do for your business. It enables you to consolidate your marketing and sales funnel and streamline the path to your "buy" button.
But what really is conversion rate optimization? Moz gives this definition of CRO:
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise. The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what's stopping them from completing your goals.
One thing to remember is that a good conversion rate can always get better.
Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate is around 2.35%. But the top 25% of websites are converting at over 5% and the top 10% show conversion rates of 11.45% or higher.
Whatever conversion rate your site is showing at the moment, there is always room for improvement. To help you reach the next level, we’ve listed 15 steps you can take today to improve conversion rates on your website.
15 CRO best practices for 2020
1. Blog more
Adding an informative blog is an effective way not only to drive traffic to your website but also to increase the conversion rate. Many visitors will typically browse your site before deciding to opt in or not.
A well-written blog provides the perfect means for educating your visitor, showing you’re the right provider for them and building trust in general. When it comes to driving conversions, trust is critical.
2. Optimize UX
Make sure the user experience (UX) on your site is top-notch. Slow-loading pages are a big no-no that will immediately have your visitors bounce back to Google. Information overload, too many ads and pop-ups, and not optimizing for mobile are other big mistakes you want to avoid.
Clear, appealing design that encourages the visitor to scroll and dive deeper — that’s what you should be aiming for. You can also optimize your website's UX in line with a technical SEO audit for the furthest reaching results.
3. Optimize your copy and content
When you're crafting copy for your website, use active language that encourages visitors to take action. If you can build some urgency or scarcity into it, all the better.
"Grab your template", "reserve your seat" and "claim your free trial" are all irresistible CTAs that speak directly to the part of us that doesn’t want to risk missing out on a good deal.
4. A/B test, then A/B test again
Since marketing results come from human behavior, there is never a bulletproof formula. Every assumption should be tried and tested. With A/B testing, you’ll quickly be able to see what copy, colors, placement and message drives the most conversions.
5. Create urgency
The words you use and the information you share matters. Showing stock left, a ticking clock or a countdown to when an offer ends creates a sense of urgency that drives conversions.
6. Avoid distracting elements
You want your visitor to convert. Whether that means pushing "buy" or downloading a white paper, you need to keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t distract your visitor with irrelevant information or popups that have nothing to do with the action you want them to take.
All roads on your site need to lead to Rome. And Rome, in this case, is the conversion button.
7. Add a guarantee
Several studies indicate that adding a money-back guarantee is a simple and effective way to increase conversions immediately. Other guarantees could be a lifetime guarantee or a lowest price guarantee. You could even offer a happiness guarantee, just like the sock company Bombas does.
8. Add social proof
Adding social proof to your website is a proven tactic that will improve conversion rates by giving customers a sense of security. Here's Optinmonster's definition of social proof:
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior."
Studies show that 92% of buyers look at customer reviews before making a purchase. In other words, adding social proof to your site is a no-brainer.
Easy ways to add social proof to your website include embedding reviews and user-generated content from third-party sites, or testimonials from happy customers.
9. Use storytelling
In a case study by Search Engine Watch, storytelling boosted conversions by 30%.
A great way to use storytelling is to let your customer tell their story about the experience they’ve had with your brand. That way, you get to combine the power of storytelling with the power of social proof.
Patagonia does this beautifully when they encourage their customers to share stories about their "worn wear" on their site.
10. Add a live chat widget to your site
There’s a reason why "conversational sales" is one of the big buzzwords in 2020. And the reason is simple: it works.
According to a Forrester survey, visitors who have used your live chat are 2.8X more likely to go ahead and push the buy button than those who have not.
11. Add clear and compelling CTAs
Apple TV does a great job with the copy in their CTA. The button "Watch now" takes us directly to what we’re there for, instead of making the common detours via "Sign up" or "Register".
When it comes to CTAs, any move that makes it feel easy, fun and rewarding to click that button is a good move. And again, you want to A/B test everything. Placement, copy, color - it might not be what you think that ends up being most effective.
12. Offer content upgrades
Content upgrades are highly efficient if you’re looking for conversions in the form of opt-ins, such as to grow your email list. The idea is to offer something extra, motivating the visitor to share their contact details and subscribe to future content.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re writing a blog post about productivity. Then a checklist or cheat sheet of some sort could make a useful content upgrade.
What makes this such a great way to drive conversions is that you already know what the visitor is after since they’re reading that particular piece of content. This makes it easier to offer something perfectly targeted, which will immediately increase conversions.
13. Try pop-up forms
Yes, we know: popup forms can be super annoying. But when done right, they can also be crazy effective. The best popups with proper context have conversions rates over 40%.
The key here is relevance. Any popup that is not 100% relevant will feel intrusive and annoying. But if you nail it, then you’ll be rewarded.
This popup by CoSchedule is an excellent example. If you’ve already read a few blog posts and this pops up, your chances of subscribing are decent. For even better results, you can offer an opt-in as part of your pop-up.
14. Segment your visitors and target them with relevant content
By integrating your marketing automation platform with your CRM and other sources of customer data, you can serve up the content that makes the most sense for each individual visiting your site.
PieSync allows you to control the way your customer data flows between business tools so that you can efficiently group your audience into relevant segments and tailor your messaging and CTAs to every individual.
15. Last but not least - make sure you’re tracking all of your conversions!
One of the prerequisites for conversion rate optimization is that you’re effectively tracking your conversions. Unfortunately, many marketers are not tracking their conversions well enough.
According to Neil Patel, one of the quickest ways to "improve" your conversion rate is to optimize your tracking and make sure you actually catch all conversions.
So before you go ahead with optimizing your site, make sure your tracking is as good as it can be, and that you're syncing contact data across your apps. Only then will you be able to really see what is working and what isn’t.
To get the best results out of the data in your marketing apps, use PieSync to optimize conversions throughout your customer journey and seamlessly deliver the most personalized experiences. Get started with a 14-day free trial of PieSync to connect customer data between your apps for the best data insights everywhere.