Website visitors, email subscribers, lead magnets, ads, sales pages, landing pages, etc. They all have more than likely a hidden agenda of converting a person to a customer.
A person is a prospect or a person (we are people after all and not some numbers) before that person decides to buy something. After which that person becomes a customer to your business.
What we shouldn’t forget at any point is that a person has feelings and emotions, and we should respect every single person landing on our pages. So even though this article is a lot about optimizing your online business to convert people to customers. We shouldn’t forget there’s another person on the other side, making decisions based on your information.
This article will cover the following areas of conversion rate optimization:
- What is conversion
- What is a conversion rate
- What is conversion rate optimization
- Why conversion rate optimization is important
- How to do conversion rate optimization
- Identifying a good conversion rate
- Email marketing
- Facebook ads
- Landing pages
- How do you optimize conversion rate for your website
- Services, tools, and resources
1. What is conversion
A conversion is an event (in eCommerce) where a prospect is converted from a visitor to a customer. That’s a conversion in short.
A conversion has a lot of things involved though, and maybe the most significant elements are that the person you are selling your services to has to like, know and trust you.
And these three things might not necessarily happen right away when a person lands to your page. So what can you do to make that person convert to a customer? That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.
- Adding a product to a cart
- Subscribing to an email list
- Signing up to a (free) service
- Starts to follow you on social media
Basically, a small commitment to use your services. Not monetary.
- Subscribing to a paid service
- Purchasing your product or service
The person trusts you enough to be able to exchange money for your products and services.
2. What is a conversion rate
Conversion rate is a numerical representation of a person converting to a user of your product or service. The conversion rate in eCommerce (products and services sold online) would be the number of new customers gained divided by the number of visitors.
The conversion rate for email list would be a person converting to an email subscriber. So it would be calculated as new email subscribers divided by the visitors to your landing page (a blog post, for example).
You get 1000 visitors to your landing page that is a blog post of cute kittens. You also have a subscribe to my email list opt-in box in the page. Out of all those 1000 visitors, 20 people decide to opt-in to subscribe to your email list.
The conversion rate would be 20/1000 = 2%.
1000 visitors visit your sales page, where you sell a digital product for $37. Out of those 1000 visitors, 10 buys the digital product. In this example, you would net $370 and had a conversion rate of 1%.
10 purchased your offer/1000 visitors visiting your sales page = 1% conversion rate.
A user can only convert once. So even if the customer would buy two to three items from you. It would still be counted as one. Conversion is always a single transformation. Person trusting you or not trusting you.
The trust factor varies, and more trust is needed for larger purchases.
This is the reason why there are these lead magnets all over the web.
Building trust is not easy, so these macro-commitments are sometimes needed to get that purchase to happen.
3. What is conversion rate optimization
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a systematic process of optimizing the event of turning a person to a person who signs up to use your services.
We can do conversion rate optimization to all aspects of our business. So it’s not always about optimizing for sale to happen. You can be optimizing email open rates, email list sign-ups, webinar sign-ups, sales page structure, copy in your sales page, ads, engagement, etc.
So conversion rate optimization is not just about getting customers but more of making the journey to turn your website visitor to a person who can trust you.
This aspect is often forgotten when everyone is so busy optimizing the Facebook ad numbers, launching new ad campaigns in the hope of getting better numerical results.
When the focus should be on the user experience and optimizing that. So that the person visiting your site can see you as trustworthy for the money (read as ‘trust’) you are asking for.
In summary, we are optimizing for trust.
CRO marketing is a way of doing conversion rate optimization with the help of a service. When we talk about CRO marketing, we are talking about a service which provides conversion rate optimization.
4. The reason why conversion rate optimization is important.
The reason why CRO is important is that it gives you more results/output with the same initial input/volume or state you were in.
You get more out of your visitors by not changing the volume of your visitors. In eCommerce, this is crucial to realize. You could be spending $1,000 on ads and get x results. By Doubling the ad spend to $2,000, you would get 2x results. However, with conversion rate optimization. The idea is to get 2x results with the same $1,000 ad spend as you had before.
So when you do CRO the right way, you are getting better output/results with the same or less input.
This will decrease your need for bigger ad spend, or need for website visitors. You would get more email sign-ups with the same amount of visitors you had before.
What conversion rate optimization does?
It lowers the costs and inputs you need for your business to get the same results as before. Or get better results with the same input you had before. 1,000 website visitors converting for the email newsletter at 1% and after CRO, you would hypothetically get 2% conversion rate.
This would double your results and get you twice as many email subscribers with the same website traffic you had before. That is optimizing the email sign-ups.
5. How to do conversion rate optimization
You first have to understand the current situation you have in your business. What is the conversion rate that you currently have? If you don’t know these values, you can’t do optimization because you don’t the values to compare your results to.
Beginner level example
I will use email sign-up as an example.
You get 1,000 visitors to your website every month. Out of those visitors, 1% is opting into your email newsletter. So you are getting 10 email subscribers every month.
Now the first thing to do in this scenario would be to focus on what you are offering. If you are offering a plain sign-up for a newsletter. Then your content (blog posts) would have to be pretty outstanding for the person to want notifications to their email about the new content you have on your site.
So for us to increase those sign-ups, we could offer something more than just a reminder and a notification. We could offer them a downloadable guide (a.k.a lead magnet). Something to entice the visitor to like you.
You give them something extremely valuable, and in exchange, they give you their email address. Now, this is pretty much the most basic thing to know about email sign-up CRO.
Advanced level example
To give you more of an advanced example for those who would like to push CRO to another level.
In eCommerce, the main thing is to get those sales. So let’s do some CRO for that.
Next, you have to realize that only ONE CTA should be present on your site. The customer does not know how to use your site, so guide the user as clearly as possible.
Also, make sure to speak about benefits and not about the features of your product and services. Features and the price is given at the end of the sales page. You have to build that like, know, and trust effect before a sale happens.
These are some of the ways you can increase conversions on your sales page.
CRO done the right way
Everything about CRO is about making more with less. Focus on the user experience and the results the user is looking for from your product, service, or content.
Conversion happens when a small amount of trust is built, and a sale occurs when enough amount of trust is built.
Don’t try to push the user to do the things you want them to do. Make it an optional and friendly event.
Being too pushy does not make things better.
6. So what is a good conversion rate
A good conversion rate is industry dependable, but I’ve tried my best to gather a few of the industry averages on different topics. You can view the sources at the end of the article.
If we agree that everything above average is good. Then if you can achieve better conversions that of which are the industry standard, we can assume you are doing a good job. Right?!
In email marketing, conversion rates are measured in email open rates, email click-through rates, and getting customers to buy your product through an email campaign.
The average open rate for all industries analyzed by MailChimp is 20.81%, and the average click-through rate for all industries was 2.43%. And for the purchase rate, a rough 2% conversion rate was studied.
So we have average values for:
Email open rate: 20.81%
Email click-through rate: 2.43%
From email to purchase rate: 2%
So we if you get better open and click-through rates than the values mentioned above. You are doing a good job. However, you can always be better with your email campaigns and optimize your copy to get better open and purchase rates.
In eCommerce, the conversion rate is more or less always about the sale. Getting the visitor to make a purchase in your landing page. Right there and then.
As eCommerce is varied and a lot of things play a part in making the sale. Such as season (winter, summer), region, marketing channel (Facebook, Google, etc.), website traffic, content, etc.
The CR value hovers between 1-3%. Moz study reporting a 1.6% average conversion rate for eCommerce.
There have been reports that for example, Black Friday has a higher CR percentage than on holidays. Adobe saw that with their sales, having 5.5% CR in Balck Friday and 3.2% on holidays.
Google has showcased an average 3.48% conversion rate from PPC traffic. So it fluctuates a bit, but it’s safe to say that if you have a conversion rate of 5% for cold traffic. Then it’s pretty darn good sales page you have there.
Facebook ads conversion rate
In the case of Facebook ads, the conversion rate is about the action taken by the user towards your offering. Offer can be a post, lead magnet, like, share, purchase, something that makes the user do something with your ad.
The average conversion rate for Facebook ads across industries, according to WordStream, is 9.21%.
Meaning that for every 1000 impressions, 9.21% will give an action towards your ad. As said before, an action/conversion could be a share, like, pageview, email sign-up, etc.
Something that converts the user from a static position to take action. But with Facebook ads, you have the Facebook ad manager to do the calculation for you (in some regards) to easily track the results you get from your ads.
You set different goals for your ads and track the conversions based on the goal you have assigned for you ad.
A landing page is a page a visitor lands. So it can be a sales page, thank you page, homepage, blog post.
The purpose of a landing page yet again differs a lot, but in eCommerce, it’s usually one of these: sales page, blog post, opt-in page (having a lead magnet). These three forms of landing pages are the ones most used.
Page offering a free opt-in, in exchange for an email address.
Average (high-end) conversion rate: 18.28%
Median conversion rate: 3.96%
So fo you to get an opt-in rate of 19% is already a good situation. Then again, that is the average across different industries.
Summary for good conversion rate
All data combined and all things combined. It’s safe to say that having over 20% conversion on stuff you try to achieve, is already a very good CR. What we have to remember is that while it’s always fun (at least to me) to play with numbers and try out different strategies. In the end, we are selling to other human beings.
We are not selling to a number. We are selling to a person. When we remember that we can get those conversions up and perform better.
7. How do you optimize conversion rate for your website
First, we have to understand the goal we have within the page. Do we want a new email subscriber, do we want a customer or something else.
So the goal determines the way you optimize your website. A general rule for optimization is having a goal, a value to measure against the goal to and to know who is visiting your site. When you know these three things, we are already on the safe side.
Let’s say our goal is to get them to sign-up to a free webinar. What elements in your site is pointing towards that webinar registration? Do you have pop-ups in use, do you have a top bar showing the webinar registration on every page a user visits. Do you have a footer that reminds them of the webinar?
So as you can see, when you have a specific goal that you want to achieve. You need to make sure, you clear all distractions from your site and point the user to the webinar. Making the webinar sign-up the most important thing to do on your website.
When you optimize your website, you optimize it for a specific goal. When you keep your goal in mind all the time, you will see what things are distracting or better said what things are taking the attention away from the goal.
By placing CTA (call-to-action) elements across your site (but not in an intrusive way) that all points to the one thing you want your user to do. You are doing things effectively and in an optimized way.
Guide the user, and do not assume the user knows how to use your site or what the user should use your site for.
Clear copy (message), clear site design, one CTA, and a feeling of safety are things to keep in mind. You want your visitor to feel comfortable using your site. It should be easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to understand.
These are some of the things to keep in mind when optimizing your website for your visitor.
8. Services, tools, and resources for CRO
When doing optimization, you can always think about your competitors. What do they do right, and how do you feel using their services and products. What would you change, what would you do differently, how would you speak.
Competitors are your greatest allies when it comes to CRO. What has worked for them could work for you. Just remember to change it to your voice and to your design. Make it feel yours and not a copycat version.
No one likes copycats, and we all see them when we encounter them. Be sure to be yourself.
Hotjar is a superb service on tracking your website visitors so you can see what things they click, how they move in the site, where do they stop, etc.
So it’s really a service to see how well, your CTA is performing and how the user ended up that CTA.
How could we forget the big G and it’s superb analytics tool. Google analytics offers you a wide variety of data concerning your website. From user demographics to traffic sources, to smart goals.
The tool is a must-have for every serious online business owner, and luckily it’s free to use. You only need to connect the Google Analytics to your website with an HTML tag (which is easy and instructions to do that can be found online -quickly).
With Google Analytics, the most important thing to analyze is the bounce rate and average time spent on site. If you can keep your visitors on your site longer, it means you are providing value to your visitors. And the user is enjoying her/his stay.
So look where the user is coming from, the traffic source and study the behavior that takes place on your site. A lot of information can be tracked through Google Analytics. So make sure you have it.
As for the resources, it’s always useful to read blogs from services that offer conversion tools (Optinmonster, for example). While they could be a bit biased towards their offerings, but if you can get past that. You might find valuable advice from the blog posts they create.
YouTube is also a fantastic place to find ideas for CRO. While I still believe blog posts are the most effective way of getting reliable and thorough information. YouTube videos can offer you that inspiration and ideas, while not maybe effective solutions.
A final note
All things considered. We are in online business, and in online business, we have to value the customer journey. Instead, of forcing a purchase, we should optimize the path to the purchase, and that is the core of conversion rate optimization.
We optimize the user to convert, and when we can convert more for less. Then we are doing optimization. Fewer visitors, less ad money is needed to achieve the same results.
For you to get 1% to 2% is an achievement that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have doubled the conversions, and you are getting twice the results you were getting before.
So celebrate every 0.5% increase you get to your conversions. Usually, these kind of percentages are massive improvements in your sales funnel (if you use one, which you likely do use). Keep optimizing the things that worked before and see how much you can squeeze out of your site.
Conversion is always a single transformation. A person can become a customer only once. Even if the person buys your products and services multiple times in a year.
With subscription services, it’s the same thing. Except if the customer decides to unsubscribe from your service, then the person is a one that can convert again. Reconversion optimization strategy, anyone?