A Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

Written by The Valve+Meter Team / November 29, 2017 / 5 Minute Read
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If you’re not testing your conversion rates, are you really doing marketing? Our CRO guide dives deep into strategies that can transform your marketing from a cost center into a revenue center. Learn how to drive customer acquisition and achieve sustainable growth through effective marketing performance and operational excellence.


If you’re not already slightly obsessed with your company’s CRO metrics, you probably will be soon. CRO, also known by its longer nomenclature, conversion rate optimization is a key measurement of your marketing efforts and in most cases, your company’s overall performance.

Valve+Meter vice president of marketing Matt Tyner explains conversion rate optimization as “a process where we increase the overall number of website visitors who raise their hand and take action showing interest in a product or service, resulting in a conversion for our clients.”

Not all conversions look the same. Let’s say, for example, you are an online shoe company. Your conversion qualification might be purchasing shoes through an e-commerce website. However, if you are an engineering consulting firm, a conversion could entail filling out a form on your website to request a follow-up consultation. Different actions and both are still conversions.

Tiered Conversions

Conversions can be tiered. As a conversion rate optimization strategy is put in place, most marketers will look at a varied mix of conversion metrics to measure their performance toward key business objectives, which might be their primary goal (i.e.,the sale or the request for a consultation) as well as:

  • Ancillary purchases
  • Lead generation
  • User/List sign up
  • App download
  • Any other measurable action that moves a web visitor further into your funnel

In the shoe company example, their top tier conversion metric is likely making an online purchase while they may also look at second-tier conversion rates such as email newsletter signup, adding a product to favorites or joining their rewards program.

Web Conversion Rate

There’s a fairly simple formula. Your overall website conversion rate can be calculated using the following equation:

Overall Website Conversion Rate = (Number of conversions/number of website visitors) x 100

You’ll need a few tools to measure your conversion rate optimization activities. Although virtually hundreds of platforms exist, a few core tools will be needed to drill down on Conversion Rate Optimization. The following are some to add to your CRO toolbox:

  • Web Analytics – Google Analytics is the most widely used tool for this function.
  • A/B Testing Platforms – A minimum level of web traffic will be required to perform statistically valid A/B tests.
  • UI/UX Tracking Tools – Gain insight into your user experience with tools such as heat maps, pop-up visitor feedback surveys, user testing initiatives, etc.

Value of CRO in Your Business

Spending time and resources on conversion rate optimization is vital to your business; here’s why:

  • It’s estimated that 4 out of 10 shoppers purchase via online channels only.
  • Internet behavior has evolved, so many visitors will not enter your site from its homepage.
  • It’s also estimated that browsers spend 15 seconds on a page before moving on if the page does not grab their attention.

CRO is key to understanding what makes your customers tick and ultimately take the desired action. Without conversion rate optimization, you’re left with assumptions and educated guesses that may or may not be accurate. Another downfall of not engaging in CRO is as your market changes; you will be slow to pivot without key, real-time insights that CRO provides.

What to Do When You’re Getting Clicks but No Leads

Successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns will deliver a strong stream of visitors to your website. However, despite the success of your campaigns, you might notice that your traffic isn’t often converting and turning into leads. When this happens, there are a few ways to determine the cause of the issue so you can make any necessary adjustments to your marketing campaigns.

Your Traffic isn’t Relevant to Your Area or Products

Let’s say that your company only serves a certain area. Any traffic that you’re receiving from outside of your service area won’t convert, as you ultimately wouldn’t be able to reach them in order to provide services. The most common reason this occurs is general blog posts receiving significant traffic, as they’re typically not optimized toward a certain location.

Google Analytics breaks down traffic by page to show you which pages on your site are receiving the most traffic. To access this, visit Google Analytics and open the “Behavior” report. To see your top-performing pages, navigate to “Site Content” and open the “All Pages” report. You can adjust the timeframe by clicking the date range in the top right corner.

Creating blog posts that are written and optimized toward your company’s service areas can be a great way to help your website reach more relevant and targeted traffic.

Your Website isn’t Optimized to Convert

Before optimizing your website to convert, defining what conversion means for your business is important. Do you want your site visitors to schedule service right from your website? Are you hoping that visitors sign up for emails to be alerted about new products and services? Whatever the intention, it must be clear throughout your company so you can also make it clear to your visitors.

Step into the shoes of someone visiting your website for the first time. Do you make it easy for your visitors to convert, or is it unclear what the next step for a visitor should be? Whether visiting a blog post or a landing page, you should make it as simple as possible for your visitors to take the next step and ultimately become a lead. Consider implementing Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) practices such as:

  • Add clear and engaging CTAs to the pages throughout your site
  • Reduce the number of fields on your contact forms
  • Audit the design of your landing pages
  • Ensure that your site structure is easy to navigate
  • Limit pop-ups and other on-page distractions
  • Make adjustments based on the data

Your Website is Too Slow

A slow website can quickly cause your target audience to jump off of your website and visit your competitors instead. 25% of visitors will abandon a website that takes more than four seconds to load. Not only is there a high chance of your traffic abandoning your website, but even visitors that decide to stay on your website might be hesitant to jump to another page or click on a CTA, as they’ll expect high load times.

To combat high load times, try to implement some of the following tips:

  • Reduce image sizes across your site
  • Limit the number of redirects on your site
  • Reduce HTTP requests
  • Compress video files
  • Enable browser caching
  • Utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Contact Valve+Meter

Getting started with a conversion rate optimization strategy and implementation can be complicated and may feel overwhelming. Working with an experienced partner is an excellent option. Valve+Meter specializes in assisting its clients with the development or improvement of their CRO strategy.

Let's Talk CRO strategy