A Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

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 an 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 a pair of 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.

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.

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. 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.

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 that 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 a 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.

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 development or improvement upon their CRO strategy.

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Marcia Barnes
Marcia Barnes
CEO + Founder

Marcia has a rich history in leading and serving performance-based marketing organizations with nationwide impact. In addition to leading multiple marketing agencies, she has received notable recognition for her leadership as President and CEO at Indianapolis-based Defender Direct (now called DEFENDERS). Over the course of her 14-year tenure with the company, Defender Direct experienced exponential growth from $2MM in annual revenue to more than $400MM.