Does the phrase “conversion rate optimization” (CRO for short) sound like a foreign language to you?
Has someone mentioned CRO to you and you nodded along semi-uncomfortably with no idea what they were really talking about?
In this post, I’ll break down what conversion optimization is and why, as a business owner, you should care about it.
How small tweaks to your website can have a big impact on your bottom line
Put simply, conversion optimization is exactly what it sounds like: improving your website to convert more visitors to leads, customers, or clients. There are many different conversion optimization techniques—some of which I’ll cover for you in later posts—but they all share the same goal: getting more of the visitors on your site to take your desired action.
Some conversion rate optimization techniques center around making a small change to one element of your site, testing the change, and then using that test data to improve the site for all your users. By performing these tests, you can gradually tweak your way to a website that performs drastically better.
If you want to dive deep into the details of conversion optimization, I recommend this post by Neil Patel and this one on the ConversionXL blog.
Why should business owners care about conversion optimization?
There are a few reasons why business owners should know and care about conversion optimization:
- Conversion optimization generally has a lower cost of client acquisition than paying to drive more traffic to a site (via ads or SEO) to increase sales.
- Conversion optimization has a lasting effect after it’s done, whereas ads only increase sales as long as they’re running.
- Done right, conversion optimization helps you increase your profit margins since you’re making more money from the traffic you already have.
- If you do decide to run ads or invest in SEO, having a site that’s primed to convert first means that you get a greater return on investment.
Sounds amazing, am I right?!
CRO: not just for the big guys anymore
But Megan, you may be thinking, I thought you could only do conversion optimization on a wildly popular website with tons and tons of traffic?
Not true, my friend!
There’s a common misconception among business owners that you need to be a multi-million dollar company with oodles of traffic before you can successfully optimize your website.
It’s easy to see where that kind of thought comes from once you know a little bit about one of the most popular methods of conversion optimization, A/B (split) testing. To run a split test, you need to have a certain amount of traffic to the page you’d like to test in order to reach statistical significance, aka: the point at which the test is deemed accurate and your results aren’t down to random chance.
For some sites, reaching the point of statistical significance on an A/B test would take months (or longer). Frustrating!
Fortunately, there are many different ways you can optimize for conversions; A/B tests are only one part of conversion optimization strategy. And, even if you want to use A/B testing on a site with little traffic, there are ways you can set up your tests to reach the point of statistical significance faster.
For more detailed information on conversion optimization for sites with low traffic, check out these resources:
- Testing tips for low-traffic sites from Optimizely
- 8 conversion optimization tips for low-traffic sites from Jeremy Said
- How to do conversion optimization with very little traffic from ConversionXL
Conversion rate optimization is a great way to improve your business website and decrease your cost of customer acquisition, even if you’re a “little fish” in the vast online business world. 😉
Creative Halcyon says
Great post Megan!! One of the simplest and silly (maybe too silly) way I like to describe CRO to beginners website owners is through an analogy: CRO is finding the right time for popcorn waiting to pop. You need to tweak the timer in order to not to under-cook it (more kernels than popcorn// in this case being to general, not relatively) or overcook it (burned popcorn // in this case measuring too much and not waiting for the final result that you move on; hence customers are confuse later on). Here its the same when people talk about conversion rate optimization, they mean improving.
Megan Garwood says
Thanks Vittoria! I’ve never heard that analogy before. 🙂 I’m glad to hear you talk about CRO with your clients – so few designers do.