There are a lot of acronyms to keep track of in the world of digital marketing. SEO. PPC. CPC. SERP. KPI. UX. For the uninitiated, it can feel like someone knocked over a box of Scrabble tiles and then forgot to pick them up.

Even if you don’t know what they all mean, though, it’s important that you do know just how crucial each and every one of these acronyms is for the success of your business. Out of this huge alphabet soup of digital marketing concepts, one of the biggest and essential to get right is CRO.

What is CRO? CRO stands for conversion rate optimization. Below, we’ll explain just what that means, why it matters, the best methods for improving it, and why LSEO is the conversion rate optimization agency best suited to help take your business to a whole new level.

How Do You Calculate Conversion Rates?

A close-up of a digital calculator and a print-out measuring website conversions

Before we can answer the question “What is CRO?”, it’s important to first establish what exactly conversion rates are and how to calculate them. One of the most important SEO metrics you should be tracking, a website’s “conversion rate” refers to the percentage of visitors who perform the desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a file.

Tracking conversion rates is an essential part of digital marketing because it allows you to measure the effectiveness of your content and web design. More importantly, tracking conversion rates over the course of months or even years makes it easy to zero in on your website’s strengths and weaknesses. By gathering all your CRO analytics recorded during a longer span of time, you can see the impact of changes to your marketing strategy.

There are three primary ways of calculating your website’s conversion rate:

Calculating Conversion Rate with Session Numbers

The term “session” refers to the period of time when a user is active on your website. According to Google, if a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more, subsequent activity is classified as a new session. Meanwhile, users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes are counted as part of the original session.

To calculate your website’s conversion rate using sessions, divide your total number of conversions over a given period of time by the total number of sessions recorded during the same period. So, for example, if your website has 1,000,000 sessions in a single month, and those 1,000,000 sessions produce 10,000 conversions, then you have a 1% conversion rate.

Why would you want to use the number of sessions your site receives to calculate your conversion rate? It depends on the type of business you operate, but if your goal is to drive conversions with each and every session, this can help you determine how successful your current CRO is.

Calculating Conversion Rate with Unique Visitor Numbers

The term “unique visitor” refers to a single, individual user that has visited your website at least once in a given period of time. Within that period, that user is counted only once, regardless of how many times they return to your site.

To calculate your website’s conversion rate using unique visitors, divide your total number of conversions over a given period of time by the total number of unique visitors recorded during that same period. This will allow you to measure overall how many users perform your desired action, irrespective of how many times those users might leave and return to the website.

Calculating a conversion rate based on your website’s unique visitors is useful for businesses that are more interested in learning how effective their marketing efforts are in driving conversions overall, not just within a single session. This is especially helpful if the products or services you offer are the kinds that most users buy only after doing significant research.

Calculating Conversion Rate with Lead Numbers

The term “lead” refers to any user who has the potential of becoming a customer. Leads often differentiate themselves from other website visitors by taking an extra step that signals their interest in converting, such as filling out a sales survey or requesting a quote.

To calculate your website’s conversion rate using leads, divide your total number of conversions over a given period of time by the total number of leads recorded during that same period. One of the chief benefits of measuring how many leads you receive versus how many leads convert is that it can help identify where in the conversion funnel you’re losing customers.

For example, if you have a high number of users who are willing to provide you with their contact information but your conversion rate remains low, that might suggest a problem with how your employees communicate with potential customers or how quick your follow-up process is.

What is CRO in Marketing & Why Is It Important?

A user surfing the internet on her laptop computer while holding a credit card

So, then, what is CRO? CRO, or conversion rate optimization, is the process of ensuring your company’s website provides a high-quality user experience in order to increase the likelihood that visitors will convert into customers. 

CRO marketing often goes hand-in-hand with SEO marketing, but it’s important to recognize the distinctions between the two. SEO, or search engine optimization, is designed to help your website rank higher in search engine results, thus creating more traffic for your website. While good CRO can also help your website rank, that’s not its main purpose. Its purpose is to pick up where SEO leaves off.

In other words, once you grow your website traffic, how do you go about getting visitors to perform a desired action, such as making a purchase, scheduling an appointment, or filling out a contact form?

You can have the highest amount of traffic of any website on the entire internet, but that won’t amount to much if you’re not able to entice visitors to convert. Conversely, you can have the highest conversion rate in the world, but if you don’t have enough visitors to guarantee a good ROI, your business will struggle. That’s why CRO and SEO are both vital for any company operating in the online space.

Here’s what you should know about the most effective CRO techniques today:

Market Surveys

How can you be sure you know best ways of enticing visitors to convert? Instead of trying to read people’s minds, why not ask those visitors directly? Market surveys allow you to collect the data you need straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

What are your visitors’ biggest pain points? What features, benefits, or services are they most interested in? A market survey can tell you when visitors aren’t aware of certain products you offer because they’re not featured prominently enough, or when specific web design elements are actually counterintuitive to the user experience.

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be better equipped to make the changes necessary to improve your website’s CRO.

Customer Tracking

Every user makes the journey from visitor to customer differently. Some people find the exact product or service page they’re looking for via search engines, while others utilize blog content as an entry point, then hop around your website for a while, going from page to page, before finally performing the desired action.

Understanding what a customer’s journey looks like can go a long way toward helping you make that journey smoother and more simplified. Tracking how visitors move through your website (Google Analytics Content Drilldowns and Flow Reports are especially useful here) will provide insight into what kind of content drives your conversions.

Just like with market surveys, customer tracking is valuable because it makes it possible to accurately identify where exactly you are gaining or losing conversions. This way, you can make sure that you’re optimizing the right parts of your site and not wasting resources on the wrong things..

User Testimonials

Yet another CRO technique that shows just how useful a resource your own customers can be, user-generated content is an excellent way of encouraging visitors to convert. This can encompass everything from curated testimonials gathered by your sales or customer service team, to comments left by site visitors or sent in via email, to reviews posted on Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

Before taking the leap to make a purchase or sign up for a service, most people want to be reassured that the company they’re doing business with can actually deliver on its promises. Testimonials from other customers not only demonstrate this, they also communicate the unique value your business brings to the table that your competitors don’t.

According to BigCommerce, 72% of consumers say positive user testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business. Likewise, Search Engine Watch reports that 72% of consumers take action only after reading a positive review. Clearly, if you want visitors to convert, customer testimonials are a great way to facilitate that.

Increasing Relevance

Earlier in this post, we mentioned that CRO and SEO often go hand-in-hand. “Relevance” is a good example of why that is. In SEO, relevance is one of the core principles digital marketers strive for, optimizing web content in a way that doesn’t just attract more web traffic, but actually attracts relevant web traffic.

What does that mean? It means that the people visiting your website aren’t just a random mish-mash of web users; rather, they’re the exact people most likely to be interested in your business. They are people with problems that you have a solution for.

Increasing relevance can be done by targeting the right search terms and keywords, as well as by crafting high-quality content that is informative and authoritative. The more relevant your website is to a certain set of users, the more relevant your visitors will be to you, which means they will be ready and primed for conversion. All they need is a little nudge.

A/B Testing

If you’re really serious about conversion rate optimization, then one of the most powerful techniques in any CRO toolbox is A/B testing. Though it requires a significant amount of time, energy, and analysis, there’s no better way to see in real-time how effective your optimizations truly are.

A/B testing involves making two versions of a webpage, with one major difference between the two. Maybe one version of a page uses CTA buttons while the other doesn’t. Maybe one page incorporates multimedia into its content or showcases a completely different format design.

Whatever the case, the point is that half of your users will get one experience and the other half will get a different one. Comparing and contrasting the conversion rates for the two variant pages shows you with laser-focused precision which optimizations work, how they work, and what kind of results they actually produce.

Website Design

The actual design and development of a website is something that, surprisingly, many businesses forget to take into account when looking for CRO opportunities. However, the aesthetic and structural setup of your website has a huge impact on your user experience (UX), and that in turn has an even bigger impact on your conversion rate.

Have you ever been browsing a website that was very slow to load, had a confusing navigation bar, was difficult to read, or had lots of visual clutter? Chances are, you didn’t stay on that website for very long, which means you probably didn’t convert.

A website’s appearance should never be treated as an afterthought. You may not think of it as being as critical as page content, but if bad design keeps users from properly accessing that content, then you’re more likely to lose those users completely. Work closely with a web development expert to make sure your UX is crisp, clean, inviting, and effective.

How Can a Conversion Rate Optimization Agency Help?

The staff of a conversion rate optimization agency meeting at a boardroom table

Conversion rate optimization is one of the best ways of growing revenues and minimizing costs for your business by increasing the percentage of people visiting your website who actually become customers. Furthermore, by improving your website UX so that it is as convenient and easy to use as possible, you gain the ability to turn one-time customers into repeat customers.

A lot of different factors go into conversion rate optimization, just like a lot of different factors influence the way you may choose to calculate your conversion rate. To ensure that you get the most out of your CRO efforts, it helps to have an experienced conversion rate optimization agency by your side.

Here at LSEO, we have the specialized knowledge and resources necessary to enable you to achieve your goals. You don’t have to worry about shouldering the burden of CRO by yourself. We are ready and willing to put our expertise to work for you. Contact LSEO today!