Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): the beginner’s guide

The effectiveness of your business website is critical to your brand’s success. If it’s not generating enough new business opportunities, then you need to be optimizing your on-site experience with conversions in mind.

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But, what exactly is conversion-rate optimization (CRO)? And why is it so important? Let’s delve into the world of CRO to start maximizing your website.

Conversion Rate Optimization

What is conversion rate optimization?

CRO is the practice of improving your business website so that you increase the number of visitors that perform a particular action. In B2B, there are many different actions that your website visitors can take. You can look at these as micro conversions and macro conversions.

Micro conversions are those that are not revenue-based — such as content downloads and newsletter sign-ups.

Macro conversions on the other hand, are those that could directly lead to revenue — like a completed sale or an inquiry form. If you want to keep up with competitors, then your conversions matter.

 

The CRO metrics you need to know

When it comes to B2B marketing, there are multiple measurement metrics to consider.

 

Conversion-rate

An obvious but effective metric, your conversion-rate tells you the percentage of visitors that are making an inquiry. To work this out, divide the number of conversions by the total number of interactions or visitors. To improve conversion rate optimization, you want to increase this number.

Don’t get too hung up on industry averages as most businesses don’t publicly share their conversion rates – the important thing is getting yours to head in the right direction!

 

Bounce-rate

This indicates the rate at which your visitors are exiting your pages and is calculated by the number of single-page visits, divided by the total number of website visitors that enter the website. The lower the number, the better!

 

Page views and time spent on site

The level of website engagement displayed by your visitors often correlates with their interest in your brand, products or service. The higher the number of total page views and time spent exploring your site, the more likely it is that the visitor will go on to make a conversion.

 

Click-through rate

Your website traffic is driven by your marketing activity — your search and social adverts, your social media posts, content marketing, email blasts and more. Monitor the percentage of click-throughs to your site to help inform your future marketing decisions.

 

Cost per conversion

Determining the return on investment of your marketing activity is vital in ensuring success — so measuring your cost per conversion is a must. This tells you how much it costs to acquire a customer, including any costs incurred over the course of your marketing campaigns.

 

Page load speed

A fast-loading website is a website that generates leads. Think about your own experience as a buyer — if a website or its campaign-specific landing pages take a long time to load, it’s likely that you’ll move onto one of the business’s many competitors.

How to get started with CRO

There are a number of simple strategies to employ to kick-start your conversion rate optimization strategy. First, start by assessing the appearance of your site. Is it modern, attractive and trustworthy looking?

Next, you’ll want to assess your website load speed — using relevant technology to assess how quickly your home page, product pages and landing pages load.

Then, use your preferred website analytics tool to identify the pages with high bounce-rates and low conversions. Consider why they aren’t performing and make changes to captivate your visitors — write more engaging copy, move your call-to-action above the fold, or even include a video on the page to keep your visitors around for longer.

Analyze your typical visitor journey — where are they arriving from, how long are they staying, and what are they exploring? This will help you enhance the overall user journey and experience, ensuring that it is intuitive, simple and always guiding your visitor to the conversion.

Depending on the size and scale of your site, you may have to optimize page by page to achieve the best results — adding CTAs to your content marketing material, gating high-value, educational pieces, and even personalizing aspects of your site to meet the needs of your audience specifically. It isn’t a quick-win job and will take time, so devise a time-scale to ensure you’re always on track to achieving optimization success.

Finally, testing your success is vital — so prepare to test content, CTAs, landing pages and more to ensure the best results.

An introduction to testing for CRO

For effective B2B marketing, it’s safe to say that a level of experimentation is expected. Even the most successful marketeers and organizations can’t get it right every time — and that’s especially true if they don’t have the data to inform their decision in the first instance.

So, how can businesses ensure that their websites are achieving the very best results?

Well, that’s where testing comes into play. If you’re looking to amplify your results and generate more leads, it’s a must — according to Entrepreneur, testing can increase a business’s conversion-rate by as much as 400%.

There are a popular couple of types of testing – A/B testing, which is sometimes referred to as ‘split-testing’ and multivariate testing, which we’ll run through below…

What is A/B testing?

Let’s start with a definition. A/B testing is the practice of simultaneously running or displaying two variants of a website page or campaign to two different audience groups to identify the one that achieves the best results.

Specifically, marketers will use this approach to measure and optimize for conversions, with an aim to increase customer acquisition and boost revenue.

There are a number of elements to test — from discovering the most engaging copy and most attractive design, to testing which navigation choice is more seamless and intuitive, and even establishing the calls-to-action, forms and content that performs best.

According to Invesp, 77% of businesses perform A/B tests on their website, and as many as 71% run two or more A/B tests every month.

Conversion Rate Optimization - I think we should do a test

 

How does it work?

So, now that you know what it is and what it can be used for, let’s explore how A/B testing works and what you need to be able to do it. First, you’ll need to gain a clear understanding of your current website performance.

Consider using heatmaps to identify where your audiences are spending the most time on your site, which will give you an indication of what is working well. Then, you’ll need to make data-fueled decisions about the campaigns, landing pages or elements you’ll be testing — research your customer base, your website visitors and target audience to identify what they will engage with.

Remember, different audiences will react to content, web pages and on-site elements in different ways. So, prepare for a multitude of outcomes — and recognize the demand for personalized, relevant experiences.

According to Invesp, data-driven marketing and personalization can lead to an ROI of as much as five to eight times campaign spend.

Based on this insight, you’ll need to create two variations of the campaign, page or element you’re testing and run them simultaneously. It’s up to you whether you opt to split test multiple variations of a webpage via different URLs; through multivariate testing, which enables you to pinpoint the exact element that best influences your conversion-rate, or through multi page testing, which enables you to test elements across multiple pages.

You will need to continuously gather data while these tests are running, analyze the results, and identify the test that has performed the best. This, of course, is the variant that is most beneficial to your audience, your business, and your website.

Don’t dismiss the importance of employing your most popular variant — according to Harvard Business Review, Bing ran an A/B test that led the company to make a single ad display change. This resulted in a 12% increase in revenue.

What is multivariate testing?

Multivariate testing is very similar to A/B testing, but it uses a larger number of variables as part of the test and reveals information on how these variables interact.

Both can help you reach a conversion goal and make data-driven decisions, but there are distinct differences in what the two tests tell you and how they’re performed.

Multivariate testing allows you to drill down and see exactly which combination of your critical website elements yields the best results. The changes in a multivariate test are more subtle than those in an A/B test, but give you an insight into how key elements can work together to drive significant improvement in your conversion rates.

Conversion Rate Optimization - let's work together

Multivariate testing, therefore, is best deployed when you wish to optimize landing pages, your homepage, or any other page without having to go for a complete redesign.

Another crucial benefit of multivariate testing is that it saves you time as you test multiple variables simultaneously rather than testing them individually and measuring the impact of each. You also get to measure how each of the variables interacts with one another and impact your overall goal.

 

How does it work?

Start by identifying the area you’d like to improve, like pages and elements on your site that aren’t converting as well as they should be. You can use your site analytics on Google Analytics or a similar software to zero in on the areas you should be focusing on.

Take a look at your site and come up with some suggestions that could improve performance in these areas, and what the problem might be. It’s also important to decide on your goals and what you’d like to change as a result of this testing.

Next, create your variations that you think could improve your performance – common variants include more visible calls-to-action, more factual copy, and more streamlined forms. Once you’ve decided on your variations, set them live.

Finally, analyze your results to see which variations were most successful!

Monitor, measure and adapt to enhance CRO

Now, you’ve conducted research to identify what works best for your audience, you’ve tested variations of campaigns, landing pages and calls-to-action, and you’ve implemented the ones that performed the best.

So, what’s next? Well, like most things in the B2B marketing world, testing isn’t a one-off task. Your audience and their preferences may change — and it’s up to you to ensure your website keeps up with these changes.

Conduct tests regularly, aiming to continually improve your website conversion-rate and maximize the number of leads you generate through your business website.

To capitalize on every on-site opportunity — including those that don’t make an inquiry on the first visit — consider adding website visitor tracking software to your site to automatically transform them into an actionable lead.

So, you’re probably wondering which tools are out there to help you with your testing! Read on to check out our recommendations for conversion rate optimization tools.

Top CRO Tools to increase conversions and improve B2B website experiences

There are three main categories of CRO tool that you may want to look into –

behavior analytics, web analytics and CRO testing tools. Here’s some more information about what each of these sets of tools do along with our top picks for you to try.

 

Behavior analytics

To optimize your conversion rate, you’ll want to know why your visitors behave in a particular way. Behavior analytics tools pull together qualitative data on how your website visitors are using your site and enable you to delve deeper into the ‘why’ behind their behavior!

Our recommendations for behavior analytics tools are:

 

Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a heat map web analytics product, helping organizations conduct A/B tests, understand user behavior and optimize content. Admins can analyze heat maps, scroll maps, and visual reports to see how people interact with their website.

  • Heat maps.
  • Session replays.
  • Monitoring.
  • Data segmentation.
  • Click tracking.
  • Mouse movement.
  • Frustration tracking.

Find out more

 

Hotjar

Hotjar provides insights that show how users behave and what they feel strongly about, so product creators can deliver real value to them.

The most popular Hotjar features include:

  • Heat maps.
  • Session replays.
  • Monitoring.
  • Data segmentation.
  • Survey.
  • Click tracking.
  • Mouse movement.
  • Conversion.
  • Side-by-side analysis.
  • Webpage element analysis.

Find out more

 

VWO Insights

VWO is an enterprise program for visitor behavior tracking and site optimization. VWO Insights product is a tool that highlights user experience bottlenecks so that you can frame your user experience problems and work on them.

The most popular VWO Insights’ features are:

  • Heat maps
  • Session replays
  • Data segmentation
  • Conversion opportunities
  • Mobile device analysis
  • Data quantification
  • Webpage element analysis

Find out more

CRO testing tools

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools collect data about your website and its visitors to help you understand how people use your site and identify and test potential changes to increase conversion rates.

CRO tools help you:

  • Understand why visitors aren’t converting into leads or customers
  • Identify possible changes to make to your website to increase conversions
  • Test changes you make to your site for the highest conversion rates

 

Google Optimize

Whether it’s a custom-tailored message at checkout or a completely revamped homepage, Google Optimize shows you which site experiences engage and delight your customers, and gives you the solutions that you need to deliver them.

Google Optimize allows you to conduct a range of tests on your website, including:

  • A/B or A/B/n Tests
  • Multivariate Tests
  • Redirect Tests
  • Server-Side Experiments
  • Additional Simultaneous Experiments (Optimize 360 Only)
  • Personalization

Find out more

 

Optimizely

Optimizely is an experimentation platform aimed at enterprise customers. Their tool is powerful and targeted at websites with high traffic—in other words, companies that are very serious about testing and personalization.

  • A/B testing
  • Multivariate testing
  • WYSIWYG functionality to make updates without developers’ supervision
  • An inbuilt CMS platform
  • AI-based product recommendation engine
  • Integrate with your workspace tools

Find out more

 

Whizeo

Whizeo is a market-leading B2B conversion rate optimization platform, designed to maximize your lead generation and revenue from your website.

Using the world’s largest global IP database, Whizeo identifies, qualifies and welcomes your website visitors’ on site to increase engagement and deliver significant uplifts in website leads.

Whizeo’s features include:

  • A sequence of engagement apps for visitors that are tailored to their needs, outreach preferences, purchase history, and profile.
  • Built-in machine learning which reviews and recommends changes to increase your conversion rates.
  • Access to a dedicated CRO expert with experience on what works specifically in B2B.
  • A full suite of analytics to provide you with detailed insights into your website.

Find out more here

Web Analytics tools for CRO

Web analytics tools gather information about your website’s visitors such as bounce rate, sessions and where they exit.  These tools are great for conversion rate optimization and understanding what the blockers are on your site and where your visitors may be experiencing problems.

These tools give you anonymised information, which is great for making overall improvements to your website but they won’t break this information down into who is actually visiting your site and what they did while they were there.

Our recommendations here are (drum roll please)…

 

Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

No surprises here!  The most popular web analytics tool has just had a complete overhaul.

The new features you’ll find in GA4 include:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Create custom reports
  • Create and track up to 300 Events
  • Create and track up to 30 Conversions
  • Customize automated tables
  • Anomaly detection
  • Easily create Audience Segments

Find out more here

 

Lead Forensics

Although it’s not widely known as a CRO tool, the Lead Forensics software provides granular detail on what previously anonymous B2B users are doing on your site.  With our world-leading database you have access to key B2B decision-makers, so you can reach out, armed with knowledge of what your prospect is interested in, converting more of your website visitors.

Features include:

  • Identify anonymous B2B visitors
  • Live monitoring of your site
  • Track user behavior
  • Custom reports
  • B2B contact details for offline conversion

Even if you use all of the best CRO tools, there will be a large percentage of your B2B website traffic that doesn’t inquire with you. Lead Forensics enables you to uncover your anonymous website traffic and reach out at the right time with the right message to boost your business revenue. Book your Lead Forensics demonstration today!

About Lead Forensics

Lead Forensics is a multi award-winning B2B website visitor identification software that eliminates the need for on-site inquiries and instantly increases website conversion.

Find out more5

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