Conversion rate optimization: A 7-step guide to improve your conversion rate business growth

Conversion rate optimization

Are you wondering how to increase user engagement on your website?


Or maybe you’re looking for ways to get visitors to actually buy your products instead of just browsing the catalog.


The simple reality of running an online business is that not everyone visiting your website will take the desired action you want them to.


Not everyone will press the “Buy now” button or sign up for your newsletter.


These days, marketing is focused on getting lots of people to visit your website, and then hoping that this will lead to sales.


But there is a missing link here that can take your business to new heights: Optimizing the existing incoming traffic to your website.


This can make a world of difference for the growth of your business.


It’s not enough to have lots of people visiting your website if very few of them make a purchase.


Imagine you had a walk-in store: There would be a problem if hundreds of people came into your shop, looked around, and then left without buying anything at all.


What if we found ways to catch the attention of those people or persuade them to buy something?


This is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in.


And the best part is, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds!


We’re going to tell you everything you need to know that your business can benefit as much as possible from this missing link in most modern day marketing strategies.


Use our step-by-step guide below to find the best strategies for your business to achieve the best conversion rate possible!


But first, let’s start with the basics.

1. What is conversion rate optimization?

Getting people to click on your page (out of thousands of others) when they conduct an online search is how you direct traffic flow to your business.


And doing so is no easy task.


In our modern world, online traffic is highly inconsistent.


This is why it’s so important to get your website’s visitors into your sales funnel as soon as possible ― if you lose them, it’s very unlikely that they will come back and make a purchase.


The goal is to make sure that you get the maximum engagement from every visitor that chooses your website.

conversion rate optimization

It’s a lost opportunity every time a potential customer leaves your website without taking the desired action — such as buying a product, signing up for your newsletter, or asking for a quote.


So, how can you avoid this?


It’s simple.


Conversion rate optimization (CRO).


It sounds complex, but it simply means incorporating certain strategies into your online business with the goal of getting more out of your existing customers when they visit your website.


CRO involves testing everything on your website to see if and how it impacts your visitors’ engagement with your content.


We can divide these factors into three categories:

Source: Hotjar.com

  • Drivers: What is attracting visitors to your website?

Think about the features on your website that makes visitors choose your website out of so many others.

  • Hooks: What persuaded your visitors to act or convert?

This can be things like a special offer, like systeme.io’s Freemium Plan (no credit card needed) as your solution for all-inclusive marketing software.

  • Barriers: Where and why are your visitors leaving your website?

Maybe they are struggling to find your contact details, or they don’t want to add their credit cards for a free trial.


These factors help you to identify the reasons why your website’s visitors decide to act or why they chose to go back to Google and look for a different website that speaks more to their needs.

Now try to make a list of the drivers, hooks, and barriers on your website.


You can even visit your competitors’ websites.


This will help you to see which factors make your customers choose to convert and buy a product, or what makes them back away from the businesses.


Through CRO strategies, you can focus on the hooks and improve them to make sure you persuade your visitors to convert and act.


But it is equally important to identify the barriers to make sure that you eliminate them and avoid site visitors leaving for no reason.


This is why CRO is a continuous process of learning.


You need to identify what works and what doesn’t by testing new things, making the changes, and optimizing your website!


By studying the behavior of your website’s visitors, you’ll also be able to shift your focus to the reasons why they choose to engage with your website in the ways that they do.


This involves strategies designed to make it easier to convert visitors into paying customers.


Some ways to achieve this include having a well-designed landing page that immediately captures the attention of visitors when they click your link.


Or simply by making your website super user friendly and easy to navigate!


Together, we are going to unpack more ways that you can optimize your online business to get more customers and more revenue.


But for now, let’s get into conversion rates, why they’re important, and what conversion rate you should be aiming for in your online business.

2. What is a good conversion rate for you?

2.1. What is a conversion rate?

The whole purpose of CRO is to find ways and strategies that you could use to improve your website’s conversion rates.


That is why it is called conversion rate optimization.


Let’s take a look at what conversion rates are and how to calculate them.


Simply put, a conversion rate (CR) is the number of website visitors that are converted into paying customers.


When a visitor transitions into being a paying customer, then you have achieved what is called conversion.


Conversions can be a range of actions that website visitors take, including filling out forms, signing up for newsletters, asking for quotes, buying products or services, or taking any other desired action.

2.2. How to calculate your website’s conversion rate

Calculating your conversion rate is easy! 


It requires you to use a basic formula that gives you the percentage of paying visitors.


To make things simple, here is the formula and an example of how to calculate the conversion rate in your online business:

calculate your website’s conversion rate

Source: Hotjar.com

Let’s go through an example to show you why this matters:

  • If your website gets 500 visitors, and 50 of these are paying customers, then the calculation would be: 50 ÷ 500 x 100 = 10%
  • This means that 10% of your website visitors took a desired action
  • But it also means that you lost 450 potential customers

See? The calculation is easy!


The formula above shows you how to calculate the most basic conversion rate


There are a few other conversion formulas that help you to calculate things like how many unique visitors have converted, and how many new sales leads you got.


But to keep things simple, you only need to focus on the one above.


How is this relevant to your website?


Let’s look at why you should measure your website’s conversion rate.

2.3. Why should you measure your conversion rate

You should measure conversion rates because it tells you how many visitors actually generate money for you!


By measuring conversion rates, you will find out whether your website is persuasive enough to encourage visitors to act as you want them to.


A great website design with simple navigational features gives you better chances of attracting new and paying customers.


So how can you calculate the conversion rate for your own website, and why is it useful to know the conversion rates of your website?


Well, it allows you to set goals and grow your business.


Let’s go through another example:

  • You had 50 000 people visit your online store last month
  • Out of these, 1 000 customers bought a product and converted
  • Let’s say each product is worth $50, therefore $50 x 1 000 = $50 000 in sales
  • That is just with a 2% conversion rate
  • Then you heard about CRO, followed our easy guide, and made some changes ― increasing your conversion rate to 10%
  • This means $50 x 5 000 = $250 000 in sales!

See the difference?


Your website’s conversion rate has a direct impact on your sales.


With just a few tweaks to your website, you can significantly grow your business, customer base, and generate more money.


Exciting? We think so!


Now let’s look at what defines a good conversion rate, and what you should aim for in your own online business.

2.4. What conversion rate should you aim for?

The average conversion rate for online business is between 2% and 4%.


But this figure is kind of meaningless.


Why? Because while it’s useful to keep tabs on your website’s conversion rate, there is no single ‘correct’ one you should be aiming for.


A ‘good’ conversion rate depends entirely on your own website’s audience and the individual goals you have for your online business.


If you focus on what your website’s visitors really want, conversions will follow naturally — and with it, a good conversion rate!


It is still useful to calculate your website’s conversion rate before implementing CRO strategies.


Conversion rates also vary by industry, because:

  • Some industries require less information to get a sale
  • Other industries have consumers that are more likely to convert than those of other sectors because it differs based on the product sold
  • Industry conversion rates depend on the customer journey

This is why you should base your conversion rate goals off the baselines for the industry that your business falls in.


You can check out the average conversion rates per industry below:

The average conversion rates per industry

Source: Statista.com

Simply pick your industry, write down the average, and then calculate your website’s conversion rate to get a comparison.


But what if you're already achieving 3%, 5%, or even 10% conversion rates? Is that as high as you want to go?


There’s always room for improvement, and for more sales!


We’ll be focusing on ways you can increase your current conversion rate


Because simply put: More conversions = more money = more growth!


But in case you still need convincing, let’s look at the benefits of using CRO before looking into the nitty-gritty ways that you can improve your website’s conversion rates.

3. The major benefits of CRO

3.1. It helps you to understand your customers better

understand your customers

You can make your marketing strategy even more effective by simply understanding who your customers are and what they want from you.


This is one of the greatest advantages of CRO because you can guide visitors towards the content, products, or services that they’re interested in!


By resolving the bottlenecks and frictions your visitors experience when they browse your website, you will give them more reason to stay.


And the longer they stay, the more likely they will be to convert!


The point is to show your visitors why your website is relevant to them.


CRO is all about digging deep into your customer journey, ironing out the creases, and enhancing the user’s experience until you're left with a journey that's tailored to each website visitor.


This is where buyer personas come in. 


By using buyer personas you can create a concrete and tangible representation of what your ideal customer looks like.


Creating buyer personas takes a little bit of research, but we will walk you through this in our step-by-step guide a little bit later.


By knowing what your ideal customer looks like, you can understand what kind of content and messages will resonate with them the most.


In this way, CRO is nothing more than excellent customer service to ensure that your website’s visitors leave satisfied that they got what they came for.


This is essentially the cornerstone of every successful online business.

3.2. You’ll base your business decisions on data

If this is the first time you are hearing about CRO, you’ve probably based the design of your website on your gut feelings or personal taste.


While there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing what you think is best, CRO is valuable exactly because it helps you identify what it is that your customers are looking for.


Will your users buy a product more easily if you make recommendations on what they previously bought? 


Or are they interested in a monthly sale?


By making decisions based on data gathered from testing, you can rest assured that your customers are getting what they want.

business decisions

This includes even the most basic features on your website.


For example, by knowing what types of page design or navigation speaks better to your target group, you can optimize your website just for them.


An excellent way of doing this is by testing how effective the features of your website are and how your customers respond to it.


Keep reading for all the details of how to get the data you need to make your business decisions.

3.3. You’ll make more money over time

Making money is the goal of any business.


Who wouldn’t use any chance to increase the revenue of their business?


This is where CRO comes in.


By providing the basis for growth in even the smallest areas of opportunity, optimization provides for incremental increases in revenue over time.


CRO is all about converting your existing website visitors into paying customers which puts more money in your pocket.

 make more money

If more visitors buy a product, you get more sales.


Or if more visitors sign up for your newsletter, you get more sales leads, and eventually you’ll get more sales.


Small changes such as where you put a form on a page can generate more sales leads for your business, meaning more profits.


And if that’s not reason enough, using CRO can help improve your rankings on search engines, as visitors spend more time on your website.


It can also reduce your bounce rates when you persuade visitors why your website has what they have been looking for.


If you need more convincing on why CRO will transform your business, we suggest you check out these real-life case studies showing the impact that the smallest changes to your website can have on your sales.

4. The basics of CRO marketing strategies

Let’s do a quick recap of the main principles of CRO:

  • Knowing your customers: What they want when they visit your website and how they want it
  • Improve users’ experience: Make it as easy as possible for visitors to find what they are looking for and take desired actions
  • Go with the facts, not your gut: Research and test your website’s features and how they impact your audience to know what your customers want from you

Now, let’s get to the practical stuff.


How do YOU implement CRO and increase your website’s conversion rate?


Let’s go through a few basic CRO strategies to give you an idea of how the process works and what to look out for.


Feel free to go try them out if any of these strategies catch your eye.

4.1. Create call-to-action buttons in your content

Call-to-action buttons are the most basic ways to get your website visitors to take action.

call-to-action button

It can include anything from a ‘Buy now’ button to a pop-up asking your visitors to sign up to an email list for exclusive sales and updates.


It’s basically a phrase that’s used to tell the user exactly what action to take and how to take it.


Before we delve into various examples of call-to-action buttons, here is a list of best practices to keep in mind when using these on your own website:

  • Make it simple, short, and clear
  • If something is free on your website, emphasise that it is
  • Personalise the messages in your call-to-action buttons
  • Play around with different colours and spacing
  • Put them somewhere your visitors will easily notice
  • Use original designs that fit your website’s style
  • Add a quick sign-up form

Keep in mind that the whole purpose of a call-to-action button is to make it easy for your website’s visitors to engage with specific content ― don’t keep them guessing!


Let’s look at some examples:

  • The classic ‘Buy now’ button:
  • This encourages visitors to purchase a product, donate, watch a video, or try out your service or product
  • It can be included in your product catalogue or wherever you are listing a special or a limited offer
  • There are so many variations of what it can look like:
call-to-action buttons
  • A text-based button:
  • Use this to navigate visitors towards a newsletter signup or to one of your blog posts
  • These types of buttons do not use images or graphics, but are simply incorporated into your website with text
  • This is a great way to avoid banner blindness ― which means being accustomed to ignoring traditional call-to-action buttons, such as big banners at the top of your website’
  • Example: Click here to find out why people love systeme.io!
  • A simple form to fill out:
  • This is excellent for making sure you stay in touch with visitors
  • You can use forms to capture contact details or to let them create an account on your website
  • Have a look at Dropbox’s very effective and easy-to-use sign up form:
Dropbox
  • Give them easy-to-click visual links to your social media platform:
  • This helps visitors to stay in touch and follow your online business for updates, sales, and much more
  • It makes it easy to add links to your social media platforms
  • It can look like this:
social media platforms

Source: Freepik.com

There’re so many other variations of call-to-action buttons to play around with and use on your website.


It’s a great way to guide your visitors around your website — if there’s one thing that internet users hate, it’s to search for something that should be easy to find.


By including call-to-action buttons on your website and social media platforms, you’re making it easier for your visitors to convert.


With call-to-action buttons, good placement is vital — place them somewhere where it will get the attention of your website visitors.


If you need more inspiration for call-to-action buttons, have a look here for what has proven to be the most effective ways to use them.

4.2. Add some lead flows

lead flows

Have you ever opened an online shop’s website and immediately saw a pop-up announcing their limited time offer for an unbelievably good price?


This is known as a lead flow ― which is just another simple and easy-to-use CRO element that you can include on your website.


Lead flows are a conversion path to convert website visitors into sales leads.


It refers to high-converting pop-ups that are designed to attract attention and offer value to your website visitors.


They can be in the form of a slide-in box on the lower left or right corner of the display.


You could even use a pop-up overlay, or maybe a dropdown banner that is triggered by your visitors scrolling, spending some time on one of your website’s pages, or when it looks like they want to leave your online shop.


This conversion point can easily capture site visitors’ attention and encourage them to fill out an included form.


Here are two helpful articles on how to increase the lead generation of your website with examples on effective lead flows.

4.3. Optimize your landing pages

The very first thing a visitor will see when they click on your link in their Google search results is your landing page.


Optimizing your landing page is crucial — you want your visitors to instantly see a page designed to sell and cater to their needs.


Luckily, landing pages are hotspots for CRO.


Here are a few things you can look at:

  • Design your landing page to make it aesthetically pleasing
  • Make sure your landing page looks good on mobile too
  • Add a quick form to stay in contact with your visitors
  • Make it easy to navigate ― no one likes looking for information that should be easy to find
  • Add videos and images to keep things interesting
  • Most importantly, make sure to have an eye-catching headline that will keep the attention of your visitors

Slack’s landing page is a perfect example of how to catch the attention of your visitors with clear call-to-action buttons:

Slack

Source: Slack.com

In many ways, your landing page can make or break a conversion.


Make sure that your landing page engages your visitors and encourages them to convert.


Do you have a pioneer product in your catalogue?


Or an interesting blog post that has been getting a lot of attention?


The perfect place to show it off is your landing page.


Focus on what has been performing well on your website and navigate your visitors to this content by using a call-to-action button or a lead flow.


Show your customers why it’s worth spending their time on your website.

landing page

Source: GoaTech.com

(If you have not yet created a landing page for your website, you can quickly get this done with tools such as Unbouncing, Lead page review, or Thrive Architect).


Need some more easy-to-implement CRO strategies?


Have a look at what has been working best in 2021.

5. A step-by-step guide to implement CRO

Now that you know the basics, let’s get started on how you can implement CRO in your online business.


We’ll walk you through it in our 7-step guide below.


And don’t worry ― we’ve included some useful software and apps that can make the CRO implementation process effortless.


Let’s get to it!

Conversion rate optimisation

5.1. Step 1: Create an optimization strategy

To improve your conversion rate, you must outline the optimization strategy for how you will improve your website.


Using a well-planned strategy will ensure that you get more hits than misses.


Here’s how to build your strategy:

  • Set your goals for what you want to achieve
  • Create buyer personas
  • Plan your optimization tasks and strategies
  • Decide on the ways you’ll track your results

When you plan and outline a sound CRO strategy, it will be easier to get the relevant information from your website’s visitors and then use that to improve your conversion rate (which is the whole point of CRO).


TOOL TIP: A tool like Monday.com is very useful because:

  • It allows you to draft a custom CRO strategy
  • You can collaborate with team members
  • You can plan different stages and tasks relating to website design, landing pages, or testing new features for your website
  • It reminds you when to analyze results and move to the next task
  • And you can integrate all the tools you normally use in your business
Monday.com

Source: Monday.com

5.2. Step 2: Survey your existing customers

Customer insights are the most important thing you need before you start playing around with CRO for your online business.


This brings us back to the drivers, hooks, and barriers we discussed earlier.


Knowing why your visitors are leaving your website or why they are hesitant to convert can help you make much-needed changes.


Here are ways you can ask visitors about their experiences:

  • Surveys
  • Polls and questionnaires
  • One-on-one interviews

Using these ways to communicate with your website visitors (or even your existing customers), you can find out where you need to improve.


Visitors can tell you why they might find your website’s navigation difficult to use, or why they don’t like the design of your landing page.


When you get the right information, you can update your buyer personas and explore new features that will speak to your customers.


With information like this, you’ll know exactly where to make changes.


TOOL TIP: With a tool like Qualaroo, it is easy to:

  • Make surveys and polls for your website’s visitors
  • Control how the surveys are delivered to your customers
  • You can ask the right questions at the right time, and when it is most convenient for your customers to answer
Qualaroo.com

Source: Qualaroo.com

5.3. Step 3: Find the leaks in your sales funnel

A sales funnel (also known as the sales process, purchase funnel, and marketing funnel) is a model that illustrates all the things your prospects do on their way to becoming your customers.


Without a structured funnel, you won’t know what works and what doesn’t ― leaving things up to chance.


Systeme.io can help you create an automated sales funnel!


The number one reason to make sure your sales funnel is optimized (and not leaky!) is making more conversions.


Click here for our easy guide on how to optimize your sales funnel to generate more and more revenue.


Figuring out whether your sales funnel is leaky is simple!


By studying your sales funnel, you will see where the barriers are that cause visitors to leave your website.


You need to identify the pages on your website with the lowest conversion rates, so that the right changes can be made.


TOOL TIP: You can use Google Analytics to easily identify these pages:

  • It shows you how your visitors navigate through your website
  • It tells you which pages have high bounce rates and why
  • It also highlights the pages that keep your visitors on your website for longer (and why you should optimize these pages even more)
Google Analytics

5.4. Step 4: Make your landing pages simpler

The number one rule for landing pages is to keep them simple to avoid distracting website visitors.


Every element on your landing page should be optimized to get more conversions ― and a better conversion rate.


Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:

  • Have a simple page design
  • Only add one major offer on your landing page
  • Use images or videos that convey clear messages for your visitors
  • Have an obvious call-to-action button
  • Make sure your landing page is mobile-responsive
  • Avoid complex navigation bars

With these tips, you can strip down your landing pages and make them sleek and to the point.


TOOL TIP: Elementor is an easy-to-use tool that can help you build simple and effective landing pages.

Elementor

If you need some more tool suggestions to build good landing pages, click here for our list of the 10 best landing page software in 2021.


If you’re looking for something that is an all-inclusive marketing tool for your online business ― give us a try! 


Systeme.io is made for all your needs.

5.5. Step 5: Add social proof.

Nothing gets the attention of an online user as fast as seeing that your product or service WORKS ― and this is very easy to implement.


When you have social proof that your business is doing things right and that it is safe to use ― your website’s visitors will convert without hesitation.


Start by adding information like this to your website:

  • The number of customers you have
  • Testimonials from satisfied customers
  • Online reviews and ratings
  • Number of products sold

Look at how systeme.io uses social proof:

Systeme.io home page

Source: Systeme.io

5.6. Step 6: Make your pages mobile-friendly now.

More people will visit your website on their mobile devices, instead of desktop computers.


This is why it’s crucial that your website looks good on mobile too!


TOOL TIP: Use Google’s easy mobile-friendly test to see how your website looks on mobile devices and test how user-friendly it is.

  • This is how it looks:
Google’s easy mobile-friendly test

If your webpages do not appear well on mobiles, visitors will simply leave your website and find a more suitable alternative.


Click here for our easy guide to make your website more responsive for mobile devices so you lose less customers!


Another key thing to consider is how long your website takes to load.

If it takes too long, visitors will bounce and you’llll most definitely lose sales.


TOOL TIP: Using a tool like Pingdom will help you with:

  • Knowing your website’s speed
  • Showing you what actions to take to reduce the size of your website and decrease the time it takes to load
Pingdom

Source: Pingdom.com

5.7. Step 7: Test, test, test, and improve!

After you have gathered insights about your customers, it is time to make changes to optimize your website.


This is where hypotheses and testing comes in.


When you create hypotheses about what changes would improve your visitors’ experiences on your website, you can experiment with implementing the features you have identified.


This is done through A/B testing ― which compares the conversion rates for your page with and without one particular element.


Here are some of the most important elements you should test:

  • Headlines
  • Page layouts
  • Offers
  • Call-to-action buttons and their placements
  • Media (such as images or videos)

By testing the effectiveness of a new call-to-action button or any other CRO element you have added to your website, you will know whether it’s improving or damaging your conversion rates.

conversion rates

Source: VWO.com

TOOL TIP: Using Google Optimize can help make the testing so much easier:

  • It is natively integrated with Google Analytics, so you can quickly understand how your website can be improved
  • You can easily run tests on your content to learn what works best for your visitors, including A/B tests
Optimize

Use our easy guide for A/B testing, or look here for a list of the top tools and software that will make this step of implementing CRO a breeze.

6. Conclusion

Optimizing your website’s conversion rate is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can try.


CRO is the tool you need to make your online business stand out.


These strategies will help your website’s visitors do exactly what you want them to do, while growing your business at the same time.


Now that you know the basics of CRO, it is time to improve your conversion rate and make your website work for you!


Remember that it CRO is a continuous process ― you have to do the steps over and over again to make sure your website improves and responds to the needs and wants of your customers.


If you want some help to implement CRO strategies or A/B testing for your online business, let us know. We’d love to help.

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Systeme.io logo

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