When you think of digital marketing, the first acronym that likely springs to mind is SEO, right?
You’re not alone. The internet is brimming with chatter about search engine optimization, giving you reason enough to focus most of your efforts on this single piece of the digital puzzle.
Here’s the cold, hard truth: getting found doesn’t mean getting paid.
Enter Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to pick up where SEO ends.
CRO is the process of designing your digital marketing to boost your conversion rates. Landing pages, search engine ads, and your website design all affect whether a potential customer will become an actual customer.
You’ll be glad to know that optimizing your web content for conversions isn’t just trial and error. There are a few specific steps you can take right now to give your digital marketing the refresh it needs to grow your profits.
4 Actions to Master CRO Like the Pros
Conversions don’t just happen by sheer luck, although some companies make it seem that easy. Here’s what the pros already know about how to supercharge CRO:
#1 – Simplicity Isn’t Always Bliss
If you’ve been in the digital marketing space for longer than five minutes, you’ve probably already heard that being long-winded has no place here.
Keep it simple. Eliminate clutter. Avoid making your users scroll to the point of exhaustion.
This case study from VWO about PayPanther’s sign-up page will make you question everything you thought you knew.
Briefly, the company decided to see if longer page content or shorter page content would increase their conversions. Care to guess which one won?
Their short page version was bare bones: an image of the PayPanther, a call-to-action, and minimal text. No distractions. Nothing fancy.
And it paled in comparison to the lengthier version.
The longer page looked very much like its shorter counterpart, only it also included a list of frequently asked questions, user testimonials, and another call-to-action at the end.
They believe the reason was that the additional information helped to quell any doubts about the service, thus helping to build trust and believability.
This same technique is used by supplement companies, software solutions, online courses, and tons of other niches.
There is a time and a place to keep it short and simple, so don’t toss your prior belief in this technique out of the window. But if you’re trying to sell something that might make people hesitate, you might benefit from giving your product a little more context and trustworthiness.
#2 – CRO Experts Optimize for Mobile By Focusing on the Most Important Elements
The mobile-first revolution descended years ago, but many companies are still missing out on this valuable opportunity to increase conversion rate.
Consumers are increasingly mobile. They rely on their devices for just about everything these days, from finding local businesses to doing their grocery shopping to arming their home security system.
And, apparently, to sign up for Tough Mudder races.
A recent case study by VWO reveals that Tough Mudder gained an impressive 33% total increase in session valuation by optimizing its sign-up process for mobile users.
During this overhaul, the company shortened its header copy so that users would focus more on the list of upcoming events. They also redesigned the list of events so that users could click the one they were interested in to find out all the details, rather than displaying the information at once. Finally, they added an urgency message to let users know deadlines were approaching.
The most successful variation alone netted Tough Mudder a 9% bump in valuation.
What they found was that they were devoting too much of the mobile screen to lengthy explanations about event locations, rather than focusing on the event itself.
You don’t have to be Tough Mudder to apply this same concept to your mobile experience. Decide what information your mobile users are most likely seeking, then filter out anything extra.
#3 – Ditch the Stock Image and Use Real Photos
Stock images are easy to come by these days, which might be why many companies are using them. But that doesn’t mean they’re the best idea for images on your website. Far from it, actually.
160 Driving Academy, a firm that provides truck-driving classes and job placement for its graduates, recently tested using stock images versus authentic photos of their students and facilities.
The case study shows that real photos won by a mile, resulting in a 161% boost in conversions and a 38.4% increase in class registrations over stock photos.
Why the huge difference?
For starters, stock images look like stock images. There’s nothing unique about them. Many consumers can’t connect with these photos because they know they’re staged, so they choose to ignore them.
Using real photography is more appealing because it tells a truer story. You won’t find those same images anywhere else.
It’s a great way to differentiate your brand from others, and it’s too easy a fix to overlook any longer.
#4 – Rely on Data-Driven Testing
Once you make a change to your website or advertising, how do you know it worked? Checking your website’s analytics could give you some insight, but it might not be enough to fully justify your actions.
A recent case study of the online MMORPG game RuneScape illustrates how crucial data-driven testing has become to achieve the right goals. In the case study, RuneScape relied on heat maps and visitor recording sessions to determine which areas of the payment phase could be improved. Using their findings, the team developed an “improved” page that highlighted four treasure chest package options, but decided to A/B test the page to be certain it was truly a step up.
While the new page boosted conversions by 10%, the team didn’t stop there. They continued to look for ways to improve the page. This led to another version that not only gave purchase options but also recommended a specific package. This single change raised conversions by another 6%.
Pulling all the pieces of your CRO strategy together is easier when you rely on A/B testing software to do all the grunt work for you. Data-driven testing gives you without-a-doubt insight backed by real data to show you what’s working on your website or advertising. This means you have fewer hands-on responsibilities during the testing phase so you can focus your efforts on strategy and other areas.
Given the sheer dominance of SEO and PPC in digital marketing efforts, focusing on CRO has become a competitive advantage of sorts. Not many companies are investing in it, despite the impact it can make on profits.
Once you start treating CRO as a valid part of your marketing strategy, you’ll regret not having done it sooner.
About the Author: Alli Hill is a long-time writer for NoStop Blog Writing. Her dedication lies in solving business problems through content creation. With nearly a decade of marketing and SEO experience, Alli enjoys putting her expertise to work for clients. She thrives on all things fun, offbeat, and original, ensuring your audience will never have to read a boring piece of content on your website.