CRO, also known as Conversion Rate Optimisation, is the process of improving your conversion rate by encouraging visitors to take a specific action. Regardless of what your business does, having a high conversion rate means more sales, more leads, more donations; put simply – more of what you want! Every business should be aiming to constantly increase traffic to their website whilst achieving a good conversion rate to constantly increase customers and profits.
Conversions can take a number of forms on a website – making a purchase, starting a trial, downloading a PDF, making a donation, submitting a free quote form, or simply making a phone call are just some of the common conversions businesses want their customers to do. Conversion Rate Optimisation is the process of getting more customers to take more of these actions.
Does your conversion rate need improving?
In many cases, businesses won’t be aware that their conversion rate could be improved until they start working with an ROI-focused agency like us. That’s because it’s often difficult to understand if the conversion rate you are currently achieving is good enough. And let’s be honest – when was the last time you even gave your conversion rate some thought? It’s not something marketing managers or business owners have at the top of their agenda every day! Here are a couple of questions to get you thinking:
- What is your current conversion rate? Does this change by acquisition channel (organic, AdWords, social, email, etc)?
- What is the industry average conversion rate? Are you above or below this?
- Are you happy with the number of sales or leads you are currently getting through your website?
- How are your competitors performing?
If you’re starting to think this is something you’d like to invest some time in to investigate, then it’s time to look into a CRO Audit.
What is a CRO Audit?
A CRO audit aims to analyse your website and the channels that drive traffic to it, to help identify opportunities for improvement.
A CRO Audit will look at:
- Definition of online goals
- Data analysis
- Persona profiling
- Content evaluation / Information architecture
- Call to action review
Here are some details about what you can expect from each of these areas:
Definition of Online Goals
The first step of a conversion rate optimisation audit is to understand your business goals, and how these drill down to your online goals. With an understanding of your online goals, it’s important to ensure these goals are properly set up for conversion tracking (or eCommerce tracking for eCommerce stores) in Google Analytics. Without having this setup completed, you won’t have the data to enable you to review and optimise your conversion rate. Goals can be set up for anything you consider as a conversion that positively affects your online goals. This might be a form submission, phone click, visit/action on a specific page, or a sale.
Data analysis makes up the chunk of a CRO Audit. There are a variety of things that will be reviewed as part of data analysis including:
- What the sales funnel looks like – which areas are strong and which are weaker?
- What the customer journey should be and what it currently is
- Which acquisition channels are in use and which are converting
- How visitors are converting
- Any changes to conversion rate by channel with increases in traffic (this often applies if you have engaged in paid advertising such as Google Ads or paid social)
Remember, to get a firm understanding of what’s happening, it’s important that you have sufficient data to analyse. We usually recommend at least 6 months (to account for fluctuations), but shorter periods may work depending on your business. This means if you haven’t got the right goals set up in Analytics yet, this will be your first step – followed by a few months of data collection – before you get going with a CRO Audit.
If you have enough data to start looking over conversions, here are two areas of Google Analytics to pay some attention to:
Conversion Rate by Acquisition Channel
Under Acquisition > Overview, you can take a quick look at how different acquisition channels are converting. Here is an example from an eCommerce store:
From this example, the average site conversion rate is 0.11%. For the period of time shown, the best performing channels by far are paid search (Google Ads) and email. The channels for concern (at a glance) are social (particularly if money has been invested in paid advertising) and to some extent, organic. From a quick glance (obviously, you can always go much deeper than face value), this already provides some insights including:
- Which channels need attention (optimisation)
- Which channels to invest more marketing spend for more sales (or, how to move marketing spend around to increase conversions with the same spend)
Under Behavior > Behavior Flow you can gain some insights into which pages are assisting your customer journey and which are hindering it. By selecting a page, you can highlight the traffic through that page. Pay attention to the % of drop-offs and % of through traffic. Pay particular attention to through traffic that reaches a conversion page (e.g. a contact page). As well as reviewing by page, you can also review by source/medium which will provide user flow by acquisition channel.
Persona profiling isn’t necessary for a CRO Audit but can be useful if you are unsure of who your target market is, or you know who they are but don’t know what user journey they should follow and/or which marketing channels they engage with (and how they engage with them).
Persona profiling basically looks to create a fictional character (or characters for multiple targets) that represents a customer type. This should never stop at basic demographic targeting like age, gender, location and socio-economic profiling. While these are important, you should also pay attention to behaviours and attitudes of your target market as this helps shape everything from what marketing channels to engage, to what information needs to be provided at each stage of the sales funnel, right down to your tone and messaging.
Content Evaluation / Information Architecture (IA) Audit
Again, not always necessary for a CRO Audit but can be useful if the overall conversion rate (i.e. all channels) is not performing well and is expected to be due, in some part, to the way information is provided on the website. The goal of an IA Audit is to analyse what information currently exists on the website, where it currently sits and how it could be better structured to improve user experience and, therefore, conversions. This should involve a solid keyword analysis as well as a review of direct and indirect competitors, the website and offers.
Adding, removing or re-structuring content on your website can greatly assist in improving user experience, providing a better customer journey flow, and ultimately, improve your conversion rate.
Call-to-Action (CTA) Review
A CTA review can also be employed as part of a CRO Audit to review how your current CTA’s on the website are affecting conversions. Part of this audit will usually involve some hypotheses that you will then need to test through A/B testing, before implementing the optimisations. For more information, see our blog on A/B testing.
The Outcomes of a CRO Audit
The outcomes of a CRO Audit will differ from business to business, but some things that may result from it (in no particular order) include:
- Optimisation recommendations for specific acquisition channels
- Optimisation recommendations for content structure
- Addition of new pages/use of content hierarchy
- Optimisations to the menu structure
- A/B testing of certain elements on the website – call-to-actions, elevator text, slider images, text etc.
- And much, much more!
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is an ongoing process that aims to constantly strive for a higher conversion rate – as this leads to increased sales, leads – and ultimately, profit. There are many different aspects that can make up a CRO Audit and you can really go as deep as you’d like depending on how optimised (and how many sales you want!) from your website.
If you need some help understanding what a CRO Audit might achieve for you, or if you’re interested in having an Audit of your website done, get in touch today. We’d love to catch up over a coffee to talk about your website, and what you want to achieve and go from there! You can also check out some of the other digital marketing services we offer here.