But how do you optimize the conversion rate? For centuries merchants and traders have been trying to achieve exactly this – only the terminology has changed and the process has been systematized. Imagine a saleswoman in a small boutique. On an average day, 50 people enter their shop, but only five visitors actually buy something. Of course, the saleswoman wants to get more of these 50 visitors to buy and tries out different things for them. It approaches prospective customers more proactively, involves them directly in a sales conversation, makes the presentation of goods clearer or offers free accessories for high-quality articles, such as an expensive tie that matches the expensive suit. This way she can turn five more visitors into buyers – a conversion rate increase of 100%!
Example: The CRO process in offline retail
In order to find out exactly which of the possible measures lead to success, it is necessary to test them individually and systematically. In this process, the procedure must be defined in advance and must be consistent, because this is the only way to ensure comparability. This procedure is called the CRO-Process in online marketing. As in the example above, an analysis of the status quo reveals possible conversion inhibitors, i.e. obstacles to conversion. The salesperson could lure friends into her shop as test customers and ask for feedback or ask her “real” visitors about why they didn’t buy.
This results in hypotheses about improvement potentials or possible connections, for example: “A personal consultation increases the number of customers who actually try something on by 300%”. After a prioritisation the most important hypothesis is then tested in a so-called A/B-Tests: 50% of her visitors now advise the saleswoman personally by explaining to them which fit flatters her figure the most. The other 50% will be treated exactly as before. After some time, the results are analyzed and expanded: The salesperson is now considering how she could expand the success of the consulting. For example, interested parties could not only be advised on the right fit, but also on the type-specific colours and styles of garments. In a new Round she also tries out these ideas according to the same scheme.
The optimization also works in a similar way in the digital area, in order to move online visitors to the desired action. In principle, online marketers today proceed in a similar way, but thanks to data analysis and evaluation, they can systematize the process even further and find out exactly which measures are most effective and where optimization is most worthwhile.
How to: The CRO process
Conversion Rate Optimization is based on A/B testing, a scientific method that should be precisely defined and systematically performed. It makes sense to develop an individual procedure for your company. The following basic structure helps:
Analysis of the status quo
Identify problems and opportunities to uncover optimization opportunities. Helpful: Analytics tools such as Matomo or Webtrekk, which provide information about the behaviour and demographic characteristics of your users, as well as qualitative analyses through surveys, interviews or user-friendliness tests. Practical tips for data collection and analysis you can find on Quicksprout.
In a brainstorming session, derive possible optimization measures from the analyses and draw out hypotheses about their influence on user behavior, e.g: “Reducing the load time by 0.2 seconds reduces the bounce rate by 5%”. Useful hypothesis examples can be found at Craig Sullivan.
There are various methods for this. According to one of the most used methods, the PIE of Widerfunnel, potential (expected uplift on the page), importance (volume and value of the page traffic) and simplicity of implementation are equally considered.
The hypothesis with the highest priority is then tested. The key to success in the A/B test: In each variant, only one thing is changed and compared with the original variant by displaying each variant to an equal percentage of all site visitors. This is the only way to derive meaningful results from the A/B tests. This Guide will help you choose the right A/B testing tool.
Interpret and extend test results
Note: Important lessons can also be learned from failures! It is also worth considering how successful methods can be extended and transferred to other positions. If adding a testimonial was worth it, you might ask yourself: What happens if I display five? And: Can similar trust elements achieve similar success elsewhere in the funnel?
Conversion Rate Optimization is not a one-time thing, but a permanent cycle. The knowledge you have gained from previous A/B tests can be fed back into the loop. The status quo only needs to be reanalyzed in phases. If you follow this process, you will continue to optimize your conversion rate.
Possible elements for an A/B test
A/B testing can be used for almost anything on your website. A small collection of inspiration:
- Social proof
- Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
You got it? – Then we’re ready to go: We now show you some examples of possible methods for Conversion Rate Optimization. To learn how not to do it, take a look at our CRO negative examples.