What is CRO? Introduction to Conversion Optimization

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Is CRO a method to improve conversion rates? If you lower the prices in half your conversions will shoot … but surely you will have to close.

What is optimizing conversions?

Contents:
• Definition of CRO
• Optimizing conversions is optimizing growth
• CRO misconceptions
• What CRO is really

Why is it important to optimize conversions?

The CRO process
• Lean Startup applied to CRO

 Research methods in CRO
• Quantitative methods
• Qualitative methods

How SEO affects optimizing conversions
Fundamental ideas
Definition of CRO
CRO comes from the English expression Conversion Rate Optimization which means optimization of conversion rates .

The conversion happens when a user of your web or application performs a desirable action, such as completing an order, requesting a quote or subscribing to the mailing list.

A simple definition of CRO would be:

Find out why users do not convert and fix it. Naturally you can say more things … Optimizing conversions is optimizing growth
We coined the term Conversion Rate Optimization (“CRO”) in 2007 to describe the process of optimizing the business itself. It’s really business optimization.

CRO is the science and art of obtaining greater benefits from the same traffic you already receive. Each client is cheaper and you can grow faster.

To do this you must understand your users and provide them with an improved experience that encourages them to act .

Conversion optimization combines :
1. Persuasive marketing , because it tries to motivate the user to do something (buy, contact, subscribe, etc.).
2. Design of the experience , when dealing with facilitating said action to the user.
3. Scientific method , which is used to test hypotheses in the 2 previous areas.

CRO misconceptions
• CRO is not a list of tricks that always work.
• CRO is not the opinion of an expert nor the preferences of the boss.
• CRO is not to increase conversions at any price.
• CRO is not SEO.

What CRO is really
• A systematic approach to improve the economic performance of your website.
• It is based on the knowledge obtained through research and  experimentation.
• It revolves around the goals and unique needs of your business.
• Take advantage of the current traffic.

Why is it important to optimize conversions?

1. Paid traffic is increasingly competitive and each customer is more expensive – CRO helps you reduce the cost of acquisition.
2. Free traffic is limited – It’s better to take advantage of the available traffic.
3. CRO maximizes profits – So you can invest in other areas, develop your business and gain ground to your competitors.
4. All sites lose money – No matter how well you go you can always improve.

The CRO process

If you can not describe what you do as a process, you do not know what you are doing.
~ William Edwards Deming
The objective is to find out what to change to produce the greatest possible profit with the least effort. Conversion optimization follows an orderly procedure:

1. Defining objectives and metrics – Consists in deciding which metrics to measure based on business objectives.
2. Data collection – Set up measurement tools to collect all the necessary information.
3. Data analysis – Analyze data sources in search of bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
4. Hypothesis formulation – Develop and prioritize improvement hypotheses for tests.
5. Design of the treatment – Create prototypes for the test pages (treatments).
6. Integration with the web / application – Implement the alternative version of the test pages.
7. Testing – Run controlled A / B / n tests until significant results are obtained (scientific method).
8. Learning – Analyze the results, learn from them and develop new hypotheses.
9. (return to step 2 …)
You will see that the process does not consist in taking a website and returning it perfectly optimized, but in  producing improvements through repetition.

Lean Startup applied to CRO

Lean Startup is a method to launch and validate projects faster. He proposes to build a product based on a hypothesis, measure the results and learn to improve it in successive cycles.
This is precisely what you do when you optimize (build, measure and learn). The difference is that instead of figuring out how to build something that people want to buy, you find out how to get people to buy more on your website.

The Lean CRO method looks like this:

1. Idea – It is the hypothesis about what to change to improve  conversions.
2. Build – A treatment is constructed from the hypothesis.
3. Code – It is the newly created variant.
4. Measure – The necessary data is collected.
5. Data – Are the data collected.
6. Learning – The data is analyzed and conclusions drawn.
7. (Back to start with new ideas …)

Research methods in CRO

There are 2 types of methods:

1. Quantitative methods – They work with measurable data. They investigate what ,when and where .
2. Qualitative methods – Work with in-depth information. They investigate the howand why .

Quantitative methods

• Digital Analytic s – Allows you to collect, analyze and understand the behavior of users in a web or application. It is one of the most powerful tools, not only to optimize                         conversions, but all digital actions.

• Heat maps – Collect data on the use of the mouse / touch  screen. The heat maps show the hot zones where users click and how far they come with the scroll . Some tools record session videos to see the journey of users through the site. There are also those that control the interaction with forms and even the advance in the conversion funnels.

• Controlled tests – Facing the current version of a page (control) to one or more aspiring versions to overcome it. For a time, control is offered to one segment of users and variants to another. Nobody perceives being part of an experiment and the page that shows the best results wins.

Qualitative methods

• Usability studies – A group of users is invited to perform a series of specific tasks on the web. During the process, they are encouraged to comment out loud what they think. The objective is to highlight the difficulties that users encounter.

• Surveys – Surveys are made to users while they browse the site; others are addressed to former clients. Surveys reveal usability issues as well as issues of demographics, needs, satisfaction and valuation.

• Interviews – It’s talking to someone who has already bought. It helps to get to know customers better and find out the reasons why they do not buy.

• Chat transcriptions – Consists in analyzing the record of conversations maintained through online chat. It allows you to discover the frequent problems that visitors encounter.

• Heuristic evaluation – It is to travel the site from the point of view of the user.During the walk, experience is used to locate areas of interest (potentially problematic).

How SEO affects optimizing conversions

When they run well, SEO and CRO combine seamlessly:
• Search engines reward pages that are easy to use, with clear structure and balanced content.
• While motivated search engine traffic can convert better than that from other sources.
Obviously conflicts may arise , but they are easily resolved.

Fundamental ideas
• CRO is not only to increase conversion rates, but to develop your business faster.
• Take the traffic you already receive and get the most out of it.
• It is important because it reduces the cost of acquiring new          customers.
• Conversion optimization applies a systematic process of                continuous improvement.
• It employs quantitative and qualitative research methods.
• SEO and CRO complement each other.

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