Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage. It is commonly referred to as CRO. CRO is basically every single part of your website. We’re talking about landing pages, google analytics, split testing and behavior based testing. How It’s all about continual improvement of your metrics.
From my experience I would say CRO is more important than SEO. Why? Well if you tried this year to keyword stuff and backlink your page and site to page 1, it might stay on page 1 for a week or so. Then once google get its data and sees the bounce rate and conversion is terrible, back down you will go. I see this happen all the time.
If I had to define the difference between the two I would say that SEO brings you the traffic to the site while the CRO will provide the actual sales and long lasting staying power. Together they are an absolute power horse. SEO stands for search engine optimization in case you were wondering. The ROI on CRO is a much faster yield as you can implement this and see instant results compared to SEO which can take some time depending on your competition.
Why is CRO Important?
Why is conversion rate optimization so important? Well, anybody can build a website but not everybody has a website that actually produces the highest amount of sales, lead regeneration and customers as possible.CRO is the only process that can move people when they are on your website to call your or request information.
Your website's is your representation. It works 24/7 and it has your perfect sales pitch every single time. So, the key is to make sure that your website is converting all of it's traffic at the highest rate. A website with optimized CRO can outperform a top ranked SEO website. Changing the smallest design elements can be staggering in terms of ROI.
Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/1825005/how-one-second-could-cost-amazon-16-billion-sales
Top 12 CRO Tips
Create a clear thought out conversion funnel.
Install Hotjar or VWO and study them.
Less is more on your website. Don’t overkill with too many distractions. Get them into your sales funnel
Stop using stock photos. Use real photos. The more real the photos you have the more trust you will build.
Get rid of sliders.
Create a Clear Call to Action ( CTA ) above the fold and at the bottom of every landing page.
Install Google Analytics and a retargeting pixel to retarget users on your market report/ blog pages.
Get your Time to First byte .5 - 1 second
Look at your competing sites in your market. Put yourself in your buyers/sellers shoes.
Have smooth easy navigation
Show some reviews and have comments enabled from the public.
Have your contact form be of unlimited characters. So users can tell their story. Example they are relocating and need to sell because of an issue.
Bonus Tip: Use DISQUS plugin for comments
Steve Jobs quoted: “The most powerful person in the world is the story teller.” Why am I quoting Steve Jobs? A fellow SEO/ web developer I know Thomas Niemczewski of NeighborhoodLoans.com site is ranking a mortgage site with comment based content. Letting users comment on blog posts with the DISQUS plugin.
See an example on his site. He ranked the term IHDA and IHDA loan on the first page in google by having a basic post but more importanlty by letting the actual users provide the content. Their story if you will.So the takeaway here is balance out your site. Make it so a user can come in and have their say so. To provide their needs and story. Have you noticed that the most popular sites like yahoo and youtube have a robust comment section?
The FOGG Behavior Model
Regardless of what conversion you are tracking, whether it's a form or call, ultimately you are trying to get a visitor to perform a certain action or behavior on your website landing pages. At the core it's all about influencing user behavior. B.J. Fogg is a behavior scientist, author and professor at Stanford. Fogg was the first scientist to articulate the concept of "captology", or the study of how computers can be used to persuade people to change their attitudes or behaviors.
Let's for example say that you have a customer on your site and in their shoes they are maybe scared to talk with a Realtor. They have a situation where they might need to sell their current home to buy another. Or maybe they need to probate sale or some mortgage process which is difficult for them. For that customer this is perceived and truly a difficult and complicated task. The answer is present your landing pages to them as you are the expert and make it simple for them. As you increase simplicity, you increase ability and you decrease perceived difficulty of the conversion action for your visitors to take.
Here is the equation. B=MAT Behavior can occur when three things converge at the exact same time. If any one of these three elements are missing, you will get no behavior. M=Motivated to Act A= Ability to carry out that behavior. T=Trigger Something has to spark or initiate that trigger. The trigger is your Call to Action on your website.
Lets say you have a person who is highly motivated to call you about a property or a home selling situation but it's difficult to reach you. For that user, it's a hard task but they are highly motivated. The behavior won't happen. On the other spectrum, you have a person with low level of motivation but an easy task to accomplish. The behavior will happen. The trigger will work.
Use Facilitator Triggers for Motivated Customers
Facilitator triggers work well when you have a visitor with high motivation but they are just stuck for their own reason. It could be that they think the process is complicated or they just don't want to come in for a appointment. myabe they are nervous about all the paperwork and or phonecalls they will have to take. Your supporting copy for that motivated customer should talk about why this is simple. Not just with text either.
Use Spark Triggers for Customers with Low Motivation
I come to your blog and I read your market report or whatever. I exit out and there is an exit pop up for example or fixed banner in the side bar. It says "Sign up for my newsletter". Even though it's easy as all I have to do is put my email address in but I don't quite yet want to get emails from you just yet. So the motivation is low. So your calls to action should be increasing that motivation by giving value if you sign up for that newsletter. "Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you the top 25 home seller staging tips." or Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you pre-listing MLS properties" Do you get the picture?
Use Micro and Macro Conversions on your Site
Micro conversions are activities which lead your customers to the larger goal. To call you or inquiry about a property.
- Use a Newsletter Sign Up for Market Updates
- Subscription to New Listings
- Book Showings through your site
- Message you via text message
- Login with social media
There are two key areas where you can never waste your time optimizing on. Conversion rate optimization and speed. There is no good enough benchmark here.
Visualize User Behavior
Did you know you can see what users do on your website? You can install plugins like HotJar and see your user behavior and clicks over time. Pictured below is a heat map of a website landing page. Understand what users want, care about and do on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behavior – which are the strongest indicators of visitor motivation and desire.
Click-tracking heat map displayed on WebMAXformance.
Google Analytics - Your Conversion Buddy
I'll actually have analytics open while I'm doing my walkthrough so when I have questions I can jump in and and basically ask analytics. So that's kind of the way I think of analytics also it's like my little conversion buddy. A website with optimized CRO can outperform a top ranked SEO website. Changing the smallest design elements can be staggering in terms of ROI.
Here is just some of the data you can get from analytics.
- Overall landing page performance
- Overall device performance
- Overall browser performance
- Traffic conversion rate
- Bounce Rate
- Exit Page
Not getting any home sales or leads? Get into the right mindset.
It has less to do with what anyone says but rather it has more to do with the way that you look at the problem. Typically when people want to increase the conversion of their site it's because they're not hitting their goals. Immediately when people don't hit their goals for their quarterly or annual review they start to spend more money on advertising. This may not be the highest and best solution for you. The question you should be asking is how can I do more with what I have?