When you don’t want to increase your ad spend or start new programs, but you need to make more sales, what do you do? You focus on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
What is CRO?
CRO is all about monitoring how your visitors interact with your marketing funnel assets, hypothesizing why some interactions don’t turn into conversions, and then optimizing your assets in an effort to increase conversions. It’s an ongoing process of analyzing data, hypothesizing, and testing.
Your audience’s actions will change over time, so it’s important to consistently test and optimize the various assets in your marketing funnel.
Why use CRO to Increase Conversion Rates?
“Conversion rate” is right in the name “CRO,” but why do we recommend using CRO to increase your conversion rates?
Because there are two primary ways to increase conversion rates:
- Develop new programs to address gaps in your marketing funnel
CRO helps implement your goal (e.g. increase conversions) through your high-level strategy into your program-level strategy. During this process, you adjust your approach within individual programs to meet your new goal.
The best part of CRO is that you don’t need to start new programs to increase your conversion rates. Instead, focus on optimizing conversion rates within the programs you are already running. This is exciting news for businesses on a budget and businesses looking to sell!
Simple CRO Tactics to Start Implementing Today
The practice of CRO is actually very simple. It all comes down to this: reassess current programs and update approaches when needed.
Consistency is key. With that in mind, let’s dive into the CRO tactics you can start implementing today:
- Change Your Goals, Change Your Focus
- Write Stronger CTAs
- Conduct A/B Testing
- Create Abandoned Cart Emails
- Clean Your Email List
- Segment Your Email List
- Take Advantage of FOMO
- Reduce Friction
- Optimize Your Timing
- Start Retargeting
Change Your Goals, Change Your Focus
If you’ve ever read a how-to article on marketing before, the first step is always to define your goals. After you define your goals, you need to inform your marketing team.
This is really important because if your new goal is to “increase conversions” and your programs are focused on “brand awareness” or another goal, then you need to inform everyone working on your marketing team about your new goal.
Changing your goals impacts different programs differently. When it comes to advertising, goals directly affect how campaigns act. For communications efforts, goals change how writers craft calls to action (CTAs).
Write Stronger CTAs
When your goal is to increase conversions, it’s appropriate to be more aggressive when crafting CTAs.
For example, instead of soft CTAs like “Learn More” or “Download Our Ebook” you can say “Buy Now” or “Start Your Free Trial.”
Softer CTAs typically focus on letting the prospect know what action you want them to take next to move through the marketing funnel and closer to converting. Hard CTAs tell the prospect how to convert.
Both types of CTAs can be used in any program – from your website to your email marketing efforts and from social media posts and pages to advertising.
It’s important to note that stronger CTAs early on in the funnel may not be effective, but they are very effective for bottom-of-funnel efforts. However, we recommend testing hard CTAs in various programs to see how your audience reacts.
Conduct A/B Testing
CRO is often about small adjustments. A great way to find out what your audience currently prefers is to A/B test it. Put simply, A/B testing is to change one aspect of one asset and then test it against the current asset. Then, after testing, you use the winner going forward – or until the next test.
For example, if you want to start A/B testing on a landing page promoting your newest product, you can test the CTA. Let’s say your current CTA button is in-line with the text. A way to test the CTA would be to replicate the landing page and update the CTA to a button.
Remember, when A/B testing, it’s important that you only change one aspect at a time so you can more easily read the test results after the test.
So, for this test, you update half of your advertising and email efforts to direct to the new landing page while the other half directs to your original landing page. After a week, you check to see which landing page led to more conversions. After you determine the winner based on the landing page analytics, you use that landing page going forward in your advertising and email campaigns promoting that new product.
But testing doesn’t stop there! You can A/B test just about anything in a campaign. So keep testing.
Create Abandoned Cart Emails
An easy win for e-commerce businesses is to create or update abandoned cart emails.
If you don’t have one in place already, an abandoned cart email is a way to automatically remind your prospects that they added something to their cart but did not complete the purchase. Abandoned cart emails can provide simple reminders or additional incentives for the prospect to convert, such as free shipping or a discount.
If you already have one set up, when was the last time you looked at the conversion rate of those emails? Abandoned cart emails are one of the highest converting emails you can create, so if your conversion rate is lower than your other emails or just seems low, it’s time to start A/B testing.
Clean Your Email List
If your current email efforts have dwindling conversion rates, it’s time for one of two things:
- Clean your email list
- Segment your email list
Cleaning your email list is about as fun as scrubbing a shower, but it’s just as necessary – especially if you have low conversion rates or hard water, respectively.
Poor conversion rates can be as simple as having an outdated, uninterested list. A simple way to start boosting your conversion rates is to clean your list. You can do so by narrowing in on a few subscriber details:
- Has not opened your emails in 6 months
- Has not clicked in an email in 6 months
- The email address has bounced
- Subscriber is listed multiple times
- The email address is clearly spam
- The email address has an obvious typo
Cleaning your list every 6 months or so is the standard practice, but in some industries, it may be appropriate to do so annually (e.g. for seasonal businesses) or every 3 months.
When you do clean your list, don’t forget to send a re-engagement campaign before you archive or delete anyone from your list!
Segment Your Email List
Above we discussed how hard CTAs are more effective at converting prospects lower in your marketing funnel while soft CTAs are more effective at converting prospects higher in the funnel. With this in mind, you can segment your email lists.
Segmenting your email lists just means sending the right message to the right people.
If you send one email to your entire email list, it’s very likely that that email is not meeting the needs of everyone on your list because they are all at different stages of the marketing funnel. Some prospects just subscribed yesterday while others have been following your business for a few months. Some customers have just completed their first purchase while others have been buying from you for years. All of these people need different messages. This is where segmenting comes in.
You can create segments by various criteria, such as:
- Purchase history
- Content preferences
- Product or service preferences
- Geographic location
By creating segments in your audience, you start to better understand each segment’s needs. This helps you cater your emails to each segment’s needs without increasing your level of effort on email marketing too much.
Take Advantage of FOMO
Limited-time offers are a great tactic to use to increase conversions. This allows you to take advantage of FOMO – the fear of missing out.
Businesses do this all the time. They launch a product or course and only offer it for a limited time. Superfans jump at the exclusive offering. Fans who have been on the fence take action. It’s a win-win.
But you can still take advantage of FOMO without creating a limited edition offering – just change how an offering is presented and its availability.
Think of this like pumpkin spice lattes – sure, you can buy or make one year-round, but they are only promoted during the fall. You can use this tactic in your business, too.
If you’re a product-based business, you can update the availability of seasonal products to their relevant seasons. If you’re a service-based business, you can update the availability of taking on new clients to a certain window.
You inform your audience of the change and make minor modifications to all relevant assets. This works great in emails, but it can also be done on your product and service pages on your website.
For example, if you’re a cybersecurity business that sees lower conversions in the fall, you can limit the sales of one of your cybersecurity packages to Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October. The timeliness of the promotion plus the limited time to get the package will likely drive more conversions overall. So, you create a few emails to send before and during October promoting the opportunity, and you update the web page to reflect the limited-time offer.
If you notice that you lose prospects on certain places in your marketing funnel or pages on your website, then it might be time to reduce friction.
As a business, you want to make it as easy as possible for your prospects to purchase from you. If your prospects experience any friction in the buying process, they are more likely to give up and seek an alternative, which is often your competitor.
Forms are one of the biggest causes of friction. Another is the checkout process. If either of these is unnecessarily long or confusing, or requires unnecessary information from prospects at that buying stage, you will likely see a drop in conversions.
This is where CRO comes in. By reviewing your website analytics and the analytics of other platforms used in your marketing funnel, you can see where your audience is dropping off the most and then A/B test to improve it.
Optimize Your Timing
Another way to improve your conversion rates is to optimize your timing. Sometimes your message and CTA are right, but your audience doesn’t receive it at the right time.
This can be multiple optimizations:
- The time and frequency your emails send
- The triggers and schedule of automated emails
- How long a website visitor is on a page before seeing a pop-up form
- The timing of your social media posts
- How fast you reply to DMs and comments on social media
- The window of time your ads show to your audience
- How fast you reply to reviews on business listings
Every industry and audience is different, so we recommend A/B testing your timing.
If your advertising efforts are not receiving the conversions you want, then it may be time to pause them and start retargeting efforts.
Retargeting reminds your greatest asset – your interested prospects – to complete their purchase.
Retargeting is more effective at converting prospects than other advertising options because it specifically targets prospects who are already interested in your business.
Your current audience is your greatest asset because they are more likely to buy from you than people who have never heard of your business before.
Are You Ready to Spend Time on CRO?
With these 10 tactics, you’re ready to dive into the world of CRO!
If you’re looking at this list of 10 tactics and feel overwhelmed, you don’t need to be. Our team offers Ongoing CRO services.
We also meet our members’ ever-changing needs directly in their active marketing projects. Learn more about how SharedTEAMS works at this link.