Conversion Rate Optimization
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action on your website. Through optimization experiments like swapping out messaging and adjusting the user experience, CRO encourages more of your visitors to take the actions you want them to take.
While this might sound hard, expensive, and technical, CRO really comes down to one thing: having a deep understanding of your buyers. It involves addressing your buyers’ concerns, showing them you truly understand their problems, and then making it clear how your solution eliminates those problems.
CRO is all about being authentic — the last thing you want is to implement questionable tactics just to get people to click on a link. That’s why, when done well, CRO helps improve your brand image and gain your buyers’ trust.
All that said, you can’t optimize your conversion rate without knowing what your conversion rate is right now. Here’s how you can find out 👇
How to Calculate Conversion Rate
A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a specific action on your site, like signing up for a demo, filling out a contact form, or completing a purchase.
To calculate your conversion rate, divide the number of conversions for a certain time period by the total number of visitors for the same time period. Then multiply that amount by 100 to get a percentage.
You can use this formula to calculate the conversion rate of all kinds of actions that site visitors can take on your website — whether it’s downloading a piece of content, requesting a free trial, submitting their email address, or anything else.
What Is a Good Conversion Rate?
How do you know if your website conversion rates are decent or if you’re in need of some major improvements? Well, the answer depends on your industry.
According to WordStream, the benchmark for ecommerce companies is 3%, but B2B companies should aim for at least 4%. Meanwhile, finance and other professional services companies should hope to see a conversion rate of at least 11% on their websites.
Service providers, software companies, and businesses offering high-priced products typically need much higher conversion rates because they drive less traffic. So, if you fall into one of these categories, the focus should not only be on conversion rate optimization but also on driving higher quality traffic that will be more likely to convert.
What Is an Average Conversion Rate?
The average conversion rate for landing pages across all industries is 2.35%, according to WordStream.
But if you want to go beyond average and land your content in the top 25th percentile, then you’ll need to achieve a conversion rate of 5.31%. That’s doable but only with a combination of CRO, targeted traffic sources, and (of course) a great offer.
Keep in mind though that conversion rates vary widely based on the action that qualifies as a conversion. For instance, you should expect to see a higher conversion rate with targeted ads to a free resource compared to cold traffic to a blog post. So, set your conversion rate expectations accordingly before you start optimizing.
The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization
With all the talk around what makes a good conversion rate, you may be wondering: Why is conversion rate optimization so important for marketers?
The short answer? CRO offers up massive benefits without putting a strain on your team or budget.
First, CRO is about tapping into your existing website traffic — getting more site visitors to do what you want them to do — which means making the most of the campaigns you’re already running. As a result, you can start converting more traffic at virtually no cost.
Second, as you work on optimizing your conversion rate, you’re able to gain valuable insights into your site visitors and what gets them to take action. With this information, you can improve on your website experience (and even entire marketing campaigns) so that you better meet your visitors’ needs — be it simplifying user flows, delivering more tailored messaging, or enabling visitors to interact with you on their own terms.
All in all, conversion rate optimization can help boost the ROI of your marketing campaigns, lower your cost per lead, and increase your average customer lifetime value. And the best part is that these big rewards come from small, incremental conversion uplifts — multiplied across your website and channels.
Want to find out how much money you’re leaving on the table with your website conversions? Check out our conversion rate calculator.
Where to Optimize Your Website with CRO
While there are a few different areas on your website that can be optimized, to drive the most value, start by looking at the pages that receive the most traffic or high-intent website pages. Here are some key places to give CRO its due attention:
Your home page is your virtual front door — it’s the first place visitors go when researching your company. This means you only have a few moments to capture your visitor’s attention, which is why it’s important that your home page is geared for conversions.
One way you can improve the conversion rate of this page is with a powerful headline. With the right headline, you’ll instantly be able to speak to your site visitors’ needs while also telling them exactly how your business can help them.
You can also try combining “date” and “marry” CTAs (i.e. a small ask and a big ask) that speak to different buying stages. If a visitor is just getting to know you, they’ll be more interested in watching a video or signing up for a newsletter. But repeat visitors who are later in the sales cycle may be ready to book a demo or even make a purchase. Be sure to cater to both types of visitors — after all, you don’t want to propose to someone you just met.
Finally, your home page is a great place to start conversations. By adding a catch-all chatbot on your home page, you can instantly connect with all site visitors, automatically answer questions, and connect qualified leads to sales reps quickly. This also makes it easy to tailor your asks to different site visitors based on their unique needs and interests.
When someone visits your product, pricing, or demo pages, they are there because they’re serious about purchasing your solution.
How can you encourage them to take the next step?
On these pages, the last thing you want to do is mislead your visitors. So, keep the copy simple, lean on images and videos to show what your product looks like in action, and be as transparent as possible. One way you can help site visitors take the leap is to give them a direct line to your business with a chatbot that can provide pricing and product information, as well as connect them to your sales team when they’re ready to chat.
It’s also a good idea to include positive reviews and customer testimonials on these pages for social proof. And if your solution has been featured in any major publications, make sure to add those reviews as well.
Optimizing your landing pages for conversions is a given. After all, these pages are built for visitors to take a specific action — which means, when they’re done right, they can have a dramatic effect on your conversion rates.
So, what makes a high-converting landing page? Generally, you want to focus on using action-oriented language, clearly describe the value of what you’re offering, and keep your messaging concise. Run strategic A/B tests on your landing pages to find the right copy, layout, and design that drive conversions.
You can also leverage conversational landing pages to better engage site visitors while they’re browsing your content. For example, our Book of Hooks landing page allows visitors to have ask questions about the content they’re consuming and even book a meeting with sales — all on the same page.
Paid Social and PPC Ads
A disjointed experience leads to a high bounce rate. And there’s nothing more disjointed than clicking on an ad, only to be directed to a generic landing page.
That’s why maintaining a strong connection between the messaging in your ad and on your landing page is key to increasing conversions. A strong message match reassures visitors they’ve come to the right place.
To drive more conversions from your ads, craft compelling copy that includes relevant keywords and search queries. Long-tail keywords work especially well for paid ads since these keywords are often used by searchers who are later in the buying cycle and are therefore more likely to convert.
Your blog is another place where there’s ample opportunity to increase conversions. The easiest way you can do this is by making sure the CTAs on your blog posts are relevant to your content. By doing this, you can ensure you’re delivering resources and driving interactions that speak to the visitor’s interests.
You can also add multiple CTAs to individual blog posts, including text-based and banner CTAs, to increase the opportunity for interactions.
Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies
Conversion rate optimization is not about tricking people to click on your CTAs or sign up for your services. Your buyers are smart and they’ll know a gimmick when they see one.
Instead, it’s about treating your customers like royalty and truly solving their needs at every stage of the customer journey. Follow these strategies to start increasing your website’s conversion rates and driving meaningful results.
Conduct a Conversion Rate Optimization Audit
The first step to optimizing your conversion rate is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes — to understand how customers are engaging with your website and what drives them to take action. That’s where CRO audits come in.
Conduct CRO audits on the pages with the most traffic, high-intent pages, or pages with high bounce rates. The pages you audit should be directly related to your conversion goal, whether that’s more demos booked, more webinar sign-ups, or anything else.
During the audit, having one goal will help you take practical steps to address any problems. So, for example, you might run an audit on one of your product pages to find out why site visitors are dropping off without converting. Once you have that goal in mind, collect and analyze website performance data like:
- Total traffic
- Total conversions
- Traffic source
- Average time on page
- Bounce rate
In addition to quantitative data, you’ll want to take qualitative data into account too. For this, you can get a fresh perspective on your web pages by asking customers for their feedback or getting input from people on your team.
Run Tests on Your Web Pages
If you’re not sure exactly what changes will boost your conversions, that’s okay. After all, there’s no way to know without trial and error.
That’s why you should run A/B tests to see which version of your page drives more conversions. A few examples of elements to test include headlines, CTA buttons, and copy length. You can also test the impact of adding new elements like videos, live chat, and chatbots.
Don’t get too caught up in testing the little things, though. Although a red CTA button might outperform a green one, CRO comes down to better understanding and meeting the needs of your customers. So, instead of just switching colors and fonts, try pitting different selling propositions and pain points against each other to see what resonates most with visitors.
Match Your Campaigns to the Buying Stage
The way B2B buyers make purchasing decisions has changed. Now, buyers expect relevance and personalization at every touchpoint. That’s why, in order to enjoy high conversion rates on your campaigns, you’ll need to architect a seamless customer journey.
This means every content offer, ad, and landing page should be designed to clearly engage people at a specific stage of the buying journey. So, make sure that your offer, messaging, and CTA are all aligned with the right buying stage, and that they all serve to drive the visitor to the next stage.
Here, it’s also important to establish benchmarks for conversions across all your funnel stages. That way, you’ll be able to pinpoint where you’re experiencing poor or decreasing conversion rates and focus on optimizing those touchpoints.
Write Powerful Headlines
Whether it’s on your product pages, landing pages, or emails, a clear and compelling headline is what will inspire your visitors to take action.
With all the content floating around the internet, a good headline is crucial if you want to grab people’s attention and prompt them to keep reading. Whenever you’re crafting a headline, keep the 4 U’s in mind — make your headline urgent, unique, ultra-specific, and useful.
While you might get the right headline on your first go, it’s always a good idea to write a few variations and get second opinions from other people on your team. You can also try headline formulas like these:
- Get Rid of [Problem] Once and for All
- Now You Can Have [Something Desirable] without [Circumstance]
- [Do Something] like [World-Class Example]
Embrace the Rule of Three
Humans have an inherent love of threes. The rule of three is used in storytelling, music, films, advertising, sports, comedy — the list goes on. That’s because we’re wired to remember information when it’s presented in groups of three.
You can easily apply this rule to your own marketing to simplify complex ideas and, therefore, get your visitors to take action. For example, you can present your value proposition in three parts, outline three steps people should take to get started with your solution, or add three pricing options to an order page.
The rule of three has basically been around forever. You can’t go wrong with capitalizing on it.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
More than 60% of B2B buyers said that mobile played a key role in one of their recent purchases, which means you can’t afford to ignore your mobile experience any longer.
That’s why you should check your current mobile conversion rate to see if it’s an area you need to improve. If your conversion rate is lower than on desktop, work on speeding up your mobile site and building a mobile-responsive design for all your pages. If you’re using popups, you’ll also want to ensure those are mobile-friendly.
Keep in mind that the mobile experience plays a critical role in determining your search rank, even if you don’t get a ton of mobile traffic. Google, for example, favors sites that perform well on mobile first, so improving your mobile experience is a crucial step for improving conversions across your overall web experience.
Feature Real People
There’s no better way to make your brand feel more human than by showing real people. Faces have been integral to how we communicate for thousands of years — so it’s hard to feel connected to someone without seeing their face.
By using images of real people, you can boost your know-like-trust factor (and your conversions). We do this frequently at Drift — it’s a big part of our brand — and we’ve certainly experienced the benefits.
To showcase your company’s human side (especially if you’re in the B2B world), you can add images of your employees and customers to your website pages. Ecommerce companies can also opt for user-generated and influencer content that will allow target audiences to more easily relate to their brand.
Add CTAs Above and Below the Fold
Regardless of what goal each of your pages serve, you want to make it as easy as possible for visitors to take action on your site. That’s why there’s been much debate about where you should add CTA buttons on your pages.
Our advice? Have the same CTA above and below the fold, so your visitors can easily take the next step when they’re ready — no matter where on the page they happen to be. You might also try adding a sticky CTA to the top menu of your website, so even as users are scrolling, there is always a CTA button for them to click.
Improve Your Site’s Loading Time
With fast, always-on experiences becoming the norm, your site’s slow loading time might be killing your conversions. Improving your loading time by even a few milliseconds can have a huge impact on your ability to engage your site visitors.
Remove Any Hoops That Site Visitors Have to Jump Through
Notoriously, many B2B companies force prospects to fill out long forms and then wait days for someone to contact them. But this makes for a terrible customer experience. What prospects really want is to get information the moment that they need it.
To deliver a buying experience that converts, review your most important web pages, forms, and other conversion points to figure out where you can reduce friction for your buyers. For example, if your forms are really long, remove all unnecessary fields and use a tool like Drift Fastlane to instantly chat with qualified leads and gather more information after they’ve submitted their form.
As for content like ebooks and courses, try sharing it freely instead of forcing people to give you their email addresses in exchange. At Drift, we openly share ebooks like our Revenue Acceleration Guide — then we leverage chatbots to converse with visitors on those pages and convert them into leads in real time.
Create Personalized Experiences with Conversational Marketing
Real-time personalization can drive website conversions like nothing else can. Because we’re all suckers for immediacy and convenience, and that’s exactly what personalization provides.
A Conversational Marketing platform makes it easy to deliver the personalized experiences that your site visitors want. Through real-time messaging, you can enable visitors to engage with your company when it’s most convenient for them and tailor your messaging based on your visitor’s geographical region, company profile, traffic source — you name it.
With Drift, you can even personalize things down to the account level. For example, if an ABM account lands on your website, you can greet them by name through the chatbot and deliver a customized video message with their dedicated account rep.
Learn more about Drift Conversational Marketing and find out how you can have the right conversations with the right customers at the right times.
Conversion Rate Optimization Tools
When engaging in CRO, the right software can help you make informed decisions about what to optimize and allow you to easily implement your optimization strategy. Here are some tools to consider to help you on your CRO journey 👇
Website Analytics Tools
Website analytics tools collect quantitative data on your website, like page views, traffic source, time on site, pages per session, user pathways, and funnel drop-off. Most tools also allow you to collect conversion data, which helps you better understand what changes are working and what isn’t.
With these tools, you can run your own conversion experiments by recording your data for, say, a seven-day time period. Then, you can make your change (like swapping out a headline), and collect data for the subsequent seven-day window. By comparing your conversion rates between those two periods, you can easily pick your winner.
Qualitative Feedback Tools
If you don’t have enough traffic to run A/B tests on certain pages, you can use qualitative data to choose the winning variation.
Qualitative feedback tools allow you to gather visitor feedback through multiple-choice surveys, emoji reactions, and open-ended text responses. After making a change to your website, you can review these submissions to gauge the success of your changes.
Qualitative feedback is also super helpful while auditing and analyzing your web pages. If you are confused as to why a certain page isn’t converting well, you can gather feedback to help you identify issues and figure out what to test.
A/B Testing Tools
A/B testing tools allow you to set up, manage, and analyze conversion rate experiments. Some of these tools integrate directly with your website so that you can make edits in a simple interface — no coding required.
Other tools integrate with and pull in data from your website analytics platforms. This gives you one central location to strategize and assess your CRO experiments, so you don’t have to tinker with any spreadsheets.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Conversion rate optimization is all about getting to know your buyers and customers. What better way to do that than by actually talking to them?
Chatbots empower you to scale your conversations on your website so you can engage with all your site visitors and instantly deliver the resources or service they need 24/7/365. Not only are chatbots a helpful addition to any web page, but they also enable you to qualify, nurture, and convert site visitors through personalized and authentic interactions.
Plus, chatbots store conversational data so that site visitors continue to receive relevant and tailored messaging that’s based on their previous interactions with your brand, making it all the more easier to convert them.
Conversion Rate Optimization Case Studies
What does it really look like to improve your conversion rates? Check out these case studies from companies who have paved the way to better conversions.
Lessonly by Seismic
When employee training platform Lessonly found themselves grappling with a declining website conversion rate, they realized they needed to be more intentional about how they converted and led site visitors down their funnel. And they knew that a static page wasn’t going to get them the results they wanted.
To make their pages more dynamic, the Lessonly marketing team implemented chatbots on high-traffic, top-tier pages (including the home page, demo pages, main product pages, and paid traffic landing pages). They also adopted a strategic approach to engaging buyers, aiming to deliver tailored experiences through their website. For example, the Lessonly chatbot would acknowledge if a visitor came from an ad and then encourage them to book a call.
By identifying who their visitors were, where they were coming from, and what stage they were at in their buying journey, Lessonly was able to serve their customers better with each conversation. With these improvements, Lessonly saw a 400% increase in demos booked, and their total marketing qualified leads (MQLs) shot up by 30%.
To learn more about how Lessonly successfully revamped their website and tackled low conversion rates, check out the complete case study here.
Getting more leads isn’t always the answer, especially for B2B companies. What really matters is lead quality. And that’s exactly what Tenable set out to fix.
In 2018, Tenable had been using an outdated strategy that focused too much on driving a high volume of leads to the top of their funnel. They realized that their funnel was converting so poorly that in order to keep growing the business, they would need 50% more leads every year.
Knowing that they needed more consistent and more quality engagement across their website, the Tenable team turned to AI chatbots. The team started out by setting up 25 AI playbooks to drive flexible, open-ended conversations even when their SDRs were off the clock.
The results? Site visitors that engaged with the AI chatbots converted at a rate of 20%, leading to double the conversions on their website.
Find out more about how Tenable drove more qualified pipeline with AI chatbots by reading the complete case study here.
Personalization for the sake of personalization is rarely effective. Just using someone’s name in your marketing campaigns isn’t all that impressive these days — what matters more is when you speak to a person’s needs.
This is exactly what Qualtrics set out to do on their website to enhance their ABM efforts. By integrating Drift with 6sense, Qualtrics was able to marry visitor intent data with their chatbot playbooks to drive conversations tailored to the visitor’s buying stage.
With Drift x 6sense, Qualtrics could be more intentional about the messaging and offers they were putting in front of their site visitors. So, for example, if a high-intent visitor landed on their website, the chatbot would skip the fluff and immediately suggest a meeting with sales.
By scaling personalized messaging across their website, Qualtrics saw a 150% uplift in email capture and a 38x increase in conversation to opportunity rate.
Learn more about how Qualtrics drove a personalized buying experience on their website by checking out the full case study here.
Drive Conversions on Your Website with Drift
In the digital era, your website is the most powerful tool you have for turning interested people into potential buyers, and turning buyers into happy customers. By engaging in CRO, you can ensure you’re making the most of the visitors who land on your website every day.
Ready to start optimizing your website’s conversion rate? We’re here to help.
With Drift Conversational Marketing, you can create a website that’s designed to maximize engagement and opportunities so you can convert more leads, shorten the sales cycle, and close deals faster.