Suppose you’re running a high-street shop. It might be tempting to judge your success by the volume of customers coming through your door, to look at your crowded shop and decide you’re a success. But, if most of those customers leave without buying anything, they’re really nothing but a nuisance.
Customers who visit your website and leave without buying — or at least taking positive action towards buying in the future — aren’t a nuisance, but they’re nothing but browsers. Unless they can be converted into customers, they’re contributing nothing to your business.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
At its simplest, Conversion Rate Optimisation describes the processes you apply to your website to ensure that as many visitors as possible are converted into customers. It isn’t about generating more traffic — although that can help — but about making the most of your existing traffic.
The process has several stages:
- Analysing your site’s current conversion performance through Google Analytics, and setting goals.
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses on your current site. This involves getting user feedback, via surveys, tests and direct questions, to discover what aspects of the site users find difficult, what’s stopping them from buying your goods or services, and whether you’re communicating what’s great about your product.
- Analysing the data you’ve gathered and comparing that against what your competitors are doing.
- Using your conclusions to design new versions of your pages and testing them against the old versions.
- Repeating the whole process on a regular basis, since nothing stays still in business.
So Why Should I Bother?
It might seem like a lot of effort for a very little gain, but the gains from CRO really aren’t little at all. The percentage that your profits rise can be ten times the percentage of increase in your CRO — the number of browsers who stay on the site and buy from you.
In business, a slight edge can mean everything. If your website is a little more attractive than those of your competitors, that slight advantage will be felt by everyone who visits. And that slight advantage will be translated into a conversion rate increase out of all proportion with what inspired it. It’s like scoring the only goal of the Cup Final in injury time — it doesn’t matter how close the match was. The winner takes all.
So make sure the winner’s you, because you can be sure that at least some of your competitors will be thinking about optimising their conversion rates. Whether you do it yourself, which will cost you nothing, or whether you employ experts to do it, Conversion Rate Optimisation isn’t a luxury. It’s essential for survival.
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