it's a checklist
PHOTO: Glenn Carstens-Peters

Whether your business is trying to entice new customers to attend the latest webinar or turn more visitors to your ecommerce store into buyers, understanding how well these visitors are being converted to the next stage is critical. 

Every business hopes to convert visitors into leads, and eventually, sales and improving conversion rates is the way to make that happen. According to a report by Unbounce, SaaS companies have had a median conversion rate of 3.0%, while businesses across all sectors have had a median conversion rate of 4.6% across all industries. 

We spoke to marketing experts to learn more about conversion rate optimization (CRO), uncover some common CRO mistakes and compile a checklist that can help you improve the conversion rates on your website or platform. 

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a process for improving the percentage of visitors that take a desired action on your website. These actions may include adding a product to a checkout cart, filling out a form to download a whitepaper, or simply clicking a link to go to another part of your website. 

Conversion rates help explain what factors drive visitors to your website and whether or not you are correctly engaging them and improving their user experience. By doing CRO, you are not only finding ways to increase sales or downloads of your products, but you are also finding ways to enhance that overall customer experience. 

While businesses are always looking for ways to improve conversion rates, there are some common errors that many organizations continue to make that actually impede their ability to get visitors to take desired actions. Here are some common mistakes:

Not Making Data-Driven Decisions

Businesses have access to large volumes of data, but many of the people involved in improving conversion rates avoid using that data, instead choosing to rely on their own gut. According to Lynn Girotto, Chief Marketing Officer at San Francisco, CA.-based Heap, this over-reliance on instinct can be a detrimental mistake. “There’s a treasure trove of data out there — easy-accessible, actionable data! — just waiting to tell you what is leading people to convert and what isn’t,” she said. 

Unfortunately, rather than use this easy-accessible data to optimize conversion goals, many individuals put everything on their landing pages and hope for the best. 

Related Article: Want to Improve Your Customer Experience? Find What's Working and Build From There

Misleading Content

Content is an integral part of converting any visitor, given the role it plays in marketing. However, when companies choose to use misleading content, it can backfire on them and force visitors away instead. “One of the biggest contributors to low conversion rates is using poorly written or misleading page titles, headlines, or links,” says Casey Crane, SEO Content Manager at St. Petersburg, FL.-based SSL Store

If a visitor clicked on a link to find a piece of content and that content doesn’t actually address their concerns or is poorly written it can negatively impact conversions. 

Using Generic CTAs

Having a call to action (CTA) instructs a visitor to take the next desired step and is a great way to improve conversion rates. However, as Arthur Iinuma, President of Los Angeles, CA.-based ISBX points out, “No matter how fast your page loads, how beautiful your design, and how catchy your headline, if your call to action is dull and uninspiring, it won’t grab people enough to click it and make the conversion.”

CRO Checklist

Here are some tips our experts provided to help improve your conversion rates:

  • Have a clean website design: A beautiful website can entice visitors to stick around and see what other content is available. This can lower your bounce rate and increase the chances of them taking some desired action.
  • Choose the right colors: As part of having a clean website design, ensure that all images, banners and colors used on your website contrast well with each other and don’t make it difficult for your visitors to consume content. Along with picking the right colors you should also include as much whitespace as possible to keep things in focus and improve readability. 
  • Showcase website security: Visitors don’t want to risk going to a website that isn’t safe and could leave them susceptible to hackers. Ensure that your website includes an SSL certificate and any other relevant trust seals to make visitors feel at ease.
  • Include testimonials: Testimonials can provide social proof that showcase that other visitors and customers were able to solve their problems using the product or service you’re offering.
  • Use catchy headlines and A/B test: Having a well-written headline that pulls your visitors in with relevant information or an answer to their problems can entice them to read an article or download a whitepaper. Try multiple titles to find the tone that resonates with your audience.
  • Measure and iterate: Don’t just try one thing and sit back and wait. Test, measure, experiment and iterate until you find something that continues to improve your conversion rate and gets visitors to take action.