Building a brand in the age of the internet may seem daunting at first, especially considering that much of the interaction between customers and salespeople these days occurs over a virtual space. In the online sphere, targeted emails, ads on social media, influencer marketing, and content marketing are the primary ways that potential customers interact with new products. Still, even as the medium for marketing has changed, the essential principle has remained the same: gain the largest amount of sales for the lowest amount of money spent on marketing. Sales optimization is nothing new, and in the world of digital marketing, it is imperative that sellers have the tools they need to analyze and refine the ways they reach out to their customers.
This is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in. When it comes to effectively marketing a product and maximizing sales, customer acquisition is only one piece of the puzzle. While reaching potential customers is important, making sure they do in fact become customers is essential. After all, what good are targeted emails and influencer brand deals if many of those views aren’t converting into sales? While techniques that focus on reaching more customers can increase the amount of sales, the amount of sales per person that visits the site may still remain low - decreasing the effectiveness of those acquisition techniques.
To understand why sales per visitor is just as important as the number of visitors, let’s take a look at the case of Business X. Currently, Business X reaches 400 people a month through it’s website. Of those 400 people, an average of 50 of them become customers and purchase their service or product, giving them a conversion rate of 12.5%.
Business X can choose to focus on increasing customer acquisition, increasing the number of people that visit the site monthly from 400 to 500, while keeping the conversion rate the same. This would bring their average number of monthly customers to 62. However, if they decide to focus on optimizing their website and increasing the conversion rate from 12.5% to 20%, while keeping their monthly visitors the same, Business X now has 80 monthly customers without having to spend more money on advertising or brand deals.
In other words, for marketing to be effective, sellers must work to optimize their conversion rate by analyzing how their current marketing strategies - whether they be websites, blogs, or ads - could be improved to get more viewers to buy a service or product.
Conversion rate optimization is, at its core, a scientific process. A seller can tweak small variables about their website and test them against the original site, comparing their sales numbers to see if the changes were effective or not. Changes that increase the conversion of views into sales during testing can then be implemented quickly, and more tests can be conducted to increase the effectiveness of the website.
The human mind is aesthetically influenced - a trait that holds over from our early ancestors. Effective color use, clean lines, simple fonts, and unique, high-resolution images are all things that can greatly influence a potential customer’s impression of a website. Surprisingly, even small, seemingly insignificant changes, like changing the font of an article, can be the difference between a sale and a click back to Google.
Like any effective scientific experiment, carefully choosing which variables to change and developing hypotheses about how they may affect conversion rate is an important process before starting to test. Being attuned to this can help sellers start to make predictions about which details they should test and pinpoint larger trends in their marketing approach.
But playtesting these changes to the business’s specific website before blindly adding to and tweaking the webpage is always the key to an effective optimization strategy. The internet is abound with endless listicles and how-to guides on what constitutes an ‘optimal’ or ‘frictionless’ website, and while these tips may be good to give general direction, they aren’t universal to every business. While bright, flashy colors may be the perfect direction for a fashion label’s website, they may come across as distracting on a website that sells finance software. For results that are customized to each business and product, testing and tweaking a webpage often and thoroughly is extremely important.
For many businesses, effective marketing strategies don’t only aim to get customers for a product, but also retain them and create brand loyalty and positive feelings associated with the product or brand. The process of conversion rate optimization doesn’t only have to be employed to increase sales - a business can tweak a webpage to focus on many different calls to action for their visitors. Whether you want more subscribers for a blog, more people to sign up for an email list, or increased interaction with surveys and forms, playtesting and analyzing the data between different versions of a webpage can also help a business increase customer satisfaction and retention.