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What Is CRO Marketing? Optimizing for the Modern B2B Buyer

As our world gets more complex and crowded, conversions seem more elusive. 

People are plagued by options. Your competition isn’t only businesses like yours anymore. You’re also competing for mindshare with anyone who is creating content in the same space.

The great news is that conversions aren’t really elusive. If you understand how our digital world has evolved, people’s preferences, and how you can meet them, you can dramatically increase conversions and grow your business. 

How?

Enter CRO marketing. 

In this post, we’ll focus on what CRO marketing is, why it matters, the relationship between CRO and SEO, and how to adjust for the modern B2B buyer experience. 

What is CRO marketing?

CRO marketing is any marketing that relies on real user data to inform decisions with the intention of increasing conversions — anything from subscribing to your mailing list, signing up for a demo, or filling in a form. 

Clearly, CRO marketing is a wiser choice than the alternative (i.e. making up user personas and marketing for people who might not even exist).

With the average ROI from CRO tools estimated at 223%, and 60% of online marketers stating that CRO is crucial to their strategy, the topic is undoubtedly one worth exploring. 

Why does CRO marketing matter?

While you could focus on generating more traffic, which would lead to more conversions, it’s more productive to increase conversions from the people already on your site.

That’s what CRO marketing is all about — capitalizing on your current traffic. 

You don’t have to pay for more traffic, paid or organic. You just increase the number of existing users who convert.

When I asked Lianna Patch, creator of Punchline Conversion Copywriting, why CRO marketing mattered, she had the perfect answer:

“When it comes to [CRO marketing], those little nuggets mined from reviews or other sources of qualitative research can be the difference between ‘This product/service looks cool, but I’m not really sure if I need it, or it’s for me’ and ‘Holy shit, that’s exactly how I feel! I gotta have this right now.’

So yeah, CRO marketing. Talk to people. Use what they say in your marketing. Get better ROI. Why would you do it any other way?” said Lianna.

CRO marketing matters because it maximizes the efficiency of your efforts. 

The relationship between CRO marketing and SEO

As you read about CRO marketing, you might’ve thought about SEO.

Although they’re in different worlds, the two strategies do have an important relationship. Here’s what you should know about their connection. 

CRO marketing complements existing SEO efforts

CRO marketing involves making changes to three aspects of search engine optimization: keyword and on-page, content quality, and user and usage data. 

CRO marketing and SEO

On-page improvements aren’t just going to increase your conversions, they’ll increase conversion optimization, engagement, and on-page time.

Why?

Because your prospect is now more interested in your page. And guess what? Those factors massively improve your rankings. 

If you’re worried that keyword and UX changes are going to toy with SEO and organic traffic, there’s no need to worry. 

These two actually complement each other. 

CRO marketing helps you know your audience better

The better you understand your target customer, the more effectively you can tackle SEO. 

And with CRO, you learn to think like a customer, which is a sure way to get to know your audience better. 

Run with this knowledge and translate it into more effective SEO.

CRO marketing encourages SEO-friendly design

Every so often, there’ll be a site change that’s good for conversion rates, but not great for SEO.

But that’s the exception to the rule. 

Most of the time, what’s good for conversion rates is also good for search engine rankings.

For example, CRO implies arranging your site in a clear, easy-to-follow way. It involves using straightforward text, clear headings, relevant keywords, and other SEO-friendly tactics. 

It also positively affects engagement — if users come to a piece of content and engage with it rather than bouncing off and going back to the SERP, it’s a good sign that the searcher found what they needed. 

Simply by investing in CRO, you should see your search engine rankings improve as well. 

CRO marketing and the modern B2B customer experience

The shift to self-serve buying behavior

The buying process has changed. User behavior has changed, especially in B2B. We no longer buy things online like we used to.

There’s an increased desire for self-serve options, even trending up into Enterprise-sized purchases. 

In fact, a recent study shows 87% of buyers want the ability to self-serve part or all of their buying journey.

And while I don't think we can say this trend is going to culminate in 100% self-serve buying behavior (which is simply not realistic for some purchases), companies need to be cognizant of the fact that the purchase experience is increasingly controlled by the buyer. 

This means B2B buying decisions that used to take months can now take days. 

Your opportunity for conversion has never been more narrow or more important. 

One common problem is that increasing the number of demo requests tenfold won’t matter if prospects don’t end up booking time with your sales team.

Chili Piper Concierge fixes this problem by qualifying prospects the second they fill out your form, routing them to the right sales rep, and then letting them select a meeting time.

Here's a quick gif to show you how it works.

chili piper concierge instant booking gif

It happens instantly. Right when they’re most engaged on your website. Completely redesigned for the modern customer experience.

In fact, we've seen client demo request to meetings held conversion rates jump as much as 75%

If you want to see for yourself how it works, request a demo

Initial decision points are the tip of the iceberg

Initial decision points like trials and demos are the tip of the iceberg. You need to start thinking about optimizing beyond this point. 

Your front-facing website still matters. A lot. And based on the 2021 trends, it’s still a gigantic factor in initiating a purchase or exploration. 

But, that being said, if we look at the other stats, once that purchase decision has begun, the “conversion experience” needs to continue on through the chain. 

According to research by Google, 67% of B2B buyers want more communication during installation and post-purchase, and 69% after using the product.

Buyers are demanding more support, more communication, and more of a feeling of it being a 1:1 experience after the self-serve journey. 

In a recent chat with Joel Klettke, CRO Expert and B2B Consultant, he said:

“Engineering your business to convert means going beyond a wonderful marketing message and now paying extra close attention to the experience after they buy.”

This has always been true, but it’s now more crucial given churn can happen so quickly. 

The bottom line

CRO marketing is the embodiment of the mantra: don’t work harder, work smarter. 

Instead of chasing after more leads, optimize to focus on your current prospects, and make sure you’re serving them as well as possible. 

No business ever suffered for looking after its customers.

On top of that, buyers don’t move through tidy funnels anymore. They engage on their terms, so we have to meet them where they’re at. 

Businesses that use CRO marketing tools, like Concierge, can engage with web visitors in real-time and 4x their conversion rates

So, go on, embark on this exciting journey! 

And hey, if you’d like to see how you can too substantially increase your conversion rates, go ahead and book a demo. We’d love to hear from you. 

About the Author

Carlos Silva is an SEO Content Manager at Chili Piper. He's passionate about the craft of writing and the power of storytelling. You might find him trail running through the mountains of Valencia, Spain, or writing in his journal at home, but you'll always find him reading something new!

Profile Photo of Carlos Silva