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What is CRO Marketing: The Only Guide You Need to Read

CRO marketing is one of the most overlooked and underutilized marketing strategies.

For example, did you know that conversion rates on mobile are about 40 percent lower than those on desktop? This means companies are losing out on a valuable source of conversion-ready traffic.

The solution to this problem, and many like it, is CRO or conversion rate optimization.

So, what is CRO, anyway? And how can you put it to work for you?

We’ve got the answers in this straightforward guide.

Even if you have been around the block a few times with CRO, you’ll want to read on. We’ve rounded up a list of the top CRO tools for 2020 towards the end of this article?

What Is CRO? A Definition

CRO stands for conversion rate optimization. Conversion rate optimization is the practice of increasing the number of website users to take a desired action.

Boom. Now, let’s break down that CRO definition into

What Are Conversions?

A conversion simply refers to any time a customer takes an action that you wanted them to take on your website.

The most obvious example of a conversion is a purchase, of course. However, if you get creative and start thinking about customer habits, you’ll see that there are many other types of conversions that companies need.

For example, anytime a site visitor fills in an email capture form, that’s a conversion. It may not make them a customer right away, but it’s an important step toward that point, so it’s a valuable type of conversion. If a visitor decides to schedule a sales meeting, that’s another type of conversion.

Basically, any small step that moves people toward becoming customers is a conversion. We have a more detailed list of important types of conversions below, too.

With that in mind, a conversion rate then refers to how many site visitors complete a certain conversion. For example, if two out of every 100 site visitors complete your email capture form, you have a rate of two percent for that particular conversion. 

CRO marketers usually speak in the language of percentages. Thus, the word “rate” featuring so prominently in the name conversion rate optimization.

So, for example, if you want website visitors to click a “subscribe now” button, and 16 out of 100 do so, your conversion rate for that particular conversion goal is a 16% conversion rate.

What Does It Mean to Optimize Conversions? 

Optimization means, of course, making something better or more effective. So by now, you can see that CRO or conversion rate optimization means maximizing the number of conversions you get from your site visitors.

The most desirable conversions will vary slightly from business to business, of course. But understanding how to answer “What is CRO?” is important for all businesses. 

Conversion Rate Example

Why Conversion Rates Matter?

You can probably already start to guess why CRO is important, but let’s delve deeper and look at why conversion rates are so crucial for your website’s success.

The first “it matters” point is about money, naturally.

CRO is about getting more revenue from your existing web traffic.

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

The Modern Customer Journey Is Complicated. CRO Marketing to the Rescue.

I’ve seen customer journey maps that look like this.

Customer Experience Maps - Spotless - Medium

Sorry, but no.

Getting a customer is no longer as simple as getting someone to walk through your business door and buy something.

CRO helps you guide customers through the complex, modern customer journey to reach the end goal: a purchase. 

On a website, there are many more steps involved in the customer journey then there are in a store or office.

With CRO, you break things down into each individual step to move things along at points where potential customers often get lost.

Think of CRO as taking the place of an in-store sales associate: it helps people find what they need, get questions answered, and feel confident about moving forward toward a purchase.

To do CRO Marketing Right, You Need to Think Like a Customer

In order to get new customers in this modern commerce world, you need to be able to see things through their eyes. CRO helps companies do just that.

If you’re not thinking about conversion rates as you build and change your website, you’re not thinking like a customer. You can design a website that looks beautiful and makes perfect sense to you. But to someone who’s never seen it before, the information they want might be hard to find. 

With CRO, you’re thinking about that new site visitor and guiding them through your site, instead of thinking about what looks best to you. 

It’s Easier to Optimize the Experience for Existing Site Visitors Than It Is to Get New Ones

By the time a visitor reaches your site, you’ve already done a lot of work to get them there. You may have placed digital ads strategically, fine-tuned your SEO, earned backlinks, built up a great word-of-mouth reputation, and much more.

Don’t let that hard work go to waste. Use CRO to keep that visitor on your site and entice them to take action. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait for the next site visitor to start the process again. 

Good CRO can also get old customers coming back for repeat purchases. They’ll remember your site as being easy to navigate and helpful, which can turn them into repeat customers. This is an easier, less-expensive way to grow profits than getting new customers every time.  

Conversion Rates Impact Your Revenue

This brings us full circle, the benefit of revenue. The most obvious, and most important, upside of CRO is that you’ll end up making more sales.

Pushing site visitors along each micro-conversion will eventually lead to the most important conversion — a purchase. And that’s what every business really wants, isn’t it? 

What’s the Relationship Between CRO and SEO?

This discussion might have called SEO (search engine optimization) to mind for you. Although CRO is a different world than SEO, the two strategies do have an important relationship. Here’s what you should know about their connection.

CRO Marketing Complements Existing SEO Efforts

When you increase your conversion rates, you increase the value of every new customer on your site.

This makes your SEO efforts more valuable, because each person who gets to your site is more likely to become a customer. That way, you can grow sales without investing any more in SEO — making the SEO work you’ve already done more effective.


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. You can take this knowledge and translate it into more effective SEO.

CRO Encourages SEO-Friendly Design

Occasionally, there will be a site change that’s good for conversion rates, but not great for SEO.

However, that’s the exception to the rule. Most of the time, what’s good for conversion rates is also good for impressing search engines.

For example, CRO means arranging your site in a clear, easy-to-follow way. It involves using straightforward text, clear headings, relevant keywords, and other SEO-friendly tactics. Simply by investing in CRO, you might see your search engine rankings grow as well. 

How Does CRO Work? A Step-by-Step Introduction

Now that you have a thorough answer to “What is CRO?” it’s time to dive into the practical applications of CRO. How do you go about optimizing your conversion rates? These basic steps will get you started.

Decide Which Conversions You Want

Of course, you can’t optimize your conversion rates if you don’t know which conversions matter for your site. Any site can have many different types of possible conversions. So, your first step is to do some research to pinpoint those conversions that your site really needs. 

Consider which actions you need most from a new (or returning) site visitor. Do you want to get their email so you can deliver your great email marketing content to their inbox? Then filling out an email capture form will be one of the conversions you’ll focus on.

Maybe you have a piece of free content you want site visitors to download instead, because you know that free content will help push them toward a later purchase. In that case, those downloads are the conversions you’ll want to get.  

Many different factors will affect the right conversions for your site, from your target customer to your overall industry. As you research, you can use site analytics to figure out which conversions are happening on your site, and which ones need to be happening more often. 

Draft a CRO Marketing Plan

Now that you know which conversions you want, it’s time to think about how to optimize them. 

Come up with a plan that you think will increase a certain type of conversion. For example, maybe redesigning your landing page with the download link is your plan. Maybe you notice that most people navigate away from your landing page without the download, and you think making the link bigger might help you get more downloads. 

Be certain your plan can be put into action and tested to make sure it works. Lay out clear steps to implement your strategy.

Test your CRO Plan

Now, you can implement those changes and measure the results. Make only one change on each page at a time, so you can easily see what works and what doesn’t. 

At this point, many brands conduct A/B tests. This means making two versions of a page, showing them to separate groups of site visitors, and measuring the results to see which version works best. 

Once you’ve conducted your tests, you can take a look at the results and see what to do next. Implement the strategies that worked, revise the ones that didn’t, and start over with something new to optimize on your site. 

Types of Conversions to Know About

Feeling overwhelmed by all the possible conversions out there? We’ll help you get started. Here are some of the most valuable conversions to focus on as you start researching possible conversions to optimize. 

Landing Page Conversions

Your landing page exists to get visitors to take action, so it only makes sense to focus CRO there. If your landing page isn’t getting the results you want, it’s time to revise, add, or remove content to make it more effective. 

Home Page Conversions

The home page is another place where you want users to take a certain action. No company website benefits from a visitor who goes to the homepage and then navigates away. 

Your desired conversion could be to get customers to initiate a chat, visit a second page, and much more. From the homepage, visitors should be guided to the next step along the customer journey. Make it easy for them to take that next step by not overloading your homepage with options and information. 

Form Fill Conversions

Form fills are another of the most popular types of conversions.

As mentioned above, email capture forms create a valuable conversion opportunity. You could optimize these forms by adding a discount offer for visitors who enter their emails, for example. 

Form CRO

Demo Page Conversions 

Getting visitors to sign up for a demo is another important conversion, and one that’s easier to overlook than the ones we’ve mentioned so far. For example, your landing page could push customers to a demo page, which will help them see why your product is the best. 

Meeting Booked Conversions 

As your customer makes it further into your site, new conversion opportunities will pop up.

For example, after the visitor requests a demo, your next desired step in the customer journey might be to have them book a meeting. You might optimize this conversion by using a system that automatically matches visitors who fill out the meeting form with the best rep for their needs. 

Pricing Page Conversions

The pricing page is another important conversion point. From that page, you might want customers to request a quote or launch the free demo. Even before they’re ready for a purchase, you still have a chance to get conversions that lead them seamlessly to that final point. 

Blog Conversions

Your blog mainly exists for SEO purposes, but blog conversions can also be valuable. For example, at the end of a blog post, your CRO strategy might involve adding a call to action that leads readers to your site’s contact or demo page.  

Do You Need CRO Marketing? Here’s How to Get Started

The answer to “What is CRO?” is fairly simple, but the actual conversion rate optimization process is not. However, it’s vital to the success of your company.

Without CRO, you can’t ensure that your site visitors will ever travel further along the path to becoming customers. But with CRO, you can make that path so easy that customers will remember your site as the one with the seamless, streamlined experience. Not only does it help you get new customers, but it helps you get old customers to come back for more. 

Feeling intimidated by the process? You don’t need to tackle CRO alone — there are tools that can help. Sleek, simple solutions can get you more conversions with minimal effort on your part. 

CRO Marketing Tools

Here are just a few of the tools, both Free and Paid, that you can use to get your Conversion Rate Optimization program off the ground:

Google Optimize

Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a website experimentation and personalization platform that directly integrates with Google Analytics. The free version allows up to ten experiments and five personalizations at once, which is enough for you to get your CRO Marketing program off the ground. It’s quick to get up and running and allows Google Analytics conversions as goals, so you can tie website experiments into your current conversion tracking easily.

Clearbit Form Enrichment

Clearbit Forms

Clearbit Form Enrichment connects to your Marketo or Hubspot forms and only asks users for their email. Once someone fills in their email, it scours Clearbit to see if it can answer the other form field questions, only showing the prospect the form fields they don’t already have data for. This reduces the number of form fields your prospect has to deal with, and since you can greatly increase your conversion rate by reducing the number of form fields, it’s definitely a win for your CRO Marketing program.

Chili Piper Concierge

Chili Piper Concierge

While form-fill conversion rate is the most talked about, increasing the conversion rate from Demo Requests to Meetings Held is arguably more impactful on your business. After all, increasing the number of demo requests tenfold won’t matter if they don’t end up booking time with your sales team.
Chili Piper Concierge aims to fix this problem by qualifying your prospects the second they fill in your form, routing them to the right sales rep or team, and then letting them select a meeting time – right when they’re the most engaged on your website. Chili Piper Concierge has seen Demo Request to Meetings Held conversion rates jump as much as 75% with some of our customers.

Want to see how Chili Piper works?

Request a demo