What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action on your website. A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a specific action on your site during a specific time period. As a verb, CRO focuses on enabling more of your visitors to take the actions you want them to take online.

Conversion rate optimization might sound kind of hard and expensive. It sounds like it requires a bunch of technical skills you might not have. But CRO really comes down to two things: 1) Having a deep understanding of your buyers, and  2) Getting more of your site visitors to do what you want them to do. It’s is a core skill all marketers should be thinking about today, especially in SaaS.

Only 22% of B2B businesses are satisfied with their website conversion rates. (Econsultancy)

The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization

Why is conversion rate optimization so important for B2B marketers? First of all, CRO is about tapping into your existing website traffic–meaning you don’t have to generate more traffic than you have today. Second, you can start converting more traffic at virtually no cost–there are many free CRO tools out there that make it easy tooptimize your site without the help of a developer. It’s become a lot simpler to understand who visits your site and to figure out what you need to do to get them to take action.

When done well, conversion rate optimization helps you improve your brand image and gain buyers’ trust. You don’t want to jeopardize your brand reputation by implementing questionable tactics just to get people to click on your CTAs. Instead, you need to be authentic. CRO involves addressing your visitors’ concerns to show you truly understand their problems, then making it clear how your solution eliminates those problems.

How to Measure Conversion Rates

The metrics you’ll choose to measure depend on your conversion goals. To calculate a specific conversion rate, simply divide the number of conversions a specific webpage generated by the number of page visitors. You might measure
the number of visitors who:

  • Download a piece of content
  • Sign up for your newsletter
  • Fill out a “contact us” form
  • Book a demo
  • Request a free trial
  • Provide their email through a chatbot
  • Subscribe to your software

To measure your conversion rate with Google Analytics, start by setting up your goals. Metrics to help you analyze
conversion rate optimization include:

  • Page views
  • Traffic source
  • Page load time
  • Average time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Unique page visitors
  • Number of customers

What’s a good conversion rate? You should be converting at least 2% of your website traffic. Remember that
conversion rate is a helpful metric, a higher conversion rate isn’t your only objective. Your main goal is to
connect more of your website visitors with your sales team faster
.

What Elements of Your Website Should You Optimize?

There are a few different areas of your site that can be optimized. Look at the pages that receive the most traffic as well as high-intent website pages. High-intent pages would be pages people visit that demonstrate they are serious about possibly purchasing your products or services. For example, your pricing page.

63% of companies lack a structured approach to optimization. (Econsultancy)

Homepage

Here’s where sparkly new visitors get a first impression of your company. Your homepage is your virtual front door: you only have a few moments to capture visitors’ attention and pull them in. Use this page to encourage people to enter and guide them to key areas of your site. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with too much text or too many images here–keep the messaging and design of your homepage simple and clear.

For homepage conversion optimization, use a combination of “date” and “marry” CTAs. If visitors are just getting to know what you’re all about, they’ll likely be ready to watch a video or maybe sign up for your newsletter. But repeat visitors that are later in the sales cycle might be ready to tie the knot and want to book a demo or even sign up to get started. Just make sure you’re catering to both types of visitors–you don’t want to offer a marriage proposal to someone you just met.

You can also use your homepage to start conversations. Add a chatbot to give visitors a way to instantly connect with you so you can close deals faster.

High-Intent Pages

Visitors on your product pages, pricing page and contact us page are there for a reason. How can you encourage them
to take the next step?

If you have more than one product, keep the categorization as simple as possible to avoid overwhelming your visitors. To give them all the info they need, use images and videos that show what your product looks like in action. You don’t want to mislead your visitors–describe the product features associated with each different pricing plan to be as transparent as possible.

It’s also a good idea to include positive reviews and customer testimonials on these pages for social proof. If your solution has been featured in major publications, add those reviews here as well. And last but not least, add a chatbot to give visitors a direct line to your sales team, keeping the copywriting product or pricing-specific.

User-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate. (SproutSocial)

Landing Pages

Optimizing your landing pages for conversions is a given. These pages are built for visitors to take a specific action so their quality can have a dramatic effect on conversion rates.

What makes a high-converting landing page? Generally you want to use action-oriented language, describe the benefits for your buyers and keep your messaging concise. Run strategic A/B tests on your landing pages to find the right copy, layout and design that drive conversions. You can also add a chatbot or test Conversational Landing Pages to personalize your visitors’ experience and allow them to connect with your company right away.

Paid Social and PPC Ads

Maintaining a strong connection between your ad copy and landing page messaging is key to increase conversions. For PPC ads, you’ll want to match your ad copy to your landing page headline. A strong message match reassures visitors they’ve come to the right place once they arrive on your landing page.

Craft compelling ad copy that includes relevant keywords or search queries. Long-tail keywords work especially well for paid ads since these searchers who are later in the buying cycle are more likely to convert.

Blog

Your blog is another place where there’s ample opportunity to increase conversions. Add lead flows here and invite visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. You can also add multiple CTAs to individual blog posts including text-based CTAs and banner CTAs. Monitor what’s working best then double down on it.

How to Get Started with Conversion Rate Optimization

Before you start changing all your CTA button colors, take a step back. Ensure you understand how your buyers buy today, and check where you stand with conversions right now.

Analyze Your Funnel

The way B2B buyers make purchasing decisions has changed. They now have more information than ever before at their
fingertips. To monetize their attention, you want to know how they go through a buying journey and how you currently
help them move through that journey.

Here’s a quick reminder of today’s buying journey:

👀 Awareness:

Your buyers are aware of their problem, need and/or opportunity. They’re starting to explore what solutions and
businesses can help them–and you need to capture their attention. To do this, find out what’s bringing them to your
site in the first place. Why are they engaging with your content?

🤓 Education:

Although your buyers may be aware of your brand and your products this doesn’t mean they are educated on the
problems you help solve. In this phase of the buying process it’s important you paint the picture of how the problem
you help solve can be impacting their business. Your buyer is going to need to articulate the problem and solution to
others within their organization so it’s important they are educated and well versed in order to communicate the need
to solve this problem.

🤔 Consideration:

You’ve captured your visitors’ attention and now it’s time to help them understand how you’ll solve their problem.
Today’s buyers consider several options–it’s up to you to guide them to choosing yours. Your prospects need education
and they need to see what success looks like with your company.

🤝 Decision:

The final frontier is buy-in. In this stage, you’ll serve as a trusted advisor to prospects and help them understand
why you’re the best option. To make the sale, you’ll need to help all stakeholders in the company feel confident that
your solution is the right solution or you’ll need to help your prospect justify your solution to these other decision
makers on your behalf.

Examine how you help buyers down this journey by asking yourself:

  • How do you generate leads?
  • How do you qualify leads?
  • What are the steps in your sales process and how do you define them?

Establish benchmarks for how your sales and marketing funnels are performing. Then look for the points where you see
poor or decreasing conversion rates.

Conduct a Conversion Rate Optimization Audit

The next step is to collect and analyze website performance data. How? Run a CRO audit. This will give you actionable insights on how to run specific tests and improve your conversion rate.

Having one goal for the audit will help you take practical steps to address any problems. For example, you might ask
yourself, “Why are people leaving my product page without converting?” When you choose one specific goal for one
specific page, you’ll have an easier time implementing meaningful changes faster. Your audit shouldn’t sit in the
depths of Google Drive, but you should aim to take action based on it as soon as possible.

Conduct CRO audits on the parts of your site mentioned in the above section including pages with the most traffic,
high-intent pages or pages with high bounce rates. The page you audit should be directly related to your conversion
goal, whether that’s more demos booked, more webinar sign-ups or anything else.

There are generally three components that make up a complete CRO audit:

1) Technical: Check for on-page SEO, page load speed and mobile optimization. Are you using the right keywords in the right places? Is a slow loading speed causing visitors to leave your site? Can people see your pages the way you intended no matter what device or browser they’re using?

2) Design &UX: Assess the colors, fonts and images you use on your site as well as your page layouts. Your goal is to make the most important information stand out and to give users a frictionless experience.

3) Copy: Pay special attention to your headlines and CTAs. Evaluate whether your pages include all the information your visitors need to make a buying decision and ensure all your copy is relatable and action-oriented.

Quick tip:

When auditing your page, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself what information you would need to make a buying decision. What questions would you have? Answer them on this page. For example, mention the support services you offer and all available integrations.

Run Conversion Rate Optimization Tests

After conducting a CRO audit, list all your discoveries and ideas for improvement. If you’re not sure exactly what changes will work best, run A/B tests to the same audience to see which version of your page drives more conversions.

Before running a test, it’s once again crucial to have an end goal in mind. Make a hypothesis before running a test. You can list your ideas and keep track of them in a simple Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet. A few examples of elements to test include headlines, CTA buttons, copy length, and form length. You can also test adding videos, live chat, and a chatbot.

Using videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%. (EyeView)

How long should your conversion optimization experiments run? Keep your test going for at least seven days–otherwise you’ll be hard pressed to get accurate data. And whenever you need to build a new web page or landing page, keep the data from your split tests in mind.

Quick tip: Sure, sometimes a red CTA button will outperform a green one. But don’t get too caught up in these types of tests and forget that CRO comes down to better understanding your ideal customers. You can’t avoid customer research and analysis and expect to increase conversions by just changing your headline font.

Conversion Optimization Tips

Follow these best practices to start increasing your website’s conversion rates and seeing meaningful results.

Write powerful headlines

Whether on product pages, landing pages, emails or anywhere else–a clear and compelling headline is what will inspire your visitors to take action. You want to spend time getting your headlines right. They’re not something you just slap on a blog post before hitting publish.

With all the content floating around the internet, your headlines are what will grab people’s attention and prompt them to keep reading. While you might get the right headline in your first go, it’s a good idea to write a few variations and get second opinions from other people on your team. Keep the 4 U’s in mind when crafting headlines: make them urgent, unique, ultra specific and useful.

Embrace the Rule of Three

Humans have an inherent love of threes. The Rule of Three is used in storytelling, music, films, advertising, sports, comedy–the list goes on. We’re wired to better remember information presented in groups of three.

You can easily apply this rule to your own marketing to simplify complex ideas and get your visitors to take action. For example, present your value proposition in three parts, outline three steps people should take to get started and give three tips on any topic (see what I just did there? 😏). The Rule of Three has basically been around forever–you can’t go wrong with capitalizing on our love of threes in your own marketing.

Appeal to P.A.S.E.

One of the best ways to optimize conversion rates is to speak your buyer’s language. Every page on your website should appeal to the type of buyer you’re speaking to, which you’ll understand through customer research. We’ve broken down the types of buyers into four categories:

  • Practical – Don’t pressure this type of buyer to take action. Instead, appeal to logic to persuade them by reason.
  • Actionable – This type of buyer makes quick decisions. Create a sense of urgency and scarcity in your messaging, like “Time is running out” or “Only a few spots available.” Avoid being gimmicky here and don’t say anything that isn’t true.
  • Social – Leverage social proof through testimonials or user reviews for this type of buyer. They don’t want to be left out and will follow what others like them are doing.

Emotional – Pay particular attention to the photos you use, embrace storytelling and
establish a community around your brand to connect with these buyers.

Optimize your site for mobile

This is a simple but crucial step to improve your conversions. You can’t afford to ignore your mobile users since more than 60% of B2B buyers said that mobile played a key role in a recent purchase.

Check your current mobile conversion rate to see if it’s an area you need to improve. Speed up your mobile site and ensure you have mobile-responsive design for all your pages. If you’re using popups, you’ll also want to ensure those are mobile friendly. Mobile experience is playing a critical role in determining your search rank–whether or not most of your traffic is mobile. Google favors sites that perform well on mobile first, so it’s critical to factor this in your overall web experience.

Add CTAs above and below the fold

You want to make it as easy as possible for visitors to take the action on your site. There’s been much debate about where on your page to add your CTA buttons. But by adding the same CTA above and below the fold, your visitors can easily take the next step if they’re ready–no matter where they happen to be when exploring your site.

Improve your site’s loading time

Your site’s slow loading time might be killing your conversions.  Even a two-second delay in your page’s loading time can increase bounce rates by 103%. Improving your loading time by just a few milliseconds can have a huge impact on your ability to engage your visitors and get them started on the next step.

Don’t make your visitors jump through hoops

Prospects today are asked to jump through hoops during the sales process. Many B2B companies notoriously include a long number of fields in their forms, forcing prospects to wait for someone from the company to contact them. But this makes for a terrible customer experience. What prospects really want is information right now.

Winning SaaS brands don’t make people jump through hoops in exchange for value. Stop treating people like leads and email addresses and start treating them like people. One way to do this is by freely sharing your content and talking to prospects in a way that’s natural to them – like sending a message to a friend.

Show your face

Including people’s faces throughout your site will make your brand feel way more human. Faces have been integral to how we communicate for thousands of years–it’s hard to feel connected to someone without seeing their face.

Include photos of your employees’ and customers’ faces throughout your site. When using live chat, include photos of the actual people visitors will have a conversation with. Whether in B2c or B2B, people buy from people. If your audience can see your face, it will be a lot easier to build trust with them.

Be upfront to earn your visitors’ trust

Conversion rate optimization is not about tricking people to click on your CTAs or sign up for your service. Your buyers are smart and they’ll know a gimmick when they see one.

Instead, focus on treating your customers how you would want to be treated. Be helpful, honest and transparent. By being up-front about what prospects can expect, you mitigate risk and show that you’ve got their back. Building trust takes time and effort, but it’s the only way to sustainably increase conversions and grow your business.

Use conversational marketing to create personalized experiences

Personalization is the one thing that can drive website conversions like nothing else can. Everyone wants personalized experiences tailored to their wants and needs.

80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when a brand offers a personalized experience. (Epsilon)

Conversational Marketing is what makes delivering these personal experiences easy. Through real-time messaging and intelligent chatbots, you can enable visitors to engage with your company when it’s most convenient for them. You can also tailor your messaging based on your visitors’ geographical region, company profile, traffic source–you name it.

Top 10 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools

Google Analytics

GA is a B2B marketer’s staple tool to discover what people are doing on your site. Check the performance of specific pages to see where improvements are needed. Just be sure to track useful metrics–not useless metrics. Always ask yourself “So what?” when checking metrics–the point is to get actionable insights.

Kissmetrics

Learn about your customers through deep behavior analytics and engage your visitors based on behavior. Kissmetricshelps you understand your customer’s entire purchasing journey and give them exactly what they want.

Hotjar

Record heatmaps of your site visitors to see what they’re doing, where they’re getting stuck and what areas of your site should be improved. With Hotjar, you can also collect feedback, analyze forms and build conversion funnels.

Fivesecondtest

Test if your pages are communicating their intended message by measuring people’s first impressions. With
Fivesecondtest by UsabilityHub, participants are given five seconds to view a page and answer some simple questions. The feedback will help you optimize your page’s design and core messaging to increase conversions.

Headline Analyzer

Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule helps you develop more conversion-driven headlines. Whether you’re feeling stuck with a landing page headline, email subject line or blog post title, this tool helps you craft more conversion-friendly copy.

Sumo

Sumo is an email conversion tool for eCommerce sites that helps you build your email list. Using pop-ups in a range of styles and formats, it helps you reach your conversion goals.

HelloBar

HelloBar helps you drive traffic to specific pages, specials, and promotions through header notifications, popups and overlays. You can also customize your messaging depending on who your visitors are.

Really Good Emails

As the name suggests, Really Good Emails by Campaign Monitor gives you email inspiration by showcasing a variety of high-converting emails from different companies.

Mixpanel

Mixpanel is software made specifically for product-focused work. Analyze user behavior, target user groups and run tests to see what works best to drive conversions.

Drift

Drift is the first and only conversational marketing platform. It allows you to talk to visitors while they’re live on your website and connect them to your sales team in real time.

Conversion Rate Optimization Case Studies

Conversational marketing has the power to drive conversions. Here’s how companies using Drift’s conversational marketing platform have skyrocketed their conversion rates.

Perfecto Mobile

Instead of removing forms completely, Perfecto Mobile used chatbots as a “second net” for generating and qualifying leads. And it worked for them–Perfecto Mobile increased their overall website conversion rate by 4x after six months of using Drift.

By allowing sales development reps to have conversations with people who were likely to buy, and by qualifying people through conversations instead of forms, Perfecto Mobile was able to dramatically speed up their sales cycle.

Aventr

Aventr began using Drift to engage and qualify leads in real time, let visitors chat with a real human and allow visitors to instantly book meetings with a sales rep. They also wanted to send personalized welcome messages to their high-value target accounts.

In just five months using Drift, Aventr increased lead conversion by 270% and booked $1.7M in new business for their sales team. They found a balance between bot and human engagement to ensure all their visitors felt comfortable throughout their conversations.

Leadpages

While Leadpages first began using Drift simply to chat with their site visitors, they soon discovered they could open up a “fast lane” for their best leads by targeting specific site pages and visitors with proactive messaging campaigns. With Drift’s automation features, they increased the conversion rate of their site visitors by 36%.

Leadpages also discovered a simple “hello” goes a long way. By using welcome messages, Leadpages also saw 227% in growth in engagement–they had 310 conversations with site visitors in the month before setting up a welcome message, and in the month after they had 1,168 conversations.

Ellie Mae

As a customer-centric company, Ellie Mae wanted to provide their potential customers with the choice to engage with the company on their own terms. In just 12 months after using Drift, Ellie Mae increased daily demo request requests by 165% and converted 19% of leads to opportunities.

Ellie Mae started using both chatbots and live chat, but at first struggled to get the sales team to commit to supporting live chat. However, after getting the momentum going and proving the value of chat, the sales team saw how powerful Conversational Marketing can be. At first, about 5% of their total contact sales lead volume was sourced by Drift, and after about a month that number rose to 30%.

Drive Conversions on Your Website with Drift

Ready to increase your site’s conversion rate and speed up your sales cycle? By using Drift’s conversational marketing platform, you can create a website that’s designed to maximize engagement and conversion opportunities. We’ve helped over 150,000 companies convert more leads, shorten sales cycles and close deals faster.

Get a custom website conversion assessment with one of our conversational marketing experts today. You’ll get a crystal clear understanding of how conversational marketing will help you optimize your site for conversions.