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What is CRO (and how can it help your marketing)?


Read time: 6m

CRO, better known as conversion rate optimisation, is the process of improving a website to boost the conversion rates of users. Conversion, in this case, is near enough anything you want it to be. Encompassing everything from email sign-ups, visits to a specific page, or, more typically, purchases made. If it’s interactive, you can track it, and if you can track it, you can optimise for it.

Understandably that’s a very broad stroke, so, with such a range of things and actions you might want to optimise for, knowing where to begin can be a large job in its own right. At the prospect of investing time and effort into a process, you might find yourself asking, why should I even bother with CRO?

Why you should stop flapping and start using CRO

There are several reasons why CRO can help your business; after all, you may have the best product or service in the market but if your customers can’t find things on your site, find it clunky or downright confusing, then you may as well have no product at all. If you’re still unsure about how CRO can benefit you and your site, we’ve put together a list of things conversion rate optimisation can bring to the table.


Customer value

While you can put as much money and effort as you like into SEO and PPC, if all these new visitors land on your website looking for the promised land, only to discover that navigating your site is more complex than operating a nuclear submarine they’re not going to stick around for long. However, if you can get the increased traffic to stay on your site and actually convert by using CRO to remove any of the barriers that might interfere with a user’s experience, the value of your customers has risen.

Even if you aren’t in the process of trying to rank better or increase your spending in PPC campaigns, if CRO reveals that your site users respond better to one thing over another, then you can up the value of your visitors even if the numbers stay the same. The data your customers provide can result in numerous benefits, which leads me onto…

Designing with data

Is Margery from Swansea more inclined to click on the shopping trolley if it’s another colour? Which colour? And how prominent should the image be? Sure, you could ask her, but that would be impractical and a little creepy. However, with CRO and a little something I like to call A/B testing (everyone calls it A/B testing, but I like to call it that too), you can easily measure which of your changes are effective and which ones aren’t.

Similarly, in the past, if you were making changes to your site, you would have had to make an educated guess as to what would work better for your visitors. Sure, the changes you made may have looked better from your standpoint, but for little old Margery browsing from her desktop in Swansea, that could have completely put her off the site. Eventually, you would have realised the changes weren’t as effective as you’d hoped, but with the CRO process, you don’t have to wait as long to see the results.

With non-permanent tests in place to see how users interact with any of your changes, you can safely make informed decisions based on the data in front of you instead of making educated guesses. If anything, the temporary nature of the tests means it’s easy to test securely, knowing that if you produce something as popular as the kid who reminds the teacher of the homework, you can always turn it off.

Mo’ money, mo’ CRO

When it comes to improving your website through CRO, the end goal is, more often than not, to increase your turnover. The great thing to know is that CRO can definitely help you make money, but it won’t necessarily result in thousands of pounds directly after the flick of a switch (or the change of an icon). Instead, you can expect a more gradual income, a slow but definite rise in how much you can make over time.

While this might not sound exciting enough to make your eyes do that thing where they pop out of your head and turn into pound signs, seeing how your revenue or your leads shift over a period of months is exactly what you need if you’re going to zone in on what needs changing and what doesn’t.


Mo’ CRO, mo’ SEO

Way back up there, at the top of this list, I mentioned how even without the help of SEO, CRO* can boost the value of your site users without optimising for search engines but get this, CRO can actually help with your ranking.

While you might not be setting out to boost your SEO, by identifying elements on your site that drive users away, you might be able to identify choke points and slow pages. I’m not saying you should toss your keyword research aside in an attempt to create the slickest website this side of the internet, but if CRO results in improving your site’s page speed, something that Google sees as a ranking factor, there’s a very real possibility you may see some benefit.


**God, I love acronyms

This one goes out to Margery from Swansea…

One thing about CRO that probably won’t surprise you is that you’ll learn a lot about the people who visit your site. What might surprise you is learning about how they interact or don’t interact with your site.

You’ll find that your users are specific to you and that while some general rules may apply, the only way you’ll get to the nitty-gritty of what appeals to your users and what makes your website work at its best, is if you take on some CRO work of your own.

If all this talk about CRO has left you feeling like a great tit, there’s no need to be blue jay. Drop us a line  below and we can help transform you and your marketing strategy from a loon to a lark.

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