Conversion rate optimization: Best practices for earning more clicks and results
Last updated: September 20, 2023
You’ve just built a beautiful new website promoting your most successful newsletter and you’re depending on it to drive a big increase in your first-party data for the quarter. And at first, everything’s looking good. Your site’s generating a lot of interest and even more traffic.
But what if the “Subscribe” button stalls out? Or it’s too hard to find on the page? You’re going to lose a big chunk of your potential audience, regardless of how interested they were before.
And if you lose someone halfway through a conversion, they may never come back.
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To increase your conversion rate, and drive revenue, you need to understand what your customers expect at each stage of the funnel — and deliver.
In this post, learn how to use your customer data platform to create a solid conversion rate optimization strategy, then how to improve your own conversion rates today.
What is conversion rate optimization?
Conversion rate measures the effectiveness of a particular website, email or landing page in driving the intended action. It’s calculated by the number of conversions divided by the number of overall visitors/impressions.
Conversion rate optimization is the process of improving that percentage over time, with the ultimate goal of driving more sales, registrations, etc. for your company.
Why is CRO worth prioritizing? Besides generating sales, CRO encourages you to think about what motivates, stops and persuades your customers at each stage of the buying lifecycle. That yields useful insights that’ll inform the rest of your marketing strategy.
How to optimize your CRO strategy
1. Take stock of your current marketing funnel
Start by evaluating each stage of your current marketing funnel. How effective is each landing page?
Pay attention to unexpected drops in performance between one stage and the next, as this can often indicate opportunities for improvement. For instance, if one of your publication’s landing pages gets significant daily traffic, but your corresponding conversion rate is less than 1%, consider changing the page’s design, copy and/or CTA button to encourage more visitors to take the intended action.
Get started with some of these tools:
- Website analytics tools: Website tracking services like Omeda can help you see how much time your users spend on each page.
- Email reporting tools: Your click-through rates tell you how many people clicked a link in your email. While that’s useful, it leaves a lot of important questions unanswered, like: Who is clicking each of the links in my message? Which CTAs are getting the most clicks? Are my emails and calls to action fully functional on every device and desktop?
Omeda provides additional reports that lend context to your top-line conversion metrics, including:
- URL click report: This tells you which recipients clicked on which links within your email. That’s especially helpful if you’re linking to multiple pages or products in your emails.
- Opens by client and device: See whether your emails are sufficiently optimized for different devices and screen sizes.
2. Combine insights with direct audience feedback
We’re about to give you a lot of quantitative ways to uncover what tactics lead to conversions. This tells you what actions your audience is taking, but not why they’re taking them. And unless you combine the numbers with actual feedback from your users, you’re still not going to get as many conversions as you could otherwise.
As you evaluate your conversion mechanisms, seek out qualitative feedback on your user experience as well. Here’s where to start:
- Customer feedback surveys
- Session recording and replay tools
- Usability testing
- 1:1 feedback from your sales, client support and other customer-facing teams
Top conversion rate optimization tactics
Now that you’ve evaluated your CRO strategy, time to implement tactics that will earn more clicks and conversions. Generate incremental conversions (and sales) with the following UX tweaks:
1. Place CTAs above the fold
If you make your audience search for something, most of them won’t take the effort to find it. So the best CTA is the one that’s visible as soon as you arrive on the page.
Place your biggest CTAs “above the fold” (the point at which readers need to scroll down within the page or email). This way, your readers can get the point of the message in one skim, then take the desired action (sign up for an event, click through, etc.).
2. Spread out your links
It’s hard enough to click one link within an email on mobile: You need to zoom in, use the very tip of your nail and squint before you get where you need to go. Placing multiple links too close together makes this even more difficult, as recipients might accidentally click the wrong link and eventually give up. Avoid this by placing only one link within each content block of your email.
3. Ensure your CTA buttons are big enough to click on mobile
Phone screens are smaller than their desktop counterparts, so it’s harder to click buttons — and convert — on mobile. Test your emails on mobile to confirm that readers can click all of your CTAs without needing to zoom in.
4. Use a heat map to see where your audience clicks within emails
To maximize conversions from your emails, you need to know where your recipients are most likely to click. And especially if they’re skimming messages on mobile between calls, that may not be the bottom of your email.
Use your email service provider’s heat map to identify which areas of your messages are clicked most often, then situate your CTAs and sales messaging in those spots. For example, if people frequently click the header of your newsletter, add a link to the related blog post on your website.
5. Display testimonials on your landing and payment pages
We’ve all had last-second doubts before making a big purchase. Including customer testimonials on your landing and payment pages reassures your customer that they’re making the right choice — and ensures that they’ll continue on toward a purchase.
You might include positive reviews, link to relevant case studies, quote a subject matter expert from your company or list any related credentials or awards that your company has in this space. This goes a long way toward establishing credibility and giving your customers peace of mind before they buy.
6. Use less fields on your forms
Gated content is a great way to attract new audiences while also collecting useful data about their needs and buying qualifications. But if your audience thinks your forms are too long and/or invasive, they’re going to click away instead. Avoid drop offs by keeping your forms to 3-4 fields max (and make those fields optional whenever possible). You can also use tools like Clearbit or Zoominfo to dynamically shorten forms and append data after the conversion.
Concerned that you’re not generating enough first-party data about your audience? Consider implementing a progressive profiling campaign so you can collect the data you need through multiple shorter forms over time.
A caveat here: Best practices are, by definition, past practices. What worked for you last quarter or last year may not be as effective this time around. These recommendations are also geared to the average use case, so while they’re relevant to most industries, they may not be as applicable to yours. So we always recommend digging into your own website analytics, email reports, and segment-level marketing data before making any sweeping changes to your CRO strategy.
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