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Clicks to Customers: A Guide to Conversion Rate Optimisation

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In the ever-growing digital landscape, establishing your online presence can sometimes start with website creation. You might have started building a web design portfolio, applied to a graphic design course and learned the ins & outs of digital marketing to rank higher on the SERPs.

But here’s the ugly truth: it’s hard to make it out there. As of writing, you’ll be competing amidst a staggering sea of more than 200 million active websites while trying to attract five billion internet users worldwide. 

And if you ever get a good amount of traffic, that’s only half the battle.

Having visitors to your website isn’t enough; you have to convince them to take action. You need to drive more conversions to increase your revenue, build a loyal customer base and establish a name for yourself in your chosen industry.

This is where conversion rate optimisation (CRO) comes into play. A lot of digital marketers, UI/UX designers and web developers have used this strategy to understand how their customers behave, making data-driven decisions to improve website performance.

CRO is not just another buzzword in the digital marketing realm; it’s the key to turning your platform into real, tangible results. Let’s unlock the full potential of your website by exploring CRO principles, techniques and how to become an effective CRO designer below!

The Basics: Defining Conversion In Digital Marketing

Before you understand what conversion rate optimisation is all about, you must first know the definition of conversion. In marketing, the term is typically associated with visitors taking any desired action on your website. 

It frequently pertains to a sale, but it can also involve smaller actions that guide users to making a purchase along the sales funnel.

Here are some examples of conversions that a customer might perform:

  • Account registration: A visitor creating an account on your website is considered a conversion. This is common on online forums, e-learning sites and social media platforms.
  • App downloads: If your website promotes a mobile app, getting visitors to download it can lead to future interactions and purchases.
  • Content engagement: Conversion can also be measured through user engagement with your content. This includes downloading an e-book or watching a video.
  • Click-through: Users clicking a call-to-action (CTA) button that leads to another page is a conversion, especially when it’s a part of a sales funnel.
  • Lead generation: It’s a conversion when you’ve obtained a visitor’s information, specifically when they sign up for a newsletter, request a quote or fill out a contact form.
  • Purchase: The most common type of conversion is when a user makes a purchase on an e-commerce site. This includes buying a product, service or subscription.

How To Calculate Conversion Rate

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action or ‘convert’ out of the total number of visitors. To calculate it, here is the formula you should use:

how to calculate conversion rate

Image Source: Backlinko

Say you run a music production company that sells audio plug-insmusic-making software. Over the course of a month, your website records approximately 10,000 visitors. Out of those visitors, 500 of them signed up for a free trial or bought the product. 

Plugging these values into the formula, the conversion rate for your website is 5%. It indicates that for every 100 visitors to your website, five of them became potential users of your productsoftware. 

In simpler terms, the conversion rate tells you how effective your website is at convincing visitors to take a particular action. A higher conversion rate is a sign that your website is user-friendly and intuitive, while a lower rate indicates that you should optimise your website’s content, pages and CTAs.

This leads us to the million-dollar question: what is a good conversion rate? 

The answer will depend on your industry, type of website and specific goals. Keep in mind that what’s considered a good conversion rate for one business may not be the same for another. 

Industry standards, however, can give you insights into typical conversion rates:

  • In the B2B sector, the standard hovers at approximately 1-2%.
  • For B2C e-commerce, the benchmark typically stands at 1%.
  • In medium-value B2Cs, it usually rests at around 2%.
  • Among low-value B2Cs, it’s in the range of 3-4%.

If you notice your conversion rate falling below these percentages, there might be cutthroat competition in your market or maybe you didn’t build your website using industry-recommended best practices.

Understanding Conversion Rate Optimisation

Now that we’ve discussed what conversion is along with the benchmarks of conversion rates, let’s delve deeper into the fundamentals of conversion rate optimisation (CRO).

Considered to be one of the most effective marketing strategies, CRO is the process of optimising a website or a landing page to increase the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. 

Its primary objective is to improve the effectiveness of your website in persuading visitors to do what you want them to perform, whether that’s signing up for a membership or engaging with content. This is often achieved through data-driven analysis, testing and changes to different elements of a website like user experience, design and user interface.

But how do you exactly optimise your website’s conversion rate? First, you optimise across devices—desktops, tablets, smartphones, what have you. Then, you shift your focus to the user experience. This includes page layout, navigation, site speed, process design and more. 

A successful conversion rate optimisation campaign leads to new avenues for growth that may have remained untouched in the past. In a nutshell, CRO allows you to understand your website’s usability and tweak the user experience that aligns with your objectives, among other things.

The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimisation

Imagine you have a brick-and-mortar store.

A lot of customers flock to your place every day, browse your products on the shelves, but then inexplicably leave empty-handed. They don’t even try to ask questions, much less buy anything from your shop. 

You’d naturally feel eager to understand why this is happening, and more importantly, how to remedy it. 

This is why conversion rate optimisation has been a game-changer in the digital world, especially in the UX and design industry. It addresses elusive ‘window shoppers’ and turns them into satisfied, loyal customers in the long run.

Let’s discuss the benefits of CRO in detail:

Helps You Understand Your Customers Better

When you run a website, it’s crucial to understand your customers’ needs and preferences. You should know their demographics and desires to stock the right products and market them effectively.

Why do they visit your site? How do they interact with my services and the content of my web pages? What exactly do they need?

This is where conversion rate optimisation can enhance your operations. A huge part of CRO involves understanding your customer base through research, and testing plays a vital role in ensuring you’re on the right track.

Increases Your Revenue

Even the smallest improvements in your conversion rate can significantly boost your profit. CRO provides concrete results that go directly into your pockets without obliging you to pay advertisers or increase your marketing budget.

Remember, if your website converts visitors into paying customers, every marketing cent you spend becomes more valuable. 

Improves Brand Perception

The meteoric rise of online shopping created a top-notch shopping experience, but it also paved the way for major security breaches to happen. Let’s take the Targettake Target data breach that happened in 2013 as an example. Cybercriminals stole 40 million credit and debit records, forcing the company to reach an $18 million settlement with over 47 states.

No matter how profitable your business is, if you lose the trust of your customers, you’re going broke. 

This is why CRO is important in building customer trust. Before they hand over their personal information, they need to know they’re in safe hands. You can use social proof like testimonials and case studies, privacy policies, and cookie policies that explain how you collect or protect user data.

Makes Your UX More Functional

When you gain insights into user behaviour on your website, it allows you to improve on-page and overall website design elements. These improvements can drastically boost conversion rates while expanding your knowledge of user behaviours.

Through conversion rate optimisation, you may use heat maps to identify which links are most frequently clicked by visitors. 

For example, you might notice that a huge chunk of your visitors click on links leading to resources, pricing pages or case studies. Their touchpad movements as they navigate your site also tell you that they skip certain sections.

This data will help you pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your site’s UX design, helping you make things more functional.

Conversion Rate Optimisation: Best Practices & Tips To Consider

Learning that your website isn’t converting can feel incredibly frustrating. You’ve spent hours studying design thinking, reading about guides on how to become an effective web designer and signing up for graphic design courses.

You think you’re making huge steps in growing your traffic and increasing conversion rates, but the data says otherwise.

The good news is, you are actually in control. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with your website’s subpar performance, there are actionable steps you can take to nail your CRO game.

Here are some of the best practices to improve your conversion rate optimisation strategy:

Optimise The User Experience (UX)

A study conducted by AWS revealed that 88% of online customers refuse to return to a website after having a bad user experience. This is why developing your UX design is one of the best strategies for optimising your conversion rates.

Check out these tactics for improving your UX:

  • Make sure your content is readable. Use legible fonts, appropriate font sizes and maintain proper spacing to help users read your content easily.
  • Establish clear navigation. Users should find what they’re looking for without jumping from one random page to another. Take advantage of clear and organised menus along with breadcrumbs to keep them guided.
  • Maintain consistency. Be consistent in graphic design, terminology and navigation throughout your application or website.
  • Make your website accessible. Ensuring accessibility to all users, especially people with disabilities, vastly improves the user experience. Use alt text for images, provide captions for videos and fix keyboard navigation.
  • Ensure your web forms are simple. Since the average visitor tends to leave pages within 10 to 20 seconds, your web forms must be intuitive. Keep your questions concise and arrange them in a logical sequence.

Depend On Data, Not Gut Feelings and Opinions

It’s tempting to do the rough work and evaluate your website’s performance from your own perspective. On the surface level, taking this route seems easier because it may save you time and resources.

However, this isn’t entirely accurate. When it comes to conversion rate optimisation, you have to make changes according to data. You have to depend on insights from tools like Google Analytics to gain a practical, real-time overview of user behaviour on your website. 

For instance, one of the metrics you can track on Google Analytics is bounce rate. It measures the percentage of visitors who land on your website and then leave without making interactions. 

This is important in CRO because it identifies problem areas. Say you notice that your bounce rate is unusually high. It can highlight the specific pages or site elements that need improvement, including site speed, blank pages and under-optimised content, to name a few.

Take Advantage of A/B Testing

A/B Testing

Image source: Towards Data Science

Also known as split testing, A/B testing is a method used to compare two or more variations of a webpage or app to determine which one performs better in terms of conversion rates and user engagement. Think of it like conducting a scientific research study. 

Let’s say you run a subscription-based software service, and you’re trying to increase the conversion rate of users signing up for a free trial. This is how the A/B setup would look like:

  1. Original Page (A): Your current sign-up page has a short description of the software’s features, a form with fields for name and email, and a ‘Get Started’ CTA button.
  2. Variation Page (B): The variation features an improved sign-up page with a more detailed description of the software’s features, trust badges and a simplified form. It also includes a bigger, more prominent ‘Start Your Free Trial’ button.

To start the testing process, you divide your website visitors into two groups: Group A sees the original page, and Group B sees the variation page. This is where you start tracking user interactions, especially the number of visitors who fill up forms and proceed to the free trial.

After conducting the A/B test, the data shows you:

  • Group A (Original Page): 10% of visitors signed up for a free trial.
  • Group B (Variant Page): 15% of visitors signed up for a free trial.

The A/B test indicates that the variation sign-up page with a trust badge, detailed descriptions and a simpler web form outperforms the original page. Using these findings, you can make informed decisions on what elements to focus on to attract more users to try your software. 

Aside from call-to-action (CTA), other site elements you can A/B test include page layouts, placement of buttons, colours of design elements, headlines and media.

Use Heatmaps To Understand User Behaviour

heatmaps

Image source: Hotjar

Heatmaps are data visualisation tools used to represent user interactions with a web page. They display graphical overlays of web pages using colours showing the areas where visitors have clicked, moved their cursor or spent the most time. 

Additionally, they reveal the hotspots (sections with high interaction) and coldspots (areas with little to no interaction) on a page. This data can show you which parts of your content are attracting the most attention and which parts are being ignored. 

To get started, you can use Microsoft’s free behaviour analytics tool called Clarity. It offers automated insights, session recordings and an integration with Google Analytics. The tool also allows you to create sophisticated heatmaps in three aspects: click, scroll and area. 

Use Live Chats or Chatbots

How many times have you left a website feeling extremely unsatisfied because there was no one to answer your questions? You decide to put your credit card back into your wallet, letting your uncertainties overpower your desire to click that ‘checkout’ button.

Sure, you could’ve dialled their number and talked to an agent. But when you don’t have that much time to spare, isn’t it nice to get an answer instantly?

That’s why leveraging live chat tools can increase customer retention and conversion rates. According to Kayako, 51% of users are more likely to buy again from a company if a live chat feature is available. 

Having live chat support on your website helps you build a great relationship with customers. You can increase your email list, troubleshoot issues, answer FAQs and suggest related products they might be interested in. 

Becoming a CRO Designer: Skills You Need

If you plan on specialising in conversion rate optimisation, becoming a CRO designer might be of interest. You will play a crucial role in creating user experiences that not only captivate but also convert visitors into paying customers or subscribers.

Given that this discipline is multi-faceted, you need to learn a wide range of skills to bridge the gap between design aesthetics and data-driven decision-making. These skills, however, will depend on which industry you’re in.

But generally, the main areas that CRO designers should focus on include:

UX Design

In conversion rate optimisation, making a website look prettier isn’t the most important part. If you change your entire web pages to make them more aesthetically pleasing but introduce distractions for users, the conversion rate will likely drop. 

When you become a CRO designer, not everything lies in beauty. You have to focus on designing intuitive site structures and navigation to guide users towards conversions. Learning how to conduct user research to understand user needs and pain points should also be included in your checklist.

If you don’t have a design background, don’t fret. You can start by enrolling in graphic design courses like interaction design to understand the basics of wireframing, digital interfaces and design thinking principles.

Copywriting

You don’t need Shakespearean writing prowess to be good at copywriting, but you have to be persuasive and compelling. 

For example, you should write persuasive and action-oriented CTAs that encourage users to click and convert. Crafting impactful and informative content on a landing page is also important, given that CRO efforts are typically on these pages. 

Using language that creates a sense of urgency and scarcity can also help you become an effective CRO designer. Phrases like ‘Only a few items left’ and ‘Limited-time offer’ can convince visitors to convert.

Copywriting looks complicated at first glance. But as long as you understand the ins and outs of the sales journey and positioning, writing headlines and CTAs will be much easier. 

Visual Design

Aside from UX design, visual design skills can hone you into becoming a CRO designer. Bear in mind that visual elements in a website influence how users perceive and interact with your content, which can significantly affect your conversion rates.

For example, an understanding of typography and colour principles can create a visual hierarchy, improve readability and establish a consistent brand identity. Visual design can also evoke emotions and connect with visitors on a deeper level. 

When you know which images, colour schemes and design elements resonate with them the most, a higher conversion rate may be within reach. 

Signing up for a communication design course is a good starting point. 

Final Thoughts

Without conversions, your website won’t ever move forward. 

And it should be clear at this point that conversion rate optimisation is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity for achieving your online goals. Whether your objectives involve increasing revenue, growing your subscriber base and boosting sign-ups, CRO is a useful strategy to unlock your platform’s potential.

Just always remember that CRO doesn’t happen overnight. You have to let your experiments and testing run their course before you look at the bigger picture. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to be patient before making any changes.

With Orita Sinclair, you can master the art of CRO and truly propel your website to new heights. You can invest in your CRO journey today by joining our graphic design courses like interaction design and communication design to optimise your website for maximum results!

FAQs

How do I start with conversion rate optimisation for my website?

To start with CRO, analyse your website’s current performance, set clear goals and run A/B tests to determine what steps lead to higher conversion rates.

How long does it take to see results from conversion rate optimisation efforts?

It varies. However, you can usually see improvements within a few weeks to a few months, depending on your web pages’ complexity and the changes you apply.

What are the best conversion rate optimisation tools should I use?

Here are some of the best CRO tools you can use:

1. Google Analytics
2. Unbounce
3. Optimizely
4. Hotjar
5. AB Tasty

About Orita Sinclair

Founded in 2002, Orita Sinclair is one of the oldest music and design schools in Singapore. We are committed to fostering a love of design and music in our students by encouraging them to be bold and imaginative in their endeavours.

Here at Orita Sinclair, we believe that theoretical and practical foundations are equally important with the music and graphic design courses that we offer. For that reason, we have put in place a forward-looking curriculum that grounds students in key principles before being guided by field practitioners in applying theory and technical craft in authentic, industry-oriented projects. One of our best programme is Diploma in Interaction Design.

Our supportive learning environment prepares students for the demands and challenges of the music and design industries. At the end of their graphic design courses or music courses, our students are ready to step out into successful careers or pursue degrees at renowned universities.

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