Return on Investment (ROI) is the key indicator of marketing or website development success and, understandably, considered the holy grail of many internal marketing departments. Yet backing decisions and money spent up with hard-numbers is often tricky and in an ideal world there would be certain guarantees before larger budgets were spent!

This is where CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation slots in and, simply, it aims to improve your site’s performance using data-led decision making and ensures budgets are focused on the right areas.

Very few marketing and development programmes offer the level of ROI that Conversion rate Optimisation can deliver, which (according to a Demand Gen Report) is something 44% of marketers say they want to be able to better measure in 2021.

What is CRO?

CRO works in a cyclical nature, methodically moving across either a specific area or an entire site looking for ways to improve the current solution and identifying holes or issues with the existing UX.

Through a pattern of identifying issues, proposing solutions, testing them in real-time and analysing the results, a programme of CRO can quickly provide insight and data to back up where budget should be spent and whether proposed solutions will directly tackle specific issues.

Although CRO will often look at a site's journeys, investigate blackspots and dead-ends, this type of data-led optimisation can be used to improve anything from a site’s UX, accessibility, design, navigation, page structure, CTAs and even content!

From experience, we have found that even tiny changes can make huge differences. From button placement to changing the emphasis of text at the checkout and even reducing distractions on crucial decision pages, correctly done CRO will allow you to improve your conversion rates. 

How does CRO work?

Understanding where your site may be causing problems for users is one thing, but fully understanding which solution will actually improve it is another. CRO aims to tackle both.

Kicking off a programme of CRO begins with identifying which areas of a site could be causing problems. This is achieved through a number of methods, including real-time user testing, analysis of Google Analytics and objectively evaluating key areas.

By using user input and data to influence decision-making, marketeers can ensure time is spent on issues that genuinely exist rather than going on hunches or personal likes and dislikes.

These approaches lay bare existing strengths and weaknesses within a current website and get the ball rolling towards possible solutions which can be tested on real users without wasting time and money on development.

By taking many solutions to an identified problem and comparing them side-by-side against the current setup, you stand the best possible chance of improving your final outcome. This process is called A/B Testing and essentially allows compromises of comparing two or more solution to one another under the same conditions. Data revealed during this stage can be invaluable in backing-up whether or not investing in future development is worth your time and money.

Why must you be doing CRO?

The benefits of CRO are two-fold. Firstly – and as mentioned above – the clear ROI in following the data, and only implementing solutions you know are going to provide a clear improvement to users.

But secondly, as CRO allows multiple simultaneous experiments to occur at once on different areas of the site, potential solutions can be weighed against one-another to identify which is the most profitable and therefore most justifying of development spend. This is particularly important to companies with stricter budgets.

Underpinning all CRO campaigns should be the desire to accurately illustrate the benefit of completing certain actions and thereby answering the question: "Why invest in development that you can’t be sure will improve the conversion-rate of your website?". Equally, after a successful CRO campaign, one should be able to say "by implementing Action B, we can expect improved revenue of £X’s per XX customers".

To wrap up

Taking these points forward when committing to a Conversion Rate Optimisation campaign will allow you to get the most out of it and know exactly what you hope to achieve. Data-driven decision making should be central to the wider way you run your online activities and will lead to better informed decision, and higher return on investment.