Conversion Optimization is a Marathon, not a Sprint

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Can you really achieve double-digit conversion rates?

CMOs and marketing leaders ask this question every day. In fact, many of them have accepted low conversion rates as a fact of doing business online.

The average website conversion rate stood at 2.35%. That means for every 100 visitors, you can expect to only get around 2 customers.

Type of Business/IndustryEstimated Average Website Conversion Rate Benchmark

Ecommerce 1.84% - 3.71%

B2B 2.23% - 4.31%

Average Across Industries (mobile app excluded) 2.35% - 5.31%

Source - Geckoboard

Considering the low average conversion rates across several industries, many believe that achieving double-digit rates is an elusive dream.

However, the question is not whether you can achieve a double-digit conversion rate; the question is whether you are willing to do what it takes to achieve it?

Conversion rates don’t increase overnight. There is no magic formula you can apply to increase conversions.

Conversion rate optimization is the intersection of creative, marketing and analytical disciplines. It is a continuous process that requires time, resources and financial commitment to get it right.

To make this process easier, let’s take a deep dive into CRO best practices to achieve steady growth:

1. Understand your Website Visitors through Persona Creation

Conversion is all about the art of persuasion. If you don’t understand your visitors, there’s no way you can persuade them to convert. Listen to your customers and study their interests, requirements, demographics and behaviour before setting up a CRO strategy. Create ideal buyer personas based on your research and map their purchase journey.

This will help you understand user intent at various stages of the purchase cycle and create content to move them to the next phase of the cycle. In this way, you can gradually ‘funnel’ your site traffic so that they don’t get distracted from their goal. Then you can seal the deal with assertive pop-ups, promos and banner ads that show your audiences offers they can’t resist.

2. Test, Optimize, Repeat

Digital giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook have gotten to where they are by listening to their customers through rigorous data collection and A/B testing. Companies should regularly conduct A/B and multi-variate testing to show different versions of an online experience to different sets of users.

This is critical to understanding how to drive conversions and determine what on-page elements to tweak to create a given outcome. Embrace the culture of experimentation and listen to what data tells you instead of relying on guesswork or instincts to drive conversions.

Here are some actionable recommendations to keep in mind when A/B testing to improve conversions:

• Start with a clear question and formulate a hypothesis

• Have a big enough sample size to validate your hypotheses

• Ensure random testing and run test for a complete business cycle

• Focus on statistical significance to arrive at conclusive results

• Keep your tests manageable to rule out false positives

3. Prevent the Bounce

If A/B testing is one side of the CRO coin, strategic interventions that prevent users from dropping off your site is the other. While it is critical to provide a seamless user experience across your portal, it’s also important to intervene at key moments in the purchase journey to influence conversions.

Here are some strategic interventions you can implement as part of your CRO strategy to prevent users from bouncing:

• Leverage live chatbots or agents to initiate a conversation with visitors who may be searching for some information in your portal.

• Display exit-intent pop-ups that detect when visitors may potentially leave your site and show them an offer or message to draw them back to the site.

• Use product badges, labels or stickers that focus on social proof, scarcity and urgency.

• Foster trust and credibility by adding customer testimonials, reviews and other user-generated content across your portal.

• Provide session-aware recommendations by understanding user intent based on interactions observed in an ongoing session and analyzing the search or real-time browsing behaviour.

• Turn disaster into discovery by displaying relevant recommendations when a visitor conducts an on-site search and lands on a no-results page.

• Identify potential friction points in your website and take the right steps to fix them using heatmaps that track user movements across your site.

4. Prioritize your CRO Roadmap

Everyone is looking for a quick fix solution to achieve an instant 10x growth. But what worked for one company might not work for you. That is why instead of looking for short-term tactics and growth hacks, it’s best to lay out a systematic plan. This plan should be rooted in qualitative and quantitative research that addresses the following core areas:

1. Understanding different visitor types and intentions

2. Identifying user experience problems

3. Gathering and understanding visitors’ objections

You can then develop a CRO pipeline to tackle issues that are more likely to yield maximum outcomes first. Use frameworks such as PIE (Potential, Importance, Ease), TIR (Time, Impact, Resources) and ICE (Impact, Confidence, Ease) to prioritize your CRO roadmap.

5. Dealing with FUDs (Fears, Uncertainties and Doubt)

As part of your conversion framework, it’s important to address these three psychological triggers that prevent visitors from converting. According to research, reducing FUDs throughout the website experience resulted in a 34% increase in conversions and a reduction in abandonment rates. Some potential causes of FUDs can include long forms, load time, non-persistent carts, 404 errors, etc.

Besides the visitor’s concerns about the price, investment and value of your product or services can also add up to FUDs. If you manage to preempt some of the risks and address the buyers’ worries through design and content, you can get more conversions. Some common ways to address FUDs include adding a FAQ section, social proof, offering money-back guarantees, free trials and reducing friction in the purchase journey.

Experiments may be futile or successful in the beginning. Remember that conversion rate optimization is a marathon without a finish line and not a sprint race. The agility in your strategy and persistent efforts in your experimental testing will lead to optimal growth and generate superior results over time.

Have you implemented any of the above CRO best practices? What are some other strategies that worked for you? Drop your comments below or write to us at