CRO101: Defining Conversion Rate Optimization & Its Importance / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Class is in session! Whether you're looking to learn about conversion rate optimization or change your CRO strategy, this is for you.

Welcome to Conversion Rate Optimization 101. My name is Irfan Ajmal, and I'll be your instructor for today's course. Before we really dive into CRO, let’s look at some of the basic vocabulary you'll be hearing in this class when it comes to CRO. Get your note pad ready.


Conversion simply means making customers do what you want, and this could be:

  • The customer making a sale (this one is obvious)
  • The customer signing up to your email newsletter. This is usually neglected but very important because ‘the money is in the list’, and as proven by research the most e-commerce conversions take place not on social media or search, but email inbox
  • The customer downloading your free eBooks and apps, signing up for  a webinar, using a discount coupon, or even leaving a Yelp/Facebook/Google Review

Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate of a Website = Total Conversions in a Month / Total Website Visitors Received in a Month

Example: If you have a furniture e-commerce store which gets 2000 visitors and 200 sales in February, your Conversion Rate for sales in February is 10%. If during the same time you have had 300 people subscribed to your newsletter, your Conversion Rate for (Email Subscription) in February is: 15%

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the art and science of improving your website’s overall performance on the basis of user feedback and web analytics in order to increase your conversion rate.

The Ideal Conversion Rate?

There is no magic number. Even if you are aware of the average or the best conversion rate of your industry in your geographical region, that number may be far from ideal and you can still do much better.

Related Article: 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Principles to Consider

Call to Action

Call to action (CTA) is the action you want your visitors to take on a particular landing page. Placing more prominent and relevant CTA’s at your website pages will magically increase your conversion rates. 

Placing more prominent and relevant CTA’s at your website pages will magically increase your conversion rates.

(Source: Hubspot)

Example: A good CTA for the “10 Reasons You Can’t Run as Long as You Used to” article page of a health and fitness coach’s site may be a banner placed at the end of the article that says: “Sign up to our newsletter and receive a Free Training Manual to Run a Marathon This Year”.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of the visitors who leave your website after visiting the page they arrived at. It is good CRO and SEO practice to always strive to decrease the bounce rate.

Average Time on Site

Average time on site is an engagement metric which lets you know how much time an individual spends on your site. Typically, the more time the visitor spend the more likely he/she will take actions. Guiding your visitors throughout the whole buying process will increase the average time visitors spends on your site which will eventually result in more conversions

Why CRO is Important

It’s pretty simple: If you prefer 5,000 visitors with 50 sales over 10,000 visits with 5 sales, you need to practice CRO day in and day out

It is a continuous process of improving your website in order to make more conversions. Among other benefits, CRO gets you more customers for free and you don’t need to spend more money on paid marketing.

CRO in Practice: A Real Life Example

Consider TyreShopper who redesigned their checkout process to accommodate TrustPilot, the review website where TyreShopper has over 15,000 reviews to date. They also included a confidence badge to ensure that their customers know the site is secure.

Consider TyreShopper who redesigned their checkout process to accommodate TrustPilot, the review website where TyreShopper has over 15,000 reviews to date.

These 2 simple changes to the checkout page increased TyreShopper’s conversions by 8% which is nothing to overlook if you have tons of online traffic to attend to.

Related Article: Optimize Conversion Rates with Web Analytics

What CRO is All About

  1. Increasing your engagement with website visitors
  2. Educating your visitors throughout the conversion funnel
  3. Continuous website optimization to get and increase the right kind of customers
  4. Increasing number of subscribers
  5. Being smarter than your competitors by trying what they haven’t tried yet
  6. Taking actions and closely monitoring your actions and their outcomes by doing some A/B or split testing and much more
  7. Making your customers happy by being helpful
  8. Updating your SEO efforts according to latest search engines algorithms

“CRO is Huge! Where Should I You Start?”

Take the first step without mulling too much over the whole CRO journey. This Beginner’s Guide to CRO may also come in handy. Remember:

“Where there is friction, there is opportunity. Either you solve it for your customers today or a competitor will do it tomorrow.” - Bryan Eisenberg

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