What is Conversion Optimization?

April 03, 2017

Conversion Optimization, also known as conversion rate optimization or CRO, is the optimization of your website/online sales funnel in order to increase conversion (turning visitors into clients). It has nothing to do with getting traffic to your website—instead, it is the art of using that website to increase sales.

The “sales funnel” concept is a simple one: you get visitors to your website/landing page from everywhere—SEO, social media, blog content, etc. Every one of those visitors can become a client. Your website or landing page contains content, images, videos, and information that will turn the visitor into a paying customer.

CRO is the optimization of your content so that it increases the chance of someone becoming a customer (conversion). CRO is often done by A/B testing or split testing: creating two similar versions of a landing page and testing them to determine which is more effective. You end up using the variant that has the highest conversion rate (clicks, sign-ups, downloads, sales, etc.). But you don’t stop there! You continue to create new and improved versions of your landing page to continue to optimize your conversion. Over time, you end up with a highly efficient sales funnel that will drive people to take action: join your mailing list, buy your product, contact you, and so on.

The good news is that you may only need to make minor changes to your website’s content, layout, structure, or presentation. Even small tweaks in theme, a few minimal word changes, or the addition or deletion of a video can make all the difference. The small changes can have a visible effect on the conversion of those visitors.
It’s vital for you to continually be looking for ways to do things better, especially in terms of your sales funnel. You want to increase your conversion rate as much as possible. You may not be able to drastically increase the number of visitors you get to your website, but you can ensure that MORE of those visitors are taking action once they’re on your site. In the long run, CRO can help you to do more even if you don’t have millions of unique visitors to your website every month.

Instead of investing in advertisements to encourage people to buy, you can drive them to your website. Once there, your content will do the work of converting them into customers. It’s a “soft sell” method that works far more efficiently than direct advertising!

Tags:

  • blog content
  • CoLab Internet Marketing
  • Conversion Optimization
  • CRO
  • direct marketing
  • optimization of your content
  • optimization of your website/online
  • sales funnel
  • SEO
  • social media
  • soft sell

You’d be amazed by how many people use social media incorrectly. They post content that tries to hit “everyone”, without any sort of targeting or strategy to reach the demographic best-suited for their product. If you’re serious about using social media to reach your target market, you can’t just post whatever springs to mind. You need to come up with a plan, targeted content that is visually appealing, and learn the ins and outs of the various forms of social media marketing. That is the only way you’re going to read that audience!

Here’s what you need to know:

Step 1: Choose the right platform.

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube all offer access to a different target audience. Pinterest is more popular among women, Facebook is more commonly used by businesses, and Twitter is the short-form social media for busy people on the go. Understanding what each platform offers—mainly in the demographics that frequently use the platform—is the first step toward using your social media effectively.

Step 2: Learn the ins and outs.

Learn how using the right hashtags can make your Twitter posts more engaging and reach a broader audience. Learn how Facebook Ads effectively help you to put your published content in front of the right people. Learn what sort of YouTube videos are most effective for promoting your content. The more you learn about the platform, the more easily you’ll be able to plan the marketing strategy.

Step 3: Learn more than one.

Sticking with just one social media network isn’t going to get you the results you want. You need to learn to use multiple networks, and learn how they can cross-promote each other. Twitter posts can be automatically posted to Facebook and vice versa, or short YouTube videos can make your Facebook feed more engaging. Instagram photos will do well on Facebook and Twitter. Learn at least three or four of the primary social networks, and you’ll have a better reach!

Step 4: Be engaging.

The primary purpose of your content is to get people to stop what they’re doing and focus on what you have to say/share. Your content needs to be visually appealing, offer entertainment or real value, but most important of all get people engaged. Ask a question, offer advice that’s likely to be shared, or solicit your readers’ opinions. The more people engage with your posts, the more likely they will be to engage with the posts marketing and selling your product or service.

Step 5: Give something special.

Your social media followers want to feel they’re getting something special for their interaction with you. Offer them discounts, special deals, or coupons as a reward for their engagement. This offers them value, which in turn increases future engagement.

Marketing is all about putting your message in front of the right people in the right way. Thanks to social media, that has become easier than ever. If used correctly, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and all the other social media platforms will allow you to engage directly with your target demographic.

First off, social media is where people go to relax and distract themselves from work. It already has a positive association in their minds, meaning the things they see while on social media will also tend to have that positive connotation. If your marketing campaign appeals to them, inspires them, or catches their interest, they’re far more likely to engage with it than they would while surfing the internet for education or information.

Social media also provides you with a surprising amount of information on who people are. Facebook, for example, compiles not just names, but also locations, interests, ages, likes and dislikes, and so much more. You’ll be able to use the social media profiles to target the right people with the right message. If you use the platforms’ various paid options, you’ll tap into their compiled databases to ensure your marketing campaigns are targeted at the customers most likely to be receptive to your message.

Social media gives you a much broader reach than you’d get from other sources. While Google’s SEO rankings are dependent largely in inbound links to your website, it does take into account links from social media. The more people post links to your page or content, the higher your SEO ranking. However, that also increases your visibility on those social media platforms and increases your authority.

People are always looking for new and interesting, content that educates, entertains, and gets them thinking. If you approach content creation with that mindset, you’ll find that the images, videos, and articles you post to social media have much better engagement. The more people engage with and share your content, the more you are perceived as an authority. This in turn increases the chance that people will seek you out when they have a question they need answered or a problem they want solved. Your reputation as an authority is worth gold!

Social media also allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s trending, popular, and of interest to your target demographic. If you “join in the conversation” with your marketing and content, you become relevant and trending as well. You’ll find that social media enables you to stay current with the times in a way classic content marketing never could!

Go on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram around the holidays and you’ll find nearly every brand and company making a holiday-themed post to try to capitalize on the special day. Why is that? What is it about the holidays that’s so special?

Holidays are a time of year people look forward to. They want to relax on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Christmas, New Year, etc. Holidays have a positive mental association in their mind. A smart brand will take advantage of that association and link it to their product or service. A holiday-themed post shows that you are relevant (you create fresh, up to date content), but it also creates that positive association in your viewers’ minds. After all, if you’re as happy as they are about the holiday, you’re no longer a faceless company—you’re an individual like them who is interested in the same things.

There’s a certain emotional appeal to holiday-themed social media posts. People tend to be happier than average on holidays, and each holiday has its own emotional touchpoints. Labor Day is all about hard-working people. Earth Day is about protecting the planet. Christmas is about family. Using those emotional touchpoints in your social media post can help you to connect emotionally with your viewers.

You’ll find that using social media for holiday posts can also foster a sense of community. You can offer a holiday-themed deal to your customers, or simply ask a question to engage them. Use your post to encourage engagement and connection. Remind them what’s important for the holiday and ask them to share the things that matter most. The more interactive the post, the better.

If done right, a holiday-themed post can be highly shareable and buzzworthy. A well-crafted post has beautiful visuals related to the holiday, an emotional message, and an interesting call to action. It can be something as simple as “Tell a family member you love them on X holiday” or something more complex like “Bring attention to a social injustice on X holiday”. Anything can go viral if it has the right message, hook, and visual. A good call to action can encourage people to purchase or click on something they normally wouldn’t, especially when paired with the other components.

Don’t worry about hitting EVERY holiday in the year! Find a holiday that is “on brand” with your product or service, and focus on just that one. Create awesome, engaging, funny, and emotional content for that holiday and hit it hard. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, start using more and more holidays to drive interest in your brand.

Creating quality content takes A LOT of hard work! Whether you hire a copywriter or do all the work yourself, it’s still an investment to create content to post to your website, blog, or social media platforms. Even harder is creating quality content that is unique, interesting, and hits the right marketing notes without being too “pushy” or “salesy”.

Here’s one tool a lot of people don’t tap into crowdsourcing. Instead of hiring out, you can use your readers to generate content to share. Instead of using your own one-way content, user-generated content encourages a two-way discussion that helps readers to feel more engaged with your brand. That engagement is what will lead to much better customer loyalty in the long run.

To encourage your users to create content:

Offer an incentive
Establish clear guidelines that are easy to follow
Be appreciative of anyone who produces content for you
Encourage regular contributions
Give your members independence
It takes time to get that user-generated content flowing in, but once you have it, you’ll find it’s highly effective for building a community.

Best of all, the user-generated content is marketing material that will appeal to other readers in a way that you never could. Think about it: why do so many companies use testimonials on their products or services? Instead of saying “Our product is this”, they use real-life people saying, “I love this product for X reasons!” Users are more likely to take the word of fellow users than that of the manufacturers trying to sell the product. (Why else do you think product reviews are prized so highly?)

The user-generated content will do the marketing for you. After all, it will show other users that you have a community that is engaged and interacting. Every piece of user-generated content—be it fan art, memes, photo collections, articles, or social media posts—showcases your product or service, but without your needing to put your spin on it. It’s a way of subtly marketing, one that doesn’t involve you.

The more you can encourage your users to generate content, the better. You should include it in your monthly marketing plans and find ways to promote the production of this content by your users. Have a “standing offer” that provides a discount or special deal every time your users produce something of value for you. Over time, you’ll find that it can be one of the best ways to generate quality content that appeals to a broader range of people—all without your needing to spend a single cent!

People don’t like being told to buy products, but they often want to buy products that their “idols” or “heroes” wear. When they see their favorite celebrity, athlete, TV personality, or talk show host wearing or using a product, they immediately want to give it a try.

Big brands have learned the value of “influencer marketing” and give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free products to “the right people”. All the influencer has to do is mention the product or brand, and their dedicated followers will go out and buy it. It’s a subtle form of marketing, one that can lead to very high returns if done right.

The question is: is influencer marketing right for your business? Here are a few elements to consider when evaluating influencer marketing:

Is there a demand?

Is your product something that people would want to a) try out, and b) buy because they saw it on their favorite influencer’s social media profile? You wouldn’t use influencer marketing to promote a cutting edge sump pump, but you may find it useful for cosmetics, beauty products, clothes, shoes, accessories, vehicles, and other “showy” products.

Can you find the right influencer?

You wouldn’t reach out to Kylie Jenner with the request to promote your testosterone supplement, and you certainly wouldn’t want Michael Jordan to talk about erectile dysfunction medications. It’s all about finding the right influencer, the one whose personal brand would enhance and be enhanced by your product. A relationship with the right influencer can be worth its weight in gold, but the wrong influencer or pairing can lead to a lot of money wasted.

Who does the approaching?

In most cases, you will be reaching out to influencers and asking them to feature your product. However, if you have a product or company that is quickly growing, they may reach out to you. Both are viable options. It’s always nice to be contacted by an influencer, but you need to be prepared to invest in reaching out to them.

How influential are they?

When working with any influencer, you always need to consider their reach and influence. Do they have thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of followers? Do they actually sell the products they showcase? Can they deliver sales or raise product awareness effectively? Always consider the influencer’s real reach and audience before signing any deals.

The truth is that influencer marketing, if done right, can be a very effective way to grow your business and extend your reach. Ask yourself the questions above to ensure you’re going about it correctly.

To make any advertisement or marketing campaign effective, you have to make sure to target a specific audience. A campaign that hits “everyone” will hit no one; a targeted campaign will have the greatest chance of success.

Thankfully, there are A LOT of tools that enable us to narrow our audience to as specific, targeted a demographic as possible. Every advertising platform from Facebook to Google to Amazon makes the “how” of audience targeting possible.

The real secret is in the “when”…

Remember the days when the first Hunger Games movie came out? Within a few months, dozens more young adult-aiming novels were released, many of which went on to become huge successes. People “struck while the iron was hot”, and their novels, movies, comic books, and other similar products benefited from the popularity of the Hunger Games.

Targeting your audience at the best moment is both an art and a science. It takes two things:

A lot of research.

When planning your ads or marketing campaigns, take a look at what is popular at the moment. Are there certain movies or TV shows that everyone loves? Are there hashtags, buzzwords, or controversial topics that everyone is talking about? The more you understand what is trending at the moment, the more accurately you’ll be able to create timely, fresh campaigns.

A lot of guess work.

Unless you can turn out a new ad or marketing campaign overnight, anything that is trending now will be “old news” by the time your campaign is ready. That means you need to spend time researching things that are soon to come: new movies, new albums being released, new apps or tech products, political happenings in the near future, etc. By studying past trends, you’ll have a better chance of “guessing” what will be popular soon.

It will be a bit of a gamble to create marketing campaigns based around these predictions, but if you get it right, you will be one of the only people taking advantage of the wave of popularity as it’s just beginning. Those “lucky guesses” can lead to massive growth if they work out. If not, you’ve lost a bit of time and money, but not too much more.

When thinking about new marketing and ad campaigns, try to think about the timing of what you have to offer and what you want to say. If you can pair it with something timely, trending, or fresh, you’ll find your chances of success are significantly higher!

Is the content on your website too vague? While many people believe that it’s better to avoid “small talk”-style content for new visitors to your site, we’ve found that more direct content can lead to better results. If done right, you’ll find that it’s a much more effective way to get your visitors from Point A (arriving at your website) to Point B (taking action) as quickly as possible.

You’ve Got Seconds!

When a visitor arrives at your website, you have no more than 7 seconds to capture their interest. That number is usually more like 2.5 seconds, as the interest span of most web users is getting shorter thanks to high speed internet browsing. That means your content needs to tell people exactly what to expect from your website in as little time as possible.

Get to the heart of the matter quickly, with as few words and as clearly as you can, and get to the call to action. Everything from your images to your color palette to your text should hook the visitor from the moment they arrive.

Trim it Down

As the owner of a business or the proud producer of a product, you want everyone to know about the benefits of what you offer. But did you know that long-form text can be the fastest way to lose your visitors’ interest? If you want to hook them, you need to keep everything short and snappy.

Trim down your introductory content to a short list of the benefits, what the product can do, etc. Don’t try to “sell” them, but let them know what makes you the best solution to their problem. Shorter, punchy content will be more effective than a long-winded post every time!

Be Clear

Remember that you have 2.5 seconds to hook visitors. The best way to do that is to tell them everything they need to know with an image or a catchy video. But you also need to make sure it’s very clear what it is that you do.

The design of your website is far less important than the clarity of your message. If your website doesn’t tell visitors what you do at first glance, you’re losing out on valuable seconds. Make that design speak clearly!

These three elements will ensure that your website content hooks visitors from the moment they land on your page. Clear, concise, punchy, and direct content is the key to converting your visitors and random web users into customers.

Almost 600,000 patents were filed in the U.S. in 2015 alone—a very clear indication that the world is constantly finding new and creative ways to do things. Innovative technologies are being released every year, and it’s up to all of us to keep up with the times. To stay truly competitive in the ever-changing world, your business needs to incorporate new and improved technologies into your ways of operating.

Think about some of the ways that technology has changed in the last few years:

Innovations in home automation and entertainment led to the production of the Amazon Alexa, a smart computing device that “listens” to your commands and does what you ask.

The integration of Bluetooth into many new technologies allows us to connect and pair devices that once were believed to be incompatible or unrelated.

Social media platforms are focusing on user experience, tailoring everything to your unique preferences, desires, and activities.

It may seem overwhelming to keep up with all the latest technologies and innovations. Just staying abreast of the changes in social media alone can take a team of digital marketers every hour of every day. But, as mentioned above, it’s vital in order to remain relevant.

If you aren’t changing with the times and utilizing the improved technologies, your competitors will. They will find an easier, more effective way to target your customers, or a much more user-friendly shopping option. They may integrate a new, updated feature into their product that yours doesn’t have. Or, they may simply be able to contact your customers via some new social media platform that allows them to make their mark in your customers’ minds. Without relevancy, your business is doomed to fail.

So how can you integrate these new technologies into your current business structure? You may feel like you’re locked into a certain way of operating, given that your existing personnel has skills focused on existing business strategies. How can you expand?

Simple: bring in fresh talent!

When technology became vital for business operations, the IT department was born. Perhaps it’s time for you to create another new department, one that focuses on examining new technologies and seeing how they can benefit your company. Expanding your pool of talent to include innovators and tech-focused minds can help to drastically improve your company’s relevance.

Or, bring in an outside team of experts and consultants, like Resolve Online Solutions. Let us help you update your operations to include the latest and greatest in the tech world so you can have a better chance of staying relevant in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

Digital marketing is constantly evolving and changing, and it’s up to YOU to keep up with the latest trends. Thanks to the latest updates to Google’s search engine algorithms, a mixture of online and offline marketing is vital to utilize SEO strategies to the fullest. The term “local SEO” refers to that effective pairing of both on and offline marketing.

Think about it: if someone was to Google your business type in your city, would they find your company? They’re not looking just for random online-only businesses anywhere in the country, but they want a specific type of business near their home. With local SEO, you can target customers in a specific area, giving you the ability to reach a much more focused demographic.

How can you improve your local SEO?

Claim your Google business page.

Google My Business is the most effective way to increase your company’s visibility, as it puts your business on the Google Maps. When people do a search for companies in a specific location, Google will display yours as one of the results.

Encourage reviews.

Give people an incentive to leave an honest review. Offer something free (a product, service, consultation, etc.) in exchange for a legitimate review (1 to 5 stars, their decision) on Google, Yelp, and other platforms. Reviews are vital for attracting customers, and is an important way to market via word of mouth.

Include Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) everywhere.

Whether on Yelp, the Yellow Pages, Google, or Bing, make sure that your NAP info is consistent and complete. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find and get in touch with you!

Get traction via word of mouth.

Do things to encourage your customers to spread word of your business, service, or product to their friends and networks. Use incentives and loyalty reward programs to encourage them to let others know about you.

All of these things will help you to improve your online visibility, but they involve some traditional offline marketing tactics. These local SEO practices can have a HUGE effect on your company’s ability to reach others.

Need help improving your local SEO? Let us help you improve both your offline and online presence so you can target as many customers in your area as possible.

Tags:

  • CoLab Internet Marketing
  • Conversion Optimization
  • design
  • local SEO
  • platforms
  • successful website
  • what is seo?