“At BASF, we don't make a lot of the products you buy, we make a lot of the products you buy better.”
That line is from a 1980s ad campaign for the German chemical maker. And I always thought it was a fitting explanation of conversion rate optimization.
You’re probably much more familiar with a lot of other digital marketing tactics. But CRO is what makes all those tactics more successful.
Read on for examples from an insurance business, online marketplace, outdoor website, and lead generation company.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of improving the conversion rate of something.
OK, after reading that sentence you may think I’m Captain Obvious. But get ready to be blown away with the profound…
I did not say that CRO is the practice of improving the conversion rate of just anything, but something. And even more importantly – the right thing at the right time.
In other words, make sure you are making the best possible “ask” for your company and your customer in the few moments of time you have with them. Get the strategy right before you jump into the tactics.
To help you do that, you can watch Conversion Rate Optimization: Getting the right “yes” from MarketingExperiments (MarketingSherpa’s sister publication).
And then read these quick case studies form your peers to give you ideas for improving the conversion rate of that ask.
Pet Business Insurance had a typical “Get a free quote” CTA button that was converting at around 3.1%.
“After interviewing the business representative, and some deep conversations, I realized that pet business owners don’t really want a quote. They don’t even really want insurance. What they want is the satisfaction of knowing they’re protected in case of an accident. What all purchasers of insurance want is the peace of mind that the insurance provides,” said Robert Portillo, Founder, Nimbus Marketing.
In addition to creating a value proposition that logically led into the CTA button, the team changed the CTA button color to green so as not to compete with the other blue colors on the page. The CTA button text was changed to “Get Peace of Mind.”
Creative Sample #1: New hero image on pet business insurance homepage
The new homepage hero banner increased conversions to just over 8%.
“We were pleasantly surprised when we witnessed the dramatic results of the CRO work performed. For so long, we’d only focused on getting more traffic to our site. We didn’t realize that CRO was so important, or even a thing to consider,” said Giovanni Greenard, Head of Marketing, Pet Business Insurance.
Portillo attributes the increased conversion to more than just the CTA text. “It’s the entire lead up to the CTA button that counts. The headline, subheadline, bullet points, accompanying imagery, supporting text, social proof, and trust icons all work together to build a powerful value proposition that compels the click of the CTA button,” Portillo said.
“When considering button text, dig deep into the motivations of prospects. Don’t make the button text say what you want them to do, make it say what they really want to get. If possible, make the CTA button text speak of an emotional need,” he advised.
Captain Experiences wanted to increase searches on its homepage to get more engagement and drive consumers down-funnel. “We noticed our numbers weren’t quite where we wanted them to be in terms of searches/total users on the site so we used Hotjar to see what was happening,” said Attison Barnes, Co-founder and Head of Product, Captain Experiences.
The startup’s team noticed that by far the majority of people were clicking on the word “Book” in the subheader, even though that wasn’t a link – it was just text. The full subheader read “Book the fishing trip of a lifetime – every time.”
Creative Sample #2: Original (control) homepage for online marketplace for booking guided fishing trips
“So we used Optimizely to test a few variants on the site, and by changing that subheader to another tagline we were able to increase searches by nearly 2x, accelerating down-funnel growth,” Barnes said. The winning subhead was “Search it. Book it. Live it.”
Creative Sample #3: Winning treatment (variant) of homepage for online marketplace for booking guided fishing trips
“The best way to ace CRO in marketing is by improving your site speed. No matter how good the headline, graphics, and other elements on your page, a huge number of people will bail out and won’t be able to see your sales message if your site loads slowly,” said Valentina Lopez, co-founder and chief marketing officer, Happiness Without.
“Before the changes, our website loaded in 12 to 15 seconds as measured by GTmetrix,” Lopez said. The changes brought page load time down to one to three seconds.
Faster page load time helped the site generate a 72% increase in conversion rate per visitor as well as a 96% increase in traffic. The combination of a higher conversion rate and more traffic helped the team increased revenue by 237%.
“Always test your site speed and monitor how big your web page resources are. Use tools like FireBug, Firefox Developer Tools, and Google Chrome Developer Tools,” Lopez suggested.
Card Payment Guru originally had a website that looked like this template from a sister site…
Creative Sample #4: Previous layout, look and feel for lead generation company’s financial vertical site
The team tried to place themselves in the user’s shoes to reduce the website’s high bounce rate. “For this we used Hotjar to literally watch how users interacted on our website on desktop and mobile,” said Amit Gami, Founder, Card Payment Guru.
The team found key issues with loading speeds, responsive issues on different devices, and a poor user interface (UI). The poor UI was mainly for visitors using mobile devices:
Here are the changes the team made based on the conversion optimization opportunities they identified:
Creative Sample #5: New layout, look and feel for lead generation company’s financial vertical site
Mobile user conversions increased by 18% on the new site and cost per acquisition (CPA) dropped by around 20% due to the increased conversion rate on-site.
Part of the conversion rate increase was likely due to the usability changes, but part may also be because average load time decreased by 67%. “We now rank higher on Google due the added capability of AMP (advanced mobile pages),” Gami said.
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