Heather Barmby

New to CRO? Here’s all you need to know!

If you’re looking for a tool to make the most of your existing site traffic and effectively increase sales, you’ve landed on the right page. CRO should be a huge piece of your digital marketing puzzle, but just how much do you know about it? Our Conversion Queen, Heather, gives us her ‘need-to-knows’…

What is CRO?

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the process of systematically increasing the percentage of website visitors who convert by completing a specified action; such as a sale or a form completion. Unlike other marketing channels, CRO isn’t responsible for driving traffic to your website, instead, it capitalises on website visitors once they’ve landed. By increasing your conversion rate, your bottom figure could surge!

When thinking about CRO, imagine for a moment that you own a bakery… dreamy, huh?

  • Are you struggling to sell the scones in your bakery? To find out why this is, ask the right questions to your customers and look for other underperforming areas in your shop. Be informed by analytics and user feedback.
  • Chocolate cake always sells well, but custard tarts have been struggling recently. Make some changes to get them back on track. Tailor your website’s specific objectives and KPIs.
  • Your bakery looks great, but people can’t find the bread rolls; it’s time to re-organise your produce. Use a systematic process that optimises your website to increase performance.
  • Just because the bakery at the other end of the street displays biscuits at the front, doesn’t mean you should too. Don’t make decisions based on guesswork or by copying your competitors.
  • Sure, your shop may be busy, but where’s the benefit if visitors aren’t buying? Focus on increasing conversion rate, not just the number of visitors to your website.
  • You may have rearranged the produce in your shop, but now it’s time to measure how successful the changes are and then improve on it further. CRO is more than a one-off process or single website redesign. Continue optimising your website and analysing the result of these changes.

Having the enthusiasm and drive to make changes to your site is great, but without prior testing, it could be a gamble as to whether it will actually benefit your conversion rate, and, potentially it could in fact hurt you financially.

A/B tests (the process of testing two versions of your website against each other to see which performs best), allow you to determine whether the proposed changes are likely to increase or decrease conversions before applying them.

Aside from conversion rate, select relevant KPIs and use these as success factors when analysing results. These KPIs could include:

  • Length of time on page
  • Page views
  • Products added to basket
  • Cart abandonment rate
  • Exit rate
  • Bounce rate

CRO is a continuous process that requires constant re-evaluation, but here are some initial questions to ask yourself when looking at your website:

  • Are you creating a sense of urgency in order to encourage a visitor to buy?
  • Are you providing sufficient information that dissuades a visitor from looking elsewhere?
  • Is your website user friendly across all browsers and devices?
  • Are you displaying your USPs appropriately?
  • Can your visitors easily navigate around your site?

Understanding your customers

There’s no one size fits all, shopping behaviour varies between industries. Your CRO strategy will be dependent on a number of factors, including the demographic of your target audience such as their age, gender and location. For example, a younger audience will likely gravitate toward mobile usage, whereas an older demographic tends to lean toward tablet. Understanding your demographic will give you a better idea of where to focus your efforts.

Research, research, research

You love your site, we love your site, but what really matters is whether your potential customers love your site.

Those all singing, all dancing promos that took ages to create could be nothing more than an annoyance to your customers, doing more harm than good to your conversion rate.

By performing user testing, a process in which you ask users to perform specific tasks on your website, you can analyse their behaviour and identify patterns which will enable you to put a strategy together to remove any areas of frustration. By removing areas of frustration, user experience should improve, thus increasing your conversion rate.

What next?

Websites are constantly evolving, and as a result, you need to stay one step ahead. Personalisation is the buzzword on everyone’s lips at the moment and definitely something to consider, by adding that personal touch, you could see your conversion rate increase dramatically.

The gift that keeps on giving

The beauty of CRO is that once an opportunity has been spotted, you’ll continue to benefit from the residual increase in conversion rate.

Jargon Buster

It’s an industry riddled with jargon that can sometimes feel a little alien to say the least, so our experts took the liberty of making clearer a few commonly used terms and phrases…

Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors on your website who have navigated away from the site after viewing only one page.

Cart abandonment rate: When a visitor adds an item or items to the basket, but leaves without completing the transaction.

Call to action (CTA): An instruction designed to trigger an immediate response such as ‘buy now’ ‘add to bag’ or ‘call now’.

User testing: A technique designed to evaluate a product (or in this case, a website), giving direct input on how real users interact.

KPIs: Key performance indicators – a way of measuring performance.

USPs: Unique selling points – what makes your product or service better, e.g. free delivery, lowest price etc.


If you have any further questions on CRO, or you’d like to speak to one of our experts, get in touch with the team on [email protected] or call 01642 988 416.

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