A Quick Guide To CRO

By Susan Saldibar

CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimization. And, especially for those who haven’t made changes to your websites in a while, you really need it.

I sat down with Nicole Mintiens, Data Analysis and Insights Manager with G5, a Senior Housing Forum partner, to discuss CRO and how marketers can use it to their advantage.

First, the official definition. CRO is a method of converting your website visitors to customers – or whatever your desired action might be – by tracking user behaviors and analyzing engagement, and then tailoring the user experience based on that data. Through this process, the marketer can target which web page components garner more leads, and conversions. It could be due to a stronger Call-To-Action (CTA), a more eye-grabbing graphic, stronger messaging, or all of these and more.  

First make sure your website is up-to-date and targeted to your prospects.

Before you dive into CRO, it’s important that your site is designed with your ideal prospects in mind. “Your website should tell a story,” says Nicole. “And it needs to be a story that resonates with your target audience,” she adds. That may mean a quick revisit to your original marketing plan to make sure that you have clearly defined your audience and that the messaging is targeted to match their needs and motivations. And that doesn’t mean packing each page full of everything you do and how you do it. “Less is more,” says Nicole. “Too much copy on each page can dilute your messaging and lead to higher ‘bounces’ as visitors abandon the site in confusion or disinterest.”

Assuming you have calibrated your website to fit your audience, with the right keywords and phrases, and that you have SEO in place to attract visitors, the next piece of business is to fine-tune your landing pages to optimize the rate of conversion.

Where to focus?

Focus on the following components of your web pages. These are the common areas you will analyze for CRO:

  • Call-to-Action (CTA)

  • Navigation or location of links to internal pages (e.g. “care options” or “resident portal”)

  • Widgets, videos, or images

  • Blogs or newsfeeds

How to analyze?

Take time to gather qualitative and quantitative data on how users currently navigate your site to form strong hypotheses to test. Ask questions regarding the relevancy, clarity and the value that the website experience provides to visitors. How easy is it to accomplish the most valuable business objective of the site? Is it easy enough for my mom to use (http://www.theuserismymom.com)?

Use this research to find ways to reduce friction and distractions from achieving your desired business objective. The goal with CRO is to discover why users aren’t converting, and then make adjustments to help them convert by testing your research-backed hypotheses.

Most commonly used test methods:

  • A/B testing: Just what it sounds like; a comparison of two web pages to see which one performs better with live traffic. By showing the two versions to similar users, you will be able to determine which design elements are most effective for converting visitors to leads.

  • Multivariate testing: Similar to A/B testing in that the traffic is split between different versions of the design, but this method compares a higher number of variables and how they interact with one another. The purpose of a multivariate test is to measure the effectiveness of different design combinations, as opposed to a single element.

Testing Complete!

A B Testing Graphic


Now it’s time to tally up the results of your testing. Some common performance measures are shown below.

  • Based on your findings, you can begin the process of changing web components, such as using different messaging, images, or placement. The objective? To determine which combination results in more lead-generating actions.

  • Lead volume by location

  • Calls by location

  • Conversions from lead to move-in

  • Engagement metrics (pages per visit, average time on site, bounce rate, etc.)

Analyze, Hypothesize, Iterate, and Test Again!

The more you test, the more targeted your messaging and CTAs will be. And, the greater your conversion rates on the back end will be. The main thing is to take the first step! Without implementing CRO you can get trapped into haphazardly making rapid and frequent updates to your site, or using ineffective content and design in a one-size-fits-all approach resulting in missed conversion opportunities. “You might have the best SEO strategy in the world to drive traffic to your site,” says Nicole. “But, if once visitors get there they can’t find what they need or aren’t immediately engaged, your traffic will bounce and, just like that, all your work is lost – and so is your lead.”

To learn more about Conversion Rate Optimization, download their white paper 5 Key Principles of Conversion.