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What is CRO Marketing and How to Make it Work for Your Brand

What is CRO marketing and why should you care about it? Let's find out!
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Simon Høiberg

CEO & Founder

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9 min read

Marketing has gone through a lot of evolution in the past decade. Artificial intelligence tools have come on the scene and advanced quickly. These AI-powered tools are able to provide incredibly specific insights for companies. Social media and influencers have opened up new opportunities in marketing that never even existed before. With all of the possible directions to go in, it can be difficult to find a marketing strategy that works for your brand and doesn’t waste resources.

Every brand is different and a marketing strategy that works well for one may do nothing or even be detrimental for another. One of the biggest benefits of CRO marketing is that it is extremely flexible and customizable. It can easily incorporate social media and content marketing and works well with any SEO strategy. You can invest a little or a lot into CRO and change up the strategy as your company grows and evolves. You can use CRO to both reach new customers or re-engage as well as to engage with existing customers.

What Is CRO Marketing?

CRO marketing stands for conversion rate optimization marketing. It is meant to improve the percentage of conversions of visitors to your website. CRO marketing is not necessarily concerned with bringing more traffic to your brand’s website. The focus of CRO is on getting more of the visitors to convert by making a purchase, subscribing to an email list, or answering some other call to action.

Your conversion rate is determined by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors within a time frame and then multiplying by 100 to get a percentage. For example, if you have 100 visitors in a day, and 10 of them “convert” (buy, sign up, give you a call from the vanity phone number on your website), your conversion rate would be 10%. This is for illustration purposes only, as a 10% conversion rate would be amazing for any business.

CRO Marketing vs. SEO and SEM

CRO marketing is fundamentally different from SEM (search engine marketing) and SEO (search engine optimization). SEM and SEO both focus on driving more traffic to your website through various methods such as ads and content marketing. While this type of marketing is important, CRO is different and equally important.

If you increase the traffic to your website but visitors aren’t converting into customers, your efforts will have been for nothing. On the other hand, if you increase the percentage of conversions, you can grow your brand without even increasing website traffic. Ideally, your CRO strategy will work hand-in-hand with your SEO/SEM strategy to grow your customer base and increase engagement.

How to Apply CRO Marketing To Your Brand

As mentioned above, every brand is unique and requires a bespoke marketing strategy that is created and maintained with the needs of your unique customers and users in mind. To build the perfect CRO strategy for your business will most likely take a fair deal of time, trial and error, and the right tools.

Decide How Your Brand Defines “Conversion”

When most people think about conversions, they think about sales. A popular definition of conversion is any individual who makes a purchase from your site. However, this is not the only possibility.

Depending on the goals of your brand, someone who provides their email address might be considered a conversion. An existing customer who writes a review might be counted as a conversion. Before you can see any growth in your conversion rate, you must first clearly define what a conversion means for your business.

Identify Areas that Need Improvement 

Once you’ve decided which consumers will be counted as “conversions”, you will be ready to start finding the weakest pages of your website and the areas of your brand that need the most help.

There are generally two main categories of metrics you will want to look into in order to improve your conversion rate: web analytics and user behavior analytics.

Web analytics CRO tools will tell you what is happening on your website. For example, what the bounce rates are, how much time visitors are spending on the site, whether visitors are leaving the landing page or the sales funnel, and what path consumers are taking from the landing page.

Web analytics will give you a lot of insight, but they are only the first step. User behavior analytics is needed to see why visitors are behaving the way that they are. These analytics tools use methods like heat maps, widgets, and on-site surveys to find out exactly what consumers are looking at and clicking on when on your website, as well as why they are making the decisions they are making.

With this information, you will have a starting point for conversion rate as well as a good idea of where to focus your CRO improvement efforts. Consider the following:

  • Could the user experience be improved in some way? For example, are the CTA buttons too small or have the wrong copy?
  • Is there something that is standing in the way of consumer conversions? For example, are there too many pop-ups?
  • What is the page loading time like? According to Potent, in the first 5 seconds, conversion rates drop by about 4.42% for every second of load time.

Run Tests, Tests, and More Tests

Once you have information about what is not working so well on your site, you’re ready to start conducting some tests. CRO is all about making small, seemingly subtle changes that improve the user experience in big ways.

Types of Tests

There are two main types of tests used for conversion rate optimization: A/B tests and Multivariate Tests (MVT). A/B tests allow you to create two versions of a web page and find out which one gets more conversions. Usually, with A/B testing, you would only change one aspect of the page, or possibly a group of similar items such as the images on the page.

With Multivariate testing, you can test multiple aspects of a web page and multiple combinations of those aspects all at the same time to find out which one gives you the best conversion rate.

As an example, if you wanted to try out a new pop-up form, you would create an A/B test with your original landing page and a new landing page that includes the pop-up. You can then see which version converts more visitors into customers. If you wanted to test out a new banner, a different font, and different images, it would make sense to create a Multivariate test that compares all of the possible combinations of these elements and then determines which is optimal.

Deciding What to Test

When deciding what to test, there are three things to consider:

  • Drivers - Things that are bringing traffic to your website.
  • Barriers - items that are turning people off to your website or causing them to leave before converting.
  • Hooks - Aspects of your site that get people to stick around and become customers.

When it comes to drivers, consider how individuals are coming to your website and where they are coming from. If they are coming from social media, you can easily A/B test two versions of a social media ad. Or better yet, you can optimize your social media content and measure the impact it has.

When it comes to barriers, look for things that are confusing to website visitors. Pay close attention to points in the funnel where people tend to drop off.

As for hooks, find out where people are spending the most time on your website. What are they most interested in? Heatmaps and website monitoring are perfect for this. How can you improve the best elements of your site to make them even more engaging and optimized?

When you have done a few tests and gotten your results, don’t neglect to retest and confirm these conclusions.

Analyze the Data, Make Changes, Repeat

CRO marketing, just like all other forms of marketing, is an ongoing process. After you identify issues, test different possible changes, analyze the data and start making changes to optimize conversion rates, continue to keep an eye on your analytics.

The success of your brand depends on how well you can change and adapt to a constantly shifting world. Continue to track web analytics as well as user behavior analytics to determine which elements of your website are working and which ones aren’t serving you anymore. You don’t need to make drastic changes all the time, but with consistent attention to analytics, you will see inefficiencies before they become issues. And over time, you will get to know your customer base better and better.

Continue to try out different marketing campaigns and channels to drive new visitors to your brand’s website. Do not neglect your brand’s social media content because there are literally billions of people that are active on social media every day. You can use a tool such as Feedhive to predict how engaging social media posts will be.

Key Takeaways

CRO marketing or conversion rate optimization marketing is targeted towards improving your website's conversion rate, which is the percentage of people that are coming to your website and then “converting” into a customer by either making a purchase, providing information or completing some other call to action.

CRO marketing is essential to grow your customer base, better serve your existing customers, increase brand awareness, and attract more of your target audience and less of everyone else.

CRO marketing is an ongoing process that requires regular, consistent testing and analysis.