What is CRO? How to Optimize Landing Pages to Drive Conversions

Samuel Thimothy - July 18, 2014

Customer surveys are crucial in gathering demographic data to determine your niche audience

Ecommerce store owners know the key to success is driving online traffic to their sites. Through the use of Google AdWords or other similar online marketing techniques, potential shoppers can find your site.

But how do you get them to buy once they are there?

One of the newest terms in the world of SEO and pay-per-click marketing is conversion rate optimization, or CRO. Simply put, CRO refers to the process of optimizing your site landing page in a way that encourages more people to buy, rather than just look around.

A post by Shane Jones on searchenginejournal.com uses the analogy of a GPS system in your car. He writes:

“Think of it this way. SEO is the GPS that tells your viewers how to get to you, and CRO is the vehicle that gets them there. You can have a state-of-the-art GPS, but if your car is broken down, that GPS doesn’t help at all. It’s SEO that gets them to see your landing page, and the landing page is where they convert. Therefore, CRO is what ultimately affects your bottom line and is a web marketing MUST.”

If the car is broken down, as Jones suggests, there are several things you can do that will get it back on the road and, more importantly, help your PPC campaign pay off by turning those clicks into sales.

Where to start

First and foremost, you must understand your target market. Because there are millions of websites for people to visit, and potentially thousands that offer a product similar to yours, it is crucial that you know what your customers want.

Customer surveys can provide helpful information on this front. Successful surveys generate demographic data, product usage information, product benefits, and notes about competitors.

Analysis, and more analysis

With customer data in hand, it’s time to take a look at your landing page. Analytics will track how people get to your site, how long they stay, and what they look at while they’re there. This data can help determine where the missing link is between a customer landing on your page and making a purchase from it.

Some of the most common problems are pages that load too slowly, weak calls to action, or crucial information being in the wrong place on a page. Remember, people often have limited time available online, so a website that is easy to understand and requires little navigation from one page to another will be more appealing.

One message

If a customer clicks your ad, but the information they see on your page doesn’t match what the ad said, you’ve lost them. It is vital to ensure the landing page your customer sees matches the information in your ad or they might see it as a form of deception on your part. If shoppers don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.

The easiest way to ensure this is by using the same graphics or language that is on your page in your ad.

Emotional appeal

Sometimes shoppers become buyers because of emotional reactions. Striking the right chord with your site’s visitors will not only get them to stay on your site longer, it will encourage them to make a purchase. Combining the overall feel of your site with a strong offer is a key to improving your conversion rate.

Image association

Customers won’t take the time to read everything on your site, including those who are most engaged. Stick with the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words and use images that unify your message and offer. Place images of people in your target market using your product. Make sure these images help display the benefits of the product so your customer can say to themselves, “I gotta have that.”

Make it social

Your statements touting the benefits of your product are to be expected; after all, you are the one selling it. So get your other customers to help sell it for you. Include a social media feed that will show comments from others who have made purchases. Strong reviews from other “real people” will boost your credibility with those who have yet to buy your product or service.

Mobile optimization

As more and more people shift their online use away from computers to tablets and smartphones, it is crucial for your landing page to be designed in a way that will look good on these smaller screens. Neglecting this segment of shoppers will damage your conversion rates.

Making your landing page look its best will go a long way toward turning those lookers into buyers. The Chicago SEO experts at OneIMS can provide you with the help you need to get the most out of your PPC strategy and sort through your CRO data to ensure you are getting the best return on your investment.

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