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What is conversion rate optimisation?

In this post we cover Conversion Rate Optimisation (or CRO as some people are starting to call it) and how it can be used as an integral part of an online business plan.

Written by

Robert Hufton

Director & UX Consultant

Some people still haven't heard of Conversion Rate Optimisation (or CRO as some people are starting to call it) and how it can be used as an integral part of an online business plan. But if you haven't performed any CRO work before, you first should start with an audit.

The term Conversion Rate Optimisation applies to any approach to optimising how users of a website, landing page or online marketing campaign convert into an action.

This is what you will find in this article:

  • What is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
  • Where can CRO be used?
  • Factoring in Cost Per Acquisition
  • How we help you with CRO?
  • CRO top tips for better strategies
  • What results can you expect to achieve?
  • Designing a landing page
  • Useful tools

How are conversions recorded?

Website conversions are a measure in Google Adwords that records the % of people converting into any action you may design for them. For example, people calling your office telephone, filling in contact forms, downloading a brochure, signing up for newsletters, taking part in a survey and anything that helps you, the owner of the business get feedback or sales from the people using your website.

Where can Conversion Rate Optimisation be used?

Pay Per Click

CRO is predominantly applied in Pay Per Click advertising to give the marketeer insights into the success of a campaign. The term was first introduced by Google as a method to analyse the success of a campaign. From there it became industry standard term to define the goal(s) of the advertiser.

For example; if a company sells ‘red shoes’ - to yield a profit from advertising on ‘red shoes’ a marketer needs to know the profit margins on 'red shoes'. If the marketing spend is higher than the profit yielded, the marketer needs to optimise their strategy - or the company will go out of business. Obviously. By optimising for conversion, a marketeer can identify a value of a conversion, estimate how much they need spend and convert to ensure the website doesn't go bust.

Search Engine Optimisation

CRO can also be used in Search Engine Optimisation. Even though the people finding your site on SEO usually always very different to PPC. It is still possible to segment visits and accurately gauge how users need to convert from SEO visits by simply matching the search engine title to the page H1 and core offering.

Page content

‘Content is king’. We heard this phrase years ago and it’s stuck. Engaging content with your target audience is almost as important as your customer service.

People quickly lose interest if you don't offer the information your users are after quickly. Typos are bad, as are long-winded articles that never really giving any value. And always use a good copywriter!

Online reviews

Poor online reviews are as important as any other element of your marketing. If people constantly voice their displeasure at your products or services, it makes it very difficult to persuade potentially new customers otherwise.

Bad reviews will mean your sales will be suffer. Good reviews on the other hand do much of the hard work for you. People trust you and are therefore likely to take action/sign up/buy or trial your software with little anxiety.

Factoring in Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

How much business was acquired by your conversions? Higher Ground believe in an end to end solution for all our customers. A typical end to end conversion to acquisition journey can run across numerous touch-points of your business. These might include:

  • People on the web in your market area
  • People finding your site
  • What people do on your website
  • What happens after they take action/don’t take action
  • How are leads/conversions handled?
  • Did anyone follow the lead up in time?
  • How many sales were generated by your leads
  • What profit did you marketing yield?

Top tips for successful Conversion Rate Optimisation

Create landing pages

The number one way to give you full control of conversion rates. Landing pages are custom-created pages designed to serve the user with content relevant to their search enquiry or marketing campaign source.


Pay Per Click ad text, SEO title tags and Social media posts

This should align with the page content the advert is linking to

Click Through Rate (CTR)

A high CTR doesn’t spell success. Be careful of marketeers trying techniques to boost their Click Through Rate. If your ad text doesn't align with your business offering, you will burn budget fast.


Be careful of marketers spending broad keywords. If the keywords don't align with your business offering, you will burn budget fast. It’s important to always use negative keywords to remove terms that aren't relevant to your business.

Landing page headlines

Always make sure the type of visitor finds the information they are looking for. Designing landing pages helps you target specific keyword audiences with a specific page.

Clear call to action

Sounds obvious one when you write it. But when a branded campaign has numerous action points and a range of actionable UI styles, this is not always straight-forward. Make sure you are able to separate the main action colour and button style to other actions (such as content links). Make sure the content relates to the call to action and the next steps follow the call to action.

Write amazing content

Lengthy paragraphs about your company history or anecdotal stories about how you once fitted the best solar panels to a factory roof, which made everyone free cups of tea doesn't help the user. It’s estimated you have under 15 seconds to engage with your target audience. You need to tell them exactly what you can do for them in short useful paragraphs. Anchor linking content in your page can also help users find what they are looking for - quickly.

Here are some more brilliant resources to help you:

Some useful tools we use are

Optimizely A/B testing tool

Instapage - super intuitive WYSIWYG landing page software

HotJar survey tool for running fast, free polls to gather user feedback.

Google Custom Surveys

Google Analytics Let google recruit people and get feedback from them

Insightly CRM Easy to use, low cost CRM for lead nurturing

What conversion rates can you hope to achieve?

This a question we get asked all the time. The honest answer is we don't know.

Conversion rates are no longer a measurement in your Pay Per Click account. A conversion could be a new customer coming on board for instance.

That said, PPC is usually the best way to learn from your target audience whether they want to do the task you want them to do. Mainly because with PPC you can experiment. PPC also offers you fast insights into what new customers think about your business.

Related insights

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