Your marketing strategy has successfully driven educators to your website. Congratulations! You did it!
All of the work you’ve put into crafting your marketing campaigns has led you to this point. You’ve reviewed your customer and prospect database and created segmented lists. You’ve targeted email campaigns specifically to those lists. You’ve optimized landing pages to encourage CTA clicks. And of course, you’ve optimized your web pages for search.
How do you turn that website traffic into leads that will eventually generate revenue and return on investment? Conversion rate optimization, or CRO.
What is conversion rate optimization?
CRO is not about generating more website traffic — that is SEO’s job. CRO is the process of making site updates and improvements to turn more of your visitors into marketing qualified leads or, better yet, sales. CRO is about driving action: downloading your latest efficacy study, subscribing to your email list, signing up for a free product trial or demo.
Simply put, CRO is the process of improving your website to turn more of your traffic into leads who become customers.
How can I work conversion rate optimization into my website?
Every website is different. Even though you are marketing to educators, your audience is unique to the products and services you sell and has specific habits and preferences that impact your website CRO.
You can determine what website changes will maximize your CRO with an investment of research, testing and time — and of course, a bit of trial and error.
1. Do your research. Get to know your target audience on a deeper level. What are their likes and dislikes? Where are they from, and what are their roles within their schools or districts? Why are they searching for your products and services? Everything from who your buyer is to why they are buying influences their willingness to act, therefore influencing your website design, content, structure, SEO, and more.
Use our helpful worksheet to build an educator persona that will bring your target audience to life. Tap your marketing database, sales team and even your customers to help you fill out the form and figure out how to tailor your website experience to their specific tastes.
A customer journey map also is essential to CRO because it shows you exactly how educators interact with your site at each stage of the education purchasing cycle. A journey map will help you see every touchpoint an educator has on your site so you can focus on optimizing those pages for conversion.
Mapping your customer journey through the education sales cycle is an essential first step for CRO. If you haven’t already built this map, here are six tips to get you started.
2. Ask your audience. Want to make your website experience better for your prospects and your customers? Go directly to the source, asking educators for advice for ways you can make your website better serve their needs (and therefore, inspire action). Conducting surveys, from simple email, phone or social polls to full-blown focus groups, can generate insightful feedback you can use to improve online user experience and CRO.
Don’t rely on your gut when working through CRO. Your stomach doesn’t have the secrets for increasing website conversions — but educators do. Agile’s market research services can help you glean important CRO insights straight from the source.
3. Take time for testing. A/B testing is just as important for your website as it is for email marketing. But rather than changing subject lines, try switching up page elements to see which converts better. Some things to question and test:
- Are my website visitors more likely to click on a CTA button along the right-hand side of the page, or do they prefer CTAs embedded directly into the website copy?
- How does the number of form fields influence a visitor’s willingness to sign up for new content?
- How does content length effect conversion? Does my audience prefer simple, straightforward copy, or more in-depth, descriptive messaging?
- Is my audience more likely to act when I add a customer testimonial to the page?
- Would my website visitors rather watch a video or read an infographic?
CRO requires a dedication of time for reviewing website pages to see how small tweaks impact conversion. Just be sure you aren’t testing too many changes at once. Try one change at a time, otherwise you can’t be certain what caused your audience’s behavior to shift in the first place.
4. Conduct data audits. Take a look at your website analytics, digging deep into data for individual pages. Note the pages that are converting well, and add them to your list to optimize. This might seem counterintuitive — they’re already working! With simple tweaks, they could work even harder. Make a note to ramp up promotion of these pages via social and email as well. If they’re converting, then drive more educators to those areas of your website.
Also list pages with high traffic but low — or no — conversions. This could be a sign that educators are interested in the content but don’t know how to take next steps, or that the content doesn’t meet their expectations once they find it. Either way, these pages need attention. You might want to work on better aligning the CTA with the content or simply relocating it to make it more prominent. Or, update the page copy to better speak to your audience’s interests and needs. You also could be asking visitors to do too much on the page. Count the number of CTAs. If there is more than one, then work on simplifying your goals.
A note about landing pages: Landing pages are often a visitor’s first online interaction with your brand, so you want to make a good impression. Spend extra time incorporating CRO into your landing pages to ensure visitors’ web experiences get off to a good start. Get tips from Agile for optimizing your landing pages here and here.
You spend so much time getting educators to your website — but that’s only half the battle. It makes sense to invest equal effort in making sure educators take action once they’re online. Complete these tasks to guide your CRO work moving forward and maximize online conversions.