The general goal of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is to maximize lead conversion rates for landing pages by means of testing and analysis. In layman terms, we are trying to find the best strategy, design, layout and content to grab visitors' attention and convert them to leads. There are two main approaches, (1) pre-publication research, such as focus groups, and (2) post-publication testing, such as A/B or multivariate testing of landing pages. We will focus on the second approach using the HubSpot inbound marketing system.
Regardless of your chosen approach to CRO, you should start with a coherent lead conversion strategy. What are you trying to accomplish with your landing page? What's your offer, and why should your visitors be interested? What's in it for them? No one will convert unless there is a clear value proposition. You can't assume that they are predisposed to buy your products and services. Instead, think about what they want or need and how you can satisfy those desires to attract them into your sales funnel. This is often where companies will conduct market research to pinpoint those desires.
Once you have chosen a strategy, the next step is to create one or more effective landing pages. Each landing page design must convey the offer. What is the offer? What's in it for the visitor? How do they get it? From a landing page design perspective, you must remove all possible barriers or sources of distraction and focus the visitor's eye (and will) on the offer and the button that commits them to it. Common errors include having the offer and conversion button below the fold (off the screen) and having other calls-to-action or links on the landing page that may cause your visitor to leave prematurely. In the HubSpot system you can easily create landing pages using the Create > Landing Pages wizard. The wizard guides you through the process of building an effective landing page and advises you on where and how to include your offer. HubSpot also offers tutorials and on landing page and lead conversion best practices.
One of the foundations of CRO is testing. By creating and publishing multiple versions of a landing page with different layouts, text and designs you can directly measure conversion rates. For example, you can try an A/B test by creating two different versions of a landing page, then marketing them separately by e-mail or pay-per-click campaigns. Assuming that the markets being tested by your campaigns are identical, you can directly measure the effectiveness of one landing page compared to the second. You can monitor progress in HubSpot by viewing the Convert > Landing Pages report. If a more sophisticated analysis is desired, you can submit your landing pages to the Google Website Optimizer, a free tool that analyzes landing pages in A/B or multivariate tests. In the case of multivariate testing, you are trying different combinations of content on a single landing page to find the best mix.
Getting people to your optimized landing page is also a crucial part of your CRO strategy. On your website and blog, you need clear, well-designed, well-positioned calls-to-action that catch a visitor's eye and compel them to click through to your landing page. Your call-to-action could be a graphic (button) or a link. In either case, it must be consistent with the offer on the landing page and convey a sense of urgency. The same strategy applies to your e-mail marketing, pay-per-click or social media campaigns. Testing is useful here as well. Try different calls-to-action versions on the same page (leading to the same landing page) and run them for periods of time in which you accumulate the same number of page views. Such an A/B test will tell you which call-to-action is most effective. You can also do multivariate testing here to optimize the positioning and selection of multiple calls-to-action on one page.
If you have the nice problem of large amounts of traffic and leads on your site, you may want to consider more sophisticated CRO solutions. In this case you may be able to afford the cost of professional CRO services and high-end CRO software solutions used by large brands and e-commerce companies. Some of the players on the software side include Omniture, Maxymiser, SiteSpect, Vertster, Autonomy, Marketo and Ion Interactive.
What are your strategies for conversion rate optimization?
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