14 experienced marketers share their secret CRO tips & tricks
We all want the same thing from our website: visitors that convert.
That’s probably why searches for CRO (conversion rate optimization) have seen an incredible rise since 2016:
Marketers want the secret tips and tricks that make them successful in an incredibly competitive space. The small things that skyrocket your CTR.
And we’ve got just that. If you want to see a sharp increase in conversions, read along. Whether you have an ecommerce business, a blog or a SaaS, you’ll find something that works right here.
We asked a whole bunch of CRO experts and digital marketers for what works for them to rocket power conversions. And we’ve gathered the best responses right here.
You’ll learn how to use heatmaps to optimize conversion funnels, website layouts and test new designs. You’ll learn to optimize your copy and the small changes you can make for extreme growth.
1. Akram Assaf, CTO of Bayt
“Maximizing CRO is all about understanding the buyer’s psychology and critical thinking. You want to know what makes your customers buy, and there are plenty of tools to help you with that. My advice is to use a tool such as Salesforce for customer data and better optimization. Once you understand what makes your customers buy, you can optimize your approach and improve the message. Critical thinking is necessary to track customer data, industry growth, and all the external factors that impact your sales process. Know your customers, make use of the tools, and think about the larger picture.”
Akram Assaf, Co-Founder & CTO at Bayt. Has worked with customers for over 20 years now.
2. Nikola Roza, owner of nikolaroza.com
1. Use buttons sporadically and strategically
Buttons work to draw in clicks, but only when used in moderation and elegantly. Have 1-2 buttons throughout your post and make sure the link you want clicked the most is converted into buttons.
2. Have microcopy beneath the link
You need to dispel all potential fears they have and most fears can be uprooted by
“free trial available! No credit card required!”
3. Experiment with banner ads
Common wisdom says that banner ads don’t work and that the majority of web users have a newly discovered eye disease called “banner blindness”.
However, I experimented with adding and removing banners from my sidebar and I consistently made more money with banners present.
The CRO tool I recommend is heatmapping.
I use it to verify my theories. Namely, I predicted that buttons would work better than links. I was right. I predicted that adding microcopy beneath the button would further increase CTR.
I was even right about placing banners in the sidebar. Though I was also surprised as I thought banners are a thing of the past.
Nikola Roza blogs about SEO and affiliate marketing, and how to combine the two to become successful online.
3. Heather Davis Lam, CEO of Revenue Ops
For quick wins, I recommend the following:
1. Ensure your marketing automation platform, like Marketing Cloud or Pardot, is strongly linked to your Salesforce CRM. Being able to measure what drives customer behavior properly and tracking that through to closed/won business will help you reliably measure ROI. It will also help you determine the best activities to continue doing to drive conversions and sales.
2. Use the right amount of dynamic content. Personalize approximately 20% of your email content, and that will help increase open rates. Sales enablement tools like SalesLoft effectively help sales teams do this at scale.
3. The customer journey matters – both for the customer and for your conversion rates. Take the time to create journeys that speak to your customers’ interests. Don’t create just a single journey to shoehorn these customers into when they engage with your business. Craft journeys that speak to specific product lines or services you offer and capture their attention by providing meaningful content around their interests.
Show the customer you care about them and what they’re interested in, and they’ll show more interest in your business.
Prior to founding Revenue Ops LLC, Heather worked in sales operations, marketing operations, and revenue operations for established corporations, higher education, and startups. She holds 14 different certifications for numerous sales and marketing technology platforms, including Salesforce, SalesLoft, Pardot, Drift, and Hubspot. She is frequently invited to speak as a subject matter expert at Dreamforce and Salesforce World Tour on sales and marketing technologies.
4. Todd Dramlin, manager of Cable Compare
If you want to get more conversions you have to get into the head of the people you’re trying to convert.
The first step is knowing who wants what you have. Do some research and develop well-detailed personas.
The next step is getting your product in front of the people who want it. This involves knowing where your customers are and getting something that they’ll respond to in front of their eyeballs so that they’ll navigate to your landing pages.
The last step is closing the deal. Make offers that they can’t refuse and make it as easy as possible for them to convert. Easy-peasy. Think like your customer, get their attention, and then seal the deal.
5. Josh Brown, marketing manager of Helpjuice
Two tips to help you get some easy wins when it comes to improving conversion rates:
1. Do a deep dive to know and understand your target audience(s). Using geographic, demographic, and psychographic data is a good start for developing your target markets, but you’ll want to go a step further and come up with detailed buyer persona’s.
You may also want to create a problem identification chart where you write down all the problems your product(s) and service(s) can solve for potential customers.
This will allow you to do a few easy things when it comes to improving your conversion rate:
- You will be able to improve your copy and make it more customer-centric/”benefits oriented” as opposed to “features oriented” meaning you’ll be able to write copy that addresses the potential pain points or desires of your customer and then show how your product or service can benefit your potential customer by fulfilling their needs/wants which ultimately leads to a clear value proposition and better conversion rate.
- You will be able to improve your opt-in rate on email subscription forms and popups as you’ll be able to tweak your offers (discount, free sample/trial, BOGO, etc.) as well as how to best present that offer in your copy so as to incentivize a user to subscribe to your list. This is something we actually did for our own blog posts and were able to see significant improvements for opt-in rates.
- You will have a better idea of what trust signals to use to help with social proof and ultimately influence a potential customer to convert.
2. Use a form analysis tool (this is something I’ve used Mouseflow for in the past) to get better insight into:
- Percentage of users that interact with your form versus those that don’t begin an interaction. If a lot of people aren’t interacting with your form, you need to consider things like – is your form too long, is it lacking trust signals/social proof, are you not speaking your audience’s language, is the offer too generic, etc.
- Percentage of users that drop out after each form field. If you see that a particular field is causing the majority of your drop-offs, then you need to determine why – is it because the field name/instructions are unclear, are you asking for information that is deemed too personal or seemingly unnecessary from the user’s perspective, etc.
- Percentage of each form field being left blank. If you notice a large number of users leaving an optional field blank, you may want to consider removing it completely as it’s possible that it’s causing users to not interact with your form to begin with.
- Failed submissions. If you see a bunch of failed submissions, then you need to dig into whether it’s a browser compatibility issue, form problem, etc.
6. Jeff Walker, CEO of Best VPN Canada
Focus on page load speed. Every one-second delay in your page load time could steer your visitors away. Load speed has played the most important role in my conversion rate’s success. The key here is keeping a load speed of not more than 2 seconds. With it, you’ll be guaranteed that your visitors will stay and will never hit that back button. The faster your page’s load speed, the longer they’ll stay, and the bigger chances of converting them. To optimize your load speed, you can use GTmetrix.
When I use this CRO tool, I was able to accurately analyze the speed and performance of my webpages. It spoon-fed me with valuable insights on why a certain page loads slowly. With it, I can make changes and improvements accordingly. With the ability to let you perform advanced testing, you’ll have a holistic view of how your website performs in several countries at different speeds of connection.. With it, tweaking and adjustments are made as simple as ABC.
That being said, you need to understand that optimizing your conversion rate is a continuous process. Testing and employing new techniques and ideas will let you stay in the game. Keep your eyes open to the trending tools and strategies in order not to fall behind.
Jeff is the head of Best VPN Canada which is one of the biggest internet privacy websites in Canada.
7. Israel Gaudette, founder of Link Tracker Pro
Leverage the power of social proof and testimonials. No matter how convincing and good looking your website is, hesitation will always be there. With testimonials being visible on your landing pages, that hesitation will be turned into conviction. When I added a personalized testimonial to my webpage, my conversion rate increased by 25%. And Nudgify has aided me to successfully show my best customer reviews and testimonials on my website. It’s a CRO tool that enables me to turn traffic into sales. Hesitating visitors reading those testimonials will be whispered with a convincing voice of those clients who’ve already tried your products or services. Their success stories will answer all the questions your visitors have in mind. Put at least 5 testimonials on your landing pages. Add a photo along with their name to make it more trustworthy. Be authentic and specific as possible in showcasing your client’s testimonials.
Israel Gaudette is the Founder of Link Tracker Pro, one of Canada’s fastest-growing SaaS companies.
8. Khris Steven of Khris Digital
1. Implement a Heatmap
Using a Heatmap software has been a great way for coming up with ideas to improve conversions on my sites. This has always been my very first step on knowing what works and what doesn’t whenever I make new changes.
Using a Heatmap, you can have a clear view of your visitor’s behavior on all of your webpages and learn how they’re interacting with your site. So you can make improvements to skyrocket conversions.
2. Placing CTAs (call to actions) above the fold
Some time earlier in my career, I used to think that serving users a CTA at the beginning of my webpages isn’t a good practice. Not until proven by experts’ research that we lose visitors and money by not having our call to actions above the fold.
Placing CTAs right within the first couple of paragraphs is bound to be seen by most visitors, because they just landed fresh on your page.
Although not just above the fold alone, there are other strategic places and ways to improve conversions on pages. From my experience, I’ve seen pop-ups, welcome gates and usage of complementary colors on buttons work greatly as well.
A few tools I use in creating CTAs includes – ConvertBox, Bloom and MaxButtons. I also make use of Coolors to generate complementary colors.
Khris Steven is a sales funnel and content marketing expert who derives passion in helping people serve more and make an impact online.
9. Caroline Lee, co-founder and growth marketer at CocoSign
Following are some of the most useful CRO tips for optimizing conversion rate:
1. Conversion of Landing pages into AMP: An average increase of 30% in conversion rates was observed on the basis of this strategy alone. According to research by the digital content delivery company, Akamai, 53 percent of mobile users leave a site that requires more than three seconds to load, and that a two-second delay in web page loading time increases user engagement by 103 percent.
2. Importance of Visual Content: Visual material draws more interest than text. One should try informative videos and infographics, test various versions of the product image on the product page and adjust the size of the product picture or its position on the page.
3. Introduction of a money-back guarantee option: This strategy works because it tells the consumer that the product is genuine and it gives them a sense of protection as well.
Caroline is from CocoSign, which is based in Singapore. She is the growth marketer and co-founder of CocoSign.
10. Nicolas Fradet, eCommerce CRO consultant
1. CRO starts with visitor intelligence. Without it you are just playing darts in the dark, hoping to hit the bullseye. One of my favorite wins I get my clients comes from looking at the scrollmap of a page to see if there is what I call a “false bottom”. Shopify and WordPress themes are responsible for this, where the use of a large mega-image or carousel at the top of the home page or category page often gives the illusion that there is no content under it. If I see a sharp gradient on the scrollmap, going quickly from reds to greens to blues, I know a lot of visitors are completely missing the content below the fold. So a simple win is to reduce the height of the mega-image and make sure that there are visual cues, such as arrows, icons or copy, to entice visitors to scroll down the page.
2. Using heatmaps, I like to look at sections of content that get traction, like clicks and hovers, even if they are well down the page. The further you get down a page, the less and less visitors see it, so if you spot a section of the page that gets a lot of clicks on it, this means visitors are really digging that content. A simple win is often to move that section much higher on the page, so that more visitors see it. This often leads to a higher interest in the product which can lead to more sales.
3. Sticking with popular heatmap elements, I like to look at navigation items that are really clicked on even if they are not to the far left of the menu. We read from left to right, so right-side elements are often missed. But a popular navigation link to the right means visitors are really digging that element. A quick win is to move that menu element further to the left, or highlight it better, using an icon or a different color, so more visitors notice it.
Nicolas is an eCommerce & Shopify (CRO) consultant – He’s been working online for 19 years and specializes in lifting Shopify stores sales and revenue through psychology, persuasion & science.
11. Joshua Wood, CEO of Bloc
My top 3 CRO tips are:
1. Implement urgency on your website e.g. hurry only 3 left in stock. This invokes the fear of missing out and will get more people over the line.
2. Humanise your brand to gain more trust with your visitors. Show off your team and show your vulnerable side. People trust people, so conversions can improve dramatically if you gain more trust.
3. Set-up retargeting. This means retargeting ads on all the different social media management platforms and incorporating a lead magnet so you can grab emails of website visitors. People aren’t always ready to buy in the first session, or it may not be a good time. By setting up retargeting, ROI can be improved massively as you’ll increase the chances of interested parties being ready to buy.
My favourite tool for CRO is OptinMonster for their gamified lead magnet wheel. This can be placed on websites so you can grab more emails for retargeting purposes. The visitor simply gives their email to spin the wheel and you can choose what prizes are given to lucky winners.
Joshua Wood is founder and CEO of Bloc, a marketing platform for the hospitality industry.
12. Eduard Dziak of B2BDigitalMarketers
First of all, I would definitely recommend everyone to install the recording and heatmaps tool as the first thing on the website to figure out what is really happening on their website. I use Mouseflow for this. This is really crucial and ever since I have started using recording and heatmaps tools for my clients’ website I could raise CR by up to 300% in some cases. Thanks to these tools I have been able to discover so many errors on the website that frustrated users.
I typically schedule half or a whole day to watch the recording after recording and taking notes and based on that I create theories.
Once I have these theories I am going to test them with an A/B test. Typically I use Google Optimize and test them one by one to know what is working or not.
Of course, once I have enough data then I take those better performing and test them on other pages, and then I use the information and update the entire website to improve my overall CR performance.
To summarize, for the top three quick wins to improve the conversion rate for my clients
1. Installed session recording & heatmaps tool
2. Analyze all recordings and heatmaps and create theories – typically half or whole day
3. Test those theories with Google Optimize by using the A/B test or others.
And the last tool I want to mention for CRO is Google AdWords. I have found it extremely important to find quickly high-performing keywords that convert well and based on that create content like blogs to attract those with organic traffic.
13. Naman Basal, owner of Xplorers of Fun
1. Use heatmaps to know what visitors want: Heatmaps can be very powerful, as they show you what customers are clicking on, why they are bouncing off and also what to change to convert them
2. Use insanely targeted popups: Well, now you can’t use a generic ‘Subscribe’ popup everywhere. You need to target each page or post. For Eg: If you are writing on the best screen recorders for youtube, target an ebook on YouTube Tips to grow your channel!
3. If you are a blog, change your homepage: See most blogs have a homepage showing their latest posts, but if you do want to convert visitors to subscribers, then change your homepage”s design. Optimize it for email list signups and you’ll see subscribers go up!
Naman Bansal is the owner of xplorersoffun.com, a blog on Marketing, WordPress, SEO and Blogging.
14. Datis Mohsenipour, CMO of HeyOrca
Your customers know best – We’ve all fallen victim to our own biases. We think we know what the customers want, think, and say but never really take the time to ask them ourselves.. Whether you are optimizing a landing page or your home page, tap into your customers’ brains to get a sense of what they love about your product or services and why they choose you over the competition.
Once you’ve collected this information, look for common threads and build out your content accordingly. There are a few ways you can gather this valuable info…
1. Set up a manual or automated NPS survey and send it to your customers regularly.
2. Look up reviews on various platforms like GMB, Yelp, Capterra, G2 (depending on your niche) – don’t forget to check out competitor reviews as well!
3. The best way – pick up the phone and chat with your customers. Not only will you get a better understanding of how customers view your product, but you’ll also learn the best ways to convert your prospects. Not to mention that you could repurpose your calls as a case study (ask permission first) and discover new ways to improve your services.
- I’m a huge HubSpot stan. In the past, I’ve built automated workflows to collect testimonials, solicit case study calls, and measure NPS. HubSpot also allows you to A/B test emails, web pages (if built on their platform), landing pages, and CTAs.
- Video monitoring tools like Mouseflow are an excellent way to truly understand how someone is interacting with your pages. With tools like HubSpot and Unbounce, you can get a general sense of what works and what doesn’t – but you’re operating in the dark a bit. Video monitoring tools allow you to see the exact button that intrigued a prospect or the exact paragraph that made them smash the X button on their browser.
Datis oversees HeyOrca’s Marketing operations and is responsible for helping agencies discover how HeyOrca can help them save time on managing social media and approvals.
Takeaways: learn, test, change and re-test
So after this monster of a post, your eyes are tired. So we’ll keep it short.
If you want to optimize your conversion rate and CTR, the plan is simple.
- Learn how your visitors behave. Use that to hypothesize what you can do differently.
- Implement it using A/B testing. See what works and what doesn’t.
- Make the necessary changes
- And start all over.