How to Perform A Conversion Rate Optimization Audit

By Madison Taylor
February 3, 2023
Angled view of a computer screen

Conversion optimization, also called conversion rate optimization (CRO), is a method of using user feedback and analytics data to turn passive website visitors into active users. CRO can be focused on any number of key performance indicators (KPIs), depending on what’s most important to your business, but it’s usually focused on acquiring new customers, registrations, downloads, or sales.

At its most fundamental, CRO is about figuring out what your site visitors want when they come to your page. It’s about getting the right offer or incentive in front of the right person at the right time to give them that little push into becoming a customer.

The best part is that you’re not reinventing the wheel — you’re just optimizing and rearranging what you already have to make it work better, whether that’s streamlining your conversion funnel, making your call-to-action (CTA) more obvious, or moving it to a more traffic-heavy page.

Define Your Goals

While “conversion” is often just another word for “sale,” not every conversion is about getting a visitor to make a purchase. In fact, sales might not be your top priority, and your CRO efforts should be focused accordingly.

Conversions might refer to lead generation instead of sales. In that case, phone calls, email signups, filling out a form, or even just clicks on your CTA might qualify.

If you’re trying to increase the productivity of your email marketing, focus on open rates and clickthroughs. Your mailing software will track those stats for you, and you can find industry standards online so you know what to expect.

Take some time to figure out what goals are most pressing for you — it’s ok to have more than one goal, but don’t go overboard or you’ll end up splitting focus too much. Make sure your goals are high enough that they’re still a challenge, but not so high that you’ll be discouraged if you don’t meet them. Use past metrics as a yardstick to keep things realistic.

And if your conversion goal is sales, that’s great! It’s a very tangible, trackable goal. If you want to take stock of where your conversion rate is now in order to set goals for the future, use this handy formula.

Use Your Buyer Personas

You could put all the time in the world into building content and promoting it, but if the right people aren’t seeing it, your efforts are going to waste. In the inbound marketing methodology, your goal is to attract.

A buyer persona is a broad-strokes idea of your ideal customer. It’s a cornerstone of every facet of your marketing approach, and it’s an important consideration when trying to increase conversions. It will include a lot of aspects of whom you want to sell to, from basic demographic info like age, gender, and location to more abstract things like their interests and desires.

Why do people buy your product over your competitors’? If you’re a premium brand, what makes them buy it over a cheaper alternative? Ask your existing customers what attracted them to you.

What do your customers want to get out of your product? What problems are they trying to solve? This is another great chance to ask your customers what they like about your product.

Keep the negative in mind too — knowing why people don’t buy from you is as useful as knowing why they do. Are there misconceptions floating around the marketplace about you? Is your price point set right?

Finally, consider where you’re finding your audience. Is it in person, in the form of walk-ins or trade shows? Is it through social media or your website? Fleshing out exactly who your audience is and where they’re coming from is key to converting them.

Use A/B Testing To Refine Your Approach

A/B testing is a great technique to try out new things at relatively low risk. Try different landing pages and CTAs on your site and take note of what works best so that you can continue in that direction. When it comes to emails, experiment with subject lines, content, even time of day.

Which emails are getting opened the most? Which ones are generating clickthroughs? Which of your CTAs is getting the most attention? Are they located at the bottom of the page or in the middle of an article? Use trackable links for each version you test so you can tell where your best traffic is coming from.

Consider the content itself as well. What kind of articles do people like best? Short-form posts or long-form, detailed blogs? Do social posts get more attention than the content on your site? Are people more likely to click through if the title has a number in it? Every little detail counts.

The Impact of Social Media

When it comes to your social posts, consider where along the buyer’s journey you’re encountering your customers. Ideally you’ll be making contact with them at several points, but you can’t always control that. Are you educating them about the existence of your industry, or are you pointing out the specific benefits of your product?

Make sure your content is well-designed and deliberate, not haphazard. Your online presence may be the first or only point of contact that your customers have with you, so it’s vital that your content be error-free and well thought-out. Sloppy grammar and spelling or

Use relevant links throughout your social media campaigns to push customers to your website — they can’t make a purchase if they don’t get to the site in the first place.

Make relevant content offers, too. The exact nature of the offers will depend on your business, but deals that create urgency — “limited time only” or “while supplies last” — or exclusive offers like event tickets, whitepapers, or digital downloads that can only be accessed through social media will drive conversion.

Dial In Your Email Marketing

If your focus is on email conversions, make sure your email campaigns are focused and professional. The number of emails you should send in a month is a subject of debate, and there’s no one right answer for everyone, but the majority of marketers send fewer than five emails a month. When customers unsubscribe from emails, 69% of them say it’s because they’re receiving too many, so don’t overdo it.

More important than quantity is relevance. Even though 80% of email marketers are sending the same emails to their entire list, the numbers indicate that your email is much more likely to be opened if it’s targeted.

For example, don’t send emails asking users to sign up for premium accounts to users who already have them. It’s easier and easier to gather more data about your subscribers — if they made a purchase, what they purchased, age, location, gender, etc. — so you should be targeting your emails accordingly.

When it comes to email content, the same rules apply. Be clear, precise, and professional. Make yourself templates so that your emails appear consistent — users swiping through their inbox should instantly recognize your style before they even start to read.

Be clear in what you’re offering, too. Is it a new product? A new offer? Membership perks? Users should know exactly what each email is for, and the relevant links and CTAs inside the email should be obvious as well.

Converting Through Your Website And Blogs

If your conversion goals are focused on your site or blogs, first you need to define exactly what those goals are. Are you trying to get more readers in general, to establish yourself as an authority in your field? Are you trying to drive clicks on a certain CTA, or get people to download a certain ebook?

Make sure your content is crisp, clean, and error-free. Don’t overuse industry jargon if you don’t have to — it doesn’t make you sound any smarter if newcomers don’t know what you’re talking about.

Conversion Optimization is Worth it

It’s a long process, but it’s worth it. Without conversion, you’re just spinning your wheels, wasting time and energy on social posts and web content that don’t get anywhere. Hopefully, these tips will help — and when they do, set loftier goals and keep going!