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CRO: A Complete Guide to Increasing User Engagement and Conversion

Wondering what it takes to turn your website visitors into paying customers? Check out this Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) guide to learn how to build a user-centric website that speaks to your buyer!
Andriy Zapisotskyi

Growth Marketing Consultant & Founder, GrowthMate

Have you ever considered what makes you “tick” when paying for a product or service? What about this solution encouraged you to favor it over the sea of competition? Perhaps it was a compelling and beneficial offer or a concise and convincing copy that helped you understand the real value immediately? 

Every word on a website and interaction with a brand is part of a conversion rate optimization strategy that drives customers to act the way this brand wants them to. And if you’re trying to build a successful brand, you should be well aware of these little secrets. 

As a founder of GrowthMate, a relationship-based link-building agency, I’ve seen how a well-orchestrated website optimization, combined with a high level of domain authority, can do wonders for organic conversions and brand awareness. 

So, to help you get started on CRO, I’ve compiled an easy-to-grasp guide on conversion rate optimization. 

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who went through with your call to action and did what you intended them to. 

For example, if you want to increase the number of people who buy something from your website, CRO is finding and implementing the necessary changes to hit your goals. 

Whether it’s checking out the cart items or signing up for a webinar, a good CRO strategy is about studying the market and your customers to know exactly what they want from you to make a certain decision. 


Why is CRO Crucial for Business? 

Business growth and CRO have a kind of “Batman/Robin” relationship to them: your business might exist without a CRO strategy in place, but you’ll lose a chance ot bring your profitability to a whole new level by ignoring the ways to boost your website performance and convert more customers. 

Here’s a great example for E-Commerce businesses

Attracting and retaining clients in such a saturated market is a challenge. While you go above and beyond to create a more lucrative offer to your buyer, their lifestyle, alarmingly short attention span and informational noise can easily distract them from purchasing. One way to deal with it is to invest money in a lead nurturing strategy, following up your clients with other offers and cart reminders. 

However, there is a better way to handle this situation. And it focuses on improving the strategy at its core. With the help of an E-Commerce CRO agency, the team can look into the current user journey, define where and why they stop interacting with your product, and test different ways to make the offer more compelling and exciting for the audience. Combined with other business tactics, this approach immediately gets you miles ahead of the competition simply because you care about the customer. 

What are the other major CRO benefits for your business?

  • Higher revenue. Not surprisingly, but important: making the journey easy and understandable for your buyer is a proven way to increase sales and reputation in the market, bringing in more paying customers. 
  • Lower acquisition costs. Deriving from the previous point, customer acquisition cost depends on conversion rate: the more users convert from your website or landing page, the less money it takes to acquire them. 
  • More loyalty and higher retention rates. If you can get your customers what they want, there’s no need to go and look for a better offer elsewhere. CRO includes thorough research of buyer behavior, making it easier to gain trust and loyalty in the long run. 
  • Data-driven decisions for your business. Conversion rate optimization is the opposite of a business hunch. Rather than running your platform on ideas and hypotheses, the CRO strategy is about gathering as much data as possible. The findings shouldn’t be limited by a website or a landing page: answers from your audience are the key to building a business strategy around the buyer’s needs. 

The User-Centric Approach to CRO 

Every business book of the 21st century will tell you that the foundation of your success lies in how you treat your customers. Simply put, treating them as people first and buyers second is the only way to win your audience over (especially in a saturated market where hundreds of similar companies are chasing after the prospect’s attention). 

What does it mean in the context of CRO? 

To increase conversion rates, you need to go beyond demographic data and generic assumptions about your target audience. Merely defining your customer as an 18-24 years old American woman who lives alone won’t give you much insight into why she will buy the product. 

Finding out what she expects from your solution, what triggers might encourage the buyer to consider a purchase, and what the potential objections are do the trick. And that’s what conversion rate optimization is here for. The AI business plan generator can assist in understanding customer needs and preferences, allowing for more personalized and effective conversion strategies."

And that’s what conversion rate optimization is here for. 

Understanding Conversions 

You’re not wrong to approach CRO with the “I need more money and clients” mindset. Ultimately, this is the goal. Yet, a vague definition of conversion for your business makes the task much more difficult. 

That’s why you need to start with a strategy. 

Step #1. Review your business goals and adjust the required conversions accordingly.

There is no universal formula for conversion rate optimization and increasing your profitability. Instead, treat a CRO strategy as a unique combination of key components to meet your goals. 

Begin by asking yourself what you want to achieve. Whether you’re running a B2B eCommerce portal and want to attract new clients to your solution or increase the average check for your customer, each goal has a unique approach. 

For example, if you decide to attract new customers to your business, the logical tactic here would be to review the copy and structure of your website so it meets the expectations and needs of a chosen target audience. 

And once you know where you’re going with your strategy, you move on to the next steps. 

Step #2. Analyze the conversion funnel to pinpoint areas for improvement

The key to improving your website's performance is knowing what your buyers are looking for at every stage of a conversion funnel. 

Whether they are completely new to your business or have been considering a purchase for some time now, your journey should reflect your user’s behavior. 


Based on these stages, the buyer’s interaction with your website should provide as much value as possible. For example, the awareness and interest stages require a clear explanation of your value and uniqueness for the user, while the consideration and purchase stages should include compelling calls to engagement and action, articulating the personalized value and experience of purchase. 

Take into account your objectives and study your current user journey flow. If you were a potential customer, would you find it easy to figure out and purchase your solution? Are there any objections that might disqualify you from the desired action? 

Outline these findings and continue with the research to develop viable alternatives. 

“Today, it’s important to understand that the traditional conversion funnel can easily be distracted by how we look for solutions. Sometimes, rather than going from awareness and interest, your buyer might easily start from a single purchase and move to the analysis and consideration stage afterward. You can’t track the attribution and figure out why your buyers come to you. 

And with such an autonomous approach to purchasing and research, your conversion rate optimization strategy should focus on providing as much meaningful information as possible during each stage and increasing your chances at getting the buyer’s attention.” Iurii Znak, CEO @ Respect.Studio

Step #3. Collect information about user behavior, drivers, barriers, and hooks

Before completing a desired action, the users take many other actions that might serve as intel for your business. For example, consider why they visited the website and what qualified or disqualified them to proceed with a desired action. 

The most common aspects of user data to distinguish are drivers, barriers, and hooks. 


Analyzing all these steps one by one is a great chance to map out the user’s journey and see the adjustments needed for the user to convert. 

Step #4. Use the right toolset for optimizing your conversions

Even if there’s no secret recipe for boosting your conversions, there’s good news: you can choose from hundreds of CRO tools to meet your goals. 

Some of the directions to consider when putting together the go-to toolkit: 

  • Tools for A/B testing 
  • Heatmaps for learning how the users go through the information on your website 
  • Opt-in and pop-up tools for higher engagement with your audience
  • Web analytics tools 
  • SEO tools for research 
  • Proposal software
  • Cold email tools for reaching out to users

Example of a heatmap. Source: Hotjar

Step #5. Use data to make informed CRO decisions 

Now that you have all the data and tools, it’s time to put them to work. Gather and systematize all your findings to define your business goal's conversion rate optimization tactics. Prioritize Microsoft Teams security to ensure the integrity of your collaborative efforts and protect sensitive information from potential threats.

For example, you discovered a high bounce rate from your home page and settled on bringing in more new users from the website. Then, it’s time to think about optimizing your home or landing page to create a smooth journey for everyone interested. 

Creating Hypotheses

Use the insights to formulate hypotheses about funnel features

Finding out you have a problem is the first step towards solving it. The next natural step? Listing the possible ways to get rid of the issue. 

That’s where your hypotheses come in. Think of a hypothesis as an educated guess on addressing a conversion bottleneck. Here’s how to build a hypothesis step by step: 

  • State your observation. For example, the bounce rate for your e-commerce website has been 60% (compared to a 45% industry average), so people come to your website, don’t engage, and leave without a purchase. 
  • Think of a potential consequence of this issue. If you have 1,000 daily visitors, 600 leave the website without engaging with your offer. 
  • Consider the scope of the issue. A high bounce rate affects both your revenue and your marketing growth as search engines disqualify your website because of people not engaging with your content. 
  • Define a solution to resolve the problem. The bounce rate could be fixed by changing the CTA, modifying the navigation, or adding a specific incentive for first-time visitors (discount, promocode, free delivery, etc.)
  • Consider the complexity and effectiveness of this solution. Think if they are easy to implement or if one of these options is guaranteed to provide better results. 

Decide what to add, adjust, or remove 

Once you’re done with a hypothesis, think of where to start, what processes need an immediate makeover, and create a ready-to-use alternative. 

Testing and Optimizing 

Implement data-driven changes

After the preparation, it’s time for the most exciting part: implementing and testing your hypotheses. To ensure you can adequately assess the quality of each hypothesis, don’t change everything at once. 

Start with the easiest and the most effective hypothesis, gather enough data to compare the conversion rate, and gradually implement all the other changes. 

Conduct A/B tests on web page variants

Today, you don’t have to spend time testing your hypotheses one by one. Tools like Convert help you run control and variation versions simultaneously, randomly assigning each version to your visitors. 

Say you want to test a different version of CTA on your home page. Just create the variables and run the tool. 50% of your visitors will be assigned to the original web page; the rest will see an updated version. 

Pro tip: Don’t be hasty with the tests. Take at least 14 days to a month to compare the outcome.  

Reviewing & Iterating 

Evaluate the impact of tested changes on conversion rates

When you’re finished with hypothesis testing, it’s time to gather the data and evaluate the results. Sometimes, you’ll have to come up with other alternatives to meet the required goal, and sometimes, you’ll hit the sweet spot with your variant and go all in on this option. 

Every once in a while, your strategy should face a reality check: don’t hesitate to test other options and ensure you’re set with the best option for this funnel stage. 

If, by now, you’re excited about trying out some CRO tactics, I’ve compiled a quick 101 section for tips on optimizing a landing page, a.k.a. the ultimate place to communicate with your buyer. 

CRO 101: Creating a high-converting landing page

The Hero Section Optimization

The hero section is a large banner the user sees when visiting your website. This section usually contains a tagline or a unique value proposition, a compelling image, and a call to action. 


Example of a hero section. Source: Instantly.ai 

Here are some tips to keep in mind for creating a killer hero section for your solution: 

  • Don’t write a long descriptive copy for every feature you offer. Pick one of the most important benefits of a unique value proposition. 
  • Instead of adding a stock illustration to the section, include a screenshot of client feedback or embed a video testimonial from your customers. 
  • Highlight 1-2 major benefits to encourage your buyer (for example, “free trial,” “no credit card required,” “free delivery”) 
  • Use clear fonts. Sometimes, simple is better.

Your CTAs Optimization

Clicking on a call to action is the ultimate goal here, so make sure your CTA is: 

  • Easy to locate and click
  • Located above the fold, so the user doesn’t need to scroll
  • Written in your team’s tone of voice
  • Compelling enough to click (perhaps, a simple “Buy” text might get lost among thousands of the same buttons) 

Subheading Optimization

Unlike your headline, the subheading allows for a little more text (and a little more explanation for the buyer). For example, if your headline says the user will write content 10x faster, use your subheading to explain how the buyer will get there: AI templates, real-time editor, or any other feature you consider the most important. 

Wrapping up… 

You can’t rely on guesswork to drive conversions for your business. Instead, you should build a habit out of studying your users and making your solution worth their time (and money). 

A conversion rate optimization strategy is a great way to build a smooth and exciting funnel journey for the audience, as you know exactly what to say and how to say it. 

Are you wondering about other proven ways to boost your website traffic and gain the trust of your customers? Feel free to book a mentoring session with me at MentorCruise. Let’s step up your online brand! 

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