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Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the data-driven process of optimising your website in order to create more conversions, such as sales or leads.

Tools such as Google Analytics make it possible to track the paths that users are taking to reach your site, otherwise known as ‘funnel tracking’. Funnel tracking shows which sections of your site – and which actions – most commonly lead to conversion. It also gives a clear view of where users are typically dropping out. Asking your visitors directly using on-site surveys is another good way of getting insights into what they like and any bugbears they have with your site.

Once you have this information, there are a number of actions you can take in order to improve conversion. For example, you can better optimise your website’s navigation structure, or test which layouts and content elements work best to encourage conversions.

We’ll delve further into the sophisticated world of heatmaps, session tracking and split testing for CRO below, but the importance of CRO stands proud as a means of quantifiably turning your website traffic from just numbers into business.

Setting goals

Setting CRO goals

Before we look at the ins and outs of CRO, it’s important to first understand what your individual conversion goals are. It’s likely that your business will want to generate profit, but the exact goals will be different for every company and may include:

Each of these goals can be achieved in different ways. For example, to boost sales you might want to funnel traffic to high performing or seasonal e-commerce pages; and you could change content and design elements on the page to increase conversions. Or to improve sign-ups, you could test the language and positioning of the sign-up button to increase clicks, as well as the content of the sign-up box/page itself in order to encourage submissions.

Measuring current conversions

Here comes the science bit, as CRO isn’t based on guesswork. You can use a number of tools to find out exactly what visitors are doing on your website, the likes of which will help you to determine which elements work and which could be improved on.

Heatmaps, such as those from Crazyegg and Mouseflow, show you where on a page the most activity occurs in a colour representation, with warm colours being the most active areas. They can highlight areas where users click on a page, or even where the eye is drawn, using eye-tracking technology. Scroll heatmaps are also useful for pages that are heavy on written content as you can see how far down a page users scroll, in order to improve content or adjust its length.

Video Source: Mouseflow

If heatmaps don’t provide you with enough insight, page recordings almost certainly will, as they show real customers’ journeys across a page. You can see where the cursor moves and what they click in what order, as well as text that is tapped where you could add a link.

And for businesses who rely on leads from their online forms, form analysis from the likes of hotjar can uncover the reasons why visitors abandon contact or download forms. Using all these insights in relation with the conversion funnel information from Google Analytics will give you a greater understanding of how visitors currently interact with your website. Now it’s time to make changes to chase those conversions by testing what updates work best.

Using surveys for insights

Surveys for CRO

The above tools help you see what is and isn’t working, but to be sure of what your web visitors want, a good customer survey can provide specific reasons why people aren’t converting. Let’s say your contact form has high traffic, but a large percentage of people are leaving before they submit the form. This shows that some sort of action needs to be taken on the submission page – but how do you know what needs to be tested? Well, you can ask your customers in a short survey and identify their reasons for not submitting.

It’s easy to set up an auto email to anyone who leaves the form without submitting it, asking if there was any reason why. Perhaps they felt like they had to give too much information, meaning you could simplify the form; or perhaps they clicked on the contact button by mistake, meaning you should optimise placement of the button.

The same action can be taken for cart abandonment on an e-commerce site. A prime example of re-marketing that works, you can send an email reminding customers what they still have in their basket. Plus the email can also be used to ask if there was any site-specific reason they changed their mind.

Testing for CRO

The final stage of your CRO process is changing the elements that you’ve found hinder your conversion goals. Split testing, or A/B testing, is a method of trying alternative design and content elements across different urls to see which version works best.

Multivariate testing through VWO. Image source: Crazyegg

Changing one element at a time, you can tweak the wording, placement or colour of a CTA and send half the traffic to the new url, keeping the existing url as a control. Then, keep the highest performing page and continue to methodically update any other elements your surveys, heatmaps or form analysis unearthed.

Make your website work harder

Your website is one of your strongest assets for bringing in business, but in many cases it can work harder for you. CRO allows you to measure exactly what changes bring the greatest return, in order to systematically update pages. It doesn’t have to be a big task as you can focus on your key pages first, and transfer what you learn to other pages over time.

If you need help with carrying out CRO on your website, get in touch with Ad-Rank today.

‘Make a great product, and they will come’ has never been less true than in today’s crowded marketplace. For e-commerce businesses, having a watertight marketing strategy is essential in getting your brand noticed and converting visitors into returning customers.

A marketing strategy is something that evolves over time, incorporating the latest techniques and channels. As such, this guide isn’t just for new e-commerce businesses or products. If you feel like your marketing strategy could be working harder, many of the elements below can easily be moulded to suit your business.

With that in mind, here are the eight most important areas that you should include in your e-commerce marketing strategy, as well as ways to measure and refine your processes.

1. Develop a mission statement

A mission statement defines who you are as a business. It’s the first thing that customers will see on your ‘About Us’ page and will define your brand story. Mission statements are particularly useful for larger organisations, or those who work across different sectors, as they provide focus and consistency across different areas. This post from 60-Second Marketer covers how to create a mission statement.

mission statement

Image source: 60secondmarketer

2. Build buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customer. They help your team to understand and visualise your audience in order to focus marketing efforts towards this demographic.

You can use existing customer data to form personas, as well as interviewing a representative customer group for more in-depth insights. You’ll need information such as demographics, what channels the customer uses and who influences them. Hubspot’s post explains how to create buyer personas in more detail.

3. Engage in competitor analysis

You may know exactly who your competitors are, but take a deeper look at their digital strategies and it can fuel your own marketing initiatives. You can easily find out which competitors rank highest for key search terms. Then there are a number of helpful competitor analysis tools that will give you statistics on web traffic and what channels competitors’ customers are using. Details of their backlink profiles may also give you ideas for your own link building strategy.

4. Set your goals

Now that you have a clearer picture of who your customers are and what your competitors are doing, you should set some measurable goals in your marketing strategy. This part of your plan will be ever-evolving, so it’s important to revisit yours regularly.

You need to set achievable goals which cover all areas of marketing. For example, ask yourself what is an attainable figure for new customer acquisition or engagement on social. You can also audit your current website content and set yourself the target of increasing web traffic by a certain percentage.

5. Produce engaging content

Content works in a number of ways to bolster your e-commerce website, so it’s key to incorporate a content strategy into your overall marketing plan. Firstly, content is a tool for driving traffic to your website through optimised product descriptions and landing pages. Although you may sell products that can be found elsewhere online, it’s important that your content is unique in order to avoid duplication issues.

Another area where content is important is in encouraging conversion through the use of attractive product descriptions and compelling CTAs. A content strategy will cover all channels and content types, integrating them into an overarching plan – from creating a blog of original articles; to driving traffic to your product pages; producing video content for social; or formulating engaging email newsletters.

6. CRO

Content is just one element of your website that will affect conversion. You should make Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) a part of your marketing strategy and regularly set aside time to split test any new pages added to your website. Using heatmaps and funnels like the ones from Mouseflow allows you to see where customers are focusing their attention on your site and what journey they take between pages.

Mouseflow - Session Replay, Heatmaps, Funnels, Forms & User Feedback

You can use this information to improve menu navigation, checkout processes, mobile functionality and more through A/B testing. By changing one element at a time, from wording to imagery and the placement of important information and links, you can quantifiably test what works best.

Another element that has proven CRO results is adding a review function to your website. This user-generated content is trustworthy as well as answering customers’ questions. Plus, to alleviate the common issue of customers leaving things in their cart without checking out you can add a campaign of remarketing, or retargeting, to your strategy. Either email customers to ask if they forgot to checkout or use limited-time display ads reminding people of what they viewed.

7. One-off campaigns

As well as ongoing keyword optimisation to improve your on-page SEO, you’ll also need to plan limited-time campaigns. These often revolve around big events for your company, such as new product launches or upcoming holiday deals.

Sponsored ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are ideal for targeting certain demographics. You pay for a set amount of time, so you can run the campaign from the two weeks leading up to an event or the month before a big holiday.

Another one-off example would be hiring a social influencer to review some of your products and post about them for a short period. Using visual channels like YouTube and Instagram, influencers can demonstrate your product to a well-established following.

8. Retention and analysis

As you add more campaigns to your marketing strategy, remember to rinse all content through your buyer personas (do they fit the target audience?) and your mission statement (does the content align with your beliefs and style?).

You’ll also need to track your efforts and the responses to them – whether through Google Analytics, customer feedback or social media statistics. Analysing engagement and traffic allows you to measure the effectiveness and ROI of each campaign, as well as streamline your efforts for a personalised user experience.


Each e-commerce business is different and will have its own set of strategic goals, which will change over time. Therefore, it’s important for your marketing strategy to be flexible and for you to regularly test different marketing channels and strategies to see which ones are most effective.

Keeping up to date with the latest marketing techniques to use in your strategy can be hard work. For more advice on both tried-and-tested and emerging e-commerce marketing strategies, get in touch with us.

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