June 29, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization for Startups

Norbi Nagy
Founder, CEO
The ultimate guide to conversion rate optimization for startups blog

Acquiring customers is a critical focus in the early stages of any business. It’s necessary to establish a customer base, generate revenue, as well as to build brand awareness. For startups looking to expand their online presence, getting the most out of each hard-earned customer is key.

That’s where Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) comes in. CRO revolves around optimizing your website and other digital mediums to increase the rate of visitors taking a desired action, such as purchasing a product, subscribing to a service, or filling out a contact form. In this guide, we'll discuss the basics of CRO and how startups can successfully convert visitors into returning customers.

Understanding Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

The goal of CRO is to extract as much value from existing visitors as possible. To do so, as part of a CRO strategy, systematic improvements are made to bits of your website to encourage users to take that desired action.

The reason why CRO works is because it’s based entirely on data. There is no guesswork involved, changes are only implemented after they have been tested and proven to be effective.

The CRO Process Explained

Here’s a breakdown of the complete process behind a Conversion Rate Optimization campaign for startups. Although no two CRO strategies are the same, these steps provide a solid framework around which they can be developed.

The 4 step CRO process of gathering data, creating and testing hypotheses, and monitoring and repeating, explained

1. Gathering Data

If you want to draw a statistically significant conclusion, you need data. Logically, the first step of the CRO process is to gather data. This can be done in various ways, the most popular being through the use of analytics software.

In some cases, you might find that you don’t have enough data to conduct proper data analysis. This doesn’t automatically mean that you’re CRO campaign is doomed however, as there are still steps you can take to increase your conversion rate.

2. Creating Hypotheses

Once you have some data, you can move on to formulate your hypotheses. This is typically accomplished by searching for common patterns and trends. Doing so will lead you to the areas on your website that need improvement.

A good hypothesis contains three key aspects: (1) the change that should be implemented, (2) the desired outcome of the change, and (3) the reason why the change will lead to the desired outcome.

The Formula for an Effective Hypothesis

  • If [change] then [KPI] will ****increase / decrease because [reason why].

For example, you notice that a lot of your visitors add products to the cart but only few of them click onto the checkout page. You decide to test whether adding some information about your return policy to the cart page has an effect on purchases. In this example, your hypothesis would be:

  • If we display the return policy on the cart page, then sales will increase because visitors will have more clarity.

3. Testing Hypotheses

Now that you have some hypotheses, you’re ready to put them to the test. The most common type of test CRO specialists run is called an A/B test (or split test). Website traffic is split into two: half of your users see your website as usual, while the other half see a modified version with the change implemented.

After the test has been running for a while, the results are compared between the two, and if the modified version outperforms the original, the test is stopped and the changes are applied to the real version as well.

4. Monitor & Repeat

Conversion Rate Optimization is an ongoing process. You’re never really finished with CRO. When you find a winner, you apply the changes and go back to the data, look for trends, analyze user behavior and go on to formulate new hypotheses.

Tips for Implementing Successful CRO Strategies

Now that you've grasped the foundational steps of CRO, let's delve into how startups can effectively implement these strategies.

Compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)

Having a clear offer is especially important for startups. Create persuasive and clear calls-to-action throughout your website. Whether it's guiding users to make a purchase, subscribe, or engage, compelling CTAs prompt immediate action. Use engaging language, strategic placement, and contrasting colors to make your CTAs stand out, driving users toward conversion.

Quick tip about call-to-actions (CTAs), explaining that they should be short and punchy

Mobile-Friendly Design

In an era dominated by mobile devices, optimizing your website for mobile users is non-negotiable. Ensure that your site is responsive, loads quickly on mobile devices, and provides a seamless experience. This is especially important as a significant portion of online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.

Streamlined Navigation

Simplify your website's navigation to guide users through your content smoothly. Clear and intuitive navigation reduces bounce rates (the rate of users immediately leaving your website) and encourages visitors to explore further. A well-organized structure helps visitors find what they're looking for efficiently, ultimately enhancing the chances of conversion.

Outsourcing CRO

After learning more about Conversion Rate Optimization, many startup founders hire agencies to handle their needs. This is common practice, as CRO is a broad field with entire businesses dedicated to it.

There are several reasons why you might want to outsource CRO-related activities. Some business owners prefer to have experts do the job. Others just want to save time and deal with other activities. This is especially common among entrepreneurs leading new businesses, as they’re often busy handling other tasks.

If you’d like to learn how our CRO service through websites and landing pages differs from others, go ahead and book a free call here!

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