What is conversion rate optimisation, and how do I do it?

Illustration of a search input and funnel, and photo of the post author

CRO as a concept is getting more and more attention. You may have heard people say things like:

  • "Look how we increased our conversion rate!"
  • "We need to reduce funnel drop-off NOW!"
  • "We A/B tested purchase buttons and got 300% more leads."

Smart, you might think. We should do this too, you might think. So what is this witchcraft that magically makes conversions skyrocket?

CRO - isn't that just A/B testing?

The most common misconception about CRO is that conversion optimisation is the same as A/B testing.

Although A/B testing often takes up a lot of space when it comes to CRO, it is only one of several elements that are involved. If you work with content, UX design, analysis, digital marketing or similar, there is actually a good chance that you are already familiar with several of the elements that make up conversion optimisation. All of these are cornerstones within CRO.

In practice, conversion optimization is working interdisciplinary, systematically and data-driven to directly or indirectly increase conversion on your website.

For example, this could mean:

  • Increasing the number of sales or leads.
  • Increasing revenue - both short-term and long-term.
  • Increasing the number of subscribers or members.
  • Increasing the completion rate of top tasks.
  • Reducing customer, member or subscriber churn.

CRO - what is it good for?

Optimising your website's conversion rate helps you better understand its usability and customer behavior, providing insight into how to improve the user experience. Additionally, conversion rate optimisation is an ongoing process of learning and optimisation that is often neglected in discussions about its elements. Ultimately, achieving your goals through CRO comes down to two main things:

  • Increasing user motivation to reach your goals
  • Reducing friction to help users reach their own goals.

But how do we get there?

How to succeed with CRO

To work with conversion rate optimisation in a way that actually can give an effect, there are several pieces that should be in place.

First and foremost, you need to become familiar with the basics. In practice, it's about understanding what your users are doing and their user behavior. Thus, spend some time sitting down and figuring out what type of data you have and what it tells you.

Choose the right tools

A typical CRO toolbox might look like this:

By using tools like these, you can find out how your website affects user behavior. This can provide significant help in removing friction and focusing more on what converts users.

I recently visited the website of a fairly large company. In the top menu of the page, I saw an icon shaped like a message bubble, kind of like this:

speech bubble icon

The business also had a chat in the bottom right corner, like this:

Speech bubble icon with three dots to signify writing

I thought it was strange, but I figured that the two were connected for some reason and didn't press it. After adding some products to my cart and reading up on one of the products, I couldn't find my way back to the cart.

After much frustration, I finally clicked on the speech bubble icon in the menu, which turned out to be the cart. This is an example of friction. Anything that makes you think or takes more time than "normal" to complete an action worsens the purchasing experience significantly.

Therefore, use elements that your target audience is familiar with. It's rarely a good idea to come up with a new and fancy solution when users are already used to the "standard way" of doing things.

I would guess that this small detail could create so much friction for this company that card details remain in pockets and they lose conversions. With the toolbox above, you'll have great control over the user's buying journey and which pages and elements create friction.

Bar chart detailing falloff rate in the different stages of the buyer's journey.

We're still not converting

"Why aren't we selling? Are we attracting the wrong people? Do we have a bad product? Or is it just our landing page that's terrible?"

Perhaps it's one of these or maybe all three, which is why conversion optimization must always work alongside product development and customer journeys.

You've worked to attract the right traffic. You've gone through countless rounds of insights, hypotheses, and testing, but you still aren't getting the results you want.

That might mean you've reached the maximum potential of your product as it is right now.

This could mean it's time to dive deeper. Maybe you need to work on the logistics model of your online store. Perhaps you need to fix your tech stack. Maybe you need to redesign your entire website.

Regardless, the methodology of conversion optimization can help you find the biggest pain points.

Why do you need conversion rate optimization?

Do you want to increase conversions?

Do you want more satisfied users?

Do you need to find out whether the ideas you have on the table should be executed or not?

With a good CRO process that works across product teams and the organization, you have a better foundation for succeeding in the development of both digital and physical products.

If you want to find out what the maximum potential of your product is, we are happy to talk about how we can arrange this for your business.


Sigvart works as a Digital Marketing Manager in Frontkom. He comes from the startup industry and is used to a fast-phased and agile environment. Sigvart manages the digital marketing for our clients with a speciality in HubSpot. He writes about how to boost traffic, convert leads, delight your customers and how to automate marketing.

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