What is Conversion Optimization (CRO) and how can you use it?

Are you putting so much effort into your marketing? You don’t get back what you expect to get back? There might be obstacles for your users on your website, with or without your knowledge.

In this step-by-step article, we’ll dive into what conversion optimization (CRO) is and how you can leverage it for your marketing and website.

You don’t want to be this website that’s losing money and leads every day, right?

Definition of Conversion Optimization (CRO)

Conversion Optimization (CRO) in general means getting a higher percentage of your users on board to take the desired action on your website. Examples of the desired action can be purchasing a product, subscribing to a service, clicking ‘add to cart’, signing up for a newsletter, etc.

What I mentioned above is valuable, right? What if I tell you that it goes beyond that meaning? Let me clarify it for you.

For me, conversion optimization (CRO) is about continuously learning about the audience of your website. In short: It’s a process with a focus on learning and understanding what drives, stops, and persuades your users. Knowing this will deliver the best user experience (UX) possible. In return, this will be what makes your users take the desired actions (goals).


  1. What drives your users (what are they looking for?)
  2. What stops your users (why didn’t they take the desired action?)
  3. What persuades your users (why did they complete the desired action?)

Conversion optimization is data-driven and not based on opinions, which is extremely important. You’ll make use of user experience/research, statistics, data, and psychology, among other things.

Conversion optimization is about improving your marketing and website and tweaking your website so that your business grows faster. Next up, why it’s so important to have a conversion optimization specialist.

Why you need a conversion optimization specialist

Are your online marketing results and goals under pressure? You are spending more and more on ads and the cost per click (CPC) is increasing. It’s harder to stay at the top within the search engines with SEO. The competition is getting fierce, right? It’s getting harder and more expensive to get visitors to your website.

The solution? Get more of your visitor to buy (or take any desired action)

Increase revenue of all online marketing channels

Think about it. You can increase your spending on Ads or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which will lead to a direct increase in conversions. What if I ask you if you instead give your money to Google or to improving your website? You’ll probably choose to improve your own website.

With conversion optimization, you’ll improve your website without having to spend extra money on other marketing channels. Spending the same amount now leads to more conversions. That’s not all, it adds up. Let me demonstrate:

If you double your conversion ratio, your revenue will be doubled as well. Now it might be interesting to add extra online marketing channels that were too expensive before. With the new conversion ratio, that isn’t the case anymore. You might be able to double your number of visitors. This will quadruple your turnover.

When your revenue is quadrupled minus the costs, which often don’t increase as much, as your revenue is equal to a profit of 4 to 10 times the original revenue we started with.

The next time you increase your online marketing budget, this will lead to more conversions due to the improvements. 

Improve your current website

With conversion optimization, you’ll start with improving your current website, rather than getting a new website every few years. This has massive benefits.

  1. CRO is relatively cheap compared to designing/building a new website
  2. CRO is quick, run multiple experiments at the same time
  3. Doing CRO will only increase your conversion rate while launching a new website almost certainly doesn’t.
  4. Since CRO is data-driven and relatively fast, improving your website this way will give you a big competitor advantage!

Continuously learning

Improving your website is cool, improving revenue is awesome, but learning about your target audience is even better. Learning about your audience will help to come up with more experiments that have a greater chance of success! 

Building a behavior model based on psychological learning can help to pursue potential customers across all different marketing channels.

When to Start with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

There are some statistical methods to calculate this. It depends on the number of visitors and conversions you have. To not exclude anybody, I came up with two different profiles. These profiles represent the majority of your website.

Low risk

With CRO, you do experiments. In order to say something about the results of the experiment, it needs to be significant. Significance means that the data is accurate enough to represent the whole audience you have. Implementing experiments that aren’t significant is risky and may hurt your conversion rate rather than improve it.

To be within the low-risk profile, you’ll need to have at least 500 conversions per month. Doing an A/B test would mean there would be around 250 conversions for the A and B variants. From this point on, I’ve seen significant successes.

The low-risk profiles suit websites with a lot of traffic and conversions, like for example eCommerce webshops and lead generation websites.

High risk

Are you below the 500 conversions per month? Do not worry. There’s also a place for you to do CRO. What will be different from the low-risk profile is the impact of the experiments. With the low-risk profile, you could experiment with small changes on the website. With the high risk, we’ll experiment with changes that have a big impact.

Examples of big impact experiments can be multiple changes on the same page, or in the same check-out form. The high-risk profile is for companies that would like to invest in growth. Think about start-ups/scale-ups in this case.

When you’re in the early stage with your company, you’re able to take more risks in order to gain massive growth.

But now you know where you are, what is next? Are you curious about what experiments to do?

Logo Freelance CRO specialist Sander Volbeda

Working remotely from Groningen, the Netherlands. Get in touch and let’s schedule a meeting, no strings attached.

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