Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

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Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

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Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

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Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

Guide

What Is a Conversion Rate and How Do You Optimize for It?

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Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

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Get a full breakdown of conversion rates, from how they work to what they can do for your business.
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Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

Collecting payments with online forms is easy, but first, you have to choose the right payment gateway. Browse the providers in our gateway credit card processing comparison chart to find the best option for your business. Then sign up for Formstack Forms, customize your payment forms, and start collecting profits in minutes.

Online Payment Gateway Comparison Chart

NOTE: These amounts reflect the monthly subscription for the payment provider. Formstack does not charge a fee to integrate with any of our payment partners.

FEATURES
Authorize.Net
Bambora
Chargify
First Data
PayPal
PayPal Pro
PayPal Payflow
Stripe
WePay
ProPay
Monthly Fees
$25
$25
$149+
Contact First Data
$0
$25
$0-$25
$0
$0
$4
Transaction Fees
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.9% + 30¢
N/A
Contact First Data
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.9% + 30¢
10¢
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.9% + 30¢
$2.6% + 30¢
Countries
5
8
Based on payment gateway
50+
203
3
4
25
USA
USA
Currencies
11
2
23
140
25
23
25
135+
1
1
Card Types
6
13
Based on payment gateway
5
9
9
5
6
4
4
Limits
None
None
Based on payment gateway
None
$10,000
None
None
None
None
$500 per transaction
Form Payments
Recurring Billing
Mobile Payments
PSD2 Compliant

Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

Let’s face it: Getting people to visit your website is just one small part of the marketing puzzle. After all, thousands of website visitors rarely means thousands of paying customers—at least, not right away. To make that happen, you need to address one of the most fundamental metrics of marketing: conversion rates.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

Unlike traffic, which shows how many people visit your website, conversion rates address what they do once they arrive. This highly important marketing metric is at the core of every successful marketing strategy. Here’s how it works:

First, there’s the conversion itself. A conversion happens when someone does something very specific, usually by responding to a call to action. Examples include downloading an ebook, registering for an event, or signing up for an email list. It can be as simple as clicking a link to visit another page of your website or as bold as filling out a credit card form to make a purchase. When someone converts, they do exactly what you were hoping they would do.

A conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that complete your desired action—whatever that may be. It tells you if you’re doing a good job of convincing people to move on to the next step of engagement with your company.

How Is a Conversion Rate Calculated?

Conversion rates can be calculated using a relatively simple formula: 

conversion rate = number of desired actions / total number of visitors 

For example, let’s say your goal is to get people to register for an event. If 2,000 people view your event landing page and 80 people register, your conversion rate is 4%.

The desired action will vary based on the type of landing page or online form, and on how far along visitors are in their journeys with your company. For some web pages, the goal will be an actual purchase or download. For others, you might be trying to increase the number of software trial users or email newsletter subscribers. One conversion rate means your prospect has decided to continue engaging with your company; another shows someone chose to shop with you rather than your competitors. For each of these individual actions, the conversion rate tells you how effective your marketing is at guiding people toward your desired response.

Common conversion goals to measure include:

  • Clicking a button
  • Completing a form
  • Adding items to a shopping chart
  • Spending a specific amount of time on a website
  • Clicking from one web page to another

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

The answer to this question is unique to each company, and depends on a number of variables, such as your industry, the action you’re trying to achieve, and the medium you're using (such as email marketing versus paid ads).

While there are countless reports and case studies on the subject of conversion rate goals, the general consensus is that a decent conversion rate will typically be in the single digits.

One analysis of the retail industry found 3% to be the average. Another revealed conversion rates hover around 3% to 5% across a range of sectors, including healthcare, higher education, real estate, and business services. And according to one leading marketing analyst, a conversion rate of 5% means you're outperforming 75% of advertisers.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to conversion rates, there will always be room for improvement. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization, also known as CRO, is the process of enhancing your marketing content to increase conversions. This approach typically involves tweaking and testing different elements—design, content, timing, and more—to see what moves the needle. The higher the conversion rate, the better your marketing is working. 

For example, let’s say you create a landing page for a new ebook. Shortly after launching it, you see that it has a 2% conversion rate. If you make some changes to the page layout and get a 3% conversion rate, that's a strong indication you've helped optimize the page. This type of optimization can just as easily be done for blog posts, web pages, online forms, and more.

Optimizing for conversions allows you to increase the number of qualified leads, lower acquisition costs, get more value from current customers, and increase revenue. In short, CRO provides a path to faster growth.

How to Get Started With CRO

By building out a strong CRO strategy, you can help turn more prospects into customers. But you have to be ready. Breaking the process down into a series of proven steps is the best way to experience meaningful ROI.

1. Establish your benchmark.

Before you begin to make changes, it’s important to establish a baseline. For example, what percentage of visitors are currently filling out the form on your landing page? How many email subscribers hit “reply” or clicked on an important link in your last campaign? These measurements can serve as excellent conversion rate benchmarks. You’ll be able to evaluate increases or decreases in conversions to see how effective each new strategy is.

2. Identify your audience.

The cornerstone of every successful CRO strategy is a well-defined target niche. When you try to optimize for everyone, you risk missing out on strong conversion opportunities from the handful of prospects who are most interested in your products, services, or offerings. While “quick fix” changes—a different color here, a new font there—may result in an initial surge of conversions, these marginal gains will stagnate quickly if you haven’t first determined who your ideal customers are and what will appeal directly to them.

Instead, gather insights on your target audience so you can identify areas with the biggest opportunities for improvement. If you know that your audience tends to work in high stress environments, for example, you could start by trying out calming imagery. If you find they’re prone to click on paid ads, you’ll know to focus on testing different headlines.

Not sure where to start? Here are two relatively simple strategies:

UTM Tracking

Knowing where your visitors are coming from can tell you a lot about what they expect from your marketing. If two-thirds reach a landing page by clicking paid search and social ads, that’s a strong indication your target audience is ready to take the plunge on a purchase. But if 75% are searching organic Google results and checking social media feeds, they’re more likely hunting for information. 

These insights can be used to optimize for conversions. While the second group may not respond to much more than helpful advice, the first may be receptive to “buy now” or “sign up” calls to action. One easy way to gather these insights is through UTM tracking, which allows you to see precisely what people were doing the moment they clicked on a link—without ever having to ask.

Partial Form Submissions

It’s easy to see who’s converting by filling out your forms. But have you ever wondered how many people come close to finishing a form—without actually hitting the “submit” button? When you gather intel on prospects who change their minds partway through a conversion, you’ll know who to optimize for and what changes to make. That’s where Partial Submissions come in.

For example, you might see that some people stopped after filling out the company name field, while others shared only their job titles. Your form may have succeeded in collecting email addresses for a few prospects but only business phone numbers for others. Looking at each of these incomplete user profiles on their own may not tell you everything you need to know about your visitors, but reviewing them together can help you get a clearer snapshot of your target audience.

3. Determine your budget.

Do you know what your average lead is worth? Many marketers don’t. Yet this is a critical first step in determining how much you should invest in conversion rate optimization. Here’s why:

Calculating lead value helps ensure you won’t over- or under-spend on CRO. If you know an average lead is worth $20, you can steer clear of a $30-per-click ad campaign that won’t get a good return on investment. It also makes it easy to decide which software is worth the investment. If a new form-building platform or page-testing tool costs significantly less than the amount of valuable leads it can generate, you can confidently take the plunge. 

Lead calculations can get pretty complex, but there is a simple formula you can use: 

[Average sale] x [Conversion rate] = Lead value 

For example, let’s say you sell handbags. If your average sale is $200 and your website converts at 2%, your lead value would be $4. That means every person who stumbles upon your website or landing page—be it through search engines, an ad click, or from social media—is worth $4.

Knowing the value of a single lead allows you to optimize effectively. If your average lead value is $4 and you’re generating 1,000 new leads a month, you know you can safely invest $4,000 in CRO tools, talents, and resources. When your lead value increases, so can your CRO budget.

4. Decide what to focus on.

Once you know how much you can comfortably spend, it’s time to determine where those investments will be best spent. Some popular conversion rate optimization strategies include: 

  • Testing different design elements 
  • Trying out various content formats
  • Modifying your online forms
  • Varying your message for different audiences 

When you’re still getting comfortable with CRO, it’s a good idea to focus on one area at a time. For example, you might begin with a few design changes. Then, once you have enough data to see if those updates are impacting conversion rates, you could change up the content to see how users respond to different wording and calls to action.

Below are a few common conversion tactics to get you started.

Design Tweaks

Since visuals are essential to the success of any marketing campaign, testing different design elements is an excellent way to learn what grabs people’s attention. Even a basic landing page has many design elements to test and optimize: 

  • Headling placement
  • Text placement
  • Font size
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Button color
  • Button size
  • Placement of visuals
Content Variations

Most website visitors will decide within seconds if they’re going to stick around. How can you know what content will compel them to stay? Test out different copy to see what moves the needle.

Some campaigns may experience a conversion rate increase with a new headline. Others might benefit from revising long blocks of content with videos or bullets and bolding that make them easier to skim. In many instances, changing standard “submit” button text to something more specific like “Get Your Free Copy” or “Talk to an Expert” may be all you need to see a difference.

Forms Modifications

Low conversion rates can often be improved by enhancing the design or content of online forms. These are usually your last chances to convert a customer, so it’s important to spend some time determining which elements work best. In addition to basics such as colors and fonts, you could also test your form’s:

  • Header image
  • Overall length
  • Number of required fields
  • Field types
Audience Segmentation

Not all customers are equal. Some people participate in contests for the incentives and never intend to buy from you. Others will complete your lead generation forms and may eventually become customers. By focusing on individual groups of people, you can make the process of optimizing for conversions much easier. You can do this by:

  • Personalizing your email message for each segmented list
  • Customizing different versions of a landing page to appeal to different audiences
  • Changing calls to action for various stages of the buying cycle

5. Tweak, test, and tweak some more.

It’s important to remember that CRO is an ongoing process. There’s no need to optimize for everything all at once. Testing too much too soon will not only make for an overwhelming process, but can also make it difficult to decipher which changes are improving conversions. You can continually refine and make adjustments as you learn what works best for your customers.

More Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

To reach your desired conversion rate, there’s one crucial element you have to get right: online forms. Why? Because even the most compelling landing page will suffer if the corresponding web form is poorly developed. It’s simply not possible for an organization to communicate directly with visitors until they fill out a form and convert. 

When someone makes a purchase, registers for an event, requests information, or signs up to receive updates, that individual is no longer a casual visitor who’s just passing by, but an actual lead: a real person with a real name, email address, and phone number. Sharing this information is a way of saying, “Yes, I do want to hear from your sales, marketing, or customer service team.”

There's just one problem. While many prospects may be willing to give you some personal data, they’ll only take the time to fill out a form if it’s easy and convenient. Overlook one crucial element, and your entire CRO plan could be rendered ineffective. 

By keeping a few best practices in mind, you can help ensure your CRO strategy stays strong:

  • Use A/B testing tools to try different versions of the same form to accurately determine which generates the highest number of conversions.
  • Test changes on different devices and in different browsers. Do conversion rates differ between smartphones and desktops? How about Chrome versus Safari?
  • Remember that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of regularly comparing before and after form conversion rates to see what's changed, and to determine what will be most successful moving forward.

Looking for more tools and tips you can use to optimize your conversion rates? Formstack's Conversion Kit is packed with powerful optimization features you can use to attract leads, increase sales, and more. Take a tour of all CRO tools here. 

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Chris is on a mission to turn people into great leaders. He's passionate about helping problem solvers see more value in the work they do every day.