CRO: The art of converting visitors into loyal customers [Opinion]

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Most of the entrepreneurs I work with have great ideas and immense enthusiasm, but they are frustrated by one challenge.

How do I get more customers?

The first thing that comes to mind is advertising. But while paid marketing platforms may flow traffic to your website, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to convert them into loyal customers.

Regardless of the strategies that you use to get traffic to your online business, whether it’s influencer marketing strategies or paid advertising, you must concentrate on optimizing your website for higher conversion.

What’s CRO, and why does it matter?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a set of data-driven experiments that enable you to identify the weak spots of your online business and optimize your website to attract more customers.

The main goal is to encourage first time users to return to your business.

Where do customers comes from?

Traditionally companies acquired customers through their sales funnel, but with digital marketing the conversion funnel - the journey your user takes via online advertising or search to the website before converting into a ‘sale’ - has became more and more important.

In many organizations, a sales funnel starts with attracting new customer segments (in digital marketing this stage is referred to as  ‘capturing leads’).

Then the sales team pitches the service or product to the customer and encourages them to try it, and once the customer is convinced they close the deal.

Finding the right way to sell

That process may work for a well-established enterprise with a client base, but as an entrepreneur you have to find your own model.

When designing your sales process, you must take into account your customer lifetime value, your sales cycle, your pricing model, etcetera.

Once, I was coaching a team of sales professionals in Microsoft and the team had to focus on using the ‘Microsoft Solution Selling Process’ which was tailored to the business. But the fact that Microsoft closed plenty of deals through its complex sales process does not mean that duplicating it will work for other businesses.

Essential phases of a conversion funnel

The best way to run a successful online business is to optimize your sales funnel and align it with your conversion funnel.

The main focus of the sales funnel is to close a deal. But because a conversion funnel is about the steps your customers take to get there, it can be used for all kinds of goals such as increasing revenue, creating brand affinity, or even better engagement with your customers.

Here is what your conversion funnel should look like:

Attract: This is the entry level of your conversion funnel. The type of people that you’re dealing with at this stage have the following characteristics:

  • They don’t know much about your business.
  • They don’t care about your offer yet.
  • They might be skeptical about your value proposition.
  • You don’t know a lot about their persona.

Acquire: This is where you bribe your visitors to exchange their contact information with your free offer, also known as a lead magnet. Here are the main characteristics of your lead magnet:

  • It’s free.
  • It’s designed based on your customer’s persona.
  • It’s designed professionally.
  • It offers value, but, it’s incomplete.
  • It promises great solution.
  • It’s connected to your value proposition
  • It could be a free report, a how-to-guide, a secret formula.

Your conversion rate optimization goal may be to increase your opt-in rate, double your revenue or increase brand awareness and you will have to use different tools and techniques to do it.

For instance, if your conversion rate optimization goal is to increase your revenue, then using a free lead magnet alone won’t be helpful. Since your lead magnet is a free offer, you’d need to focus on revenue generating products by promoting your core offer or service instead.

Getting more customers

To get more customers you must focus on engineering their experience: walk your new visitors through an educational journey, and send experienced customers to your sales page and encourage them to try your offer.

Engage: Once you have acquired leads, or customers, it’s essential to engage with them on a regular basis. Simply send them an email and ask:

  • What’s the most important challenge that you’re facing with your business, today?
  • What’s the most important thing you want to solve for your business?
  • What makes you decide opting in?
  • Did you know you can improve “ABC” using “XYZ”?

The secret is to keep having natural, non-promotional conversation with your customers. I have found it vital to create separate email marketing campaigns for different customer segments, and focus on addressing each segment separately.

Maintain: According to a recent study by Ipsos, it costs 500 percent more to acquire new customers than retaining an existing client.

That statistic shows that your sales cycle does not end when your clients make the payment. Instead, building relationships and helping them get the best out of your product or service will not only keep your current customers happy, it will lead to referral sales and lower customer acquisition costs.

The biggest mistakes that I have seen many entrepreneurs make is that they concentrate on flowing traffic to their website, without paying attention to the outcome and conversion rate.

Conversion rate optimization is an experiment. An entrepreneur’s job is to focus on growing your business using conventional or unconventional strategies. The secret to success is to focus on making data-driven decisions that lead to higher growth rates.

Feature image via NRJ.

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