CRO

Where User Experience Meets Conversion Rate Magic

By Ryan Norman| 17 Min Read | June 11, 2024
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A good website is easy to use and entices you to act. Let’s unpack the digital marketing principles that are packed with this simple statement. With an understanding of user experience and conversion rate optimization in hand, you can change your site to get more sales.

Table of Contents

User Experience in Digital Marketing
Conversion Rate Optimization in Digital Marketing
UX & CRO Work Together in Digital Marketing
Core Elements of User Experience
The Value of User Experience in Digital Marketing
UX Best Practices for Digital Marketing
Central Concepts of Conversion Rate Optimization
Key Performance Indicators of CRO in Digital Marketing
CRO Tactics in Digital Marketing
The Intersection of UX and CRO in Digital Marketing
Incorporating UX Principles into CRO Strategies Is Crucial for Digital Marketing Success
Experience the DOM Difference
Key Takeaways About UX and CRO for Digital Marketing

User Experience in Digital Marketing

User experience (UX) refers to the feeling someone has while interacting with something. In the world of digital marketing, we attend to the experience that users have on websites. Websites are where businesses display their wares online. A smooth, intuitive user experience is key to making your site an enjoyable place to be. There is an entire discipline of user experience design that focuses on the layout, navigability, usability, and accessibility of websites so as to create a pleasant experience.

Conversion Rate Optimization in Digital Marketing

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a core concept in website design that overlaps with and complements user experience. Changing the text, colors, buttons, or navigation scheme of a website are all changes that might be made in trying to get people to take a specific action, to convert. Conversion rate optimization is the practice of studying user behavior and then adjusting elements of a website to influence that behavior.

UX & CRO Work Together in Digital Marketing

UX and CRO intersect in their shared goal of enhancing user interactions to achieve business objectives. Good UX design provides an intuitive and pleasant website experience, which keeps people engaged. CRO builds on this foundation by analyzing user behavior to identify and implement changes that encourage users to take specific actions. When UX design is informed by CRO insights, the result is a user-friendly website that also effectively drives conversions. When UX and CRO form a productive, symbiotic relationship, customer satisfaction improves and so does the return on investment for marketing efforts, leading to sustainable online success.

Core Elements of User Experience

As we’ve been saying, UX is shorthand for the overall impression that a person has when interacting with a website. There are numerous elements that influence how people feel about and interact with a online interface:

Navigability — This element of user experience encompasses how fluidly people can find their way around a website. Can people quickly find the information they seek or take the action they desire? If so, then the website is very navigable.

Accessibility — Setting up a website so that any user, even those who are differently abled, can interact with the site is a principle of good accessibility. This means including alt text for images that can be interpreted by a screen reader and read aloud to someone who is vision-impaired, for instance.

Design — The aesthetic appeal of a website is discussed under the umbrella of design. Typography, color palette, visual hierarchy—these are design considerations that can cement brand identity while also contributing to an enjoyable user experience.

The Value of User Experience in Digital Marketing

Creating a good user experience is often essential to achieving business goals.

People who have a pleasant, smooth experience on your website are more likely to impute those same feelings to your product or service. Opportunities to provide customer satisfaction present themselves long before someone actually has your product in their hands. The initial landing page by which a user enters your site is your first chance to make a strong impression. Make it a good impression, an impression informed by quality user experience design.

Customer retention flows directly from customer satisfaction. Creating a website that people like to visit will help with first-time sales, and further that positive user experience can foster loyalty to your brand. Repeat customers often generate substantially higher customer lifetime value than one-time customers, so pay attention to what keeps people coming back to your site time after time.

An intelligently designed, user-friendly site tends to keep visitors engaged, which typically leads to reduced bounce rates. On a website with poor user experience design, people enter a page and can’t find what they’re looking for, so they bounce. They leave the site and move on to the next. A reduction in your sites’ bounce rate is a good indicator that you’ve improved the user experience on your site. Plus, lower bounce rates are often correlated with higher conversion rates.

When your business isn’t the only player in the market, a superior user experience can be the competitive advantage that sets you apart. Suppose you have to click through four levels of menus to even find the children’s shoes on a website, and then it’s another two sub-menus down before you find the section for soccer cleats (which Alex needs for Sunday’s game). While on a competitor’s site, the same cleats (at same price) are navigated to in two clicks. It’s clear that a poor user experience may put off a customer from returning to your site in the future.

UX Best Practices for Digital Marketing

Here are actionable insights to improve the potency of your digital marketing through quality user experience design:

  • Clear Navigation: A site with clear, logical navigation helps users find information quickly and easily. Use well-labeled menus and a consistent structure.
  • Responsive Design: Build your website with a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and orientations. Then test your site on a variety of devices, like smartphones (both Android and iOS) and tablets, to check whether everything looks okay across the many screen sizes and device configurations.
  • Fast Load Times: Speed is crucial. Users expect pages to load quickly. Optimize images (by reducing them to less than 100kB), leverage browser caching, and use a content delivery network to improve load times. Read more about how to improve website performance with faster loading times for a better user experience.
  • Intuitive Forms: Simplify forms by minimizing the number of fields and providing clear instructions. Use inline validation to help users correct errors in real-time. You want to minimize friction as much as possible at this crucial stage. You’ve compelled a user to consider giving you their information—don’t let poor UX foil a potential sale.
  • Consistent Visual Design: Maintain consistency in fonts, colors, and button styles throughout your site. This consistency helps users understand and predict how to interact with your site.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Provide feedback to users once they’ve taken an action, such as when they’ve submitted a form or clicked a button. This can be in the form of confirmation messages, loading indicators, or error notifications. Small touches like these can help people understand what’s going on and feel like the website is catering to their needs.

Central Concepts of Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO is about getting people to convert, to do something you’d like them to do. It encompasses activities like studying user behavior on a website, surfacing actionable insights, and implementing changes to try to influence what action people take (or don’t take) on the site. For example, CRO is often conducted to get more sales, newsletter signups, or form fills. In digital marketing, the goal is to nudge users—through compelling text, outstanding colors, fluid navigation, etc—to do more than simply browse a website, but to take an action of significant business value.

See how we helped drive a 107% conversion rate increase for a machinery component resold.

Key Performance Indicators of CRO in Digital Marketing

As you begin to make changes to your website’s user experience in an attempt to improve your sites’ conversion rate, it’s important to track your efforts. Here are KPIs that digital marketers use to quantify the efficacy of CRO efforts.

Let’s start with bounce rate. When a user enters a site, doesn’t navigate to any other page, and then leaves, he is said (in CRO parlance) to have “bounced.” That is, the user went to the site, but bounced off without digging in beyond that initial page. This kind of behavior is often a sign that your website is not good at driving user action. Bounce rate is usually calculated by taking the number of bounces (sessions where the user visited only 1 page) and dividing it by the total number of sessions during a given period. So if your website registered 8 sessions on Thursday and 3 of those sessions were bounces, then Thursday’s bounce rate would be 37.5% ([3/8=0.375]x100=37.5%).

Average session duration is a metric about the amount of time that a person spends on your website. Generally a longer session duration suggests that users are finding value in your content. They are perusing your website for many minutes, rather than just scanning a page for a few seconds and leaving (bouncing). If you find that your average session duration is less than a minute, it may be time to invest in building out your products and services page with robust copy. Craft compelling descriptions of why customers should choose you over the competition.

Alongside how long people spend on a website, how many pages they visit is another metric that digital marketers monitor: pages per session. A high number of pages per session can indicate a site that is intuitively structured and entices people to explore.

It is also useful to know what pages are those from which users leave the site. A page with a high exit rate means that a particular page is the last page that people view before navigating away from the site. Pages with a high exit rate present opportunities for optimization. Such pages can probably benefit from internal linking (which provides related content for people to read) or a clearer call to action (like an invitation to subscribe to a newsletter).

Click-through rate (CTR) is a measure of what percentage of visitors to a page click a link on said paid, thus clicking-through to other content. A strong CTR signals that the page drives people to read more content or take action.

The time has now come for the bottom-line metric of CRO, which is conversion rate itself. Bounce rate, average session duration, pages per session, exit rate, and CTR are all micro indicators of the macro metric that matters most. Digital marketers pay close attention to all of these stats, and make changes to try to improve them, but at the end of the day getting more conversions is what matters. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors to a site or page.

A cybersecurity company came to us wanting to drive more free trial registrations. See how we helped drive a 2,800% increase in registrations.

CRO Tactics in Digital Marketing

Consider the following actionable tactics that you can try in order to improve the CRO of your website.

Call to Action (CTA)
Be explicit about the action you want people to take. Make it clear how they can take that action. For instance, create a button that says, “Get My Free Proposal.” This lets people know exactly what they will get (the free proposal) and how to get it (by clicking). Phrasing CTAs from the perspective of the user can be effective, so you can also try statements like, “I’d Like an Obligation-Free Consultation.” Using “My” or “I” subtly draws the reader into understanding that they have the power to take action.

Streamlined Checkout Process
Make checking out as simple as you can. That means eliminating any step that isn’t absolutely necessary to the transaction. Think about it—would you rather answer a dozen questions across several checkout pages, or enter a few essential pieces of info on a single page to complete your order. If your checkout process is long and meandering, people are likely dropping off along the way. That’s revenue you’re losing out on due to poor CRO, not due to the quality of your offering.

Trust Signals
Add signs of your experience and integrity in the industry. These elements are peripheral to your direct marketing efforts, yet they often have a tremendous effect on CRO. Make sure your website includes testimonials from satisfied clients, reviews from customers, or any rankings you’ve achieved in business publications. Star-ratings are a good visual. Google, for instance, provides their customer reviews in the form of a star-rating and any message that the customer cares to provide. You should also consider linking to review platforms like G2 where prospective customers can review other people’s experiences with your business.

Personalization
Adjust the user experience to appeal to a particular visitor’s behavior on your site. Provide personalized recommendations, dynamic content, and customized offers based on what pages they’ve visited and what actions they’ve taken on your site.

Mobile Optimization
Ensure that your website is built with responsive design. More and more people go online from their phone rather than sitting down in front of a computer. So it’s important that your site is set up to look good and load quickly on mobile devices.

Retargeting Campaigns
Re-engage with people who have shown some interest in your site. Retargeting refers to advertising efforts that reach people with specific messaging or offers based on how they have interacted with your business in the past. One common way that companies retarget is to send ads to people who have abandoned a shopping cart. Try offering a 5% discount for them to complete their order within a week. Or show them items that people also buy based off of what’s been left in the cart. You can also retarget people based on certain pages of your site that they’ve visited, like sending more information about your baseball gloves when they’ve visited that section of your sporting goods site. Retargeting gives advertisers the opportunity to present targeted messaging to engaged visitors.

Ask for User Feedback
Provide ways for users to tell you what they think about using your site. This is sometimes done with a survey that is presented to visitors after they complete a CTA or as they are attempting to navigate away from your site. You may not often get responses, but the insight you do get from vocal visitors can be invaluable. You truly get an outsider’s perspective, which can reveal rough points in the user experience that are harming conversion rates. Chatbots are becoming more and more popular to collect user feedback, too.

A/B Testing
Run tests to compare the impact of changes you make to your website. A/B testing is an overarching idea that pervades all elements of CRO. When you try any of the actionable tactics here to improve your CRO, you need to compare performance between pages or between time periods to quantify their impact. With this kind of A/B testing, you can begin to surface insights into customer behavior. For example, do more people click on a button that says “Get Our CRO Guide” or “Show me how to drive people to take action”? Do people respond to images? Does a larger font size get more people to convert? Offering a deal for just a limited time might drive more engagement than an open-ended one. Testing opportunities abound in CRO.

There are many ways to optimize your website for conversion rate. We’ve presented the major CRO tactics that have helped our clients succeed at Direct Online Marketing. It all comes down to reducing friction. How can you make the customer experience as smooth and intuitive as possible? You want to seamlessly guide visitors to take the action you want—whether that’s providing their email in exchange for a whitepaper or providing their dollars in exchange for your products and services.

The Intersection of UX and CRO in Digital Marketing

UX and CRO are closely linked, both working to enhance the user journey and prompt specific actions. UX aims to create an intuitive, enjoyable experience for users, while CRO focuses on turning that positive experience into measurable actions.

When a site is user-friendly, visitors can easily find what they need, reducing friction and frustration. This seamless experience sets the stage for CRO to fine-tune elements like CTAs, form designs, and product descriptions—all contributing to driving higher conversion rates.

Incorporating UX Principles into CRO Strategies Is Crucial for Digital Marketing Success

Designing a site with user-friendly principles boosts satisfaction, making users more likely to convert. Satisfied users are more engaged and tend to trust the brand more. The synergy between UX and CRO enhances user satisfaction.

Reduced friction is a major priority in digital marketing. Improvements in UX, such as intuitive navigation and fast load times, remove barriers that might hinder conversions. Less friction means a smoother path to completing desired actions and therefore better conversion rates.

Good UX builds trust by presenting a professional and reliable online presence. Trust signals, like clear privacy policies and customer testimonials, make users more comfortable converting. So demonstrating trust and credibility can go a long way toward improving CRO.

Combining UX research with CRO analytics provides a deep understanding of user behavior. This comprehensive view allows for more precise optimizations that address both usability and conversion challenges. Monitoring the effects of various changes you make to your site is your path to surfacing data-driven insights. This is what A/B testing is all about: incrementally revealing improvements that bring compounding benefits to your conversion rates.

Sustainable growth is a valuable result of investing in your site’s UX and CRO. Focusing on how people behave on your site ensures that optimizations are user-centric and sustainable, rather than short-term fixes. This approach leads to long-term growth and higher retention rates.

By integrating these principles, businesses can create a seamless and effective user journey that not only delights visitors but also drives conversions, ensuring sustained success.

Experience the DOM Difference

Pretend you’ve never heard of your business. Now go to your website. Is it clear both what you do and what action you’d like a visitor to take from just a moment’s glance at your homepage?

The user experience and conversion rate optimization experts at Direct Online Marketing can help. Our digital marketing agency has learned from thousands of websites. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Drop us a line if you’d like a free consultation of UX and CRO opportunities on your site.

Key Takeaways About UX and CRO for Digital Marketing

  • User experience in digital marketing focuses on creating an intuitive, enjoyable interaction for users on websites, improving satisfaction and retention.
  • Conversion rate optimization aims to influence user behavior by adjusting website elements like text, colors, and navigation to drive specific actions.
  • UX and CRO intersect by enhancing user interactions to achieve business objectives, with good UX design providing a foundation for CRO strategies.
  • Integrating UX principles into CRO strategies increases user satisfaction, reduces friction, builds trust, and provides data-driven insights for precise optimizations.
  • A symbiotic relationship between UX and CRO leads to improved customer satisfaction, higher conversion rates, and sustainable online success.

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