What is conversion rate optimization ?

So you have a product or service that you want to sell to potential buyers, historically this means pitching your product or service to your client in the hopes that they perceive the value of your product or service and ultimately invest, however, pitching a product over the internet comes with it’s own unique challenges, understanding these challenges and overcoming them is the basis for the system known as conversion rate optimization or CRO, let’s take a look at how understanding basic design principles can convert visitors into customers.


Before we can really understand how businesses make a success online we need to understand something called friction, friction is the term used to describe the difficulty, or lack thereof, that a visitor of your website has when navigating your site, when anyone visits a website they do so with a particular goal in mind, this might be to gain information, or to make a purchase for example, in general people base their decisions on a three basic factors:



The ability of a visitor to easily navigate and find the information they are looking for is extremely important, on the web your competitions website is only a couple of clicks away, if your website is cluttered, difficult to navigate, or full of information that is of no relevance to the visitor, these issues create friction, and friction prevents a visitor from finding what they came for in the first place, the reason ads are targeted to products or services that you have previously visited, is because people don’t like to be pressured into making purchases, visitors are much more open to make a purchase if the product or service is directly related to that which they were searching for in the first place, so a cluttered website with ads and irrelevant products only serves to create greater friction, whereas a clean and easy to navigate site makes for an enjoyable experience, which in turn leads to visitors choosing you over your competition.


Company reputation

Possibly the most obvious factor, reputation can have a huge impact on a visitor to your website, often this reputation has been gained by word of mouth, or by purchases that have been previously made by the visitor, however, for visitors that are new to your company, subtle indications that your company is trustworthy can stem from it’s design, website design plays a very important role in demonstrating professionalism and reliability, which is extremely important when trying to convert visitors into customers, if your site reflects website design of days gone by, you risk creating the impression that your product, service, or company, has the same attributes as the website on which they are advertised.


Perceived value

Anyone who visits a website does so for many different reasons, one factor is constant however, and that is that they came because they wanted something of value, weather that be a product, a service, or simply information, they came for themselves and the perceived value of the products available, the company Apple isn’t the only company to offer smartphones, you can get a similar product from a cheap chinese manufacturer with 80% of the same features, but people are willing to pay many times the price for Apple products becuase they perceive Apple’s products to be of higher quality or value,  lets take a quote from Apple’s Iphone X marketing video:


For more than a decade it has been our intention to create an Iphone that is all display, a physical object that disappears into the experience


They begin by explaining that a huge amount of time and energy has gone into producing their product, that this product has been a decade in the making, they then go on to explain that this phone isn’t just a communication device, it’s an experience, your paying for something unique, and therefore of higher value.


These principles are very important to keep in mind when it comes to marketing our product, however, there is a more important factor that is the single most powerful way to influence visitors to our site, this factor is linked to our history as a social species, the vast majority of our history was spent in large groups of around 200 people, the risk of predators and other dangers that we faced a few thousands years ago required us to develop bonds of trust between us and those we lived alongside, these bonds were crucial to our survival, and even today in the modern world, developing trust is a key aspect to the success of our businesses.


Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation in which we are going on a date and we require a babysitter, we have a choice of a 16 year old girl from our local community, or a 30 year old who recently moved to the area, but we don’t know where from or what she beliefs she holds, but she does have 10 years babysitting experience, who do we choose…..?


The sixteen year old!


That’s right, we choose the 16 year old with no experience, over someone with 10 years experience, we choose the 16 year old because we know them, we know there family, there friends, but above all we know what they believe, in order for us to gain such trust without having a referral from an acquaintance, we need to share our beliefs with our potential customers, in fact this is the first thing we should do when a visitor lands at our site, forget for a moment your products or service, why do you do what you do, what is the mission of your business or company, gaining the trust of your potential customer should be your key focus.


If you would like more information on how to market your business online or otherwise, I recommend watching the following video by Simon Sinek:



How great leaders inspire action