What is Conversion Optimization: A Primer for Online Marketers


February 28, 2022

This essential primer on conversion optimization will help any digital marketer get started on the practice.

Given how frequent the changes on digital come, the focus now shifts from off-hand executions to conversion-driven, sustainable campaigns. But sadly, not a lot of digital marketers are aware of what is conversion optimization in the first place. What more what it truly takes to take advantage of conversion optimization for business?

And don’t get us wrong: We believe you’ve been implementing strategies yourselves that could count as a conversion-driven campaign. But to what extent does your understanding of conversion optimization and its essential elements? How deep is it that you can implement in a way that truly synergizes all your online channels?

If you’re beginning to doubt that knowledge even now, then it will benefit you to read on.

As a conversion rate optimization experts that’s crafted a number of successful conversion optimization campaigns, that’s what we can help with. Read on to learn what is conversion optimization from this guide on the basics we’ve developed for you.

What is conversion optimization in digital marketing?

Fair warning for you: Conversion optimization (CO) can be either a boon or a bane for business. But whether it’s the former or latter depends entirely on how you approach it.

Ultimately, what tips the needle from one end to the other will be your understanding of what is conversion optimization. How it structures your digital marketing strategy frameworks, and why you need it for your digital marketing efforts.

In its simplest definition, CO in digital marketing is the process of finding the most optimal ways to ensure customer conversions for your digital marketing fronts. CO expert and founder of CXL Peep Laja expands on this:

Conversion optimization – when done right – is a systematic way to convert browsers into action takers (leads, buyers). It’s about making more money and growing the business without investing additional resources into acquisition.

Peep Laja, Conversion Optimization Expert and Founder of CXL

However, those straightforward definitions can be deceptive of the challenges that the CO process often entails.

Personalize your CO strategies

You see, although the ultimate goal is conversion, there isn’t one set path to reach it. These differences can be in your brand objectives, infrastructural capabilities, operational channels, and, above all, the audiences you hope to reach.

Ché Köhler, co-founder of nichemarket, explains that strategies to increase conversion rates are not a “one size fits all” kind of thing. For him, “the paths to conversion need to be personalized,” in tune with not just your brand’s identity, but with the needs and wants of your customers. For Köhler, CO can also be as complex as “understanding the psychological aspects of the user.” Both these varied perspectives can apply to your business, depending on your specific brand objectives and eventual end-users.

So if CO can refer to an ever-changing process dependent on certain goals and customer profiles, how can you make it work in your favor as a digital marketer today?

How does CO work?

While the ultimate goal of CO is understanding consumer behavior, it can also be applied to improve customer conversions for various purposes. To name a few of these, you can use CO to:

  • Uplift your business’ online performance based on priority CO metrics;
  • Collect feedback about your brand, or;
  • Generate quality leads for business

In order to achieve these desirable outcomes, several experts agree that your conversion optimization checklists should firstly require that data gathering be done. Such audits will allow you to develop a crisp insight on a goal and hypothesis to test for your optimization projects.

It’s all about data

Rany Burstein, CEO and founder of Diggz LLC, echoes this by sharing that you need to “understand whether [you] are measuring the right thing [or not]” by analyzing your data to identify those accurate metrics.

On the same note, CocoFax co-founder Olivia Tan suggests that you “avoid blind testing” by utilizing data collection and other helpful tools for CO like heat maps or recording software on customer touchpoints. That way, you can “figure out what exactly you should test” to further increase your conversion rate.

Director of Marketing at Routific Emma Cimolini also recommends the use of Analytics, emphasizing that “you can’t optimize what you can’t measure and understand.” For her, even using a “simple Google Analytics account will give you the data you need to know where users are coming from, what they’re doing, and whether or not they’re converting on your site.”

Once you’ve collected this data, you can “set a baseline and [a] goal,” Rany adds. These baseline data can include conversion rates which should be compared against others in your industry – allowing you to properly benchmark your business against competitors. Finally, Burstein encourages that you can set “ambitious yet realistic goals” to increase conversion rates.

Now, let’s say you were able to collect data, establish metrics, and set a specific goal, all in the name of trying CO out for yourself. When and where do you proceed next with your digital marketing strategy framework?

When do you use CO strategies?

As we established earlier, you can leverage CO to meet a number of your business goals and objectives – from generating leads to getting a sale. But the use of CO isn’t just restricted to your websites and landing pages. It can even be applied to your other channels including mobile apps and social media. 

But when exactly do you use CO strategies?

To be honest, any time you’re conducting an A/B split test is already a tiny step into doing CO. This is because these comparison tests are crucial in the optimization objective. These tests – be it for comparing Facebook Ads or landing page layouts – give you a gauge of which one best works with your audiences. 

You can apply CO at any given time that you would like to:

  1. Inch up your metrics for websites and/or landing pages;
  2. Help plan your ad campaigns on social media or other promotional channels;
  3. Design or redesign your websites and/or landing pages, or;
  4. Implementing conversion copywriting into your landing pages

However, so that we’re not glossing over important nuances, you’ll have to be mindful as well that CO can be pretty costly and lead you to a dead-end if you’re not testing the right things. Cimolini captures this in a word of advice about A/B testing on only one element at a time: “Too many tests at once can make your data unclear,” she adds.

In general, it’s best to rely on company-specific data, metrics, and goals to utilize CO as a digital marketer. If this still feels daunting in the face of a chaotic digital landscape, then keep on reading to understand why conversion optimization is still important, even today.

Why is CO important in digital marketing?

Remember that CO is the means by which you use data-informed strategy to drive conversion-focused results and to understand your customers better. Through this understanding of your customers, you can develop data-driven solutions that help optimize your digital marketing efforts for your business.

To go into more specifics, CO is important in digital marketing because:

  • You can target audiences more accurately with the help of data.
  • It smoothens the customer’s journey down the conversion funnel.
  • You can improve website usability and user experience design.
  • It generates higher revenue reflective of an excellent customer journey.

By getting into the practice of CO, you can practice process-oriented, conversion-focused journeys that will thrive in the chaotic digital landscape of 2022 and beyond.

Key takeaways

CO isn’t an easy road to take when it comes to digital marketing. It takes a lot of strategy and skill to meaningfully increase conversion rates for your business. But knowing the whats, hows, whens, and whys of CO will definitely help you survive and thrive in the chaotic digital landscape.

Take these insights with you as you embark on your new CO journey today:

  • It’s not “one-size-fits-all.” To quote Köhler again, your paths to successful conversions have to be personalized based on your own goals and your customers’ ever-changing wants and needs.
  • Use research to build data-driven solutions. You can’t optimize what you don’t know. Use data-informed research to build those conversion-focused strategies.
  • Expert advice is always nice. Make use of every opportunity to gain insights from experts in the field of CO. Let this guide be your starting point for a successful CO journey.

Get to know your fellow digital experts when you swap stories of success today! Leave a comment below to share your own advice on strategizing for conversion optimization.

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