Schmarketing: Get your traffic moving in the right direction.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the ongoing process of improving a digital experience to ensure visitors can easily accomplish their goals. It involves continually making thoughtful adjustments to your website, landing pages, or app—ensuring every visitor finds what they’re looking for with ease. It’s about understanding the journey of your users, addressing their needs, and removing any barriers that might prevent them from taking desired actions, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. CRO turns casual browsers into loyal customers by consistently refining a user-friendly environment where their goals align seamlessly with your business objectives.

Synonyms: Customer Journey Mapping,  Conversion Marketing, Behavioral Targeting, Multivariate Testing, A/B Testing

Antonyms: Status Quo, Random Acts of Marketing, Hope Marketing, Wishful Thinking, Marketing Inertia


Helpful Analogy

Imagine your website as a well-organized store. CRO is about arranging the aisles, shelves, and checkout process to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find what they need, enjoy their experience, and make a purchase. It involves understanding your visitors’ behavior, removing obstacles, and providing clear paths to your desired actions, ensuring they leave satisfied and more likely to return. It’s like having a helpful store assistant guiding each visitor to exactly what they’re looking for, making their journey seamless and enjoyable.


The Unjargoned Truth on Conversion Rate Optimization

“Marketing is about telling good stories. Conversion is about telling a good story to the right people.”

Bryan Eisenberg

Picture a small town in the middle of nowhere. Let’s call it Optimville, a place where even the cows are optimized to produce the finest, creamiest milk you’ve ever tasted. 

Now, in this quaint town lived a marketer named Bob. Bob wasn’t just any marketer—he was the kind who believed that if you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, some of it will stick. Unfortunately, most of his spaghetti landed on the floor, leaving him with a mess of frustrated customers and an unsightly heap of wasted potential.

Bob’s idea of marketing was simple: shout about your product from the rooftops and hope someone, anyone, would listen. His website was a labyrinth of pop-ups, autoplay videos, and flashy banners, all vying for the visitor’s attention like a bad carnival. People visited his site, sure, but left quicker than you could say “conversion rate.”

One day, a stranger arrived in Optimville. Her name was Clara, and she was a master of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Clara had the uncanny ability to turn digital chaos into harmonious experiences. She could make a website so intuitive and engaging that visitors felt like they were gliding through a perfectly orchestrated ballet of information and delight.

Bob, desperate and disheartened, approached Clara for help. She agreed, but on one condition: Bob had to let go of his spaghetti-flinging ways and embrace the art of telling a good story to the right people.

Clara began by understanding the needs and desires of Bob’s customers. She transformed his chaotic website into a streamlined, user-friendly haven. The landing pages became tailored stories that resonated with the visitors. Each click led to a relevant, engaging piece of content, gently guiding them toward conversion like a maestro leading an orchestra.

The Path to Conversion

Now, let’s step back and see what Clara really did here. Conversion Rate Optimization is like tuning an instrument—it’s about creating a seamless, enjoyable experience for the user. It’s not just about increasing numbers on a spreadsheet—it’s about connecting with people on the other end of the screen.

Imagine walking into a restaurant. You’re greeted with a warm smile, the menu is clear and enticing, and the ambiance makes you feel right at home. The service is attentive but not intrusive, and every dish exceeds your expectations. You leave satisfied, thinking about your next visit even before you step out the door. That’s what CRO does for your website—it turns a visit into an experience.

For the consumer, CRO means fewer frustrations and more delight. It means finding exactly what they’re looking for without the digital equivalent of a wild goose chase. It’s about aligning what your business offers with what the consumer needs and desires. It’s about maximizing perceived value and minimizing perceived cost.

When done right, CRO can transform a website from a cluttered mess into a beacon of clarity and efficiency. It respects the user’s time and intelligence, offering them a journey that feels personal and rewarding. In Bob’s case, Clara’s touch made his customers feel seen and valued, and that made all the difference.

The Happy Ending

As Bob watched his website’s conversion rates soar, he couldn’t help but marvel at the power of a good story told to the right audience. His customers were happier, his business was thriving, and he finally understood that marketing wasn’t about shouting the loudest but about speaking the clearest.

So, my friends, let Bob’s tale be a lesson. Embrace the art of CRO and focus on delivering value to your customers. Create experiences that resonate, simplify their journey, and make them feel like they’re the most important person in the world—because to your business, they are.

In the end, marketing is about telling good stories. But conversion? Ah, that’s about telling a good story to the right people, making their journey as delightful as a stroll through Optimville on a sunny afternoon, where even the cows are happy and optimized.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.