Is your residential home service company getting a good amount of website traffic but the phone isn't ringing? You see the growth potential but you can't seem to get conversion rates up. Sure, getting traffic is great, but if those visitors aren't becoming customers, then what's the point? Whether you're an HVAC, plumbing, or closet door company trying to get people to book an appointment, conversion rate optimization (CRO) should be THE key focus for your website. The thing is, many businesses don't hold the right CRO marketing mindset to get the results they're looking for. They see conversion rate optimization as a one-time event rather than an ongoing process. Conversion rate optimization isn't about doing a major overhaul to your entire website that sacrifices time and money, it's about making small tweaks to your website design, copy, and user experience to get more people to take the desired action. So, ready to get into the mindset of a conversion rate optimization champion? This article has got all the precious little details you need to get your conversion rate up in no time!
What is CRO?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing a website to increase the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. This can be anything from making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form. Conversion rate optimization usually involves A/B testing, which is where two versions of a page are shown to users at random and the version that performs better is used as the new standard. Other forms of CRO include:
- User experience (UX) optimization: This involves making changes to the design and layout of a page to make it more user-friendly and improve the overall experience for visitors.
- Landing page optimization: This is the process of optimizing a landing page to increase its conversion rate.
- SEO: Search engine optimization can be used as a form of CRO to improve the ranking of a page in search engine results pages (SERPs), which can in turn increase traffic and conversions.
- PPC: Pay-per-click advertising can be used to drive traffic to a page with the goal of increasing conversions. Better copy, hooks, and relational-friendly transactional offers drive more people to your page to convert as long as the experience stays consistent.
- Social media: Promoting a landing page or website on social media can also be a form of CRO, as it can drive traffic to a CRO page. In some cases, you can skip the off-platform linking and get the conversion right on the website they are on.
It is important to note that conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process, not a one-time task. To keep conversion rates high, continual testing and tweaking of website elements are necessary.
Surprisingly enough, conversion rate optimization isn't a new concept. In fact, the history of conversion rate optimization dates back to Leonardo Da Vinci. In 1430, Da Vinci was employed to create an automated kitchen feast. He did this by designing conveyor belts to transport food to the preparers and a sprinkler system for safety measures. Even though considered by many as the first use of technology before the Industrial Revolution, both contraptions failed — the conveyor belt operated too erratically, and to make matters worse, the sprinkler system went off and ruined all the food. In hindsight this experiment was a comedy of errors, it is an early exapmle of conversion rate optimization. In the case of Da Vinci's automated kitchen, there were two conversion opportunities - getting the food to the preparers and then getting the customers to eat it. The first opportunity was lost because the conveyor belt was unreliable, and conversion stopped entirely because the sprinkler system went off. In modern conversion rate optimization, we often talk about conversion "funnels." Just as there was a process in place for food to get from the kitchen to the customer's table, there are steps that need to be taken for a website visitor to become a customer. Make sure your process is reliable and seamless, otherwise you risk losing conversion opportunities. Need help with your website conversion rate? At Wizard of Ads®, we take pride in helping businesses build brilliant brands that turn shoppers into buyers. Book a call with us today to learn more about our conversion rate optimization services!
The Right Mindset
As business owners, when we aren't getting the number of conversions we want, our minds tend to immediately jump back to our acquisition efforts. We think that we need more ads, more SEO, more content, or something else entirely. While this can sometimes be the case, almost every time what you really need is get out more of what you already have. This is the CRO mindset that you want to nurture. While everyone else is breaking their backs for more traffic and spending an imperial buttload on garbage leads, you can work the much more effective angle of conversion. To get into the right mindset, here are some quick tips:
- Embrace failure. Failure is inevitable. If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough. The best way to learn and grow with CRO is by making mistakes and learning from them.
- Experiment. No risk, no reward. With CRO analytics, you need to be able to put your opinions aside and simply follow the data. Be prepared to take risks - you never know what might work until you try it.
- Avoid tunnel-vision. You don’t want ALL the leads. You only want the good leads. It's easy to get hyper-focused on one specific conversion metric and lose sight of the bigger picture. Remember that conversion rate is just one part of the puzzle, and optimize accordingly.
Follow these tips, and you'll have the mindset of a conversion rate optimization all-star in no time.
First Example of Conversion Optimization
We've talked about Da Vinci and how his conveyor belt disaster was suggested to be the very first occurrence of CRO in action, but is there another example that has can be considered the first conversion rate optimization case study? Subject to debate, of course, some people believe that the first CRO case study came instead from a statistician named R. A. Fisher in the early 20th century. Fisher was hired by an agricultural research center with the duty of determining what external factors were affecting the growth of various plants and crops. He did this by designing experiments on soil type, sun exposure, precipitation, and so on. His experiments were both controlled and randomized, which helped him analyze and evaluate results for optimizing plant growth — what the preferred conditions were and what factors modified growth the most. When we looked at this example closely, we found Fisher actually did A/B testing — he was constantly comparing two different versions (controlled and randomized) to see which one had better conversion rates (in this case, growth). Compare this to the digital world today, and you'll see how conversion rate optimization has taken the same basic idea and applied it to web design, user experience, and the buying journey. At its heart, conversion rate optimization is all about testing different versions of your website or touchpoints (variables) to see which one performs better in terms of conversion rate (the goal). It's all very scientific and data-driven, which is why CRO has become such a popular and effective method for understanding how to optimize for growth.
A/B Tests and Google
Speaking of A/B tests, ever wonder what the first running CRO internet A/B test was? It was actually created by Google back at the turn of the millennium. The test was simple: to determine the optimum number of results to display on the SERP (search engine results page). The first test was unsuccessful due to slow loading times from glitches with the Google code, but later on, A/B testing became more advanced. Though the principles and foundation are generally the same, in 2011 Google ran over 7,000 different A/B tests - 11 years after Google's first test. So what does all this tell us? In general, A/B tests are used to improve conversion rates - whether that's on your website, or in this case, on a SERP. By constantly testing and tweaking different elements, Google has been able to increase its conversion rate and keep people using its search engine. If even the king of search engines has failed with its CRO testing in the past, that should give you some comfort that it's okay to make mistakes when you're testing. The key is to learn from those mistakes and keep moving forward.
CRO in the Residential Home Service Industry
We've gone over a lot of old examples of conversion rate optimization, so now let's go full circle and apply what we've learned to the scenario given in this article's introduction: You own a residential HVAC company, and you're getting a healthy amount of traffic on your website, but the phone isn't ringing... You decide to get into your CRO mindset. You stop yourself from cranking out more website content like SEO articles, Facebook ads, etc. because you know that will only lead to burn-out and an emptier wallet. Instead, you take a step back to reevaluate your website and marketing content with a conversion-centric perspective. From there, you decide to recycle your older content and focus on optimizing it to increase conversion rates. You first set up an A/B test to see which version of your website copy converts better. You find that the slogan "We're the best HVAC Service in Town!" actually decreases conversion rates, your images are outdated, and your CTA buttons are difficult to find. So, you experiment with different slogans, images, and CTA buttons on your website. After a few weeks of testing, you find that a picture of a smiling HVAC contractor along with the text "Helping Your Home Stay Comfy Cozy All Year Round" generates more conversion than any other combination that you've tested. Over time, you finally see an uptick in phone calls, and Google Analytics tells you that conversion rates for your key pages have increased by 15%. Not too shabby!That's how conversion rate optimization works: by taking a close look at your website's conversion funnel and making improvements where necessary. CRO elements can be used to improve anything from website copy to call-to-action buttons to overall design. It's just a matter of figuring out what's not working and then making changes to see if conversion rates improve.
Conversion rate optimization doesn't have to be a complete makeover of your website, and it doesn't mean you have to pump out more content in the hopes it'll convert customers. Sometimes, less is more. Believe in the power of quality over quantity. Embrace failure and be open to taking risks. Trust the data and remember the big picture. When you embrace these concepts, your conversion rate optimization will be flawless in no time. However, not every company can do it all on their own. At Wizard of Ads®, we help residential home service companies create and implement a marketing strategy that tells your authentic brand story. We show you what it takes to have an eye-catching brand image that not only gets heard and found… but converts like crazy. We'd be happy to help get you started with an impactful plan that considers all of these factors and more. Book a call with us today so we can get started!