Before we get into the importance of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for your website and business, let’s first make sure that we’re on the same page about what CRO means. One of the best definitions of the term is on Qualaroo: “Conversion Rate Optimization is finding why visitors aren’t converting and fixing it.”

Basically, CRO is a process of discovery and testing. Its ultimate goal is to get more users to perform a certain task, like completing a survey or scheduling a tour. So, when we talk about a website’s “conversion rate,” we’re talking about the number of website visitors who do what we want them to do. For instance, in senior living communities, the goal is to drive occupancy, so having a searcher schedule a tour may be the CRO goal.

CRO is important because it allows you to capitalize on the traffic that’s already on your website. In other words, less of your budget needs to be spent on getting more leads and residents, since more people on your site are converting already. CRO also helps you to receive a better return on any budget you spend on acquiring traffic. In both cases, CRO results in more leads and potential customers.

You might be wondering now about your website’s conversion rate, and how you can improve it to get more leads and residents. Since every website is unique, the answer to that question will depend on your current website and business goals.

Still, there are certain principles related to CRO that apply to every situation. Here are 3 essential principles that can improve your conversion rate, no matter what your business goals are.

1) Define the traits of your ideal customers.

Ask yourself: “Who are my customers, and what are their motivations, pain points, and desires?”

Understanding your customers should be the foundation for all marketing efforts and the basis for building strong testing hypotheses for CRO. Ultimately, addressing the needs or concerns of your ideal customers is essential for the success of your website. It’ll help improve your conversion rate and produce better leads.

When you create strong customer personas, you’ll be able to identify what your customers need from your website and how they might respond to your website’s design. Then, if your personas are accurate, your leads will have a greater likelihood of turning into actual residents. Your website (and business) will be exactly what they’re looking for.

User research can help you discover and refine your customer personas. Remember that these personas might change over time; you should see user research as an ongoing process. Then, no matter where your customers are in their journeys (before or after they convert), you’ll have designed a marketing experience that resonates with them.

2) Create website goals relevant to your business.

Ask yourself: “What are the most valuable things users can do when they visit my website?”

Your answer to this question will determine your website’s conversion goals, which is necessary for knowing how to improve your conversion rate. Make sure you have clearly defined website goals, since this affects how useful your conversion rate actually is. Otherwise, analyzing and improving your conversion rate will be useless as far as your business goals are concerned.

For example, if you want to reach greater occupancy for your senior living community, you should carefully look at your website’s tour-scheduling process. You should view that process as one of your website’s conversion goals and begin tracking each step for analysis.

In that situation, it’s also important to determine and track the most common page paths required to complete the tour-scheduling process (or “convert”). This allows you to analyze where and why users are dropping out. Getting this information and fixing those problems should improve your website’s overall conversion rate.

Another example of a goal could be to retain more residents by creating a stronger community. To reach this goal, you might improve your website with a resident portal or content aimed at increasing community engagement. Then, your conversion goals would relate to social media or interest in upcoming events.  

Getting a better conversion rate should mean that your business is becoming more successful. If you aren’t seeing those results, check to make sure your website and business goals are aligned.

Keep in mind that business goals and marketing strategies affect your conversion rate. If you’re receiving the same amount of traffic but fewer conversions than before, the “problem” might lie in your marketing strategy or the way customers view your brand.

Discovering the “why” behind any shift in behavior—whether positive or negative—requires gathering data, asking the right questions, and forming hypotheses to test against. That’s why CRO is a continuous process, important at every stage of a business’s life cycle.

3) Never rest on your laurels.

Ask yourself: “How can I reach my business goals by using and improving my website?”

There is almost always room for improvement. Even when you’ve hit your numbers, you can continue to innovate and make changes. Further user research can always be done to stay ahead of the competition.

For instance, if you’re getting more leads and higher occupancy, you could interview ideal leads and customers to discover what they have in common. You could then use this information to test new messaging and campaigns directed at this group. After all, testing new strategies is safer now, when you have a high volume of leads, than when you’re in dire need.