Introducing Conversion Rate Optimization, and How to Increase B2B Leads on Your Website

July 13, 2023
A woman walking past a giant screen that reads CRO for conversation rate optimization with a shopping cart

Summary

Learn How Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Can Drive Results and Revenue for Your Busines and gain insights and strategies to enhance your online presence.

What's the end goal of your online presence, and more specifically, your website? It likely doesn't stop at amassing traffic. A truly successful web presence converts that traffic into leads and, ultimately, customers.

Based on the conversations we've had with our clients, generating leads is among the top goals of B2B marketers in 2023 and beyond. That means taking a close look at your marketing channels and where you're directing users--which tends to be your website. And that's where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes into play.

You can always improve every channel used as a touchpoint with your audience. But your website remains your primary lead generator, and it's the spot where you have the most opportunity to grow your leads, customers, and revenue. 

In fact, investing in your website has an evergreen and compounding effect. Any optimization you make for lead generation has staying power for the future, and it affects all of your website traffic. CRO, in other words, can become the engine that drives your leads and business growth.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

CRO is the strategic process of website building designed to maximize the chances of a visitor taking an action that gets them closer to becoming a customer. In other words, it's the process of building your website so that as many visitors as possible become leads, customers, subscribers, etc.

On a deeper level, CRO is the process of analyzing your audience to understand why they convert, which can help you build a website more specifically designed to drive to that conversion. An understanding of how your users navigate your site, and the triggers that prompt them to take (or not take) that conversion action, allows you to build a site designed to maximize lead generation and, ultimately, revenue.

What is a Good Conversion Rate for B2B Lead Generation?

Studies and analytics tell us that across audiences and industries, the average website conversion rate can range between 1% and 4%. A "good" conversion rate would be anywhere above that range. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that this number is not just volatile, but can also be misleading. 

An 'average' conversion rate is just that, composed of so many variables that it's almost impossible to narrow down to a scenario relevant for your business:

  • Every industry and audience has different conversion rate. We cannot assume that a consumer doing some Christmas shopping will convert at the same rate as a business looking for a new bookkeeping platform.
  • Every website is different. Even within the same industry, there is no single website template that all or most competitors follow to attract customers. Layout, design, and even the number and flow of pages drastically affect conversion rates.
  • Every average is skewed by the types of conversions measured. Naturally, conversions to customers happen less frequently than newsletter signups or lead conversions.

And of course, every average you'll find online is based on an incomplete data set. Most businesses don't share their conversion rates, making it difficult to know whether the averages you find online are actually representative of your audience and goals.

CRO, in other words, is about more than just finding some industry average, and looking to surpass it. Instead, it's about setting your own benchmarks, understanding your audience, building a website better suited to their needs, and improving incrementally over time.  

5 Benefits of CRO for Your Business

A shield with a checkmark and an increasing graph, symbolizing the benefits of conversion rate optimization

The most obvious advantage of conversion rate optimization is clear: if you convert more visitors to leads and more leads to customers, your revenue and business will naturally benefit. But that's far from the only reason an emphasis on CRO can help you succeed. Consider these 5 benefits as you look to build and invest in your CRO strategy.

  1. Improved user experience. Good CRO builds on user preferences and expectations. It stands to reason, then, that improving your website based on these factors will lead to your user experience rising naturally as well. Especially as you continue to tweak and improve your website, your users begin to engage more and spend more time on it, even beyond the conversion.
  2. Intrinsic user trust. The goal of CRO is to improve actions that users take where they give you their contact information at least, and payment information at best. They'll only take that action if they trust your business and website. Thus, a natural benefit of CRO is the trust your improvements build in your audience that ultimately pays off with their information.
  3. In-depth user insights. CRO depends on understanding your audience in order to suit their needs. But that understanding itself can be valuable. You'll learn about the types of graphics, messaging, and value propositions appeal most to them, which can positively impact all of your marketing efforts as you look to attract the right customers for long-term business success.
  4. Inherent scalability. Unlike other efforts to grow your business, CRO doesn't get more expensive as your audience expands. The changes you make on your website equally affect every visitor. Meanwhile, maximizing the effectiveness with which you market to your audience pool also means getting a larger share of that pool, growing your business more effectively. 
  5. Increased ROI. Partially as a result of all of the above benefits, CRO also improves your marketing ROI. Especially tactics and channels designed to drive web visits become more efficient as a larger portion of those visitors convert to leads and customers. In other words, the return part of ROI increases even as the Investment part remains identical.

Keep in mind that these benefits tend to be evergreen, as well. CRO as a strategy means continually looking to improve your conversion rates. But at the same time, every step you take towards that goal affects your entire website. Once an improvement is in place, you effectively set a new baseline of conversions that you can measure future efforts against.

Conversion Rate Optimization Examples in B2B Environments

Any action that your website visitors take getting them closer to a purchase is technically a conversion. That said, CRO experts tend to distinguish between macro and micro conversions as distinct types of actions.

Macro Conversions

These are the most important types of conversions, and most closely connected to revenue. They might include:

  • Making a purchase on your website. 
  • Subscribing to a service directly from your website.
  • Requesting a quote for a product or service.
  • Starting a trial of your software.

Micro Conversions

These are smaller steps your audience takes that still get them significantly closer to becoming a customer. They might include:

  • Signing up for your email newsletter.
  • Filling out a contact or lead generation form on your website.
  • Downloading a piece of content.
  • Engaging with your live chat or chatbot option.
  • Clicking a link to your pricing page.
  • Creating an account on your website.
  • Adding one of your products to their online cart.

While less directly connected to the purchase than macro conversions, micro conversions still matter. They indicate tangible interest in your business and products, and typically provide you with enough information to follow up with more personal messaging.

How to Calculate Your Conversion Rates

Calculating your conversion rates is deceptively simple. Take your total number of conversions in a given time frame, and divide it by the total number of visitors over that same time frame. Now, multiply your result by 100 to get the conversion rate percentage. Or, to put it in formula form:

A visual representation of the conversion rate equation

Conversion Rate = (# of conversions) / (# of visitors) x 100

For example, you might want to measure your conversion rate for the month of December. In that month, you had 100 total conversions out of 5,000 total web visitors. Your conversion rate for December would be (100/5,000) x 100 = 2%.

Of course, this formula changes as the conversions you're measuring changes. But you can use the same basic formula whether you're calculating your total conversions or a specific type, like new subscriptions or email newsletter signups. The same is true whether you're measuring conversions on a single page or across your website; as long as both your conversion and visitor numbers are identical, the formula will continue to work.

Where to Test Conversion Rates for Optimization

CRO is a strategy that affects your entire business. Still, a few pages are especially valuable and relevant when it comes to testing your conversion rates.

  • Your homepage. As the front door to your website, your homepage likely attracts the most visitors. That makes it a perfect first touch point to turn visitors into conversions. Especially prominent CTA buttons to micro conversions, or engagement opportunities like live chats, can guide your visitors toward their next steps.
  • Your blog. Yes, it's a way to show your thought leadership and build credibility. But your blog can also help your website conversions by leveraging reader attention into action. Consider relevant CTA buttons for individual pieces of contents that might be natural follow-up to your blog posts, as well as a general sign-up to subscribe to updates when you publish new content.
  • Your pricing page. For many of your potential customers, this is the moment of truth. They'll either convert, or they don't see what they're looking for. As such, its an ideal opportunity for CRO, allowing you to manipulate anything from the way you present your prices to dynamic elements like a slider or quote request to increase your conversions.
  • Individual landing pages. As centerpieces of individual campaigns, landing pages are a natural spot for conversions. They typically have a singular goal--like downloading a whitepaper or registering for an event--and as such, conversion rate towards that single goal is an easy measurement and improvement opportunity. 

You don't have to limit yourself to these pages. Any page on your website that includes a conversion opportunity is a potential testing ground. But if you're looking for a place to start, these four areas tend to be most relevant in getting your visitors to take action.

8 Areas You Can Improve Through a CRO Approach

It might not be obvious at first, but CRO improves even further when you can closely connect it to sales enablement. All of the areas you can improve to enhance your conversion rates, and all of the insights you gain that drive you to those improvement can and should be fed to the sales team. Those insights, in turn, can help them close deals as much as they help you optimize your conversion rates.

That's especially clear once you consider the areas that you can improve with the right CRO approach.

Your Messaging and Sales Copy

Everything you say about your business and products has to clearly communicate the value it offers to your audience. Benefits have to align with audience pain points. At the same time, you also have to ensure that your messaging doesn't say the exact same thing as your competition, ensuring that your messaging stands out from the crowd instead.

Your Writing Style and Tone

How you say something matters as much as what you say. Your rand voice and tone need to align not just with your business values and personality, but also with your audience. Your website messaging should resonate with your buyer personas to ensure you're meeting and exceeding expectations when they're reading and experiencing your content.

Your Headlines

Yes, it's technically sales copy. But your headlines deserve special consideration. You'll want to make sure they're short and succinct, but still communicate enough about the content to follow. The more action-focused your headlines are, the more conversions you'll likely get.

Your CTAs and Sign-Up Forms

The language, design, and even the color of your call-to-action button could lead to incremental conversion improvements. So can the design of your sign-up forms, from how many fields you need (fewer tends to be better) to the way you phrase the questions and even the 'submit' button.

Your Formatting and Layout

Where do you place those headlines? Where do calls of action go, and where does the sign-up form live? These layout questions may matter just as much as the exact formatting of individual elements, like the buttons or graphics designed to enhance conversions. Testing your formatting and layout can lead to valuable insights about audience preferences.

Your Landing Pages

As the natural points of many conversions of your site, landing pages deserve special attention for testing. That might include anything from how you frame the offer to whether an individual offer needs a dedicated landing page to begin with. At their best, the singular focus of landing pages adds value to the conversion flow; testing helps you get there.

Your Website Navigation

Beyond individual pages, your website's navigation could harm or help your conversion rate. The key is to build a navigational journey that matches your audience preferences, allowing them to easily find the information they're looking for on their way to becoming a customer.

Your Page Speed

The speed of your website is a hidden obstacle on the way to conversion. Slower-loading pages can depress your conversion rates significantly. A CRO approach can identify slow-loading pages and fix them in the quest for driving as many conversions as possible for your website.

4 Steps to Conversion Rate Optimization for Your Business

The four steps of conversion rate optimization are listed out with icons: research, prioritization, testing, and iteration

You can take an almost innumerable number of approaches in optimizing your conversion rate. For a truly strategic process, though, following these four steps tends to be most effective:

  1. Research
  2. Data Gathering
  3. Prioritization
  4. Testing
  5. Iteration

CRO is ultimately circular; once you iterate on testing results, it's time to repeat the process, either by focusing on your next priority or by gaining new insights through the research step. Let's examine each of these steps in more detail.

1. Research

This first step essentially consists of gathering data about your status quo or baseline. Here, you'll learn about your audience's current behaviors, along with their reasons for these behaviors. Most CRO processes divide this step into qualitative and quantitative data:

  • Quantitative data helps you understand how your users interact on your site, and how elements of your website shape their behavior. You'll use tools like Google Analytics, heat maps, and click maps to gain these statistical, numbers-based insights.
  • Qualitative data goes more deeply into the reasons behind those user behaviors. You'll learn what persuades users, what value they're looking for, what drives their decisions, and what elements of your site are most persuasive. Common data-gathering tools include usability studies, interviews, and surveys.

Neither of these is preferrable to the other. Instead, it's the combination between the two that helps you understand how your visitors convert or fail to convert.

2. Prioritization

Chances are that your learnings in the research phase are intensive. That's why the next step is estimating what changes you could make that have the biggest possible impact on your conversion rates. Prioritize your improvement opportunities based on three dimensions:

  1. How important are the pages or improvement opportunities for your business? Here, macro conversions tend to matter more than micro conversions.
  2. How easy would it be to make improvements? Simple tweaks like lead CTA buttons may be easier and faster to tackle than an entire redesign of your website navigation.
  3. Where are the biggest improvement opportunities? This dimension is based on your research and finding opportunities with the largest gap between current and potential performance.

Considering all three of these dimensions ensures that you're never just focusing on the easy wins or the comprehensive changes. Instead, you should end up with a healthy mix of both, ultimately working strategically toward improving most of them,

3. Testing

Once you've found your priorities, it's time to make the changes. Don't go broad scale immediately, though. Instead, take a more cautious testing approach to see whether any tweaks you're making have a true conversion rate impact.

This is the time for split testing. Test any improvement or change you're making to your website against the status quo, then show both to equal, random samples of your audience. The complete test can help you understand whether the tweak you made actually made an impact.

4. Iteration

After the testing phase, it's time to roll out the change more broadly. If, for example, you've seen that changing the color on a button improves conversion rates, change the color on more buttons and see if the results hold. If they do, you have a clear indicator of how to design your website buttons in the future.

This is also the time for broader learnings. Any insights into audience preferences, from messaging to layout, that come from your tests will be valuable for others (including your sales team). Summarize your findings and share with anyone in the business who could benefit from this knowledge.

After that, it's time to keep going. Find your next priority, and your next test. True CRO never ends, but always looks for improvement opportunities to convert more visitors to customers.

8 Tools to Help Optimize Your Conversion Rates

Logos of tools to help with optimization: Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Hotjar, Crazyegg, Google Optimize, Instapage, Landbook, and Headline Studio

CRO is complex, but you're never on your own. In fact, you can implement a number of tools designed to help you track and improve on the ways your users interact on your website:

  • Google Analytics is likely the centerpiece of your quantitative data gathering process. It can provide anything from conversion information to user interactions on any part of your website.
  • Adobe Analytics is similar to Google Analytics, but takes the data to different channels and sources. Its visual reports are perfect for quick insights into the user journey, and where it could improve.
  • Hotjar is perfect for user behavior analytics. Heatmaps and click maps help you understand how your visitors use your website, while screen recording can help with usability studies.
  • CrazyEgg is a perfect tool for testing. Easily make tweaks to your website, then observe and measure how those changes impact (or don't impact) your conversion rates.
  • Google Optimize is another testing tool that can be useful for split testing, A/B testing, and multivariate testing. Its integrations with Google Analytics make it a popular alternative.
  • Instapage custom-builds landing pages for your website and helps you test how these pages can impact your conversion rates. It also supports dynamic content for a more personal web experience.
  • Land-book is a free-to-use collection of the best-converting landing pages on the web. It's a perfect tool for inspiration and to learn how others have leveraged CRO.
  • Headline Analyzer helps you understand the power and persuasion of any headline you use on your website. It's great as a precursor for split testing to improve those websites.

And of course, there are plenty more tools available depending on your individual needs and situation. And, most importantly, you don't need to build your CRO strategy in isolation. Instead, work with a reliable partner like Steel Croissant to build the right strategy, gain the right insights, and optimize your website to generate more leads and customers.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to begin the conversation.

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