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What is CRO? An Introduction to Digital Marketing

Conversion Optimisation, Search Engine Optimization | by Neil Andrew

If you’ve just started learning digital marketing, then you’ve probably been bombarded with hundreds of different acronyms. From PPC, to SEO, to SEM, the list can seem endless.

Although most of them are reasonably easy to understand and remember, there are some in particular that make even the most experienced digital marketers weep. One of those acronyms is CRO.

But what is CRO? And just what makes it so scary?

To set you on the right path, today we’re focusing solely on CRO. By the time you’ve finished reading this, not only will you understand what it means, but you’ll also understand why it’s so darn important.

To get things started, let’s take a look at what CRO stands for and what it has to do with websites.

Understanding CRO

example cro graph

CRO actually stands for Conversion Rate Optimization. If you’ve never heard of this before then don’t worry, there’s probably no reason you’ve needed to. The chances are if you’ve had your own blog or website in the past then you’ve never needed to sell anything to anyone.

However, if you’re trying to learn digital marketing for your business, then you have to understand CRO.

The point of a business’s website is not only to increase your online presence but to also drive leads and conversions. No matter if you have a corporate website, an online e-commerce store, or a charity site, every business can benefit from CRO.

Conversion rate optimization helps businesses take their existing traffic and squeeze extra conversions out of it. Imagine you’re getting 2000 visitors a month to your website and bringing in around 20 leads. This would work out at a 1% conversion rate (20 / 2000). But what if you could improve your conversion rate just by moving a few things around on your website?

This is exactly what conversion rate optimization is about.

In the example above, after conducting conversion rate optimization, there’s a good chance you’ll get more conversions from the same traffic. Of course, conversion rate optimization isn’t a one-time thing. Instead, it’s a continual process that involves making lots of tweaks to see if it improves or decreases your conversion rate. You’d be amazed how such a simple change can cause such a big increase in conversions.

However, how do you know when a change has increased or decreased your conversion rate? You’ll need to use A/B testing!

A/B Testing

ab testing screen

A/B testing is one of the core foundations of conversion rate optimization and is essential to learn. That being said, it’s not exactly the most complicated thing, and with hundreds of tools out there to make your life easier, performing an A/B test is a breeze.

If you paid attention in your science classes while growing up then you should understand what a “fair test” it. Remember when you thought you’d never use anything you learned in school? Well, who knew you’d need to conduct a fair test in digital marketing!

The process behind an A/B test is simple, you change 1 element on the web page and monitor your conversion rate to see if it increase or decreases. Since you only changed 1 element, whatever the change in conversion rate can be attributed back to the element changed. If you remember from school, this is called a “fair test”.

Once you have data before and after the change, you can then compare the 2 to see if it’s made an improvement or not. Most A/B testing software nowadays will actually allow you to test both variations at the same time. This is useful as it means you can time the time difference out of the equation.

Imagine you tested a new change just before Christmas and got some statistics to work off. A few weeks later during the Christmas period you make a change to your website and your conversions increase dramatically. How do you know if it was the change on your website or the Christmas period being responsible for the boom? A/B testing at the same time is the best way to get around this.

Way To Improve Your Conversion Rate

man stood on a rising graph

Now you understand what conversion rate optimization is and what it involves, how can you start making changes to your website? And more importantly, what changes should you be making?

To give you an idea of the things you can change to boost your conversion rate we’ve hand-picked some of our favourites:


If you’ve read our post on the colours of marketing, then you should know how big of an effect colours can have on someone’s decisions. Changing the colours of your website, or certain elements of it, can have a massive increase in your conversion rate. Our suggestion would be to try changing important parts of your website such as the buttons or certain text to bright colours. This will make them stand out a lot and make it even more likely a user will interact with them.

A good example of colour in action and how it can affect conversion rates is the website PharmaVaccs. Originally, the entire colour scheme of the website was black which gave it a dark and underground feeling. Considering the website offers travel vaccines and medicine, it came across as really dodgy and suspicious to most users. This meant that customers weren’t converting as they were concerned over the legitimacy of the website. A few months later, the company changed its colour scheme to a much brighter range of colours which helped boost their conversions dramatically. Not only does the website look more professional and legitimate now, but the colours help instil trust and an identifiable brand.

Call to Action

If you want a user to do something on a web page then you need to give them a call to action. No matter if it’s a button or a bit of text, making your call to action effective is essential if you want users to convert. We suggest you try moving your call to action around as well as adding in another. If you have a button, add some CTA text. If you just have some CTA text, then add a button. It never hurts to reinforce your message to the user.

Short vs Long Copy

Depending on your industry, sales copy can play an important role in convincing a user. Sometimes you need to get straight to the point and tell people why they should buy your product or service. Other times, you need to convince them with longer copy that goes into detail about the main features of your service/product. We suggest trying variations of both to see if people prefer the straight to the point, copy, or the more detailed one.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of all the things you could change, then don’t forget to read our post on 70 useful ways to help you increase conversion rates online.

Don’t Shy Away From CRO

Although CRO might not be one of the most exciting parts of digital marketing, it is essential if you want to get the most out of your website – CRO doesn’t account for much of the marketing you see, but it makes the marketing you do see infinitely better.]

Not only that, but judging from the data it’s going to become even more important than ever in 2019!

Why spend more money on getting extra traffic and hopefully conversions when you squeeze extra conversions out of the traffic you already have?

As you can probably tell, conversion rate optimization can be very time-consuming work that takes a lot of trial and error before you get it right. If you don’t have the time to spend messing around with website changes then luckily we can help.

Here at Piccana, we’ve helped several of our clients completely transform their website to help boost their conversions. Our team of in-house CRO trained experts will give you the best advice on how to get the most out of your existing traffic. To see how we can help, contact us below.

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