CRO: 8 Ways to Dramatically Optimize Your Conversion Rates

“I want to pay out large sums of money for bringing customers to my website and never see that investment returned to me,” said no one, ever. Strangely, though, the vast majority of online businesses lack the necessary knowledge behind the science of conversion to get people to move from looking at to buying their product or service.

A high conversion rate means a better return on your investment (ROI).

In addition to improving your ROI, conversion optimization helps to defend against the limited attention span of your average visitor by giving them what they want before they tire of looking for it and move on.

Conversion Optimization

With conversion rate optimization, you evaluate your website’s sales funnel to identify ways you can improve your site in order to get a higher percentage of people to buy in to your product or service.

Next, you come up with a hypothesis to test, and you create a new version of a web page or landing page to test against your current version to see which one is more effective at getting visitors to sign up or buy. In the end, you implement the variation that convinces the highest percentage of people to buy what you’re selling.

What may come as a surprise is that both small and big changes to copy, layout, and design can have a big impact on the number of people who sign up for your service or buy your product.


If you can double your conversion rates, you cut your cost per acquisition in half.

This means if you currently spend $5.00 to acquire each new customer, after you optimize your site and double conversions, your cost per acquisition goes down to $2.50. At that point, you can afford to invest in more advertising or simply benefit from the increased profit!


Testing is the key factor when it comes to CRO. Without testing, you’re left relying on your gut instinct to determine what will be more effective, but once you test, you know right away whether a change leads to an increase or decrease in conversions. It takes the guesswork out of knowing what you should say and how you should design a new web page.

The number of tests you can eventually run are endless. You can test different headlines, new value propositions, varying button colors, different call-to-action copy, and much more. Each change has the opportunity to impact conversions, and small wins add up over time.

There are multiple elements that have the ability to optimize your conversion rates, but in this blog we’re covering the eight most-successful elements. Keep in mind that each of these elements need to be tested by you and your team in order to find what works for your product or service.

1. Headlines

A better headline can increase conversions up to 89.97% and possibly more. Sadly, however, there are far too many poorly written headlines. Copywriters and business owners often get focused on writing something clever that misses the point and doesn’t convince visitors to continue reading.

In addition, many headlines don’t convey a strong value proposition to customers. Both of these reasons mean headlines are a great place to begin your testing!

The first thing to test is a headline that’s more clear. Create a headline that clearly explains who you are and what you do, instead of a clever headline in attempts to make you look cool.

Take a look at the three typical headline variations: questions, benefits, and loss aversion.

With a question headline, you create a headline that asks the visitor a question that will pique their interest, like, “Looking for an Easy Way To Optimize Your Website?” This headline poses a question that most website owners would be interested in having answered.

A benefit headline is a benefit for using a product or service. Mention that the product will help them lose weight, save time, make more money, etc.

The third headline formula you can consider is the loss aversion headline. With this, you mention what people will miss out on by not using a product or service, and very often, people are more concerned about missing out on something than gaining a benefit.

2. Call-to-Action Buttons

CTA buttons are another piece of low-hanging fruit that is easy to test and implement. You can test different color variations, new CTA copy, and different button sizes and shapes to see if a change leads to higher conversions.

Switch Video increased conversions 221% by changing one word in their CTA copy. When they changed “Get a Free Consultation” to “Get a Free Quote,” qualified leads generated from their homepage increased 221%. That’s an awesome win from only changing one single word.

Consider new copy to test. Are you using generic copy borrowed from another website like “Buy Now” or “Get a Free Consultation,” or are you using copy that’s specific for your product?

You should also consider what it is that customers want to do at this point in the process. Do they want to begin a free trial, are they interested in buying now, or are they just looking to learn more? Do your best to match the CTA copy to your product and what visitors are looking for at that point in the buying process.

Check out the color of your CTA button. Is there a high contrast with the rest of your site, or does the button blend in? If it blends in, you need to consider an accent color that causes the CTA button to stand out. You should consider whether red, green, orange, or some other color leads to higher conversions. Color might seem insignificant, but tests consistently show it can make a difference.

3. Buy Now Vs. Free Trial

Numerous tests have confirmed that offering a free trial increases conversion rates, which makes sense when you think about it. You give customers the option to try your product for free, and they in turn have 15 to 30 days to decide whether or not they want to use your product for the long term by buying.

It’s a win for customers, and it’s also a win for you when conversion rates go up, even though some people will inevitably cancel their free trial and not sign up.

Get Response experimented with adding a free trial button to their homepage and found that it increased conversions by 158.6%. If you get a rate like that, you can afford for some customers to cancel the free trial and still come out ahead!

4. Trust Symbols

It’s easy to overlook trust symbols, but they help to improve sales online because lots of people are skeptical about handing over their credit card information. That’s where trust symbols (ex: Better Business Bureau) come in handy. They show that your business or checkout process is verified by a third party, and give people a reason to trust you.

Barcodes UK, for example, tested adding a Trust Verified symbol to their website and increased sale conversions by 28% over the course of an 8-week trial. The test including 9,666 visitors and found the version with the trust seal converted at 2.33% while the one without it converted at 1.82% with a 96% likelihood of the results not happening by chance.

That’s an impressive jump in conversions by only making one change to the website!

5. Create An Explainer Video

Explainer videos are short animated videos that websites use to explain what they do online. They’re usually 60 to 90 seconds long and help to explain complicated products or to emotionally connect with visitors through images, audio, and text. They’re fun and also been shown to increase conversions.

Ripple found that adding an explainer video to their homepage increased conversions by 20%. They also found that it lowered customer acquisition cost and led to customers being more engaged and ready to use the product.

6. Adding A Dollar Value To Free Offers

Have you ever seen a late night commercial that used this line: “Order now and get a free facial scrub worth $19.99 completely free. That’s right, order today and get a free, bonus facial scrub valued at $19.99.” This is what it means to add a dollar value to a free offer.

By providing a dollar value, you quantify the benefit that someone gets by receiving a product, service, or eBook for free. A free product worth $19.99 is much more exciting than a free product worth an unknown amount.  This tactic can be used for even simple things, like free downloads. Just add a dollar value!

7. Show A Live Version Of Your Product Instead Of Screenshots

Lots of businesses use screenshots on their homepage to show how their product or service works because it’s a great way to give visitors a behind the scenes look at what they’ll get by signing up for your product. But not as many people show a live version instead of screenshots.

With a live version, you actually demonstrate the product or service before people are required to make a purchase or sign up for a free trial.

8. Testimonials

Testimonials are one of the best CRO staples because they allow you to say things on your site that you couldn’t say otherwise. It might be unacceptable for you to brag about your business, but it’s totally ok if someone else does it!

They work because customers trust what other people say about you much more than they trust what you say. You’re a bit biased. Obviously. Happy customers provide a much more objective evaluation of your business.

Some things to keep in mind with testimonials:

Keep them realistic. If the testimonial seems too far-fetched, customers won’t trust it as much as another testimonial.

Make sure they say something specific about your business. Testimonials that just say, “Business X is amazing. I love them so much!” isn’t as good as, “Business X knows more about social media than any other company we’ve worked with. They helped us double our social media following in three short months!” The more specific the testimonial, the better.

Use pictures and video to make testimonials even more believable. Pictures of the testimonial giver can be used to make it even more realistic, and videos can be used to provide an enriched testimonial that authentically encapsulates your customer’s satisfaction.

Want to talk about your company's website and how you can improve your conversion rates? Contact the team at 10twelve today!