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CRO audit

What Is a CRO Audit? + How To Run a CRO Audit in 9 Steps

CRO audit definition: A conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit is an assessment of your website and the marketing channels leading to it that helps you identify opportunities to improve your conversion rates.

Sandy is looking for ways to optimize her travel agency’s website and get more inquiries online to boost her revenue. A conversion rate optimization audit, or CRO audit, can help her determine what’s stopping prospects from converting on her site and improve her conversion rates.

If you’re in the same boat as Sandy and looking for ways to perform a CRO audit, this blog post is for you. It’ll go through these topics:

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What is a CRO audit?

A CRO audit is an assessment of your website and the marketing channels leading to it so that you can identify opportunities to improve conversion rates.

As one important step in your overall CRO strategy, a conversion audit thoroughly analyzes your customer journey to your site and within it. It lets you identify friction on your site that’s preventing visitors from performing your desired actions, such as adding to cart, signing up for your newsletter, or downloading your catalog.

Why is a CRO audit important?

Conducting regular CRO audits can help you identify optimization opportunities within your website. In addition, conversion audits can also determine opportunities beyond your marketing channels and website.

Did your customers’ needs change, or did a competitor launch marketing campaigns targeting your audience? CRO website audits can help you identify these challenges and turn them into opportunities for your business.

Here are other reasons CRO audits are essential:

  • CRO audits can help you better understand your customers, their needs, and what will make them convert.
  • CRO audits provide a wealth of data that can help you improve your strategies.
  • CRO audits help you improve your site’s user experience and increase customer satisfaction.
  • CRO audits can help you increase customer retention.

How to run a CRO audit process

If you want to find opportunities to grow your conversion rate, a CRO audit process can guide you. Remember that the best CRO website audits are customer-centric audits that aim to understand your customers, address their needs, and lead them to conversion.

CRO audits aim to provide a frictionless experience for your customers, instead of making changes that only increase conversions without improving the customer journey.

Here’s a CRO audit process for conducting a customer-centric conversion audit:

  1. Clearly define conversion actions and CRO goals
  2. Identify the pages you’ll optimize
  3. Understand your audience’s behavior on your website
  4. Collect customer insights through surveys
  5. Evaluate your landing pages’ design
  6. Form a conversion hypothesis
  7. Conduct A/B tests
  8. Implement your learning from your A/B tests
  9. Set a regular CRO audit schedule

Let’s go through each step of the process below. You can either perform these tasks yourself, or look at the top CRO agencies for help with your strategy!

1. Clearly define conversion actions and CRO goals

Before changing your landing pages, you must specify your desired conversion actions and CRO goals. Work with your organization’s stakeholders to identify your customers’ desired actions.

Let’s say your business is an automotive dealership, and your marketing, sales, and service teams have different conversion actions.

For your marketing team, signing up for your newsletter is a conversion. Meanwhile, the sales team wants site visitors to complete your request-a-quote form. Your service team counts phone calls that schedule a service appointment as conversions.

You’ll also want to set clear CRO goals with your stakeholders and identify one to three most important goals. Here are some sample CRO goals:

2. Identify the pages you’ll optimize

Now that you’ve identified clear conversion actions and CRO goals, identify the pages you’ll optimize.

If you’re unsure which pages to prioritize, use this question as a guide:

Based on your CRO goals, which pages have the most potential to drive your desired conversion actions?

In addition, consider the page’s traffic and in which stage of the customer journey it lies.

For example, let’s say you own a furniture store. Prioritize pages that are crucial conversion touchpoints and at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). These are your product pages, where they can convert by adding the product to their cart.

3. Understand your audience’s behavior on your website

How do visitors engage with your website? Do they perform your desired conversion action or not?

It’s important to answer these questions and understand why users are converting or not on your pages. To find some clues, use tools like Google Analytics and MarketingCloudFX.

  • Google Analytics: Set goal conversions in Google Analytics and enable event tracking, so you know if your website visitors are downloading your brochures, signing up for your newsletter, or adding items to their cart.
  • MarketingCloudFX: Our proprietary software — powered by IBM Watson — is a leading ROI tracking tool that features VisitorRecorderFX and CallTrackerFX. VisitorRecorderFX records visitors’ interactions on your site in video format, so you can identify the pages they visit, how far they scrolled through your page, and what they clicked within your site. CallTrackerFX enables you to track which pages led to phone calls and see real-time data.
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4. Collect customer insights through surveys

In this step of your CRO website audit, you’re gathering insights from your customers to answer the whys of their behaviors and actions on your site. Why are they converting? Or why are they abandoning their carts?

Ask your customers what they loved most about their purchase from you. Did the free shipping and return entice them to convert? If prospects abandon their carts, ask why they don’t push through with their transaction.

5. Evaluate your landing pages’ design

Once you’ve collected information about your customers’ behavior and insights, evaluate your landing pages’ elements that stop them from converting. This is where you can identify quick fixes to apply on your pages and reduce friction.

Let’s say you’re in the business of software-as-a-service (SaaS) for doctors’ offices. You’re running pay-per-click (PPC) ads for your target audience to land on a page where they can book a demo with you.

Based on data about their behavior, they don’t scroll past the first fold. A quick fix on your PPC landing page is to move your call-to-action button of booking a demo with you above the fold.

6. Form a conversion hypothesis

Thoroughly examine the on-page behavior data and customer insights you’ve gathered and focus on certain pages and page elements. How can you optimize these pages to address your customers’ needs?

For example, let’s say you’re in the business of transportation and logistics. One of your service pages has a high bounce rate. Users aren’t also scrolling further down the page and are not filling out the form to get a quote.

Based on your surveys, they opted to sign up with a trustworthy and reputable logistics business. Your page may be missing trust signals and social proof.

Your conversion hypothesis can be that adding a customer testimonial on your page can increase the conversion rate by 3%. Your next step is to test your hypothesis.

7. Conduct A/B tests

Like your scientific hypothesis for your science experiment back in school, your conversion hypothesis needs testing. You can do this by running an A/B test.

Set up your test and control pages, and let traffic go through the two versions. Run the experiment until you have enough data to decide which version wins. Make sure you only test one element at a time!

8. Implement your learnings from your A/B tests

Carry out your learnings from your A/B test and the data gathered. Was your conversion hypothesis correct? You can implement the changes on your site. Remember to share your CRO website audit results and insights with your stakeholders, too.

If your optimization strategies didn’t deliver the forecast results, you can collect more data and insights, formulate a new hypothesis, and conduct tests.

9. Set a regular CRO audit schedule

A conversion audit is not a one-and-done activity, just like most audits in digital marketing.

The competitive landscape may change in a few months. Your competitor may introduce a new product similar to yours, affecting your ongoing campaigns’ click-through rates (CTR) and conversions on your site.

Your customers’ needs may change in time or because of other factors like a recession. That said, you need to update your marketing messages on your landing pages.

Does your business have a special offer during the holidays, or did you have a price update? You may need to run a CRO audit to examine the impact of these internal changes on how your customers engage with your site and business.

A regular CRO audit schedule can help you keep up with external and internal changes. It also enables you to improve your customers’ experience with your business, thus helping them convert.

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$6 billion

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Carry out CRO audits with experts

A CRO audit helps you identify opportunities to increase your site’s conversion and improve your customer’s journey. If you need help with conversion audits or carrying out CRO strategies, WebFX can help.

We’re a team of 500+ digital marketing experts that have generated over $6 billion revenue for our customers. Our CRO strategies are focused on delivering results that affect our clients’ bottom line.

WebFX is pumped to drive results for your business, too. Contact us online or call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our CRO services or get started with your CRO audit!

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