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Launching a Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy for B2B

As individuals, we're consumed with finding new ways to improve our daily lives - trying a new diet, testing out a new route to work. We should treat our marketing no differently.

Last Updated:December 13, 2018

Digital Marketing

Reading Time:8 minutes

I bet you'd be surprised to find out that only 1 out of every 5 companies are satisfied with their current conversion rates.

Oh, that's not a surprise? You're not happy with your conversion rates either?

I would expect that. After all, who wouldn't want even a 1% increase? That could be the difference between thousands and millions of dollars.

That's where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in to play.

The topic of CRO has exploded on to the scene in recent years due mainly to the availability of data that digital marketing has provided.

With more data comes more opportunity to identify weaknesses and try to improve upon them, right?

It seems obvious, but even so, only about half of all companies try to find ways to improve their existing web pages in hopes of increasing their effectiveness.

In this guide, we've covered the foundations of B2B digital marketing from digital advertising to email marketing to social media, SEO and website analytics. But to succeed in digital marketing, you also need to know how to build on and improve your marketing with each new campaign.

In this chapter, we'll give you the information you need to do just that. We'll explain what you need to know about CRO, how it relates to B2B companies, and how to get started with a few different strategies.

My goal when you're done with this chapter is for you to be inspired by how easy it is to get started with CRO and begin boosting your conversions (and ultimately, your customers).

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

According to Optimizely,Conversion rate optimization is the process of increasing the percentage of conversions from a website or mobile app. CRO typically involves generating ideas for elements on your site or app that can be improved and then validating those hypotheses through A/B testing and multivariate testing.

Whoa, there's a lot thrown in there. Let's break it down ...

  • Conversions: a conversion occurs when a person completes some form of predetermined action on your website, social media, digital ad, or anywhere. For B2B companies this might look like a company signing up via an online form to receive a demo or downloading a report.
  • A/B Testing: A/B testing (also known as split testing) is a method of comparing two different versions of something to determine which version performs better. You could perform A/B testing by trying one headline for a Google Search ad one week, changing the wording of the headline for the second week, and then reviewing the results to see which one did better and running that one for the following week.
  • Multivariate Testing: where A/B testing is focused on changing one element at a time, multivariate testing involves changing multiple elements to find the best combination. For that Facebook ad, maybe the first week you match the headline with a certain image, and then when you change the headline in the second week you also change the image to match it best.
facebook ad multivariate testing

When should B2B Companies Implement CRO?

Once your marketing systemsOr marketing campaigns. Think of full sales funnels or customer journeys that move an individual from prospect to lead and lead to customer start to turn out consistent results, you should start thinking about CRO.

Now, that doesn't quite look the same for each digital marketing tactic. For example, your website might not be generating a steady stream of traffic so it would be difficult to measure the results from an A/B test because minor fluctuations in who your traffic is and where they are coming from could skew the results.

Alternatively, digital advertising, if run consistently over a period of weeks or months, would be a great opportunity to implement CRO since the advertisement should reach the same type of audience consistently for that set period of time.

What sort of results should I look for by implementing CRO?

Since we've determined that digital advertising is a good place to start, let's say that we're running a Google Search ad. Here's an example of one:

google search ad example

These ads are primarily measured in terms of impressionsAn impression is counted each time your ad is shown on a search result page or other site on the Google Network. (Google) and clicks. While we can only alter our impressions by either adding more money to our ad or changing our target market, we want to focus on increasing the number of clicks generated since that's the ultimate goal of the ad anyway - to get people from the ad to our website.

Let's say that you tweak the text on your ad after a week or so. You add some emotional triggersStudies show that people rely on emotions, rather than information, to make brand decisions -- and that emotional responses to ads are more influential on a person’s intent to buy than the content of an ad (Hubspot), maybe some time-sensitive words that would suggest the user acted sooner rather than later so they wouldn't miss out on the offer.

The first week, your search ad reached an audience size of 30,000 people. Of those people, 600 of them clicked on your ad and went to your website. That suggests a clickthrough rate of exactly 2%.

The second week, somehow your ad reached the exact same number of people - 30,000 (bear with me), but after the text improvements it received 630 clicks. That's still only a 2.1% clickthrough rate, but it's actually a 5% total increase in the amount of clicks sending 30 additional people from your targeted market to your website. How would you feel about 30 highly targeted people visiting your website?

Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies

Want to get started? Here are some specific strategies that you can try:

Create text-based CTAs within blog posts

By CTAs I mean calls-to-actionA call to action (CTA) is a statement designed to get an immediate response from the person reading or hearing it. (the balance).

The theory of banner blindness is very real as people get used to ignoring banner ad-like visuals and other ads on websites. Because of this, we need to be creative as to how we convert our own website traffic into customers.

Neil Patel does a great job of this - sprinkling CTAs within content in the form of regular text links that offer value to readers.

neil patel text cta example

Run tests on your landing pages

You should be using landing pages to receive traffic from your ads, emails and social media instead of sending your traffic directly to your home page.

Landing pages let you simplify your message to a single idea while home pages are generally used as a starting point that visitors are navigating away from when they find what they're looking for.

If you send an email to a list of prospects with an offer for a new service, it would be a good idea to include a link that sends them to a page like this:

b2b landing page example

On a landing page, as opposed to a Google Search ad, you have the freedom to change pretty much anything from the copy to the form fields to the background image. After you improve the ad to get more people to click, don't you want to then maximize the number of people that fill out the form?

Optimize your email workflows

You can learn more about email workflows for B2B companies in chapter 4, but basically they are automated emails sent to your prospects at various points in their customer journey.

Emails present at least 2 different opportunities for conversion rate optimization, in the subject line to get the recipients to open the email and in the email itself to invoke clicks back to your website.

Take a look at this email below and let me know how many different CRO opportunities you see:

b2b email marketing cro example

Leverage existing high-performing content

Do you have content in the form of a blog post, a video on your website or a highly-efficient product page (you can learn more about content marketing for B2B companies in chapter 2) that is performing very well at bringing in new traffic?

You could leverage the attention that this content is receiving and turn that attention into leads for your business. Maybe alter the content a bit to better highlight how the solutions offered by your business are exactly what the visitor needs. Or you could add an additional text link (or another form of CTA that won't diminish the quality of the content) that sends the visitors to a page where they can sign up for a free demo.

Then, you could perform CRO on these new links and CTAs.

Think - Do - Measure

To be sure we have a practical understanding of what conversion rate optimization is and how we can apply it as a useful tool for our business and marketing, let's summarize what we've learned in this chapter by applying the Think, Do, MeasureThe Think, Do, Measure method is a practical tool that I use with clients to develop a simple strategy, decide exactly what we're going to do to accomplish the strategy, and identify how we're going to measure our success. method of learning to this important marketing concept.

Think

Conversion rate optimization is the process of adjusting our marketing tactics and content in hopes of improving performance.

With CRO, we can unlock huge potential profits for our business with minimum changes. In the example we discussed above, an increase in clickthrough rate from 2% to 2.1% with an audience size of 30,000 increased the number of website visits from our target market.

Do

To get started with CRO, determine your main marketing tactic - just pick one. Then review the current touchpoints that tactic has with your target audience - ads, emails, blog posts, etc.

Take a look at the current messaging and artwork that accompanies those touchpoints. How long did you spend writing that copy? Do you think it could be improved at all? What about the imagery (if there is some)?

If the answer is potentially "yes" that they could be improved, be sure to mark down the date of any changes that are made so that you can go back and review the performance of the marketing tactic prior to the change.

Measure

After a few weeks (or less depending on the level of audience exposure), gather the data from the time of the change and compare it to the performance prior to the change.

See improvement?

If so, great! You can roll with this for now or you could try to perform another A/B or multivariate test with the current and then new content.

If not, that's okay. You're CRO test was still successful - you just discovered that your previous content was better than your changed content. You should change it back to the original or try again!

Summing up

As individuals, we're consumed with finding new ways to improve our daily lives - trying a new diet because the current one we're on isn't returning the results we want, testing out a new route to work to save 2-3 minutes, getting our fantasy football advice from Sports Illustrated instead of ESPN to see if our fantasy team performs any better.

We should treat our marketing no differently.

CRO should become part of our company's marketing culture if we're serious about growing our business.

I created the Practical Digital Marketing Guide for B2B Companies to help you understand and learn how to easily apply digital marketing tactics in your business.

So what's next?

Click through to the final chapter and I'll give you your next steps.

Hey, I'm Tyler

I help businesses use digital marketing to generate leads & sales.

Former Operations Manager at Pepsico, I understand the difficulty and hard work that goes into changing the culture of management teams and business systems that are content with the status quo. Why is that important? Because I'm passionate about empowering individuals and companies to build and consistently manage marketing systems unique to their brands even if it means making radical changes.

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