Your Step-By-Step CRO Audit Guide

May 5, 2023

Providing a great customer service experience can help you get ahead of your competitors, and there are plenty of statistics that can prove it. If your website doesn’t offer a great visitor experience, you could be missing out on a bi     g opportunity to provide value that will impact your conversion rate. 

To get a high return on your website's hard-earned traffic, you need more visitors to take the action you desire. By running a customer-centric conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit, you can gain deeper insights into your users’ needs, discover which parts of your site are actually maximizing conversions, and run tests to see what’s working and what’s not. 

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know, from what a CRO audit is to how you can get started. 

What is a conversion rate optimization audit?

A CRO audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a website's design, structure, and content with the aim of improving the site’s conversion rate. The goal of a CRO audit is to identify the barriers and pain points that are preventing website visitors from completing the desired actions, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or signing up for a service. 

The process involves analyzing website data, user behavior, and customer feedback to gain a deeper understanding of the user experience and determine which elements can be optimized to increase conversions. By conducting a CRO audit, businesses can make data-driven decisions to improve their website and achieve better results.

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Why is a CRO audit important?

A CRO audit can lower your customer acquisition costs by generating increased value from the visitors and users you already have on your site. CRO audits also help you identify bottlenecks in your conversion funnel, and can provide valuable data, enabling you to make informed decisions about website and marketing strategies, which can ultimately lead to increased customer engagement, loyalty, and revenue. In addition to improving traffic quality, CRO audits also allow you to pinpoint prospects’ behavioral characteristics so you can better meet their needs. 

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CRO audit checklist

Here’s a handy CRO audit checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything important. 

Define key conversion actions

Before embarking on your CRO journey, take time to set conversion goals and plan which conversions to track. Conversions can be defined as a user action that brings users closer to becoming a paying customer. 

To accurately determine the key conversions for your business, it's important to involve various stakeholders and gain a clear understanding of what conversion means across your organization. In addition to tracking macro conversions like purchases and subscriptions, consider micro conversions along the customer journey, such as adding a product to a wish list or watching a demo video.

Concentrate on priority pages

It's important to prioritize analyzing pages that have the greatest potential to impact your conversions. To determine the most impactful pages, consider both the amount of traffic the page receives and where it fits in the customer journey.

You'll want to focus on pages that are both conversion-oriented and have a healthy traffic volume, as this will allow you to quickly see the results of your optimization efforts and determine if you're headed in the right direction. However, it's important to note that top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content, which is designed to create awareness about a product, often receives a lot of traffic, but may not lead to direct conversions since it's positioned at the beginning of the customer journey.

Instead, consider prioritizing pages that serve as key touchpoints in the customer journey, such as specific landing pages designed to convert, or pages where users sign up for demos or download whitepapers or ebooks. 

Analyze user behavior

Once you have a good understanding of which conversion actions and pages you want to audit and optimize, the next step is to analyze the behavior of your website's visitors to gain insights into their engagement and conversion patterns. Use the goal conversion tracking feature in Google Analytics and enable event tracking to monitor key conversion actions such as purchases, newsletter signups, and webinar registrations.

Use Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) insights

To truly understand what users want and need, go beyond quantitative data. Studies prove that businesses that place more focus on their customer experience end up increasing their revenues by 4%–8% more than their competitors. They also show that VoC programs result in 55% higher retention rates.

With statistics like these, it’s important to conduct customer research and interviews to uncover the motivations behind conversions and the barriers preventing users from becoming customers. Get a clear understanding of what users think about different elements of your site and gather more information about your customers through surveys. With this information, you can address specific pain points that are hindering conversions, enabling you to make improvements where needed. 

Combine qualitative and quantitative data

This approach will provide you with a comprehensive view of user satisfaction, objectives, and obstacles, enabling you to identify which factors are preventing conversions. When your CRO audit is complete, pinpoint areas for improvement and focus on eliminating friction points. Look for opportunities to make simple and effective changes that will quickly enhance the user experience.

Form a conversion hypothesis

Develop a clear hypothesis to guide your testing efforts and identify the changes that will have the greatest impact on conversions. Zero in on specific pages and site elements that can be optimized to better meet customer needs. 

For instance, if you observe low time-on-page and high bounce rates on a crucial landing page, gather more user insights to determine the cause. It could be that the messaging is not connecting with your target audience. In that case, your hypothesis could be: "If we incorporate use cases that are more relevant to our target audience, the conversion rate on this landing page will improve by X%."

Alternatively, if your "book a demo" page has a low conversion rate and users say they are not signing up because the time commitment and logistics of the demo call are unclear, your hypothesis might be: "If we clearly detail the length of the demo and what it will entail above the fold, twice as many users will book."

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Top 5 CRO strategies 

The purpose of a CRO strategy is to convert more visitors into paying customers. By following these five steps, you can maximize your marketing efforts:

Include CTAs in blog posts

Although including CTAs in blog posts is a best practice, visitors don’t always take the action you desire. Users who have become all too familiar with banner-like information tend to ignore them, while other visitors don’t always read through an entire post to actually get to the CTA. For cases like this, text-based CTAs are your next best option. As text that’s linked to landing pages and usually styled with a Header 3 or Header 4 title, these text-based CTAs are an alternate method for converting more traffic into leads than regular CTAs that may otherwise be placed at the bottom of a page. 

Use lead capture pop-ups

A lead capture pop-up is designed to capture attention and provide value to your visitors. There are several types of pop-ups to choose from, including a slide-in box, drop-down banner, or pop-up box. When compared with standard CTAs, lead captures typically generate higher click-through rates and more submissions. 

Implement A/B testing for landing pages

A well-designed landing page can make a huge impact on your conversion rate optimization efforts. Your landing pages are where website visitors can transform into leads or where existing leads can engage more deeply with your brand. The more landing pages you have, the more targeting opportunities you have. Running A/B tests can help you optimize them and determine which design and content elements are most effective. 

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Consider using marketing automation software. Doing so will help your team be more productive, and will encourage leads to be more independent. For instance, with marketing automation, emails can be scheduled and leads can easily book meetings with reps while reps get notifications of high-intent user actions.  

Leverage re-targeting to re-engage website visitors

To re-engage people who left your website, leverage re-targeting. For your re-targeting efforts to be successful, provide visitors with a compelling offer, make sure your copy is well crafted and use engaging visuals. 

Getting started with CRO auditing

Conducting a CRO audit is well worth the time and is a wise investment. It can reveal friction points on your site that may otherwise go unnoticed, and it’s critical for optimizing conversion rates. 

To learn more about how MarinOne can help you get started, request a free demo today.

Gordon Ferris

Marin Software
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