Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization Is Wrong

Why Conventional Wisdom Around Conversion Rates is Silly

Learning that the experts you’ve been listening to all along are wrong is a bit like learning for the first time as a kid that mascots aren’t real. Underneath that fluffy suit there was just a sweaty unshaven guy. Everything you’ve learned about conversion rate optimization is a bit like that: shiny and pretty on the surface, but seriously lacking in substance.

The Classic Conversion Rate Optimization Test is Silly

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Great Conversion Rate Optimization Fairy Tale. Once upon a time, a self-professed marketing guru told you it’s really important that you optimize your site. They shared one example where the author changed the button color, or the font spacing, or the image. Lo and behold, the advertiser’s conversion rate jumped by 2–7%.

It’s Time to Stop Moving the Chairs Around

What is a Good Conversion Rate?

Hint: it’s a lot higher than you may think.

But Conversion Rates Are Lower in My Industry…

That’s entirely possible. We segmented conversion rate data by industry to see whether these insights held true for all marketers. Here’s what we found in an analysis of four major industries:

The Top 10% of Landing Pages: What Makes Them Tick?

What do these top 10% of landing page unicorns look like and how are they killing the competition the way they are? We went through 1,000 landing pages and performed a qualitative analysis, in order to find the common traits among the best performing advertiser landing pages in the market.

1. Change the Offer

Across all of the high-performing landing pages, we saw massively creative and differentiated offers. Companies often have a default offer, their go-to, which may be the same or very similar to what all of their competitors are doing. Lawyers, for example, will offer a free consultation. Software companies will offer a free trial. They’re unimaginative and not very creative.

2. Change the Flow

Sometimes, you’re putting up barriers to conversion without even realizing it.

3. Use Remarketing as a CRO Tool

On average, 96% of the people who visit a website will leave without ever converting to a lead or sale.Remarketing helps you get in front of these people with targeted, relevant messaging as they take part in other activities around the web, like email, watching YouTube videos, using social networks or searching for information.

4. Try Out 10 Landing Pages to Find 1 Unicorn

Let’s talk about effort for a minute. What do you need to put into CRO to find your own unicorn landing pages? To understand this, let’s look at the relative abundance of these top performers:

5. F%@# Conversion Rates

Wait, what??

Key Takeaways

So what have you taken away from this? I hope you can get the following to stick and use these tips to guide a more holistic, effective conversion rate optimization strategy — the kind that will boost your conversions, but bring better lead quality, as well.

  1. Insanely focused and strategic landing page optimization brings 3–5x the conversions AND improves lead quality.
  2. In some industries, even 5% conversion rates aren’t that impressive. If you’re stuck in the 2–5% conversion rate bucket, you have a ton of room to grow.
  3. Get creative with your offers and test multiple different offers to find the one that resonates best with your audience. If you want to get really crazy (you know you do), find different offers that can help you qualify leads in the process.
  4. Identify the obstacles keeping prospects from converting and get those roadblocks out of the way by changing the flow. Test different variations to find out exactly which path to conversion works best for your audience.
  5. Use remarketing to recapture people who showed intent but didn’t convert.
  6. Test smarter, not more often. You need to test 10 unique landing page variations to find 1 top performer, but this goes far beyond changing a font color and calling it a landing page variation.
  7. Trim the fat in your account and ditch your lowest performers. Focus your energies on the top 10% of landing pages that earn 80% of traffic.
  8. Always, always keep your eye on the prize, which is making more sales or generating leads most likely to convert to sales. Don’t let high conversion rates take precedence over lead quality or you’re going to spend more qualifying leads. You need to find the sweet spot where everything works like a well-oiled machine.

Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Tips & News on Social Media Marketing, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Branding, Start-Ups and more.

Larry Kim

Written by

Larry Kim

CEO of MobileMonkey. Founder of WordStream. Top columnist @Inc ❤️ AdWords, Facebook Advertising, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Start-ups & Venture Capital 🦄

Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Tips & News on Social Media Marketing, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Branding, Start-Ups and more.