Conversion rate optimisation, or CRO, is often confused with SEO (search engine optimisation) but not only are these dramatically different services: They generate drastically different ROI. At the end of the day, CRO boils down to optimising the primary components of your website so that everything is designed and implemented for just one purpose: Maximising website conversions.
And because most websites were never designed for maximum conversions and never optimised upon launch, the average website can literally see improvements of 50% or more in overall conversion rate. Even major multi-national tech firms like SEO Moz have hired external conversion rate optimisation firms and reported increases of more than 100%, so just imagine what it could do for your site.
But back to our point: How exactly do CRO services compare on ROI with SEO, SMM, or PPC? Well, to put it bluntly: It’s not even a contest because these other Internet Marketing options will only deliver a fraction of the ROI produced by conversion rate optimisation. Here’s exactly why CRO crushes SEO, SMM, and PPC on ROI:
Conversion Rate Optimisation Decreases Marketing Costs: One way or another, PPC, SEO, and SMM services will all increase your marketing spend which will devastate the ROI. CRO, on the other hand, actually increases the conversion rate by eliminating non-converting keywords from your paid traffic streams. This CRO strategy will reduce marketing costs, lower traffic levels, but keep conversions intact. And when you carry those savings forward over the course of a year, this one action alone could generate an ROI of more than 100% depending on the size of the PPC budget.
CRO is 100% Conversion Focused: SMM, SEO, and PPC experts might guarantee to increase your traffic or rankings for certain keywords. But how much of that new traffic will actually generate sales which is the most important fact to know and the one thing they will never guarantee? Conversion rate optimisation experts, however, are 100% focused upon boosting online sales and/or qualified leads so their ROI is very transparent and easy to see.
Using heat mapping analysis and traffic analysis tools like Clicktale and Google Analytics, CRO experts identify conversion problems and then fix the biggest problems first to maximise ROI. Then, to verify results, they employ website split testing tools like VWO or Optimizely so that you can see exactly how much their services have improved your online sales. But just try calculating true ROI for SEO or SMM where just a small fraction of the additional traffic those services provide become actual customers.
Conversion Rate Optimisation Results Carry Forward For Years: With PPC, your sales will dry up the moment you stop paying for traffic. And while SEO and SMM are certainly better in terms of delivering at least some ROI once the initial investment has stopped, your traffic will start to dry up within 30 days of ending your investment in SEO or SMM. But with conversion rate optimisation, the changes made to boost conversion rate will continue generating additional sales for the life of your website.
By reducing marketing costs, increasing conversion rate, and providing services that boost online sales for years after the optimisation is complete, CRO experts blow SEO, SMM, and PPC experts away in terms of ROI.
Let’s just look at one quick example to try and contextualize the difference in ROI:
Assume our sample website is selling one product for $200 and getting a 1.5% conversion rate for direct sales. Currently, they rely on PPC for all of their traffic and are currently paying about $2 a keyword with a monthly budget of $10,000. If we crunch the numbers that means this sample site is generating:
5,000 visitors per month ($10,000/$2 per click)
50 sales per month (5,000 visitors X 1.5% c/r)
$15,000 in revenue (100 sales X $200/sale)
Right now, this site is generating $5,000 per month above their marketing costs for an ROI of 50% (for every $10k the website invests in ppc, it makes $15k in sales). In truth, that site is making almost zero if any profits with 66% of costs tied up in marketing.
Now imagine this website owner has an additional $10,000 to invest and they can either choose conversion rate optimisation, or more PPC.
Well, the first thing a CRO expert will do is review your website traffic analysis and isolate, then eliminate, your non-converting keywords. If we assume a mere 20% reduction in keywords with no loss in conversions, that means you only need to spend $8,000 each month in PPC to generate the same $15,000 in sales.
Next, let’s assume that the CRO expert makes changes to your web design and copywriting that result in a very modest 20% increase in c/r taking it up to 1.8%. That means instead of generating 75 sales each month, you will now be generating 90. But unlike PPC where your additional sales will disappear the minute your money runs out, conversion rate optimisation continues to generate an extra 15 sales per month throughout the year.
So if we invest $10,000 in PPC, we’ll generate an additional $15,000 in revenue but no more once the money runs out. But if we invest that same money in conversion rate optimisation services, we see:
15 New Sales Each Month X 12 Months = 180 additional sales
Marketing Costs Reduced by 20% = $24,000 savings ($2,000 per month X 12 months)
So in terms of new conversions alone, CRO generates more than double the ROI and overall revenue of PPC. But when you add in the marketing savings of $24,000 per year, that means the ROI of CRO is 4X’s that of PPC ($36,000 + $24,000 = $60,000 vs. just $15,000 for PPC).
Of course our sample is by no means representative of all industries or the specific results you would see from CRO services. However, we only projected a 20% savings in PPC costs and a 20% improvement in overall conversions. But on average, CRO experts typically reduce PPC costs by up to 40% and boost overall conversion rate by 50% or more.
The truth is that conversion rate optimisation absolutely blows SEO, PPC, and SMM away in terms of ROI. However, CRO projects can take up to 8 weeks or longer to complete and websites really need 5,000 unique visitors each month or more to justify the expense and deliver the high ROI.