conversion rate optimization, cro, startups, ivan jerkic

Cracking the Code on Conversion Rate Optimization for Startups

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Picture of Ivan Jerkić

Ivan Jerkić

What do I do? I build ventures – from the concept to product-market fit. And then I scale them.

In the fast-paced world of startups, every visitor to your website or user of your app counts. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), the process of increasing the percentage of these visitors who complete a desired action, plays a crucial role in this scenario. CRO can be the difference between meeting your growth targets and falling short for a startup.

Understanding the Basics of CRO

At its core, CRO involves understanding what users are looking for when they arrive at your site or app and making it as easy as possible for them to achieve that goal. This could be anything from signing up for a newsletter, setting up an appointment, downloading a white paper, or making a purchase.

The key to a successful CRO lies in the intersection of user behavior, design, and analytics. By carefully analyzing user behavior, making data-driven design decisions, and continuously monitoring the results, startups can significantly improve their conversion rates.

Why CRO is Crucial for Startups

For startups, improving conversion rates means more customers, more sales, and, ultimately, more growth. With ads, you bring qualified traffic, but with CRO, you are making sure that visitors convert to customers.

Even small improvements in conversion rates can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Just think of it; let’s say you have €100.000 monthly revenue, with an average €50 order value and a 2% conversion rate. Increasing your conversion rate by just 1% can boost your revenue by €50.000 or 50%.

Conversion rate optimization activities have the most significant and immediate impact on your revenue and ROI.

How to Develop a CRO Strategy for Your Startup

Developing a successful CRO strategy involves a series of steps, each as important as the next:

Define Conversion Goals: The first step in any CRO strategy is to define what a conversion looks like for your startup. This will depend largely on your business model and growth goals.

conversion rate optimization, cro, startups
Source: Hotjar

Understand Your Audience: Use analytics, customer surveys, and user testing to get a clear picture of who your users are and what they want. This will allow you to design a user experience that meets their needs and drives conversions.

Analyze the Customer Journey: Use tools like Google Analytics and heatmaps to understand how users are interacting with your site or app. Look for any obstacles or friction points preventing users from converting.

Create a Hypothesis: Based on your research, develop a hypothesis about what changes could improve your conversion rate. This could be anything from changing the color of a call-to-action button to redesigning an entire landing page.

Run A/B Tests: Use A/B testing tools to test your hypothesis. This involves creating two versions of a page or element (A and B) and randomly showing each version to an equal number of users to see which performs better. Alternatively, you can run multi-variant smart traffic tests. For example, you build multiple variants and let the AI determine which one to serve for every specific visitor. This can come in handy if you don’t have enough traffic and time to run statistically valid A/B tests.

Analyze the Results and Adjust: Once your test is complete, analyze the results and use them to inform your next steps. If your hypothesis was correct, implement the successful change. If not, use your gathered data to create a new hypothesis and test again.

Conversion rate optimization never ends. The process itself is iterative. As I wrote earlier, in certain cases, a mere 1% increase in conversion rate can boost your revenue by 50%.

Tools and Techniques for CRO

There are several tools available that can aid in your CRO efforts. Heatmap tools like Crazy Egg, Hotjar, and Microsoft Clarity can provide valuable insights into user behavior, while A/B testing tools like Optimizely and Unbounce can help you run and analyze tests. Google Analytics is also a powerful tool for tracking conversions and understanding user behavior throughout the whole journey on the website.

unbounce, google analytics, microsoft clarity

At 2-3 Agency, we use Unbounce for multivariate testing and AI traffic optimization (delivering the best match version from multiple variants of the landing page to each visitor), Google Analytics 4 (understanding the customer journey and pain points from acquisition sources to conversions), and Microsoft Clarity (understanding user behavior via heatmaps and session recordings).

CRO Success Story

Malwarebytes, a global leader in cybersecurity software, conducted several tests, which led to an increase in their conversion rate. Some strategies they found successful include:

  • Lengthening their shopping cart flow, which increased their conversion rates. The preferred shopping cart flow often differs by country, as shoppers in some regions prefer a longer flow with a review step, while others in different geographies are more likely to convert when greeted with a short, one-step checkout flow.
  • Adding a review page to the ordering process within the Malwarebytes app led to a 24% increase in conversion rate in the US and a 6% increase in the UK.
  • Testing various upsell and upgrade offers also increased conversion rate and revenue per visitor. For example, putting the upsells at the beginning of the checkout flow led to a 4% increase in conversion rate and a 9% increase in revenue per visitor.
  • Two particular offers experienced high take rates: adding an extra year to a subscription (with an 11% take rate) and adding more devices to the subscription (with an 8% take rate).

Common CRO Mistakes to Avoid

While CRO can be highly effective, there are several common mistakes to avoid. These include not using data to inform decisions, failing to test changes, and not considering the overall user experience. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can increase your chances of CRO success. Therefore, remember:

  1. Make changes based on data, not gut feeling or ego.
  2. Define clear goals and test changes before implementing.
  3. Prioritize user experience over fancy design.
  4. Be patient since testing takes time.

As Slack’s ex-CMO Bill Macaitis said in an interview some years ago:
“So much of what we do in marketing can be tested and quantified now: ads, homepages, content, pricing, positioning, channels, etc. You have to check your ego at the door and let data help drive informed decisions. In the future, I think we will continue to expand both the breadth of what can be tested and move testing further within the product itself.”

Let’s wrap it up

Conversion Rate Optimization is an essential strategy for any startup looking to boost its growth. By understanding your users, making data-driven decisions, and continuously testing and adjusting, you can significantly improve your conversion rates and drive your startup’s success.

Have you started implementing CRO strategies in your startup? Share your experiences and any questions you might have – let’s chat. I am here to help you navigate the exciting world of startup growth.


Verifone (ex. 2Checkout) blog post by Shannon Macleod – Malwarebytes case study

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