Conversion rate optimisation or “CRO” as it’s known, is a relatively new field of expertise. You may not be familiar with it unless you run in digital marketing circles but as a career, CRO has grown to become immensely valuable to organisations with a heavy reliance on digital activities to drive revenue.
What is CRO?
Let’s start by breaking down what conversion rate optimisation is: CRO refers to the methods of converting website traffic into leads and sales. Conversion rate optimisation specialists are a somewhat hybrid breed of marketers and analysts.
CRO specialists draw from several disciplines such as:
You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in all of these fields to become a successful CRO specialist (that would take years!) but what we are saying is that having working knowledge in these areas will certainly help move things along quicker for you!
Why CRO could be a great career choice for you
1. You have a love of learning
No matter how long you’ve been invested in the digital marketing world, there are always updates, changes and the arrival of new technologies. It’s a fast-paced and exciting environment that rewards those who are naturally curious.
This passion for learning also applies to how you interpret failure. As you experiment with new ideas and run tests to measure their impact, you’ll undoubtedly have to tweak things many times before you get the right results. If you see iterative learning experiences as a way to improve and challenge yourself rather than simply “failing”, you’ll enjoy the education-based foundation of CRO.
2. You trust data over instinct
As we mentioned earlier - a large part of CRO uses data to inform strategies and drive results. Data analytics in marketing is more prevalent now than ever due to the sheer number of people online that interact with businesses every day which as of 2021, stands at 2.14 billion consumers!
As an expert, gut instincts are predicated on data and trends that have unfurled over long periods of time, and have their use in the marketing world, but as a CRO specialist, you're much more concerned with analysing concrete data to indicate what changes should be made to convert traffic and meet objectives.
3. You’re empathetic
CRO works best when we can place ourselves in our customer's shoes to understand their motivations to buy or why they don’t! As a conversion rate optimiser, you’ll conduct extensive research to discover consumer pain points and how to overcome them.
This might happen via interviews, surveys and gathering feedback or a myriad of other methods but the emphasis is always on how you can improve the overall user experience through empathy to increase conversions.
4. You understand the power of language
We mentioned copywriting earlier as an important skill for conversion rate optimisers. Copywriting can be defined as the language and word choices that companies use to persuade or prompt action from customers.
CRO involves testing the use of different language to see how it affects customer decisions. The tone of voice, word choice and even just the location of copy can all influence what a customer does next. As a conversion rate optimiser, you’ll have a natural affinity for words and how to appeal to buyer personas as you adapt and adjust copy.
5. You are interested in what drives people
This comes back to having people skills and empathy but this time placing the focus on consumer psychology. What are the motivations behind a customer’s decision to buy or not buy? What was the catalyst for the action? What would need to be changed to influence the outcome? Questions like these are ingrained in CRO specialists as they try to figure out the winning combinations to drive consumer action.
6. You’re good at managing time
Because CRO is a multi-disciplined field, you’ll have to think about manage sometimes many things at once. When your focus is split between testing and analysing experiments and altering the elements of a webpage to see what works, it requires you to be organised.
You won’t have the luxury of time to experiment and assess a limitless number of strategies so knowing what your priorities are for clients and for completing projects in a timely fashion is key to conversion rate optimisation.
7. You want job flexibility
One of the great things about choosing CRO as a career is the flexibility it allows for employment. Due to its focus on digital channels and online consumerism, you can find opportunities to work from anywhere!
Whether that's in-house at an agency, as a freelancer travelling the world or working with a company remotely from home, conversion rate optimisers are very much in demand and companies are happy to offer flexible work arrangements to suit.
8. You like the idea of a high-paying career
While CRO is still a growing field, companies are already willing to invest heavily in finding the right talent. Glassdoor list an average salary of $73,619 per year for conversion rate optimisation specialists ranging from analysts to consultants, to managers.
This reflects the critical role CRO plays and the immense value companies place on driving consumer action and increasing revenue.
Skills you can develop for CRO
CRO blends several digital marketing skill sets and to become a well-rounded conversion rate optimisation specialist, you’ll want to get to grips with at least a few of these. A lot of what optimisers do can be learned online through courses and by conducting online research through blogs, videos and podcasts.
Let’s break down some of the core skills associated with CRO:
This refers to understanding the guiding principles of design that help to improve usability, provoke emotion and thought and strengthen brand image. Visual design is about many elements all working together to create a pleasurable experience for the user, for example in design, they pay close attention to the visual hierarchy of a webpage.
Hierarchy refers to how elements like imagery and text are organised in terms of their importance. When a customer looks at a website, they should naturally read over the page without having to think, moving from one section to the next, designers enable this autonomy. Knowing how visual design works helps prevent miscommunication between designers and CRO specialists.
Data in marketing is used to measure, track and interpret consumer behaviours so that companies can create informed strategies. As a CRO specialist, you’ll constantly be analysing customer data to determine what is working and where things can be improved.
For example, you might see that the bounce rate of a website (how often people click on and off the page) is particularly high so you decide to make an adjustment and run an experiment to see whether it improves. You’ll then take the data from the new trial and use it to see what to do next. This cycle of the idea, implementation, testing and analysis is central to the role.
We covered copywriting in the list above (number 4) so we won’t expand much here but having a solid grasp of customer personas and how different verbiage can provoke emotion, inspire thought and drive action, will help tremendously when deciding on what words should be used in experiments.
A/B testing and multivariate testing are essential to CRO. This is where two (or more) variations are tested to see which performs better. For example, you might be trying to get more sign-ups for a free trial of a subscription service. One test uses one set of copy and the other uses an alternate set, you then run both for a fixed period and analyse which one comes out on top. Sometimes, just changing one word can make all the difference!
We also touched on this in the list above (number 5). CRO at its essence is about understanding what makes people do things. Your task is to experiment with different approaches using data-driven methods to see if you can change the outcome. This makes consumer psychology a critical component of your role as you research customer behaviours and adapt to satisfy them.
A broad term that comprises many fields but what you’ll need to know are the common online channels customers use on a daily basis (like email and social media) and how they interact with those services.
Learning the basics of popular digital channels and the methods marketers use to maximise them will allow you to communicate ideas and implement strategies with greater effect.
We refer to having this broad knowledge of many disciplines coupled with one or two deeper expertise as being a T-Shaped marketer. Don’t be shy, find out how T-Shaped you are by taking this short quiz.
There’s a lot to like about a career in CRO
CRO is a career that’s very much in demand, well compensated, flexible and proves to be a consistently exciting and challenging profession. Companies are placing tremendous value on hiring talented people who can help to shape and improve customer experiences, leading to increases in revenue and brand perception. It’s a career that will most certainly grow and mature over the coming years.
Interested in learning more?
Become Certified in CRO for FREE*
Drive transformative results from day 1 with our certified CRO course. You’ll learn:
- How to identify conversion goals
- Conduct quantitive and qualitative research
- Set up tracking using Hotar, GA4 and Tag Manager
- Learn best practices for website functionality, copywriting and design
- Understand which metrics to measure and how
- Create a hypothesis and run A/B tests
See the full course overview here.
Learning with Growth Tribe couldn’t be easier. All of our courses are designed to be flexible for the learner with self-paced content so you can manage your time and learning, to best suit your lifestyle.
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*Are you eligible for STAP?
The staff training assistance programme or STAP offers up to €1000 in funding to get fully certified for in-demand skills such as Digital Marketing, Business & Data Analytics, UX Design and Project Management.
To be eligible all you need is:
To be a Dutch citizen with a BSN number
Are aged between 18-67
Have earned Dutch income for at least 6 months
For more details on how to apply, click here