In the past I’ve emphasized the importance of making your dental practice web pages focused on your business goals. It sounds obvious, but the truth is that many practice websites I see are more like digital billboards rather than a conduit for generating leads and enhancing the customer experience. While SEO could be considered the strategy you employ to get more traffic to your web pages, CRO is the strategy you need to turn web traffic into revenue or other business goals. Too often SEOs focus only on getting more traffic to web pages, but a smarter strategy goes a step further and analyzes how well that traffic “converts” or completes a desired action on the page.
What is CRO?
CRO or Conversion Rate Optimization refers to optimizing your web pages to increase the rate at which users complete a specific action. For example, you define the objective of your homepage for a new user to fill out an appointment request form. Every time a new user fills out an appointment request form, that user has “converted.” If one user in a hundred on your homepage fills out the appointment request form, the conversion rate would be 1%.
How do I increase my conversion rate?
It starts with your understanding and commitment to managing the experience on your website. In most cases this means either hiring a digital marketer for your team or looking for outside help. Last month I wrote about how to find SEO help. The same logic applies for CRO help. If your potential SEO help doesn’t understand conversion rate, look elsewhere!
1) Start by defining clear objectives for user actions on your web pages, for example:
- Email List Signup
- Appointment Request Form Completion
- Phone Call
- Download PDF
- Watch Video
2) Use Google Analytics to set up and track goal conversions and secondly to identify obstacles. How are people entering your website and on what pages are they exiting your site?
3) Set up customer satisfaction surveys on your website to get direct feedback from your users.
4) Once you know the pages on which users are exiting and you have some feedback from users about why they left, test a new version of your page that addresses this issue. With an A/B testing tool you can serve two different versions of a page to users and learn which version converts at a higher rate.
Let’s take a look at a more concrete example of the principles and tools above:
I run a dental practice called “Dave’s Killer Braces.” On my website, I want to increase my conversion rate for two basic goals: calling to set up an appointment and filling out our appointment contact form. Currently 1% of my monthly visitors convert; I would like this number to be at least 5% and ideally 10%.
Here is a scenario of how the process could look:
My digital marketer configures Google Analytics so that submitting the appointment form is a goal and I also have call tracking set up so that I know when I am getting call referrals from the website. Every time a user submits the form or places a call, it is registered as a “conversion.” As a side note, a form submission is a very basic setup in Google Analytics; call tracking is much more complex and typically involves third party software that can create a unique phone number on your website specific to a marketing campaign. I only point out call tracking because I find that many are surprised to learn that this is something that is actually possible (http://www.dialogtech.com/ for example does this).
Secondly, I want to better understand why people are leaving my website before calling or submitting an appointment request. Google Analytics will give quantitative metrics about this, but you really need qualitative feedback to get the whole picture. There are many web based survey tools (Survey Monkey), but Google now offers a very basic site satisfaction tool that is easy to set up and will allow you to start gathering more data directly from your audience. With this tool, start by asking if the user was satisfied with their experience. Based on their response, you can add a few other basic questions like “Did you find what you were looking for?” If they were dissatisfied, trigger a question about what they found frustrating.
After a few months of gathering conversion data and direct responses from my website users, my digital marketer may learn that our audience is leaving our site because they are seeking a service we don’t provide. This could be a clue that we need to more clearly target our audience with copywriting to clearly call out what we provide. Perhaps people are leaving because they are seeking an orthodontist in Spokane and I’m in Miami. This could be a signal that you need to work on your local SEO strategy.
Now that I have some insight into why my conversion rate is low, I can take action. I work with my digital marketer to make sure my page copy and titles accurately reflect our services and markets and that we have our Name, Address and Phone in the footer of our page template. To take this a step further, you could set up A/B tests to monitor the success of your changes. In other words, you could serve the new version of your page to a test audience and once that version proves that it can increase conversion, then you can publish to every user. This sounds a bit technical and it is, but tools like Google Content Experiments make these tests easy to set up and they can be extremely useful for improving conversion rates for your web traffic.
Keep in mind that improving conversion requires a commitment to understanding your audience and making improvements to cater to their needs. Please share your feedback in the comments and let me know if there are conversion questions I can answer.