8 Common Conversion Optimization Mistakes

By  May 2nd, 2016


Everyone makes mistakes – whether it’s in marketing or in our daily interactions with other people. Even if you’re a seasoned marketer, there are a number of conversion optimization mistakes you could be making. In this post, I’ll outline some of the most common conversion optimization mistakes so that you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Copying Others

The beauty of marketing is that there isn’t one foolproof rule that works for everyone. However, many people make the mistake of doing exactly what someone else did. For instance, perhaps you read a study that showed that a red call-to-action button worked well for a certain company’s conversions. So you simply change your CTA buttons to red too.

It’s important to remember that your audience is completely different from the other company’s audience. What works for them won’t necessarily work for you. You could use their test results as inspiration, but you’ll need to run a completely different test on your own website. Identify the best and worst performing pages on your website. Take advantage of analytics tools like the Crazy Egg heatmap to observe user behavior.


Mistake #2: Wrong CTA Placement

Where you position your call-to-action can have a huge impact on your conversions. One of the biggest conversion optimization mistakes marketers make is moving their CTA button to the wrong place. As a result, the button can become ignored and not get enough clicks.

Many websites swear by above-the-fold CTA placement, but this may not always work. Placing your call-to-action button above the fold can be a good idea if you’re making a free or low-cost offer. This is because you don’t have to do much to convince people to take that action.

Yet when it comes to high-cost products or services, it may be better to position your CTA below the fold. This is because you still have to convince people and answer their questions or doubts about what you’re offering. A study by ContentVerve found that switching the CTA from above-the-fold to below-the-fold increased conversions by 304%.


Regardless of where you choose to place your CTA button, make sure it’s prominent so visitors don’t have to search for it. The right CTA placement can differ according to the product or service you’re offering. Run several tests to find out which works best for you.

Mistake #3: Not Running A Test

While some people run tests on low-traffic websites, others avoid running tests altogether. If you’re relying on someone else’s test results or research you found online, you’re making one of the top conversion optimization mistakes. Making changes based on these resources alone may not produce effective results.

When you refer to third-party research, take time to run a split test and find out which works best for your business. An A/B test will help you understand the color and design preferences of your site’s unique visitors. Therefore, you’ll be able to stick with something that makes a positive difference. I suggest using A/B testing tools like Optimizely or VWO or Convert to run your test.


Mistake #4: Too Many Changes In One Go

Where some change too little, others make conversion optimization mistakes by changing too much all at once.

Tests are supposed to show you how a certain change affects your performance. How will you know which test did what for your website if you’re making too many changes all at the same time?

The answer is you won’t. It’s impossible to identify what exactly you should implement to get long-term improvement.

Mistake #5: Improper/Ineffective Targeting

Having a lot of website traffic is crucial for conversions, but getting the right kind of visitors is equally important. What’s the point of getting 100 visitors when only five of them are interested in your product or service? Even your CRO efforts won’t make much of a difference because your visitors have no need for what you have to offer.

For example, image you’re running an eCommerce website focused on baby products. If your traffic mostly comprises of teenagers, there won’t be many conversions. You need to focus your marketing efforts on attracting relevant traffic to avoid these conversion optimization mistakes. You’ll need to target users according to certain characteristics that are related to your business.

It’s best to further advance your targeting efforts by creating different buyer personas. Maybe your website has separate sections that pertain to a certain type of customer. Conducting various tests based on these personas can help you execute a well-targeted CRO plan. Take a look at the image below for some personas created by Hubspot.


Mistake #6: Not Focusing On Customer LTV

Making lots of conversions is great for a business; however, the real focus should be on increasing customer lifetime value (LTV). It’s significantly easier to convert an existing customer than an entirely new one. What if the product isn’t meeting your customers’ expectations or they’re confused about how to use it? This will result in a slew of disappointed customers, which will negatively affect your performance long-term.

Putting all your effort on driving conversions is one of the common conversion optimization mistakes. Instead you need to focus on delivering your promises to customers. For instance, you could try to provide content that will guide them on using your product. In the image below, there’s an excellent example of how customer lifetime value can contribute to a company’s profits:


Mistake #7: Giving Up Or Being Satisfied Too Early

Many of the changes you make have a chance of failing. Even if the changes show positive improvement in your performance, you could have a drop in sales during the initial stages of implementation. Some marketers fold when they see these negative results. This is easily one of the biggest conversion optimization mistakes.

Remember that the initial drop-off period is unavoidable. It’s important that you persevere and wait for the change to yield a positive result. It would also be smart to keep running other tests and find more changes that could bring in more sales. As mentioned before, heatmaps and other analytical tools can be highly effective for understanding user behavior. Then you can identify which areas require changing.

Meanwhile, other marketers are too easily satisfied with the A/B test results they get during the first few days of execution. This is another of the huge conversion optimization mistakes. Test results can vary greatly depending on certain days of the week and hours of the day. It’s essential to carry out the test for several weeks to better understand the variations. Overall, you need to give it time before seeing the desired and accurate results.

Mistake #8: Maintaining Unrealistic Expectations

Another of the top conversion optimization mistakes is raising expectations too high. It’s important to remember that even the most minor improvements could greatly impact your long-term performance. Just think about it; a modest 2% improvement in your monthly conversions can be tremendous for your yearly sales performance.

Monetate reports that the average global conversion rate for eCommerce websites is approximately 2.5%. It’s reasonable to expect higher conversions if you’re doing worse than that. But it may be irrational to expect a dramatic increase if your performance is already above-average. Dig deeper into your niche to identify what kind of results you should be expecting.


It’s not easy to successfully execute a CRO plan, especially when there are so many potential conversion optimization mistakes. Take the precautionary steps mentioned above to avoid the common conversion optimization mistakes other marketers are making. You should be able to get closer to achieving your conversion goals with perseverance and proper planning.

Have you made any of these or other conversion optimization mistakes? Feel free to share what you’ve learned in the comments below!

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* Adapted lead image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by kenteegardin

About the Author:

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant, named the #1 social media consultant in the nation by PROskore Power Rankings. He has expertise in business development, online marketing and is an SEO specialist who has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and a number of A-list celebrities.

Shane Barker

Everyone makes mistakes – whether it’s in marketing or in our daily interactions with other people. Even if you’re a seasoned marketer, there are a number of conversion optimization mistakes you could be making. In this post, I’ll outline some […]

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8 Common Conversion Optimization Mistakes

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