By Nancy Marshall, The PR Maven® 

How Conversion Rate Optimization Can Help Your Business Grow and Thrive

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of getting visitors to your website to complete a desired action, such as buying a product or contacting the sales team.

Marketing isn’t really about you or your business. It’s about your target audience and the problems they’re trying to solve. Marty Greif says marketers need to think and care more about their website visitors if they want to win customers.

“I’m a selfish person,” he admits. “I’m self-centered. And the reason for that is, I’m an animal, and so are you.” As marketers, we have to overcome these instincts to win over customers and help our businesses succeed. 

Marty is an expert in conversion rate optimization (CRO), the process of persuading website visitors to complete an action, such as subscribing to a service, buying a product or contacting your sales team. As president of SiteTuners, he helps businesses ensure every touch point on their website is persuasive.

On episode 264 of The PR Maven® podcast, I spoke with Marty about simple steps that businesses can take to optimize conversions, the importance of understanding your audience and why every marketer should read “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

How Conversion Rate Optimization Can Help Your Business Grow and Thrive

What is conversion rate optimization?

Marty describes his team at SiteTuners as “the online persuasion people.”

“We get people to take more, buy more, subscribe to things, become leads, whatever it is the website wants people to do,” he explains. 

Conversion rate optimization versus search engine optimization

Conversion rate optimization sounds a lot like search engine optimization (SEO), but they’re very different concepts.

SEO is all about driving traffic to your website by making sure it shows up in search results. “CRO, on the other hand, is making sure that the traffic that comes to your website actually does what you want them to do,” Marty says.

CRO requires having different user journeys for the different types of visitors that come to your website.

“When people come to your website, they’re anywhere from wondering what you do to needing exactly what you do, or somewhere in between,” Marty explains. Conversion rate optimization means creating journeys that move each type of visitor through your sales funnel.

Visitors are the key to CRO

There are countless tactics you can use to optimize your conversion rate, but according to Marty, it all comes down to caring about your visitors.

“At the end of the day, the only people that matter are the website visitors,” he says. “My opinion of someone’s website doesn’t matter. Neither does the owner of the company.”

Marty has a word of caution for marketers who rely on personas to understand their visitors. Sometimes, personas rely too much on describing visitors as people — “a 32-year-old woman who likes wine and cheese” — rather than describing the problems they want to solve and the constraints they have.

“It’s all about what information [the visitor] needs to be able to go from where they are to where you want them to get to,” Marty says. “And it’s all about solving their problems.” 

Once you understand your visitors and their pain points, you can craft user journeys that are all about them. That’s the key to CRO.

Getting started with CRO

CRO can make a significant difference to your website. Marty says that SiteTuners helped Nyraju, a skincare brand, increase conversions by 277% by overhauling its website to focus on visitors. Even if you already have a modern website, you can expect a 25-50% increase in conversions and revenue by implementing CRO.

Get better at understanding and relating to people

Marty has two pieces of advice for marketers who want to learn to think more about visitors — two tips that “have almost nothing to do with your website and everything to do with your website.” 

First, he suggests reading Dale Carnegie’s classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” first published in 1936. “Read it twice a year,” he says. The book may be old, but people haven’t changed, so his advice on connecting with people is still useful.

Marty’s second tip is to talk to strangers — without using the word “I.”

“If you don’t use the word ‘I,’ you have to think about them,” he says. For example, if someone says they’ve had a certain experience, instead of saying that you’ve experienced it too, ask  them to tell you more.

“This will make you more successful in business,” Marty promises. “And when it becomes a habit, you’ll start to do it on your website. And when you do it on your website, people will give you money.” 

Make it easy for people to convert

CRO can be a never-ending process of constantly tweaking every page and button on your website. But there are simple steps you can take to get started and achieve quick wins early on in the process:

1. Create your basic message — then put it everywhere

Figure out how to describe your business in six to ten words, in a way that’s relevant to the visitor. Then make sure that message appears on every page on your website.

“You have no control over what page somebody lands on” after searching for your website, Marty explains. By putting your message at the top of every page, “no matter what page they land on, they will know what it is your company does, in a way that relates to what their need is.” 

2. Put your phone number on your website

“Real companies have their phone number [on their website],” Marty says. He suggests putting it in the upper right-hand corner of your desktop site and adding a click-to-call icon on your mobile site.

“It’s a trust symbol,” he explains. And it increases the conversion rate for sales, subscriptions and leads. (You don’t need someone answering every call, either. You can just route the number to a friendly voicemail message and return the call later.)

3. Create a trust bar

Every place you have a call to action on your website, you should add something underneath it that indicates that customers can trust you. Marty’s suggestions include:

  • “Join thousands of customers worldwide”
  • “Over 10 million products shipped”
  • Reviews
  • Better Business Bureau logos

I followed Marty’s advice when I rebuilt the PR Maven® website recently. If you scroll down on the homepage, I added the logos of the professional organizations I belong to show that the PR Maven® is part of a larger network of trustworthy organizations.

Marty’s resources for becoming a people-centric marketer

If you want to get better at understanding people so you can improve your marketing efforts, Marty has an unusual recommendation: “What Women Want Men to Know” by Barbara de Angelis.

Marty jokes that reading this book made him realize that “we’re all dysfunctional,” but it really helped him understand how people process information. “It absolutely changed all of the marketing I did,” he says.

He also recommends his own book, “True Connections: Relationship Marketing in the Digital World.” It’s written for business owners and executives who want to get their marketing under control.

Marty says that getting better at understanding people is bigger than just marketing. “It made me a better employee, a better boss, a better spouse, a better father,” he says. If you can achieve all that and increase your conversions, there’s no reason not to try it!


This is based on episode 264 of The PR Maven® Podcast, a podcast hosted by Nancy Marshall. Weekly interviews feature industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers to give listeners a peek into the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding. Subscribe through Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.