“Businesses with over 40 landing pages are generating 12 times more leads than those with 5 or fewer pages” (Source).
Conversion Rate Optimization, CRO is not a novel concept. In fact, many businesses and brands have been exploiting CRO in one or the other form since the genesis of commerce.
The primary aim of CRO is to secure maximum benefit from your customer base, without having the need to expand it. Yes, that’s the magic of CRO. And what’s more? CRO is for everybody. It is extremely easy to get started with this concept once you know what you are doing.
Meaning of CRO
In simple words, CRO is the process of using user feedback and analytics to improve the performance of your website. It is a practice of optimizing your website to maximize the number of visitors that take the desired action.
Let’s understand this with an example. Imagine you have a blog which gets almost 500 visitors each day. Your monthly revenue is $100 which you get through Google Ads. Is there any way to double up this figure? Well, talking about Google Ads, the only way to increase revenue is by obtaining more clicks.
But how do you do that? Quite simple, you run a few experimental tests.
For instance, sometimes changing the position of ads or fixing them to the side or bottom bar of the page can help to enhance the user experience. So, you can run a couple of these tests to boost the performance of your advertisements.
Once you introduce a few changes, you wait for a specified time period to see if it is positively affecting the revenue. If the revenue goes up, you have just tossed your first successful CRO campaign.
Similarly, you could experiment with a few landing page designs and find out which one converts the best. Or, you could even optimize the performance of your existing landing page by checking out how customers are interacting with your page. These are some of the very basic examples, but this is exactly what CRO is all about- determining what converts best and then using it.
CRO basically increases your sales or conversions without getting an increase in the number of website visitors. So, if your business already enjoys thousands of monthly visitors, you must definitely use CRO to secure some hefty gains in the revenue.
Conversion Rate Optimization- Understanding the Process
Stage I: Research Phase- Identifying the areas of improvement
All successful CRO campaigns start with the research phase that includes gathering significant user data. When you regularly gather and analyse data, you can easily understand the needs and preferences of your users. You can pinpoint locations that are creating resistance to conversions.
Without adequate and reliable data, CRO is merely reduced to intuition. This makes optimization less of a scientific process and more of guesswork. And this definitely cannot create sustainable outcomes.
Moving on, the data collected can be categorized into two types:
The aim of qualitative data is to obtain actionable insights into the users’ patterns and behaviour and determine the reason behind it. getting inside the mind of your website users can help you customize your site in a way that provides them the greatest value.
Qualitative data can be collected in the following ways:
- Usability tests
- Customer surveys
- NPS scores
- Eye tracking and mouse tracking
Quantitative data helps to find out how users interact with your website. The insights revealed from this kind of data is objective instead of subjective. Quantitative data can help in finding out the following:
- How customers are using your product
- Where the traffic is coming from
- Point at which the users abandoned the conversion funnel
Quantitative data is extremely important as it helps to understand your users in a much better way.
Stage II: Hypothesis Phase
By using all the information gathered in the first stage, you can construct a hypothesis. Now you must be wondering what exactly is a hypothesis. Well, let’s understand this with an example.
For instance, you believe that adding social proofs or customer reviews on the product pages can positively impact the sales. It can result in a 5% increase in add to carts as it instills confidence in your purchasing decision.
So, based on this hypothesis, you make the required changes to your product pages. Now these new pages are known as variations. Once you have developed variations, you will test them to check if they yield better conversions or not.
Make sure to always back your hypothesis with solid and authentic proofs. Try to state your hypothesis as comprehensively as possible. This will make it easier to run the CRO campaigns in future.
Stage III: The Prioritization Phase
For this, the P.I.E. framework is believed to be the most reliable. P.I.E. stands for:
- Potential: Detect the pages that hold the most potential and are performing the worst.
- Importance: Narrow down by picking put the ones that receive the most valuable traffic. Traffic is considered valuable when it either pays or is most relevant to your product offering.
- Ease: Finally, when you have a list of pages ready, you need to pick the one that is the easiest to optimize.
This is an important stage that helps you prioritize your testing elements and take the right decision.
Stage IV: Testing Phase
As already discussed, the first hypothesis which will be tested are the ones that are most likely to offer the highest returns.
There are three different ways to run a test:
- A/B Testing
- Split Testing
- Multivariate Testing
Most of the businesses often get confused when it comes to choosing the right kind of test. Below are some points that might help to keep the confusion at bay:
Each testing method comes with its own set of pros and cons. The decision to choose the best one depends upon the issue at hand.
- In case the design changes are not too complex, the A/B testing is majorly preferred.
- Also known as Split URL testing, split testing is used in the following scenarios:
- Design requires major changes against its original version.
- There is a need for making back-end changes, for instance, you need to test a pricing page that is further linked to many tables in the back-end.
- To test pages that exist on different URLs.
- Multivariate testing is used in cases where you need to implement a number of changes on a page and wish to separately test all the combinations.
Stage V: The Learning Phase
At this stage, most of the optimizers fail to dig deep. They only pay attention to the test results and see whether the variation failed or won. If it failed, they will simply go back to developing new hypothesis. They seldom try to draw out meaningful conclusions or take notes of all the new information obtained for future testing.
After you have run a test, there are two possible outcomes of it.
- When your variation has won the test
Although your efforts have paid off, you must take into consideration the following:
- What is the cost of integrating these changes? This can be in terms of design and engineering hours, etc.
- Will the increase in revenue justify the total cost involved?
- When your variation has lost the test
In this, make sure to:
- Recheck your research stats and hypothesis to identify any loopholes
- Authenticate your research data with the help of reliable data gathering tools
- Go through a couple of relevant case studies to detect new possibilities
- Develop a new hypothesis by integrating new insights that you missed during the initial research.
It is important to understand that CRO is not a one-time process. In fact, it is a continuous process that requires constant analysis for there is always scope for improvement. Having a well-structured CRO process in place can help you in making the most of your website and earning higher conversion rates and revenues.
Conversion rate optimization has become a mainstream effort. It enables the business enterprises to comprehend how their users think, perceive and interact with their brand. Besides, a CRO campaign offers highly actionable insights that can be beneficial in shaping the company’s future strategies. In other words, CRO is not just another tool to augment your online presence, it is a tool to make you stand apart.
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James Grills is a technical writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of mobile application development and IoT technology. He is a marketing advisor – currently associated with Cumulations Technologies a mobile app development company in India.
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Really good guide, it’s sad that so many marketer still believe changing color of a button is CRO.