Your website is a valuable asset.
It can be successfully leveraged to increase your reach to your target audience and drive more sales to your business. But not every visitor that comes to your site will make a purchase.
And every visitor that leaves represents a lost opportunity unless you take the steps to understand why. Most business owners assume more traffic is the answer but this is not always the right approach.
Even a search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy would fail to produce a measurable return on investment if the traffic fails to convert.
Visitors respond to very specific cues.
Developing a strategy to increase their response is at the very heart of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). A conversion can mean anything for your business whether a visitor makes a purchase, signs up for a newsletter or even downloads a free guide.
Implementing a CRO strategy could completely transform your business, without relying on traffic techniques or other forms of marketing. One extra customer each month may not mean much but an additional 30 would.
CRO involves the following set of steps.
1. Identifying why conversions are low (research and data mining)
2. Setting objectives (setting conversion goals)
3. Fixing it (developing variations)
4. Testing the results (A/B testing)
5. Analysing the results (review)
6. Repeating the steps (repeat)
The process is anything but simple.
Its implementation is significant as an increase of just 1% in conversions can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line. On a larger scale, the difference becomes impossible to ignore.
Why CRO Matters
Higher conversions ultimately mean more paying customers.
And it’s why companies around the world have dedicated budgets for CRO as they understand that just one change in their sales funnel can generate millions of dollars in profits.
Business growth is almost inevitable as more revenue means being able to reinvest those profits into new marketing campaigns to increase market share.
The following is a detailed guide for implementing CRO into your own business.
1. Research and Data Mining
The first step is to determine how visitors are interacting on your pages. If data shows that visitors are quickly leaving your pages, you need to figure out why. Most companies neglect to look at this information in detail and are only losing potential customers to competitors.
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool that provides deep insight as it can be used to track visitor behavior in detail.
The following are important metrics to research.
Traffic: This figure is valuable as it allows you to see which keywords visitors are using to find your pages and where they are coming from. While CRO is not concerned with increasing traffic, a website with low traffic figures makes it difficult for CRO to be effective.
Conversions: A conversion can be anything depending on your business objectives. If one visitor out of every 100 completed a desired action, the conversion rate is 1%. This number is extremely relevant as it serves as a baseline of how it can be further improved.
Bounce rate: This value refers to how long visitors stay on your pages. If visitors are leaving the moment they land on your pages, it means they are either not part of your target market or the page is poorly designed. The trick is figuring out which one it is so a plan can be implemented.
Landing pages: These are perhaps the most important pages on your website and can be a product listing or a sales page. They outline exactly what your business offers and encourages visitors to take action. Measuring data on these pages is important to assess their current performance.
Conducting research in this manner is absolutely necessary to establish initial traffic and conversion baselines. The data also becomes invaluable as a CRO strategy gets implemented.
The research phase should not be taken lightly as it gives an honest overview of how your website is performing and which areas need improvement.
2. Set Up Conversion Goals with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the tool of choice when it comes to tracking key statistics of your website. Getting started is extremely easy. Simply sign up for a new account and follow the steps to get the track code installed on your website.
The dashboard provides a brief overview of traffic figures along with which pages received the most visits.
What really makes Google Analytics shine is the ability to get down to specifics. It allows you to see exactly what keywords visitors used to find your pages (if they came from the search engines), their geographic location, the actions they took and so much more.
But one really underused feature that stands out is the ability to define specific goals. Goals allow you to set specific objectives and measure exactly how certain pages are converting.
To get started, log into your Google Analytics.
On the left hand side under Standard Reports click on Conversions. Click Goals then Overview.
Then click Set up goals and you will be presented with the following page.
Click Create a Goal. The next page is where you add more details about the specific goals you want to track. Goals can range from placing an order, creating an account, sharing to social media, downloading a new product, etc.
Which one you choose will depends on what you want to achieve.
Other attributes can also be set including the goal type and value. When the last step is finished, click Verify to test the new setup.
The conversions begin tracking immediately and you can see the conversion rates on your landing pages. Once sufficient data has been collected, the next step is to develop new variations.
3. Develop Landing Page Variations
Small changes in the following can have significant impacts on your conversion rate:
- Social proof
This is only a small selection of changes that can be made. The ultimate goal is to reduce bounce rate and improve responses from visitors.
When doing CRO, it’s tempting to want to try to measure every single detail but doing so is easy to get confused. The key is to only track one change at a time and assess its performance.
Variations can be done on the following pages.
Homepage: The homepage tends to receive the most traffic. It needs to present a clear offer and tell visitors exactly how to take advantage of it whether it be from making a purchase or filling out a form. Optimising the home page is one of the best places to start a CRO strategy.
Landing pages: These pages are crucial as they give more details about the products and services your business offers. These pages should be constantly tested and optimised for more conversions.
Product pages: If you have an ecommerce site you should always test different layouts of your product pages. This can be as simple as adding a testimonial, adding more benefits or even including a video demo of the product.
Thank you pages: A thank you page is what visitors see after making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. This page can be optimised to offer a special discount for future orders or encourage visitors to share via social media.
Once the variations are in place, the next step is to start testing. This is where everything starts to come together including the data from the research phase.
4. Use A/B Testing with Content Experiments
Google Analytics now has a feature that makes it easy to compare multiple variations of the same page, also known as A/B testing.
One variation (or more) of the same page are displayed to one group of visitors while the original is displayed to another group. After enough data is collected, the results are measured to see which page converted better.
To get started, log into your Google Analytics account.
Under the Content tab, click on Experiments.
You will then see the following page.
The first step is to add the URL of the page you want to test. Then select a metric to measure and how many visitors you want to expose the new variations to.
Setting this value to 50% means that half of the visitors will see the original page while the other half will see the new variation. It allows the variation an equal chance to compete with the original.
Once everything goes live the results can be viewed in real time. Both the original and the variation should be allowed sufficient time and traffic before conclusions can be drawn.
The data from doing an A/B split test is absolutely invaluable and plays a huge role in the next step.
5. Review the Results
Not every variation you make will have the same results. Some changes will drastically improve conversions while others will be a complete flop.
But you would never know unless you tested it which is why CRO is so valuable.
Once the tests have been completed, it’s time to review the results. Even if your gut instinct told you that one variation would be a success, the numbers are impossible to ignore.
Google Analytics gives detailed statistics on the conversion rates for each variation. If data shows a variation produced lower conversions than the original page, the winner is clear.
But this does not mean that a test was a complete failure. It just means that several factors on the original page were responsible for its success. More tests need to be conducted to identify exactly what those factors are.
Once a variation outperforms the original page, the next step is to develop it further and to begin applying it to other pages. If a simple addition of a testimonial increased conversions then adding more or tweaking other elements could prove to be even more profitable.
This could be as simple as introducing a guarantee, making a change to a headline or emphasizing a specific benefit.
CRO does not end even when winning variations are found. It’s a continuous process that requires consistent effort to maximize conversions.
Conversions can always be improved and more can always be squeezed out of your pages. After carefully reviewing the results, it’s time to repeat the process again by testing new variations.
Proper CRO is intensive and involves a great deal of research, development and tracking for desired results.
But done right optimising your conversions can have lasting effects on your business and help you achieve your objectives faster than you thought possible.
Essential Tips Before Starting
Investing in CRO is one of the best decisions you will ever make for your business. The following are tips to take into consideration before starting.
Always test one thing: Variations should always test one change at a time. This makes it easy to determine exactly what factor is responsible for an increase or decrease in conversions. Testing too many things makes it difficult to track results.
Traffic levels need to be sufficient: Making changes to landing pages with low traffic is unproductive. Variations needs to be exposed to at least a few hundred (and ideally more) visitors before making any conclusions.
Track everything: Analytics already makes it easy to track all the most important details but keeping separate spreadsheets of all data helps to manage everything. Keeping track of what works and what doesn’t is crucial.
Do not listen to conventional wisdom: There is no shortage of information available with regards to increasing conversions. But what may work for one industry may not necessarily translate to similar results for your business.
Constantly experiment: Even if one variation continues to outperform all other pages, it is still a good idea to constantly experiment with new variations. You may come across a single change that could dramatically increase your revenue.
Smart ROI offers CRO services to implement an appropriate strategy to increase conversions on your most profitable pages. We do this through research, development, tracking, and report.
Our team of professionals understand that conversion optimisation plays a crucial role as part of an overall online marketing strategy.
Contact us today for more details about how our CRO services can improve your bottom line.