Conversion Rate Optimisation: What you need to know about CRO
Conversion Rate Optimisation is vitally important for online businesses to drive sign-ups and increase sales. A recent report from RedEye and Econsultancy suggests almost 90 per cent of ad agencies and 87 per cent of in-house respondents agreed that ‘Conversion Rate Optimization’ has become more important in the last five years.
Getting website traffic isn’t enough; when the traffic arrives you want sales, leads, interaction and engagement. So what do conversion rates mean? They basically mean the percentage of users that convert into a sale or a lead. Making sure that those clients that come to your website want precisely what you are offering and either buy or contact you for more information (it’s worth checking out my blog on effective e-commerce website design for more info on creating a successful website).
Aside from increasing customer satisfaction and driving website traffic, which is a minor part of the success strategy, it’s important to keep users engaging with your company by introducing changes on the website that make it more appealing.
I wrote a blog earlier in the year all about the importance of digital communication – but in a nutshell, it is important to regularly update the website to increase appeal by feeding new and fresh content – a regular blog, infographics, useful information for users – and trying to increase average time spent by user on website.
There are a number of ways you can increase conversions, so I’ve pulled together some key factors you should consider to help optimise your conversion rate.
1) Getting to know and understand your customer
First things first, you need to do your research to enable you to fully understand your customer so try and put yourself in their shoes.
Try buying the service or product and when you do so take screenshots or use Camtasia or something similar to record yourself buying it. I am always surprised how many people haven’t bought a product from their own site.
It sounds like common sense, but you must first understand exactly what you’re selling before you can increase sales. Once you’ve bought the product, use it as a customer would. Take it apart and put it back together, test it and try demonstrating it to others as a salesperson would.
It’s quick and easy to do and helps massively with analysing traffic and potential opportunities so it may surprise you that many companies haven’t set up funnels and goals in Google Analytics (or they have set it up but haven’t used it since). When they’re set up correctly they’ll quickly show you where the biggest opportunities are and where you’re losing traffic.
If you don’t have this set up and are unsure of how to, take a look at this excellent article on Google Analytics goals and funnels for a whistle-stop tour.
Crazy Egg is another valuable tool. It works by generating heatmaps of your website, to illustrate which areas get the most clicks. Crazy Egg also looks for clicks on inactive elements, as they can be a great source of quick wins.
Also, don’t forget to ask your customers directly through a survey. SurveyMonkey allows you to create a survey, which can be emailed to your customers and non-customers – or you could try the old fashioned way of just picking up the phone and speaking to them directly.
2) Creating the solution
Once you’ve completed all the research I have suggested above, the next step is to pull together a spreadsheet with a list of all the possible usability issues which prevents customers from buying on one tab, and the objections (won’t buy) on another. Take a look through and flag the ones that appear most often, or that you think can have a big impact and brainstorm ways to overcome them.
So now you have an idea of the issues and the possible solutions, you need to tackle them in the right order. To do this right, it’s usually best to team up with your website developers and go through the list together as they will be able to point out which ones can be developed and tested quickly and easily. If they match up with the ones you flagged, it’s a good place to start.
3) Development and testing
Now it’s time to start developing the variations. Be scientific in your testing and you’ll get bigger wins quicker.
It is vitally important not to forget the analytics when testing. This can be done easily if the Crazy Egg code is in your footer as it’ll be on the new variations automatically. Just set up a test at CrazyEgg and you’ll get a heatmap for the new page. Compare the two heatmaps and you’ll gain a much better insight to why one page is converting more than the other.
After the testing has been done, you will need to log the results and store them with your screenshots of the variations. As the process is repeated, you’ll build up a folder of what does and does not work.
Just as big wins are great, you must also pay close attention to the big losses – the best way to do this is to just flip it round and instead of saying, “page 1 lowered the conversion rate by x%”, you could say, “something about page 2 effectively increased the conversion rate by y% over Page 1” and the next stage is to find out what that something is.
In regard to getting a win, you should ask yourself, “How can this be developed?” For example, if you have recently added a testimonial to your landing page to positive effect, what would happen if you added even more? Single out the winning factors and build on them to see how big a win you can get.
Then you need to consider, “How can this be applied elsewhere?” Look at the principle that had a positive impact on the conversion rate whether it be building trust, introducing a guarantee or focusing on a particular product benefit – and see if and how it can be applied elsewhere, to other parts of the funnel.
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