You haven’t made any changes to your website since you’ve launched your online store? You’re investing a lot in paid advertising in the hope of boosting sales, but you’re not getting much out of it? If this is the case, maybe it’s time to include CRO in your marketing mix.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is a reiterative, sustainable process that focuses on increasing the number of web visitors who take a desired action, like purchasing a product or filling out a form.
It implies analyzing user behaviour both from a quantitative and qualitative perspective in order to identify the biggest drop-off points in the conversion funnel. Then, the CRO process continues by isolating these areas and running A/B tests as a way of optimizing user experience and turning more visitors into customers.
Here are a few ways CRO can help you boost sales and grow your online business:
1. Get more conversions without having to increase your website traffic
If paid advertising brings a lot of visitors on your website, but only a small percentage of them converts, maybe it’s time to take advantage of your existing traffic and lower your ad spend for the time being.
There’s no use in paying for ads as long as most of your prospects end up leaving the website without taking the desired action. This is just wasted traffic and wasted money. Wouldn’t it be better to get a higher percentage of visitors to convert before investing even more in PPC campaigns? This is where CRO comes into the picture.
Now, I’m not saying that you don’t need traffic on your website. Of course you do. As a matter of fact, in order to ensure an effective A/B testing process, you need at least 5,000 unique visitors per week to the page you want to run an experiment on.
All I’m saying is: before you invite more people to the party, clean the house first. Make sure your landing pages are relevant and they match your ads in terms of message and visual identity, improve user experience, simplify the conversion funnel, write compelling product copy and so on.
Once you optimize the conversion process and win over more customers, you can slowly increase traffic to boost your revenue even more.
2. Gain a better understanding of user behaviour
You should have an idea of who your audience is by now, but if you’re still struggling to figure out your main categories of buyers, check out this guide on developing buyer personas.
Now that you’re more familiar with your customers in terms of demographic information (age, gender, location, level of education, income) you can use conversion rate optimization to learn even more about your prospects, leads and customers by focusing on website navigation.
Using qualitative research methods and tools like session recordings, feedback site polls, heatmaps, customer surveys and user testing you’ll learn more about the ways visitors interact with certain elements on the page, if they find the flow intuitive and easy to navigate or they often get stuck, what kind of copy motivates them to buy, what are their pain points, what stimulates them to make a purchase decision and what doesn’t.
Getting to know your visitors and understanding their on-site behaviour helps you:
- Optimize user experience – arrange elements on page in an intuitive way and reduce the amount of time visitors need to complete certain tasks on your website, thus creating a smooth user experience.
- Reduce friction and improve the conversion funnel – by observing users’ behaviour on site, you might, for instance, learn that they get stuck mostly in the checkout process. It seems that they are reluctant to place orders because they don’t know if their transactions are secured. You’ve just identified why users drop-off on checkout and now you can apply a treatment – maybe add some trust badges and/or customer reviews to reduce anxiety and make users feel safe spending money on your website.
- Create relevant A/B tests – let’s say that you have managed to pinpoint the issues visitors are facing on your product page. Now you have to create testing hypotheses that would address these issues in the right manner. Coming up with a testing idea that is based on a hunch or copying what your competitors are doing are not strategies you want to follow as you lay out your A/B testing process. Instead, you should base your testing hypotheses on what users truly want and need. And user research can help a lot with this!
- Build a compelling value proposition – knowing your users helps you speak their language and tailor your marketing message to meet their needs and desires. Your value proposition should sum up a core message targeted to your audience: how your product/service can improve their lives and why your product/service is better than your competitors’.
3. Manage your ad spend efficiently
If up until now you’ve only used paid advertising to increase sales, you must be spending a lot! Competitors are always challenging your market position by raising their bids and the only thing to do in order to keep your brand alive and your business afloat is to invest even more in PPC campaigns. It’s a tough world out there!
But have you ever thought about changing the tactics and looking at the situation from another angle? For instance, if you were to improve your landing page experience, you could reduce acquisition costs and outbid your competitors. Your landing page is the only thing that is 100% under your control and your competition has no influence over.
Using the right landing page optimization strategy you’ll manage to increase sales and lower your PPC costs.
4. Make data-driven decisions – no more guesswork!
Before CRO and A/B testing, we used to make changes on our websites based on pure gut feeling. We’ve just assumed that adding or removing certain elements or redesigning the website completely would improve user experience.
Luckily, with CRO there’s no guesswork! Because you’ll only make data-driven decisions, you won’t be wasting time and resources based on sheer assumptions. You can be confident that A/B testing results reflect the reality, because it’s based on how real customers interact with your website. Not to mention that qualitative research can reveal even more insights with regard to user behaviour and motivation.
CRO is about making rational decisions and following a logical flow. And this is because at the centre of it all lies the customer.
5. Improve customer lifetime value
A business can’t survive long without a solid customer retention strategy. Returning visitors are highly important because they keep your business going by ensuring a constant revenue.
Moreover, according to a study conducted by KPMG, 30% of customers tend to buy from a website they’ve already bought from. Let’s say you’re really putting effort into building a loyalty program and trying to keep customers close through email marketing campaigns.
However, none of this matters anymore if you don’t provide an easy and smooth user experience and as a consequence, visitors don’t enjoy or don’t feel safe spending money on your website. On the other hand, a website that is easy to navigate and conveys trust and credibility makes users return over and over again.
Thus, conversion rate optimization can help you improve shopping experience and have more customers come back. As a result, you’ll benefit from an increase in customer lifetime value and a higher revenue.
What NOT to expect from CRO
- Don’t expect immediate results. CRO is a long-term commitment and results don’t show overnight. Instead, it’s based on incremental wins and you’ll notice a lift in your revenue in time, not after a week.
- Don’t expect all A/B tests to be winners. In fact, statistics show that anywhere from 50% to 80% of test results are inconclusive. If we knew what works and what doesn’t, we wouldn’t be testing in the first place, would we? A/B testing implies a continuous learning process. Therefore, one should be patient and get used to failed or inconclusive experiments, because each A/B test, be it a winner or not, gets you one step closer to providing customers with what they want.
- If you plan on copying what your competitors do, don’t expect the same results. If it works for them, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you as well. Sure, there are best practices in CRO and tests that have scored a high success rate for several websites, but you shouldn’t rely 100% on this. You should design your own A/B tests based on what YOUR customers need and want. Copying what others do is often a waste of time and money and it doesn’t always end well for you. So it’s better to work closely with a conversion rate optimization agency in order to develop a personalized CRO plan.
If you still feel confused and you want to know how conversion rate optimization can help your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re always happy to help out!