Conversion Rate Optimisation , often referred to as CRO for short, is the process of optimising a website to improve the conversion rate of particular on site goals or events. CRO can be overlooked and underutilised in favour of other digital marketing methods that generate conversion and revenue. However, any good digital marketing strategy should include CRO, as it can actually improve the performance of all other digital marketing methods by converting more of those visitors that you have spent time and money on getting to your site. After all – what is the point in increasing the traffic to your site if this traffic is not converting into customers?
Some site owners also fall into the trap of thinking that their existing conversion rate is already good. There is always room for conversion rate improvement, and if your site remains the same while competitors are improving their sites and customer expectations are being raised – then not changing anything can actually result in your site performance declining. So the first question is – where to start with a conversion rate optimisation strategy?
Understanding your customer
One of the most important things that should drive your CRO strategy is giving your customers what they want, where they want, and how they want it. However, one of the big mistakes that is often made in CRO is assuming you already know what your customers want! Instead, quantitative and qualitative data should be used to better understand your customer and drive your CRO decisions. A lot of the quantitative data will come from your website data, such as customer journey paths through your website and landing page testing results. Qualitative data can be harder to interpret, but can give very valuable data about what your customers want, and this data can be collected in surveys and reviews as well as other methods.
Customer Journey Paths
The customer journey path starts with the first interaction with your website (e.g. Ad Click) and includes all the steps until either converting or leaving your site without converting. A lot of this data can be found in your website Analytics reports, such as any conversion funnels you have set up, ‘next page path’ navigation summary analysis, user flow reports and more. You can use this data to answer basic questions such as;
– Are website users taking the expected path through my website?
– Do users go back and forth between the same pages instead of progressing through the conversion path?
– Is the typical path taken by converting users different to the path taken by non converters?
– Are there any steps in the conversion funnel where there is a big drop off?
Methods to improve the customer journey can include;
– The use of a search bar and filtering options so that users can easily navigate to what they want
– Clear next steps/path (could be through as the use of buttons and Calls to action) so that the customer can easily navigate through the conversion funnel
– Clear information at each step of the conversion path so that users don’t have to leave the funnel to search for more information
– Reducing friction that can be caused by long forms and/or collecting sensitive information that isn’t necessary
Landing Page Testing
Two common methods used for testing landing pages are A/B testing and multivariate testing. A/B testing is simply testing two landing page variations against each other, whereas multivariate testing is where multiple variables on a page are modified to see what combination of variations performs best. We would recommend simple A/B testing if your site traffic and conversion volumes are low, whereas multivariate testing requires a large volume of traffic.
There are several ways that landing page testing can be done, including testing two completely different landing pages (usually through A/B testing), or just testing one element at a time on each landing page variation (or multiple elements in multivariate testing). The advantage of the first method is that you usually don’t have to run the experiment as long to find a winner, and you can quickly improve the conversion rate if the new variation is the clear winner. The main disadvantage however, is it is unclear what it was about the new page that made it perform better or worse than the control. The advantages and disadvantages of changing out a single page element at a time (or multiple elements) are the opposite, with it generally taking a longer time to find a winner, but the results can be a lot clearer.
Our advice would be to start with major changes if you are unhappy with your landing page conversion rates, and then once a winner is found, then start testing smaller on page elements. If you have ‘good’ conversion rates already, it could be better to test single elements at a time, or test a smaller proportion of your overall website traffic. It will take longer to confirm a winning landing page, but the risk of damaging your overall site conversion rates is much lower.
Common elements to test include;
– Headline text: size, wording, colours, etc
– Body text: length, wording, format
– Call to Action: wording, placement, size etc
– Testing colours
– Images: type, size, etc
– Different benefits
– Main value proposition
– Different structure/layout
– Additional elements such as social buttons, testimonials, etc
One of the ways to collect data about your website visitor is to survey them. The most valuable data you can collect often comes from those who don’t convert, but data from these users is unfortunately harder to collect. It is much easier to survey existing customers who have completed conversion actions on your site, but often their views can be positively skewed and quite different from those ‘lost’ customers who did not convert.
Some common website survey tools include; Qualaroo, Google Consumer Surveys and Survey Monkey. Each one has different advantages and disadvantages, so you should look into the different options before choosing the best tool for your particular site.
Once you have your survey platform sorted, you will need to decide what questions to ask. The best questions depend on your particular site and customers. Think about the answers that will be most valuable in driving website improvements.
Common questions include;
– What was your main purpose of your visit to our website today?
– Were you able to easily navigate around our site and find what you wanted? Why/Why not?
– What is your main deciding factor when choosing product x? E.g. price, service, etc
– Was there anything about the site that stopped you from purchasing?
In order to get a good response rate, you may also need to consider the length of the survey – in many cases just a single question at a time can be the best way of getting a response. Adding an incentive (e.g. answer a quick question to go in the draw to win…) can also help to dramatically improve response rates.
On-site surveys can be both quantitative and qualitative. Multi choice questions will give you quantitative data to analyse which can be more straightforward, whereas open form answer boxes can give quantitative data that is harder to analyse but can actually give more information about the ‘Why’ behind customer views and behaviour. It is often when you combine the quantitative and qualitative responses that you begin to get valuable insights about how your website can be improved.
Other methods of collecting qualitative data can include; website usability testing, collecting any feedback given to sales teams, and more in depth interviews.
Once you have collected and analysed data using the above or other methods, the most important thing is to actually use this data to drive your website conversion rate optimisation! But remember that conversion rate optimisation is a continual process, where there is always room for improvement, as well as changing customer expectations and competitors. Ultimately, improving your website conversion rates will result in more leads/sales or other conversion actions resulting in a lower cost per acquisition and higher website profitability!
Leanne discovered her passion for marketing and data during her Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Marketing. Leanne’s wide knowledge of digital marketing, in particular paid search, SEO and social media, has flourished after working alongside some of the best minds in the industry at Online Republic and Search Republic. She has passed all of Google's qualifications and prides herself on staying up to date with the latest industry news and trends.