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What is conversion rate optimisation?

Conversion rate optimisation or CRO for short is the active improvement of the rate at which a user passes from one step in a funnel to another. CRO can be used to improve any metric on your website that’s important to your business–often called key performance indicators (KPIs) and is often associated with reaching an online goal. E.g., Form completions, downloads, views, or sales.

By understanding your conversion points and analysing the data that surrounds it, you have the ability to impact the success and value of all your marketing efforts. An increased conversion rate directly reduces the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) which extends your marketing runway. A reduced CPA means you’re spending less money on every conversion which increases the effectiveness of your digital acquisition channels.

The conversion rate has a profound effect on the success and value of all your marketing efforts. An increased conversion rate directly reduces the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of your paid campaigns.

You may have heard the concept; In order to retain more water a leaky bucket doesn’t need more water, it needs its holes filled. This is in essence what CRO does for your leaky marketing budget by enabling more leads to fill the top of your funnel (bucket) and in turn filter down into the higher qualified stages of your sales funnel. Let’s explore why that’s important for your business.

Why does CRO matter?

Getting traffic to your site is only half the equation, regardless of the channel you are using to bring traffic volume to your website chances are you will want these people to take an action on your website/app. Here are some common problems businesses encounter related to low conversion rates:

  • My site gets traffic but doesn’t generate enough leads
  • Visitors to my website leave before converting to a sale
  • I’ve increased my Ad budget but aren’t seeing an increase in enquiries
  • I’m getting lots of traffic from Google but only a small amount actually turns into sales

And here are some of the most common root causes

  • Not making it clear what the product or service does
  • Not articulating the value and benefits of their product or service
  • Not making it clear what happens once the visitor says yes
  • Complicating the process by thinking that more info will help
  • Thinking that the top of the funnel is separate from the middle
  • Throwing more money at advertising without focusing on conversions

All of the above will actually lead to a reduction in conversion rate and an increase in CPA. Exactly what you don’t want. Let’s now look at whose responsibility it is to optimise conversions.

Who should be responsible for CRO?

In real terms, anyone in your organisation who has anything to do with the sales funnel has some form of responsibility for its performance. From web designers to copywriters, to the salespeople who answer the phone all the way through to your legal support team.

Generally speaking, a Conversion Rate Optimisation specialist skilled at navigating each area of the business is required to get the best outcome. A CRO specialist whether in-house or external should come with the skills needed to:

Setup you up for conversion success

Reduce your Cost Per Acquisition

  • Investigate the current sales funnel and channels
  • Gain and interpret insights from analytics, advertising data and heuristic analysis
  • Create landing pages and variations for testing
  • Recommend areas of improvement

Optimise your conversion funnel

  • Conduct CRO reporting by analysing multiple data points to provide detailed recommendations and suggestions
  • Setup visitor tracking including; heat-maps, click-maps and visitor recordings
  • Conduct on and off-page traffic and customer surveys
  • Be able to communicate cross-functional with the Developers, Designers, Copywriters, Management, SEO/SEM/Social team and your Legal Team

Now that you know what a Conversion Optimisation Specialist does, when should you start doing something about it?

Getting started with CRO

Like any business problem, there is usually a trigger point that highlights the need to begin working on conversion optimisation, this usually comes in the form of:

  1. How do we capture more market share and grow our business?
  2. We’re spending too much on acquisition without getting sales, how do we reduce our cost to acquire customers?

 

Once the above trigger sparks concern in the eyes of the business owners or management this usually sparks the beginning of their journey into increasing conversion rates.

However, now that you know a bit more about conversion rate optimisation than you did before you might choose to get ahead of the game and not wait until there’s a problem to fix. You could start working on conversion right now or even before you launch a new business website by keeping your conversion funnel front and centre in your mind.

Let see what that means…

What does the CRO process look like?

Conversion is about taking action through a well-defined and manicured funnel which you ideally control to the utmost degree.

The first point of call for any conversion analysis is ensuring that we are analysing and tracking the correct data. This means reviewing whether the website is correctly set up to track the main conversion goals of the website otherwise there’s a good chance you’re getting dirty data coming through.

The process outlined below indicates the common stages you would go through when conducting CRO, as the nature of CRO requires there to be a test-and-learn mentality the below process tends to loop over and over again until the desired outcome has been reached.

1. Tracking Setup
Ensuring your set for success by building the right foundation and correct conversion tracking setup

2. Quantitative Analysis
Sales funnel data analysis using analytics data and technical analysis tools

3. Qualitative Analysis
Understanding why certain behaviours occur by reviewing visitor tracking data including; heat maps, click-maps and visitor recordings

4. In-depth CRO reporting
Heuristic analysis of all data points collected alongside best practices to provide detailed recommendations and suggestions

5. Hypothesis Testing
Formulation of different conversion scenarios or element variations to be tested against the control data

6. Evaluation
Ongoing conversion monitoring

7. Execution
Implementation of successful recommendations

At the end of the day website, users are really individual people influenced by cognitive biases and human psychology, having a detailed understanding of your target audience and their intentions as they pass through each stage of the funnel will be your ultimate weapon in determining how to influence conversion rates.

 

There are plenty of resources and books available to continue your conversion learning journey, it can get quite detailed and complex. The level of detail you need for your business will likely depend on how much data you have to work with, some larger organisations require small button, colour, and wording changes to be tested week to week for improvements whilst others will see positive movements from creating dedicated landing pages. The bigger the change, the bigger the result in either direction, so be careful what you test.

If you need help with growing your market share or getting more results from your existing marketing spend, then it’s highly likely that speaking to a conversion rate optimisation specialist will produce compound results for your business.

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