How To Start Conversion Rate Optimization and Develop a CRO Strategy

11Nov, 2018

If you’re operating a website that’s responsible for generating revenue, then you know the importance of SEO, pay-per-click, copywriting and social media.

Getting traffic and keeping them engaged is critical.  However, don’t forget the importance of conversion optimization.  The art of turning that traffic into actual customers.

It doesn’t make any sense to spend money on these inbound marketing tactics that drive traffic to your website if that traffic is leaking slowly out of your funnels. It’s imperative to plug up those holes with a stable conversion rate.  Then keep improving upon that conversion rate to bring it higher.

Putting together a CRO strategy is not as difficult as you think.  This article outlines where you need to put your focus to maximize on conversions and increase revenue.

 

The Five Second Test

The first step in conversion optimization is making sure that your website passes the Five Second Test.

Passing the Five Second Test means that you’ve made it crystal clear to your visitors what you have to offer within five seconds of landing on your website.  Because if you don’t, there’s a good chance they’re going to bounce.

Think of it this way.  It’s not likely that your visitors will be willing to spend five minutes on a handful of say six websites trying to determine if they offer what they need. That would equal thirty minutes of their time completely wasted.  In the end, they still might not find what they need.

That’s why it’s imperative that you tell visitors upfront and immediately what it is you have to offer so they can make a quick decision to stay on your website.  Doing so is likely to lower your bounce rate.

 

Seven Conversion Principles

Once your site passes the Five Second Test, it’s imperative that you make sure that your website satisfies the seven core conversion principles.

The seven core conversion principles are as follows:

Define Value Proposition

After your visitors realize that, yes, you have what they need – the next question they will be asking themselves, why should I choose you?

They’re worried that they’re going to choose the wrong business, that there may be a better choice out there. So it’s vital that you show the potential customers why you are the best choice.

Build Trust

Don’t expect that your visitors will trust your website either.  It’s your job to provide trust indicators such as security seals and customer reviews.

Provide Clarity

Believe it or not, merely providing clarity can significantly increase conversions. Many a site takes there visitors on a wild goose chase and confuses the heck out of them – then expects them to become a customer.

Increase Relevance

It’s also critical that you sell the right product to the right people at the right time, or you will get nowhere.  Can you imagine selling the wrong product to the wrong person at the wrong time?

Amplify Desire

Don’t just lay out the bare facts thinking that it will be enough to persuade visitors.  Increase perceived value at every opportunity.  If you’re offering a newsletter, tell visitors about all the importance that newsletter will provide them.

Eliminate Friction

Most of the recommendations I make are related to friction.  Business websites seem to create many obstacles that they expect their visitors to jump through before they even become a sale.

Way too many form fields that frustrate visitors, slow loading pages, tiny font.  If businesses streamlined the process, prospects would slip through the funnel much more smoothly.

Add Urgency

Other than by using dated coupons, a sense of urgency is one of the hardest principles to implement.  If you risk letting your visitors purchase later….it might end up being never.

If you can create an atmosphere that makes visitors feel like they must purchase now – you avoid that trap.

 

Competitor Reviews

Once you’ve got the front end of your site reviewed, start reviewing your competitor’s websites.  They may be utilizing some strong new trends that could be of value to you.

However, don’t assume right away that everything they’re doing is gold.  Some of the things they’re doing might be lowering conversions.

That said, any discoveries that you make while browsing your competitor’s website should be tested to see if it helps conversions or if it hurts conversions.

 

Analytics

After you’ve scoured the copywriting, navigation, layout and usability of your site, it’s essential that you pull data so that you can turn it into valuable information.

Google Analytics

This platform offers some easy access data as well as some highly in-depth formulas to gather data.  If you’re a novice in Google Analytics, consider spending the money to have an expert pull data.  It would be well worth it.

Heat Maps

Heat maps are an effective way to visually see via color coding where visitors are clicking and how far they are scrolling on your website.

I once conducted a split test and was baffled to see that the mobile version won big but the desktop version lost slightly.  After looking at the desktop page heat maps, it was clear to see that only about 3% were clicking on the homepage logo in the upper lefthand corner but 10% were clicking on it on the test page – but, why?

After scouring the page, we realized that the developers had forgotten to add the live chat button at the bottom of the test page.  It was clear that these visitors were seeking help where they would have otherwise used the live chat button to do so.

Visitor Sessions

I’ve also made some exciting discoveries with visitor sessions.  If you’re not familiar, visitor sessions are actual video recordings of your visitor’s mouse movements as they browse your site.

They show where your visitors move their cursor, where they click and where they scroll.

I was analyzing the visitor sessions for a healthy chocolate cookie website.  After hours of viewing sessions, things seemed pretty standard.  I watched some visitors browse through the pages, some made purchases, and some visitors abandoned the site.

I had started at around noon and watched sessions into the night.  Something interesting happened when I started watching visitor session in the early morning hours.

I was surprised to see how fast the visitors skimmed through the site and bounced from the page.  I didn’t see anyone purchase in those particular sessions.

Then it dawned on me.

People probably don’t have a hunger for a chocolate chip cookie at 7 am.  However, visitors probably will have a craving for chocolate around lunchtime or mid-afternoon.  It makes sense.

The ability to clock activity is one of the benefits of visitor sessions.  You can see how people react to your website at different hours during the day.  That said, at peak hours you can market accordingly, and at hours with lower engagement, you can market differently.

User Tests

User tests are an excellent way to look over your visitors’ shoulders and see where they are having trouble.

Usability expert, Jakob Nielsen states that five user tests will detect 85% of your website’s problems.  In other words, there is no need to waste your money on 50 user tests to see where the issues lie.  If you were to do so, you’d probably see many repeat issues mentioned.

Surveys

Surveys tend to get neglected.  What better way to find out what’s wrong with a site than just asking?

My colleague was working with a client that wasn’t seeing any traction with a new high-value coupon that they were offering to their website visitors.  Very few people used it.

He pressed his client to run a survey, but he balked at the idea.  Finally, he caved, and they asked visitors why they weren’t interested in using the coupon.

They were surprised to see that many visitors answered that they did not own a printer. The coupons were printable coupons.

Who would have known?

 

Conclusion

So those are the steps to creating a winning CRO strategy that increases conversions and revenue generated from your website.

Make sure that you start with a Five Second Test to keep your bounce rate lower.  Move onto evaluating your site from the perspective of the Seven Core Conversion Principles.  Then make sure that you dig deep into analytics to turn data into valuable information that can lead you to make the best moves that will increase conversions.

In doing so, you’ll not only increase conversions, but you’ll make the most of your inbound traffic spend.

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