One of the important goals in any digital marketer’s checklist is to increase the conversion rate – to make visitors engage better with the website and entice them to follow the path that you want them to follow – fill out the registration form, purchase your product or service, download further information, and so on. For optimizing your conversion rate, you have to track what your visitors are looking for when they arrive on your site and swiftly and simply give it to them. Alas! Only if it was that simple!
Conversion rate optimization has become a specialized field in the world of digital analytics. At Nabler, we have a separate team that handles CRO for our clients full-time. Even a slight change in the color of a button, or minor edits in the words used in the CTA can move the conversion rate towards red or green – the opportunities are many, but how do digital markets make the right choices from the variety of options available?
Having worked on a wide range of CRO projects, here are some of the lessons we have learnt:
1: Taking the data-driven route is the smart thing to do.
Websites are becoming hugely complex. The number of visitors is rising. Visitors are becoming impatient and brutal. All this is putting immense pressure on the digital marketer. To improve the performance of the website and achieve the business goals they have to take a structured approach that is based on facts and insights rather than gut-feel and personal views. At Nabler, we follow a data-driven and structured approach towards testing and optimization. We first utilize the basic analytics tools like Google Analytics or SiteCatalyst and then go deep with specific tools available like Crazy Egg, Click Tale, and Decibel Insights to study the heat maps; and various other tools for understanding scroll, click and navigation patterns. By following the data-driven approach, we derive insights that not only drive the conversion rate upwards but also prevent marketers from taking unprofitable decisions.
2: Evaluate and prioritize the need for testing and optimization.
After working with hundreds of clients and helping them with testing and optimization, we have developed our proprietary evaluation method called PIE. Once we identify a set of pages for optimization, we prioritize them based on:
- Potential: How much impact can be made to my KPIs by optimizing the page? Is it worth the effort?
- Importance: Is this page extremely important in the consumer navigation and hence impact the potential? Does it have a large concentration of traffic? Will I have to wait long enough for a decent sample size?
- Ease: Would I have to go through significant administrative barriers to getting a test running on this page, hence delaying the whole process?
3: Testing can help in making the right decisions as much as it helps in avoiding the bad ones.
Many times, we have reached that awkward spot when a test does not give the desired results. Clients were hoping to validate their design or content ideas, but the tests proved them futile. Clients mostly do not have a clear understanding of the testing process and what is at its core. When the testing and optimization team recommends changes to be ‘tested’ out, they invariably expect that the suggested outcomes should be better; but when the case is the other way round, sometimes the clients consider that as a drawback at the vendor’s end. They forget about the basic thought behind all of this – testing has its associated chances of winning or losing.
To some extent the clients are justified because what they care about is the ROI and when the testing results say that they are back to square one, it means lost time and efforts. But the message that the digital marketers must understand is that they are taking a data-driven decision, which is any day better than gut-feel based changes. Also, the variation that didn’t work-out does not mean they have failed, it means that they now know what kind of changes they should not make in future.
4: CRO can directly impact the ROI.
We must remember that at the end of the day we are presenting, most likely, to a non-technical audience sitting high up in the organization. They do not care if you change a button from blue to red or change a ‘Join Now’ to ‘Join For Free’; they want a reflection of that change in the ROI. Moreover, the traffic that the website is getting is usually paid traffic, so high conversion rates directly translate to better ROI. This means that it is always easier for them to comprehend when the outcome is drawn out in terms of some expected achievable numbers, it could be conservative, or it should speak the language of statistically significant results.
5: CRO is not a one-time activity, but a continuous process that improves over time.
We have often crossed paths with clients who conduct few tests initially for optimizing their conversion rates and then just remain still for months and years. In the digital world, nothing is constant. What enticed your visitors yesterday might not have the same impact tomorrow. All that a digital marketer can do is to keep improvising by experimenting with new ideas, not committing old mistakes, and identifying new opportunities. To constantly improve the learning curve, we advise our clients to keep a log of all the tests that they have run across domains. It is essential building the knowledge base and learn from it. This will not only make the future tests quicker but also accelerate the learning curve of the new testing analysts in the team.
6: CRO is better than paying for more visitors.
Effective conversion rate optimization will enable you to get more out of the people who are already visiting your website. If you are getting visitors through paid efforts and they do not convert as you desired then all your efforts are wasted. So, in the long-run CRO turns out to be more cost-effective than finding and paying for more visitors. Moreover, conversion rate optimization is about engaging with the right kind of visitors rather than those who are not the right fit for your business. By keeping the focus alive, you can maintain and build your visitors’ confidence in your brand, product or service through conversion rate optimization.