5 Things You’re Doing Wrong When It Comes to Conversion Rate Optimization
It’s the end of the year, and if your business is anything like ours, you’re probably reflecting on how your company performed this year, and making some resolutions about what you could do better in the new year, specifically in the area of digital marketing.
One thing you should definitely consider when strategizing for 2018 is how to improve your CRO (conversion rate optimization), which is enhancing your business’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) by experimenting and testing your site’s visitor experience to boost website performance. The higher performing your website is, the more conversions you will win.
If your website, email efforts, social media presence or any other marketing initiative is an important part of your businesses revenue or other major business goal, then CRO can significantly boost your company’s growth, and should be given priority as a way to ensure you are increasing ROI.
But maybe you’ve already been focusing on CRO and still aren’t getting the results you want. Why is that?
Well, there’s likely more than one reason—in order for CRO to be effective, a variety of factors have to come together. Basically, upping your optimization game requires getting the right users to your site, figuring out what they are looking for, and then providing it. If any part or aspect of that puzzle doesn’t fit, your CRO needs work. Here are 5 common errors we’ve seen companies make when it comes to CRO:
Don’t be frustrated you’re on the right track!
1. You’re not listening to the data
When making A/B tests, it’s crucial to have an attitude of humility, because your tests might prove that your long-held belief or fact-based reasoning was, in fact, entirely incorrect.
Case in point: earlier this year, we created a beautiful website for an insurance client that was succinct in copy and full of clear, attractive images and many helpful suggested actions, because that’s a trend in the digital industry. People have short attention spans, so it’s best to keep the text short, especially when they probably aren’t particularly excited by a process, such as insurance buying (or so we thought). But to our surprise, we had to instruct our content writer to dramatically increase the amount of copy on the landing page, because we found after a few A/B tests that we had more visitors and conversions on pages with more text. Apparently, the traffic was composed of an older age demographic who wanted to be heavily informed about what they were purchasing.
As far as good CRO is concerned, the most important voice to listen to is the data—not the CEO’s, not the person that’s been at the company the longest, and not your own gut instinct’s. Let opinions take a backseat. You need to listen to what your visitors are telling you.
In 2014, as reported by Forbes, Aberdeen reported that data-driven organizations experience a 27% year-over-year increase in revenue, compared to 7% for other organizations. Data-driven efforts win, every time.
Check your ego at the door! Listen to the data!
2. You don’t have the right resources
Effective CRO necessitates a few key items.
First, your traffic will directly affect how much you should spend and how quickly your tests will complete. You can do a test with as little as 1,000 monthly visitors, but you have to be patient in order for that test to achieve statistical significance, and if you have fewer than 30,000 monthly visitors, your tests should stay simple and far between. But if you have a high-traffic site, more revenue being put towards more frequent tests will result in faster ROI.
Secondly, CRO isn’t easy; it requires technical skills, expertise, and strategy-oriented individuals dedicated to managing this aspect of your marketing effort. You can do it yourself, but you’ll need to purchase a testing tool, which can be an expensive investment, and either hire an expert or train an employee to successfully use and implement the platform. Or, you can contract with a specialist agency and take that burden off of your shoulders—instead of facing a steep learning curve, where you could potentially lose money due to losing focus, missing deadlines, and testing hypotheses, and after all of that, not see results, you could eliminate that risk with an experienced team. They already have the resources and expertise you need, and you can devote more energy and time to managing other aspect of your business.
Realize you have limitations!
3. You don’t have a well-defined strategy
Many business seem to be overly concerned with “best practices”, because they are typically easy to communicate and implement and they boast having high success rates. However, your business is unique, and what works for a thought-leader may not work for you.
You don’t need tips—you need a process, a solid way of approaching CRO that will allow for long-term improvement.
Because CRO is not a one-time deal (you will have to continually optimize your site to stay competitive), you need a strategy to adhere to when the industry shifts or when a trend becomes popular, rather than trying to stay on top of tricks and tips and then being at a loss when a problem occurs and you do not have a company guideline for how to resolve it. Having a clear framework is critical to having successful CRO.
Use a scientific approach to experimentation!
4. You’re not keeping yourself informed
Things move fast in the digital marketing world. If you’re not constantly reading, whether it’s books written by thought leaders in the industry about persuasion or digital behavior, or blogs regarding trends and analytics, you and your company practices can quickly become outdated. Brush up on the current literature and educate yourself!
Stay one step ahead of the competition!
5. You don’t know your audience
Whatever product or service you offer, your marketing is likely reaching many different customer profiles in different demographics who have different personalities and motivations. If you do not explicitly know who your audience is or what they want, that’s a problem.
And don’t think you can just imitate a successful business’s website who is in your industry and assume you will have the same kind of success—like we already mentioned, your company is unique, and following best practices aren’t always going to give you the results you’re hoping for. Good websites convert well because they tailor the experience to their users.
So survey your audience, or utilize an analytics tool like these ones to discover more about them, and then use that insight to make changes.
Get to know your target audience!
Elliot Alicea - Author
Co-Founder of Empirical360
Elliot is a Co-Founder of Empirical 360 and is extremely passionate about creating highly effective marketing campaigns. He places ROI above all else!
Shea Duncan - Contributor
Director of Content Marketing
Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!