It’s easy to get excited over Conversion Rate Optimization and its ability to test literally everything on your website. Buttons, colors, layouts, content, images, and more, all become fair game to swap out in hopes of increasing your conversion rate, and ultimately, your revenue. But is diving head first into testing the best route to take?
The answer is simply, “no”. When it comes to CRO, you need to have a plan on why you’re using it and what you are using it to accomplish. Below, we list a few items to consider when starting any CRO campaign, as well as a few resources to help you and your team review if you’d like to try your hand at CRO in house. Let’s begin...
Know Your Testing & Business Goals
First, it’s important to remember that every website has a goal, and every action that you take on your website, whether it be content, layout, or design changes, are to achieve that goal. An A/B test is no different. When you implement an A/B test, it’s important to know the reason for your test. Testing without knowing your goal is much like driving without a map or destination; you may eventually end up somewhere, but you’re going to be wasting a lot of time and effort than you would have had you a clear direction to head.
As stated by ConversionXL, the best way to begin prioritizing your A/B tests is to:
- Define your business objectives
- Clearly define your website’s overall goal(s)
- Define your Key Performance Indicators
- Define your target metrics
Have an honest conversation with your team. Flesh out what you ultimately want to achieve as a business and utilize your website analytics to see if that goal is ultimately being achieved. Ask the following questions:
- Are we being clear in our calls to action?
- Are we aligning our business goals with our customer goals?
- Does our website layout assist the user in achieving their goals?
- Where are our biggest pain points?
- What are our most important pages / website touch points to achieve this goal?
Leverage user and customer feedback when assessing your website. Take a step back and disconnect yourself from any emotional attachment to your website’s design or content. This is extremely important because it not only help you prioritize what needs to be fixed on your site, but it will also give you the ability to see data and feedback clearly, without internal influence.
If you focus on the above questions and understand the data you are reading, you’ll begin to see where you should start in your A/B testing or other testing and have a clearer idea of where you’re heading.
Know What Resources You Need
Unfortunately, a major oversight for those new to CRO is what kind of resources they need to effectively utilize the service. If you’re doing CRO in house, look to acquire quite a few resources out of the gate:
- Decision maker buy-in
- Customer feedback
- Web development
- Content writers
You’ll need buy-in in order to make CRO happen, analytics to see where you’re pain points are, customer feedback to get user opinions, design to properly make data and feedback come to life, web development to implement tests / variations, and content writers to potentially update content on the site. It’s not small feat, but knowing your resources will save you budget, time, and effort; three of your company's biggest expenses.
Collecting and allocating resources properly will make your CRO results much more attainable and also make you and your team look like rockstars. Take the time before testing to let needed parties know they will be needed. Trust us, they will appreciate the heads up!
Have Transparency In Your Testing Process
When you start a CRO test of any kind, it’s important that all team members are on the same page. If they are not, this could lead to a test being implemented incorrectly or data being tracked incorrectly. Teams that effectively communicate and have transparency in their processes will stand to succeed much more in CRO than a team that leaves out details or takes shortcuts. When you effectively communicate, members will know:
- What’s being tested
- The timeline of the test
- Roles & responsibilities
- How you will measure success
- What next steps are after test is completed
With a more detailed process in place and transparency, you streamline your CRO tests to be more fluid and successful. Always communicate with your team and lay out responsibilities accordingly.
Set Your Expectations Accordingly
As we all know, decision makers want to know their ROI. They want to know how a service is going to benefit them once a check is written or a budget is approved. Beyond that, they’re going to want to know why testing is necessary and proof that it will help. These are extremely fair question to ask, and you’ll want to be able to answer them going into a presentation to make your case.
Some of the information we have found to win over teams on CRO:
- Provide current website performance data
- Offer industry standards and benchmarks
- Provide heatmaps or user videos and feedback
- Show mockups of potential designs
- Give both a low and high range estimation of conversion rates for each test
What this will do is not only make the point on why CRO is important and why you are testing what you are testing, but it will also give your higher ups an idea of what to expect with CRO. But always remember that the point of CRO is to help you make the case for changes on your website and provide the best user experience for your audience. CRO eliminates the question of “what will happen if…” and instead says “this will happen if…”. While CRO is an investment, it also pays for itself and answers questions that would otherwise potentially become disasters. Simply put, you shouldn’t change a thing on your website without testing it, and CRO gives you that capability forever.
Consider Past CRO Tests
If you have ran a CRO test before, it’s important to remember what lessons you learned in that process:
- What worked best?
- What worked worst?
- What obstacles did you run into?
- What technical limitations did you have?
These items above are going to be your best friends in terms of information for your new steps. Consider them guides in what you can and can’t do on your website or on your team. Make sure that your team is aware of this knowledge (going back to transparency) and that all parties have input into what can be done to remedy these issues.
If this is your first test, focus on what your team can do at the current time. Your team is going to be far more knowledgeable in the known rather than the unknown. Take amazing notes and write down everything, because this will help you moving forward as you begin to run more and more tests.
Again, having the ability to A/B test your website is very exciting. All of the ideas you have had and changes you want to make over time are suddenly able to come to life! But remember, having a solid plan and process in place where you can easily manage and track your testing is imperative. Not only will this help your team stay on the same page, but it will also help you moving forward in other tests as you tweak and finetune your process. Always have a clear goal and direction, and always have a well thought and laid plan to get you there. If you do that, CRO will become one of the strongest tools in your digital marketing arsenal.
If you're looking to learn more about CRO and how you can leverage it in-house, here are a couple of resources to get you started:
- The Beginner's Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (ConversionXL)
- The Definitive Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (Quicksprout)
- 9 Misconceptions About Conversion Rate Optimization (Kissmetrics)
As you can see, Conversion Rate Optimization can be a lot to handle in-house. If you are looking to speak to a CRO expert on how you can best leverage it as a solution, feel free to contact us here at Marcel Digital! Our team is prepared and happy to answer any questions you may have. Are you ready to make your site the conversion machine it was always meant to be?