OK, so as a CRO consultant, it could be said I’m a little biased. But in my experience, I’ve seen that conversion rate optimisation (CRO) can be a powerful tool to understand more about your customers and increase the value of your website traffic. We do that by removing pain points and blockers from your website, in order to increase the percentage of people who take an action such as signing up to your service or making a purchase.
Sounds like a no brainer, right?
Well, like I said, I’m a little biased. But there are also some facts about the process:
- Decreased customer acquisition costs – CRO makes the most of the hard work you’ve done to get users to your site, by improving their experience when they get there. The aim is that a higher percentage of them become your customers. If users aren’t able to buy easily and confidently, or understand why they should engage with you vs your competitors, you’re missing out on opportunities to convert traffic you already have. Conversion rate optimisation can lower your customer acquisition costs by reducing drop-off from key journeys, and increasing engagement and revenue per visitor.
- Better understanding of your customers – To derive the most value from your optimisation efforts, you need to get a clear steer on who your users are and how they are interacting with your site. Why are they leaving without buying or engaging? It can be easy to think we have the answers to those questions. We use digital experiences every day, so as a result have personal preferences, biases and assumptions about what works well and what doesn’t. The basis of a good CRO programme starts with the understanding that you are not your user. As much as you may think you know, the reality is that consumer behaviour is ever-changing. We must constantly learn what is important to our audiences to be able to meet their needs.
Understanding the questions that users have in mind when they reach your site, or uncovering messaging that resonates most effectively, provides valuable insights. These can also be applied to other areas of your marketing strategy.
- Increased customer lifetime value – Helpful and intuitive web experiences are more likely to bring you loyal customers. Understanding your users and providing tailored experiences for them can help them feel recognised and streamline their journey. For example, providing more efficient routes to purchase when users return to your site through quick links to previously viewed products, or tailored content recommendations, gives a more personalised experience.
- De-risking of website changes – When it comes to A/B testing (one of the core ways we validate the changes we make to a website), you get conclusive data on whether those changes will have a positive or negative impact. While we all love ‘winning’ tests, those where the original version won can also provide valuable insights on what doesn’t work, and help us to get closer to what could. Taking a scientific approach removes the risk of ‘gut feeling’ or ‘best practice’ decisions that could have a negative impact. You also get to confirm ideas that provide an improved experience, place them on your site and reap the benefits. Seeing as you’ll only implement winning tests, it will have a positive impact on conversion rates over time.
- Improved user experience – When your CRO programme is grounded in data and user research, you can identify the most significant blockers and pain points to address within the customer journey. To improve the flow of conversion, it’s not only about pushing users towards a purchase as quickly as possible, but also about helping them to make informed and confident purchase decisions. Remove roadblocks or confusing elements, and provide the right information at the right time to make it easy for them to take the next step.
Where do I start?
The truth is that a bunch of random ideas based on best practices or gut feelings won’t cut it. While A/B testing is a powerful tool that can help you measure the impact of changes, it can’t tell you what to change. At Fountain Partnership, we use a three-step cycle to ensure our CRO programmes are iterative, evidence-led and focused on the highest value opportunities.
1. Research – We use a mix of qualitative and quantitative research techniques to build up a picture of user behaviour. We dig deeper to answer specific questions about an experience through user surveys or usability testing techniques. When working with a new client, we start with a CRO audit, using a combination of research techniques to provide a comprehensive view of which user journeys are working well and where improvements could be made.
2. Recommendations – What do these insights tell us about what could work better? The output from our CRO audit is a prioritised roadmap of actionable recommendations and hypotheses for testing. This could be anything from layout changes so that key elements are prominent enough, to content or messaging updates to amplify your value proposition, showcasing the benefits of your products or service.
Simple messaging changes can be powerful. We recently conducted an A/B test using updated copy to describe a subscription purchase option more clearly for an ecommerce client. The result was an 102% uplift to subscription orders added to basket, and the annualised benefit was an added 16,411 subscription orders added to basket. (See our case study here for more details).
3. Evaluation – We use a validation process such as A/B testing to measure whether our hypothesis had a positive or negative impact. Insights from testing are fed back into our roadmap of CRO activity. Winning tests are implemented to boost conversion rates, and tests where the original version won become learning opportunities or starting points for new test ideas.
Conversion rate optimisation is an iterative cycle – it’s never ‘done’. As consumer behaviour changes, we must be constantly researching and evaluating experiences with users to help more of them become loyal customers to you. I don’t want to CRO about it, but conversion rate optimisation really will improve your business (sorry, I waited a long time for that pun!).