CRO, What’s it Really all About?

There is a lot of talk lately about CRO or conversion rate optimization and for good reason. CRO is a fantastic way of squeezing every last sale from your current traffic levels.

What is it?

Before we go any further let’s just explain what CRO is.

CRO is the process of increasing the number of conversions your site is making from its current traffic levels. Often people think traffic equals conversions but this isn’t true otherwise everyone who visited our site would convert; there is just a strong correlation.

CRO Graph

Of course your conversions are likely to grow with traffic but this can take a long time whereas increasing your CRO efforts can have an overnight impact.

What can we do?

The issue arises when it comes to actually deploying some kind of strategy other then ‘we need more conversions’.

It’s tricky figuring out the tactics to use when trying to ‘up conversions’ and often too much time is essentially wasted by testing the wrong elements and concentrating your efforts in the wrong areas; split testing button colours come to mind – I get the feeling some marketers get all excited by the thought of testing button colours as if they are do something really technical or ‘on another level’.

The issue with testing button colours, calls to action, page layouts and even event tracking is it’s mostly guess work – but nevertheless it has its place, I just feel there is a bigger picture to look at.

So what should you concentrate on?

Your website is the closest thing you have to an online salesman, so it needs to act like one. If your sales team is constantly getting asked the same questions time and time again that they need to provide answer for, is your website doing the same?

Let’s do a little example, you are selling your product for a 20$ more than your competitors. Due to this your customers are going elsewhere because as far as they are concerned this is unjustified pricing, what they don’t know is that you offer free next day delivery, lifetime upgrades and 24h support.

So how is it possible that you offer what your competitors don’t, yet you’re still losing business? Is your website clearly displaying these extras to your customers? If it isn’t, you might have found a possible issue.

The quickest way to uncover possible issues is to ask your sales teams what they come up against time and time again and how they overcome the issues/questions. Next just cross reference this with your website and see if your website is answering these questions before they are even asked.

You can use a similar process with your customer service teams, what are their common complaints or queries? Again how can we overcome this and portray it clearly on our websites?

Going direct

Another tactic to employ is to simply go direct to your customers. You can do this by adding questionnaires and feedback forms.

Don’t make these obtrusive or an extra field that might harm the use experience.

Ask your mailing lists for feedback or anyone who has registered with the site but didn’t buy, incentivise this process so the user feels like they are getting something in return. This will greatly increase the amount of feedback you are getting.

CRO-Going Direct

When asking questions, ensure you are asking questions that you can take action from; don’t make them to specific that it might alienate other aspects of the user experience of the service you provide, at the same time don’t make your questions to broad that they miss the point.

Once you have found possible stumbling blocks and figured out how you can overcome them, don’t just throw your changes live, use an A/B testing tool to see which one is converting best. If your changes have been correct and it is converting better then push them live and start the process again, if not then it’s back to the drawing board!

I hope this has given you some food for thought and provided you with a possible action plan when it comes to CRO. I particularly hope it has shifted you away from testing button colours and granular data and made you look at the bigger picture of CRO and your business.

Feel free to add your thoughts or ask questions in the comments below!

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Author: Craig Addyman

Craig Addyman works for 9xb, a digital agency based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, offering web development, SEO, mobile and ecommerce solutions.

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