Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers. CRO maximizes the value of all site traffic through scientific testing of elements that influence user behavior.
Here are 6 reasons why you should be running CRO on your website:
1. You have a new website or a re-design launch.
You have invested a lot of time and money into a new design for your website, but how do you know that it is not going to kill your sales? You don’t unless you test it to be sure. You can certainly push it out there and admire it, but when sales start tanking, what do you do? Go back to the old one? Probably not. By having a CRO testing strategy, you eliminate this fear by reducing your risk and can likely improve sales, not hurt them. In fact, a continuous testing and evolutionary design strategy keeps your website fresh while increasing revenue. And you avoid the spend on a total site re-design every 3 years.
2. Your conversion rate is static.
You have been paying attention to Google Analytics and you see your conversion rate is stuck at 2%. You see in that fancy funnel visualization report that customers are dropping off in massive chunks from page to page until only 2% are making it all the way through. Oh dear – the carnage! But on the other hand, the site looks great!
If you have a 100% conversion rate, you have no problem. Stop reading this and retire to Barbados. Otherwise, every website should have a continual effort to monitor and make changes intended to increase conversions. You know you are wasting money on getting all of that traffic to your site in the first place if you are not also focused on getting them through your sales funnel.
3. You are not getting an efficient ROI on your traffic and lead generation efforts
CRO can help you better understand the effectiveness of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay-per-click (PPC) efforts. If you are measuring the effectiveness of your website, page by page – Google AdWords and Analytics can easily tie a customer journey from a sale back to the ad they saw to get to your site in the first place. If your CRO efforts are showing that the ocean banner ad is leading to more conversions, despite under-performing the cityscape banner in click-through rate – you know you probably should be investing in showing more ocean banners as ultimately they are more effective in what matters – sales. If you begin to use the total CPA (cost per acquisition) as the metric to measure your online marketing budget effectiveness, you can make decisions that in turn make your SEM/PPC efforts more profitable.
4. You don’t know your customers (very well).
94% agree that conversion rate optimization improves their understanding of their customers, according to an Optimizely benchmark report.
The more you understand and learn from your testing efforts, the quicker you will start to see win after win and even larger, more significant wins. It often takes about 12-months before you are consistently benefiting from optimization and it becomes both perpetual and habitual. By having experts in analysis, usability, and customer behavior, and by employing a test and learn methodology, your CRO team will suggest sound hypotheses for test ideas and you’ll be learning about your customers wants/needs and improving their experience in no time.
5. You have new homepage promotions.
…and are just throwing them up there because:
- You can.
- They look good!
- Your sale is for a limited time – and time’s a wastin’!
Throw them up there with wild abandon if you must! 🙂 BUT – have a plan to measure whatever you put out there – for however long you can. This can give you either more immediate insight into what is working better and you can update (or remove) the placement, or it can inform your next round of banners or images for the next promotion. Test and Learn! (There’s that phrase again!)
6. Psst! Your website is leaking money.
“Whaa? Leaking money? How do you know that? I’m spending on Google AdWords and I’m making a profit, I’m not leaking money.” I hear this all the time, so if you can relate to that – you are not alone!
I know this because everyone can do things to improve their customer experience on their website. It’s just that most companies are not looking for the “leaks” or issues that impede that customer from completing a sale. No, it doesn’t mean your web designers are not any good. Web designers take heed: this is not a personal affront on your mad skills but rather to enhance your mad skills! No one knows how designs are going to perform until you test them. By having the skills in Google Analytics, UI/UX design, and usability, you can build a team that is like a strong magnifying lens to find those leaks and know what to test to patch them.
OK – you now get it — driving traffic to a site that doesn’t convert wastes money. But how do you get started? You can’t just snap your fingers and be running CRO tests. Start small to prove the value with hard data. You need the proper testing platform or software, a qualified team of optimizers and UI/UX developers, and most importantly – buy-in from your company’s leadership and aligned goals and metrics with your company objectives. For example: maybe ‘Conversion rate’ is not your most important metric – maybe ‘Average Order Value’ is… you can still optimize to that metric using CRO methods.
Yes, all of that does take a little time to implement but CRO is well worth it and takes the guesswork out of making changes to your website. By measuring the impact of any changes you are doing, you can make true data-driven decisions that you can PROVE impact your bottom line in a positive way. And when you don’t get “wins”, you still get the ”intel”. Think about it this way: how much money did you save by NOT putting that “losing test” image out there for months without testing?
The Best Part: when you prove this, you can justify funding the resources and tools necessary to achieve your goals and build out your CRO team. Depending on your volume and current conversion rate, some tests can result in millions of dollars annually and that’s one heck of an office party. It certainly can more than fund a small team of 5-10 resources to continue the success. I highly recommend you carry out the calculations for your own business – what does a 20% increase (realistic) in conversions look like in dollars per year? Eye-opening!
These are only 6 reasons, there are certainly more. But, it paints this clear picture: “How can I afford to not invest in CRO?”
Jason holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the Belmont University and has over 20 years’ experience in e-commerce strategy and web development and design.