The lifecycle of Conversion Rate Optimization!
“Every aspect of marketing is entirely useless unless it produces conversions.”
— Jeremy Smith
What is CRO?
CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, and it means literally what it sounds like i.e. improving your website to optimize the conversion rate of traffic on the website. Where conversion rate is the number of visitors to a website that completes the desired goal (a conversion) out of the total number of visitors.
For any website, having huge traffic is awesome. But does it always end up in a good conversion? No, having huge traffic is not always enough. This is where CRO comes into the picture.
“Your website is like a leaky bucket and CRO plugs the biggest holes”
- Peep Laja
It’s been a week since I started Conversion Optimization at CXL. It has got great quality content on CRO. There I found a well-organized process for conversion optimization.
Conversion Rate Optimization Process
A lot of times we organize a conversion optimization process around the number of tests that we can complete. Testing our website for customer responses is important. But at the same point, the most important unit of value for us is ideas. But the major problem here is there is a large number of ideas for a single problem. So how do you choose from these ideas? what do you do with these ideas? This process involves the following steps:
- List and Manage Ideas
- Gather Insights
- Learn and Grow
List and Manage Ideas
Steps to manage Ideas and help choose the idea that optimizes the ROI :
- Listing the Ideas — You find lots of ideas to optimize a solution. Our teams have ideas, our boss has ideas, you find ideas from our competitors, You can run many analytical tools which may help us find some more ideas. And “No idea is a bad idea!”. So the first step is to pen down all the ideas.
- Research — Some ideas can be really easy to implement or some can be very time-consuming. Researching those ideas will help us prioritize these ideas.
- Writing a Hypothesis — After prioritizing is done, write a small hypothesis around that idea. This will help us understand the bigger picture in a very specific way. You should always ask ourselves while building a hypothesis that, I want to do “this” to achieve this “this” and the outcome will be measured by “this”.
- Ranking the ideas — Once You study the theoretical outcome of a hypothesis, you can now rank these ideas based on relevancy.
All these steps need to be tracked and logged for further studies. As we already discussed “No idea is a bad idea!”.
The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.
Now at this point, you have some structure/framework ready. But how to figure out which hypothesis can be tested on real-world users? which theories can be actually implemented? To make all these research fruitful you need to gather insights from these ideas.
Quantitative data tells a big part of the story, but it may not be enough. If you want to thoroughly understand why users don’t convert, you can conduct user surveys, analyze chat logs, and perform user testing to help you find qualitative areas of improvement and relevant conversion opportunities.
You can go ahead and “Google It!” if someone has already implemented this idea. This will give us some insights into the successes and failures of that idea. But no process is an ideal process. One idea that worked for one company doesn’t mean it will work for another even if in the same industry. It always comes down to the interests of the audience. What people actually want? what are they interested in? But it surely gives us some important insights.
One of the best sources to get insights is running Analytical Tools on the website. These tools list down various problems on the website and these problems become great insights to solve problems around them. The important thing to remember here is this is a continuous process. And you can not get quick solutions or one time solutions here and that is why it is very important to go through such insights more frequently and analyze the problems.
After gathering insights on the hypothesis, you can decide on the most relevant and appropriate theories to start with. You can wireframe and design a good creative, attractive, and smooth landing page.
Once you are done with designing a hypothesis, it is time to run multiple tests to find the most profitable audiences. There are two major types of testing :
- A/B Testing
- Multivariate Testing
A/B Testing — It is as simple as it sounds. You create two versions of your webpage and split the traffic evenly in each version. Observe the outcome. Analyze how visitors interact with the webpage. Try to understand their mentality. This allows us to choose a better approach to design the web page. Since it is based on specific variables, it is a very simple and quick testing method. It is helpful where you have a few (two to four) variables to test with.
Multivariate Testing —If you need information about how many different variables interact with one another, multivariate testing is the optimal approach. Instead of testing two different webpage versions, you test multiple variables on a single page. This way you get to choose multiple variables to decide on and get a detailed optimization strategy around it.
Learn and Grow
Testing our website gives us a lot of insights into what is wrong with our website? or which flow needs some improvisation? For example, in the case of an e-commerce website, most of the visitors drop out at the final checkout page because of the complexity of forms. Reduction in the complexity of such forms sometimes helps you increase conversion rates drastically.
But all these data need to be properly analyzed and should be put in good use. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses must be done on the data to improve key performance indicators. There are many ways that we can use data throughout our CRO process.
- Analysing data from the customer
- Analysing data from A/B and Multivariate tests
- Segmenting Audience
Conversion optimization is a continuous process and there is no shortcut to it. Understanding the audience is a very important part of the CRO.
It has been a great learning journey with CXL until now, excited to explore more.