If a website or a mobile app is the first place where your customers have an interaction with your business, then the word “Conversion” should be music to your ears.
In the era of digital marketing, just getting traffic on your website isn’t enough. Yes, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is awesome but what’s next? Is the job done? After all, what use is the traffic if the users aren’t achieving the goals you want them to achieve on your platform. It’s like an eCommerce platform where users don’t place orders, or a blogging website where users don’t read/write blogs.
Optimizing your website and making it conversion oriented is the key. This includes extensive research and practices to know more and more about your users till the point you can get into their minds. That’s where people working in Conversion Rate Optimization or simply CRO experts come in. We get you money for your business efforts by increasing that conversion rate you are looking for. Moreover, we tell you so much more about your users that you were unaware of before which in-turn helps you to make other profitable business calls for the future.
Imagine setting up a marketplace business in which you sell clothing from top designers. Moreover you have spent your investor money perfectly i.e. got the right amount of SEO, with the right UI/UX, operations are ordered, and of course by on-boarding quality merchants. Yes, you can see traffic, yes you can see people reaching onto the last step of your funnels, but still you aren’t seeing them accomplish that very goal you want them to.
Your audience is right in-front of you with their money out of their wallet and as soon as they are about to purchase they just vanish. But why did this happen? Because you didn’t pay attention to the details, the motivations, the distractions,friction, and what not present in the user journey.
CRO helps you to assess user behavior and incorporate that into your business strategies which lead to extremely improved outcomes. Some entrepreneurs even quote it as “the money making cycle” if performed correctly.
Talking about conversions, they can be of different types as there can be different range of goals you are looking for your user to accomplish. If you own an eCommerce website, the ideal conversion goal shall be to make the user place an order that too of a higher value if possible. If you have a blog post website then posting a blog can be counted as a conversion or hitting that subscribe newsletter button if you are hosting an article website.
THE MONEY MAKING CYCLE
The CRO cycle is very direct. A CRO expert starts with doing extensive research on your user base, their needs and goals. From that research, one needs to take a call if things shall be fixed immediately or shall be tested first by creating test ideas or hypothesis which are implemented and A/B tested on your platform. The test results are then analyzed and conclusions are drawn. This cycle is repeated until the desired conversion rate is achieved.
The first step is to not just understand the user base but also to check what is available or not, and what might be required by the users (something they might be unaware of).
There are several factors that need to be checked to conduct the right research. For this article, let’s list down the most popular ones:
- Whether the value proposition offered on the landing page is in line with the customer needs.
- Presence of restrictions, distractions and frictions in the user journey.
- The speed of the platform and the landing page shall also be such that the bounce rate isn’t high.
- Proper visual hierarchy for making the user focused on achieving the desired goal with “motivators” on every step of the UX.
All these factors can be learned by taking an expert look on the web analytics data ( Tools: GA, Facebook Analytics, Firebase etc) and on web interaction data including click maps and scroll maps ( Tools: Hotjar). Performing usability test on a calculated sample size, competitor analysis and customer feedback are also some methods from which crucial learning can be drawn about the user behavior. Also one shouldn’t forget to explore the user psychology in alignment with your conversion goal and check out scholarly articles on the same( That’s my personal favorite).
II) Test or Implement
Right after the research is completed, one has to take a call of whether the factor or improvement idea( change) would undeniably result in increased conversion or not i.e. does it need to be implemented straight away or tested first.
Let’s take an example of a suggested functional change in a sign Up form. Assuming your web interaction data tells you that the number of clicks per session are very high on a drop-down calendar present in the SignUp form which doesn’t seem to be responsive. This is a straight fix and would definitely increase the user conversion(no. of SignUps) as it’s reducing a barrier/distraction in the funnel. Similarly, if loading time of your landing page is high then making it short would surely work in your favor and doesn’t need to be tested.
However, if a change of value proposition or persuasion is suggested which might connect with the user needs more then it must be tested first. From social proof of random people saying “ I have tried this product and it’s awesome” or showing big client names on the header of the page(showcasing authority)instead of the footer, research or ideas based on psychology and persuasion need to be tested first.
III) Creating hypothesis and A/B Testing
After getting a decent idea of what can possibly increase conversion, test ideas or hypothesis are created.
Let’s take an example of a shopping website which sells clothes for teens. Assuming that the research tells us that the conversion is reduced as people are distracted and feel less engaged to clothes showcased by “perfect” models or people. As a result , a behavior hypothesis can be : replacing the images in the catalog with common looking European teens can increase likability and hence the order rate.
Once we have the hypothesis, now comes the part to test it out. What if I tell you that one can actually test the hypothesis by implementing the changed version for the targeted audience in the first go. That’s where A/B testing comes in.
As simple as it sounds, A/B testing divides the target audience in different equal segments which in-turn are shown different versions/variants of the same website/app. The original version is called as the control whereas the changed one is called the challenger. The version which sees the maximum conversion (for a calculated sample size) is claimed as the winner. As a result one can take a call whether he needs to accept the hypothesis or reject it.
However, performing an A/B test requires knowledge and expertise on setting it up, to calculating sample size according to the confidence level one is aiming to achieve and then choosing the most statistically significant version as the winner. VWO, Optimizely and Google Optimize are some of the most popular tools out there for this.
If your challenger provides a higher conversion rate then the change can be made live for all the users. But it doesn’t stop here. CRO is a recursive process and as soon as you make a change, it becomes the original, one can go about testing more and more hypothesis by doing more research on the users, creating more challengers and hence repeating the cycle.
The best thing about the process is, even if the challenger variant results in a loss, one gets to learn more about their user behavior for their business. Hence, is able to take a smarter call when creating the next hypothesis. If you own a business with a dire need of understanding your customers and of-course to increase conversions then a Conversion Rate optimization(CRO) expert is definitely your savior.