Where should you start for effective Conversion Rate Optimisation?
“Where do I start?” is a common question that most digital marketers or website owners ask themselves when faced with the dilemma of conversion rate optimisation. The world is your oyster, but you don’t want to waste time, nor focus your efforts in the wrong area.
Our methodology for CRO
Step 1) Identify key landing pages, and which components in the sales/enquiry funnel show best areas of opportunity for improvement.
Step 2) We undertake sample survey analysis, to understand the mindset of average visitor engaging on the site, but who didn’t subscribe/purchase.
Step 3) We review your sales literature to identify your USP (Unique Selling Points). Effectively we look to identify your “persuasion assets”, which need more prominence in front of your visitors
Step 4) We review your competitors.
STEP 1 - How do we choose which landing pages to analyse?
Easy answer… we sit down and have some PIE.
Not that kind of PIE! We adopt a process of elimination called P.I.E.: Potential / Importance / Ease of implementation *
We filter all your landing pages based on visit levels, bounce rates, and length of time spent on site, then cross reference them against the average benchmarks within your own site. From there we look to filter even further, based on 3 criteria.
Potential – which landing pages have the best potential for uplift, amendments, updates or alterations? Your landing pages may already be well optimised, in which case the conversion problem lies somewhere else in the “funnel”. However we look to identify which pages can potentially be tested, which would result in significant impact and potential uplift. We grade these pages accordingly.
Importance – not every landing page holds the same weight or level of immediate importance. A landing page designed for email campaigns which you run intermittently is unlikely to take priority over a PPC landing page for which you are currently sending a lot of Paid visitors to. However, money is not everything. Removing paid campaigns from the equation; your main CTA page may take priority over an interesting blog page which is being frequently shared. There is an argument that despite the blog page being the driving factor and attracting the visitors in the first place, if the last page in the funnel – the “closing” page – is broken or under-optimised, then the whole process collapses and is pointless.
Again, we rank the same landing pages based on order of immediate importance, and add that to the “PIE” equation.
Ease of Implementation – lastly, we look to see how quickly, easily, and cost effectively any implementations or suggested changes can be adopted. There is not much point identifying a need to change the entirety of the site architecture, if that has profound negative effects on overall day-today- operations to the business, finances, and will take too much valuable time. Seasonality trends often force us to do focused tests, providing quick results for data collection, to allow for immediate implementation – so that the positive changes can still take place ahead of time before the “seasonality window” dissipates. E.g. There is no point implementing a large change to your florist website on 10th Feb, if the development requires a week to process. By that stage, Valentines day has passed and you miss your “seasonality window”.
Time to eat the PIE
Once we have all that PIE data, we tabulate it and decide which key landing pages we should look to prioritise first.
*(Alternatively – some marketers and project managers adopt a “MoSCoW” approach, which is similar.)
Next comes the Funnel
Once we have identified the main landing pages, we need to identify the common pathways customers take between these landing pages, and our goal pages. We need to find where, along their journey on your website, do customers drop off. Once we have found the guilty culprits (the pages which are responsible for these customer drop offs) we analyse their elements and content to see why the average customer would leave the site at this page. It could be; that the navigation is broken or unclear from this page moving forward; that the page itself is broken and not returning results for customers; that there is already a call to action point here and thus customers have no further need to continue. There are numerous possibilities, and we aim to inspect for the most plausible.
[put picture here of funnel, with people dropping off everywhere]
STEP 2 – Lets ask some real people!
A lot of analysis can sometimes be opinionated, and not factually based. That is fine, sometimes scientific evidences needs to give way to “gut feel”. However the opinion of just 1 person may not ring true to the opinion of the masses, more importantly to that of your target audience. We undergo a variety of mass surveys to gauge an average response.
Surveys hold value in that they are the opinion of the people you intend to target, based on demographic features and behavioural attributes.
Now that you have found a good bulk of audience members, it’s still not a case of simply asking 1 or 2 questions to the masses. The questions required need to offer both quantitative and qualitative data to report back so you can make an informed decision moving forward.
We know what questions to ask, how to word the questions so the objective is clear, how to collate and interpret the data.
STEP 3 – Finding your USP
Every business has a USP (Unique Selling point) of some form. Without it, you can’t differentiate yourselves from any other supplier/competitor and frankly it will be a wonder how you are still in business (But that is another debate for overall marketing strategies and entrepreneurship).
Finding your USP is not quite as easy as simply saying you’re cheaper than competitors. That may not be the case. However your USP can present itself in various forms,
- Fast, friendly and efficient customer service
- Higher quality of product
- Quicker turnaround time
- Free and fast delivery
- Longer opening hours
- More accessible location
These are your business “persuasion assets”. They are what help nurture a customer’s decision, so they choose you over a competitor. The possibilities can be vast, but we need to identify them, so we can display them prominently on your website and “shout about it from the rooftops”!!
Obviously you don’t want to bombard your viewers with exclamations of how great you are… they may think you are trying to overcompensate. So the skill is trying to subtly present the details, whilst ensuring it makes impact on the viewer’s decision making process. Also, different elements of your site, may require different USP signals. Not all of them needs to be displayed at the same time at the same place.
STEP 4 – Don’t forget about your competitors
So far we have been looking internally at your business - to analyse what elements, which are in your direct control, can be improved or enhanced for increased lead generation. However, now we need to focus on your external environment.
What are your competitors are doing? How they are doing it? How frequently? And how well?... are just some of the initial questions you need to be thinking to remain on step ahead. You cannot afford to be complacent believing that customers will naturally come to you, nor so arrogant to believe your services are so good that your competitors don’t stand a chance. Competitor analysis is vital.
Aside from direct like-for-like competition, you can also see what new or pioneering activities they are adopting, which you may not have thought about, or gain some new ideas for the future.
You should be looking to see comparisons against the likes of:
- Ease or purchase, or sign up
- Product and Service descriptions
- Customer engagement or the “WOW” factor on the site
- Depth of information provided
- Ease of contact and communication
- Trust indicators and professional “look and feel”
- Site usability in general
- Speed of site
Once again, the amount of comparable factors is quite vast and you need to decide which holds most priority to you, or which will negatively hinder your business more. Using the example of E-commerce sites – if your competitor is offering the exact same product as you, at a cheaper price, then obviously that will play an enormous factor. Likewise, even if you offered the cheaper price, if your purchase process is complicated and too long… people will cancel the purchase and go elsewhere.
FINAL THOUGHTS - Where to start when undertaking Conversion rate optimisation
Just before you set sail on your CRO journey, take a note of these last few pointers on preparing your CRO audit and analysis.
- “Failing to plan” mean you “plan to fail”. An old and somewhat corny adage, but it does hold merit.
- Don’t simply jump in to analyse one thing. There is a bigger picture to look at. Aim at doing a complete audit of your site first.
- Mark out your process clearly and logically. Identify what you intend to measure and justify the reasons why.
- Remember to look internally at your own business operations, and externally to your competitors. (you could take this much further and undertake full SWOT and PESTEL analysis of your business, but that is more for business operations and strategy as a whole, rather than focusing on CRO as one element of your digital marketing.)
- Stick to your strengths. If you don’t know what you are doing, or why you are doing it, choose a professional to carry out the work. Remember, the changes you make can have a negative impact as well as positive, if undertaken incorrectly.
Whitefish Marketing CRO Services
Whitefish Marketing are Digital Specialists in Acquisition Marketing, Conversion Marketing, and Retention Marketing. Our 3 departments focus on the core strengths relevant to their “stage” of the average consumer buying journey whether its Beginning, Middle, or End.
Our Conversion Marketing department is built on a team of talented individuals, expert in their fields, offering a wealth of experience and knowledge.
When you come to Whitefish Marketing you are in good hands. You will receive a dedicated account manager and a team who are focused on uplifting your KPI statistics.
At Whitefish Marketing our whole company is passionate about the marketing industry and constantly strive to push the boundaries of digital marketing performance for our clients.