Setting up effective digital channels can be a sizable time and monetary investment for many businesses. You’ve invested in user research, in a polished design and in great technology. It’s taken months to go through this process, and a significant amount of internal resource. Finally, launch day comes. The world can access your new site - hurrah!
But why do so many organisations stop here?
If you build it, they will come - right?
You might have a fantastic website, a brilliant business offering and a thoroughly researched user experience. But many businesses are falling into a trap of thinking that investing once in building their website is enough. It isn’t. If you aren’t investing in ongoing optimisation, chances are you aren’t going to get the maximum return from your website.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the process of incrementally optimising your website to maximise conversions from your audience. By analysing your users and site usage, and testing changes, CRO aims to take a data-driven and systematic approach to obtain the most value from your site, with as little risk as possible.
Now, the most obvious form of a ‘conversion’ on a website is a purchase. Someone visits your website, they browse your products, and bingo - they buy something. That visitor has converted into a customer. But, a conversion doesn’t always have to be a sale. It completely depends on what your marketing aims and objectives are, and your sales cycle. For your business, a download might be a conversion, or a newsletter sign up. If you’re a charity, it might be a donation, a volunteer sign up, or a potential service user reaching out for help. Whatever your conversion is, spending time establishing these goals is a critical task when forming your optimisation strategy.
The business case for CRO
Whatever your conversion goals are, an ongoing commitment to optimisation will ensure that you:
Get more value from your current users - Rather than spending money trying to draw more users to your site to increase conversion, CRO aims to get more from the people already coming to your site. You don’t necessarily need more users to reach your conversion targets - you may need better triggers, user flows and CTAs to encourage conversion.
Remove risk and assumption - CRO is a data-driven approach; by analysing data, making small, iterative changes and checking the data again, the risks associated with making assumptions about your users is removed.
Create lasting change - An ongoing commitment to CRO by entering a cycle of ‘Hypothesise > Test > Analyse’ will create continual incremental change. There’s no standing still, and this means you’re creating lasting change.
Gain a greater understanding of your users - Through CRO you are continually learning and so you’ll gain a more intimate understanding of your users; their needs, and how they perceive and interact with your brand.
CRO is an iterative process; it’s value emerges when it is run continuously and repeatedly, constantly informing small but effective changes to your site and helping to gain insight into user behaviour. As such, the CRO process can be described in 4 steps - with an initial preparatory stage, before the ‘CRO cycle’ begins:
1. Set up - Ensure marketing objectives are understood, and the conversion funnel and goals are well-defined. Make sure that the technical infrastructure is in place to correctly track and run the process.
2. Hypothesise - With the infrastructure in place, the CRO cycle can now effectively take place. This starts with building a backlog of hypotheses, i.e. ideas for optimisation, that can be tested. Hypotheses are the driving force behind CRO; the process ultimately revolves around building and proving (or disproving them).
3. Test - Once a hypothesis is chosen and developed, the testing stage can begin. Tests can vary heavily in ease, complexity, and length. Run correctly, each round of testing will end with clear, valid, and useful results that enable you to understand if the initial hypotheses were valid, and if not, why.
4. Analyse and Optimise - On completion of a test, it is important to spend time analysing the results in order to obtain as much value and information as possible from the process.
Once a test cycle is completed, and changes (could be one tweak, could be several) to the site have been made based on the analysis, the testing cycle should continue to loop, using everything that has been learnt from each test to develop more informed and data-driven hypotheses.
Conversion Rate Optimisation will ensure that your website performs against your marketing objectives and delivers a high return on the investment you’ve made in your digital channels.
Get in touch to discuss how we can support you in your optimisation strategy.