Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Lead Nurturing.
Today’s Topic = Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion Rate Optimization, commonly referred to now simply as CRO, is the process of improving the overall conversion rate of your campaigns/websites through continual testing, analysis, and updating of individual elements.
This assumes you’re already marketing your website. You have a baseline conversion rate that you want to improve. Here’s how to do that.
Google Webmaster Tools offers some good website testing capabilities. There are a number of larger – more expensive with a lot of great tools – software packages you can purchase. But if you’re just starting out, the best bang for your buck can be had by using a simple tool like Optimizely.
You sign up for an account and pay a monthly fee based on how much traffic you get. From there, you will get a piece of code to add to your site. And you’re ready to go.
Running a test is very easy. You enter the URL or URLs that your test will run on and you can design the test from inside their platform. For most tests you don’t need a developer or a designer. You can do it all yourself.
What to Test
Deciding what to test is a mix of art and science. First, you want to be aware of everything you can test. The universe of all things you can test is large. It includes every element of every page on your site, as well as any ads themselves, and outreach you do (emails, direct mail, etc.) A test might be as large as two completely different versions of a signup page, or as small as two identical versions of the signup page with the color of the submit button on one slightly darker.
You can test it all. But in order to get clean results, you want to test one thing at a time. And so making your way through a full list of tests can take time. For that reason, you want to start with the tests you expect to have the biggest, most immediate impact.
Start with the pages that get the most traffic, the elements that most people see and interact with on their way to a conversion. Identify key hurdles or obstacles that might be leading people to drop off and not turn into a customer – pages with higher than normal bounce rates, for example.
How to Test
The simplest test you can run, and the one you will likely get the most benefit from most often, is a basic A/B test. This type of test starts with the element you want to test in its current form. That becomes the “A Version”. Make the change you want to test and that becomes the “B Version”. Then you run A vs. B, sending traffic to both pages to see which one has the higher conversion rate.
Optimizely, or whatever tool you’re using, lets you set up specific actions to track. Since we care about conversion rate, you want to measure the percentage of people who go on to “convert”, whether that means a purchase, a signup, etc.
Once you have a statistically significant result, you declare the winner, updating the website to the “B Version” if that one beat your existing one, and then move on to the next test.
Multivariate tests are another form of testing you can do. For more on how they work, you can click here.
Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.