CRO: Small Improvements Can Lead to Huge Wins

Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of making changes in the many different places and ways that users interact with your company’s digital content in order to improve the overall experience and convert more prospective customers into paying customers.

There are so many changes you can make, and so many places you can start. That is, naturally, both a good thing and a bad thing.

The Good

The good thing is simple – there are so many steps that you can take to improve the conversion rate on your site that it’s hard to fail. Any person or team taking the steps necessary to run A/B testing on the site, user experience studies, or any other kind of user testing aimed at increasing the conversion rate, should find pockets of opportunity and success.

The Bad

The bad thing is that there are, for some people, too many changes one could make. It becomes a problem of where to start, and how to prioritize. So much time is spent up front trying to figure out how to begin, that many teams never do.

Let’s address one common issue that many teams tasked with conversion rate optimization run into. That is the myth that only major changes can have the impact your leaders require.

In an effort to impress the people at the top of an organization, CRO teams feel like they need to find the biggest issues and solve them first. They assume that in order to add value, they need to make big changes, and that those big changes need to lead to huge growth in conversion rate. After all, managers and executives are responsible for allocating resources, and unless a CRO team strikes gold, they may be shut down.

And while I’ll admit that there are not enough high-level marketers out there that fully embrace and understand the benefits of conversion rate optimization, we all would do well to disavow ourselves of the “big changes only” myth.

Small Improvements Can Lead to Huge Wins

The best way that I know to demonstrate that is with an example.

Imagine a CRO team working for a startup in the health industry. This company’s mission is to make it easier to find and book and appointment with a specialist. Their website and app aims to allow users to search, filter, find, and learn about specialists in their area, and shows them available dates and times to make appointments.

The CRO team knows there are a lot of different tests they can run, so they brainstorm ideas and put a big list together. It’s not clear where they should start, but they know they have to.

They decide that the first test they want to run is a simple one. When someone lands on their search page, instead of showing all the filter options up front, they create a simplified search and hide the other options under an “advanced search” button.

The test goes live and after about 30 days, it is clear that the new design is beating the old design. There is a 5% increase in the number of searches and a 2% increase in the number of appointment bookings. And while those may sound like small numbers to the outside world, 5% more searches and 2% more bookings on a site that draws 300,000 visitors each month means 6,000 additional bookings every month. And over the course of a full year, if a booking is worth $5, that is $360,000 in new revenue. For one small test!

Conclusion

Yes, your assumption that some tests will add more value to the business than others is correct. However, that is no reason to procrastinate or argue about where to begin. Simply begin. Because the successful tests will build upon each other, and will grow in the value that they add over time. And the sooner you start, the sooner you will find a result like the one above.

For every month you delay, you are costing your company $30,000.

Top Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

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Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that conversion into customers, or more generally, take any desired action. CRO has gained prevalence in recent years with the growth of popularity of “growth hacking”, as companies look to take advantage of new technologies that make online testing simple and intuitive.

If you and your company are using conversion rate optimization to improve your results, or just thinking about getting started in this area, here are my top 5 conversion rate optimization tips:

  1. Start with those tests that have the potential to have the most impact. Prioritize in terms of potential value. Much testing is about finding incremental lift, but there are likely big improvements to be found early on.
     
  2. Make sure you start by defining the metric, and make sure everyone agrees. What is a conversion? That’s what you are trying to get more of. People must agree on the goal in order to agree on the results.
     
  3. Be open to surprises. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re first getting started is assuming they know the results of a test before the test. Keep an open mind and let the data do the talking for you.
     
  4. Research and study what other companies/professionals have experienced in their own tests. You can find a wealth of historical data and best practices simply by spending a few hours on Google. These will give you testing ideas and open you up to new ways of creating a better user experience.
     
  5. Understand statistical significance. In simplest terms, statistical significance is the point at which we can confidently conclude that the results of a test we are running are real, and not just a coincidence.

Simple Website Fixes – Part 11

Welcome to the latest edition of our newest weekly blog series, Simple Website Fixes. Each week we will identify and explain one easy change that you can make to your company’s website in order to improve performance. Last week’s fix was – Add Speed.

This week’s fix = Use Optimizely

It is not possible for anyone, me included, to know exactly what changes you should make to your website. We might have some idea, based on past experience and industry knowledge. But we can never be sure.

That’s why the answer to so many questions is, it depends. Every company is different. Every customer is different.

But one surefire change you can make to your website, one that is guaranteed to improve its performance over time if used correctly, is to start testing. Running simple A/B tests and measuring the impact those changes have on performance will always be a winner. And Optimizely is a tool that makes that strategy easier than ever.

Optimizely is a site testing platform designed for marketers. It is an easy ‘plug and play’ system that requires a developer to simply add a small snippet of code to a company’s website to start testing. From there, you don’t need any technical knowledge to operate. Make changes, define goals, and measure results all in one place, for a low monthly cost based on the number of people interacting with your site.

Any self-proclaimed expert can tell you what you should do to improve your website. But only you can actively test changes on your site with real users and find out what works best.

Implement a testing strategy and you are sure to improve your site’s performance.

Have an idea for a simple website fix? Submit it here and maybe we will include it in an upcoming post.

10 Email Test Ideas to Try Right Now

Email marketers don’t need me to tell them that they should be testing. Testing is an integral part of any successful email marketing strategy. Why?

  • There are so many things one can test in order to improve performance, and
  • The technology makes it very easy to create a split test and measure results

What if you agree that testing is important, but don’t know what to test? Then this post is for you.

Here are 10 A/B tests you can run in your email marketing campaigns today:

  1. Short vs. Long Subject Line
  2. Images vs. Text Only
  3. Text Links vs. Buttons
  4. Long Form Copy vs. Bulleted List
  5. Discounts as $ vs. %
  6. From Name = Company vs. Person’s Name
  7. Personalize the Subject Line vs. Not
  8. Show the Offer vs. Click to Find Ou
  9. Send in the Morning vs. Send at Night
  10. Descriptive Subject Line vs. Clever

There are 1,000s of different tests you can run. Hopefully this list gets the ideas flowing. The more you test, the more likely you will be to find a new formula that works better than what you are doing today.