Successful CRO – a data-driven approach
If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic – being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago – Elon Musk
Here at Click Consult we often talk about the importance of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and the role it plays in your search marketing strategy. Indeed we have published many blogs and resources on the subject including our CRO checklist.
One thing that was clear from the feedback that we received was that not only is good CRO vital, but it is an area where businesses are often lacking in their knowledge. Most understand the basics, but few understand how to track performance and put an analytical spin on their strategy.
This is something we knew needed addressing, the following blog will go deeper into the topic of CRO and help you to unravel the tips and tricks to implement a truly data-driven strategy.
Firstly, what is CRO?
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO), is the practice of optimising your website in order to not only increase the number of visitors, but to move them further along the buyer’s cycle and to nurture them until they convert. This practice all helps to increase the number of actions taken by the user.
“SEO and PPC are effective ways of raising the visibility of your website and increasing the number of visitors.
“CRO helps you to increase the proportion of those visitors that convert into leads, sales, subscribers, or whatever the goals of your website may be.”
So how can we use data to improve CRO?
There are a number of ways which you can use data to perfect your CRO strategy and much of it starts with an understanding of your audience. The importance of having a clear idea of who you are marketing to is a given, but how can you improve your conversion rate even further? Well one of the first thing to do is to marry up the people with the products. Look at exactly who is buying your products and separate them into clear demographics. Are they male or female? Which age bracket do they fit into? Do they have children? All of these demographics can be paired with behaviours (psychographics) to build a more complex understanding of customers and potential customers.
Rob Brennan from Opentext put together this handy chart, highlighting some of the areas that you can focus on to form your CRO hypotheses, and we can use this to look in more detail at how important data can be.
Things to remember
There are a couple of metrics that are often overlooked by those looking to improve their conversion rates. This is dangerous because it shows that they are not realising the potential of their website. Here are a few things that you shouldn’t neglect:
Actual order value (AOV)
The AOV is a key metric as many businesses draw the line under a customer once they are an actual buyer. The goal in terms of gaining a conversion has been achieved. But what if the customer was going to spend more? And what if they were struggling to find a product and settled for a cheaper option. At the conversion or payment stage you could add in a carousel or banner featuring other products that they may like or products that accompany the item they are close to converting on.
By collecting data through web analytics you are able to highlight the entry and exit pages of your website. Analysing entry pages and understanding how each customer finds you this is important as it gives you a model to build your marketing strategy. If there is one page that is converting at a higher rate than others, ask why this is and build similar pages to this and use similar hooks in terms of you links and content.
The exit pages allow you to see you potential converted audience. You can see where they are leaving your site and why. Look on these pages to make sure that the content is up to scratch and that links or payment options aren’t broken. You can also check that the correct products and services are available in accordance with the site navigation that the customer has taken.
You can understand a lot about CRO and potential conversions by looking at your returning vs new customer breakdown and whether the new audience is growing. CRO is all about potential and this metric shows you that if you get your offering, navigation, pricing and user experience (UX) right your conversion rate should improve.
You can also look at metrics such as geography. Are all or most of your customers from a certain area? If this is the case then maybe you can target your content and marketing activity to further strengthen this. If you are looking to expand to another territory then you can use what you have learned in these metrics to determine a plan moving forward.
One topic that is very popular at the moment is last click attribution, and the fact that users might be becoming savvier. They may visit your site as a means to conducting further research before converting from a different device later on. Looking at mobile vs desktop use is important here, as is the time the user visited and the navigation they took.
Looking at the actions that lead to a conversion can give you further evidence for how well your strategy is performing. Are your users comparing products on the site and what is it that makes them choose one over the other. Is it price? Is it the link that got them to the product? Or is it the on page content or images?
Previous test data
Test, test and test again. That’s the message here. Look at your calls to action (CTA), your previous sale items or offers that worked well. The language and style of your content and how the audiences responded. Also look at things such as your social media and mentions, are customers looking to buy a certain product or are they holding out for a new offering? Just think of the hype that brands like Apple create surrounding new product launches.
It makes sense that all businesses optimise their website in order to increase their chance of improving conversions but it makes more sense to do it in an analytical manner. If you are able to identify your audience and use real time statistics and analytics, you will be best placed to improve performance further.
If you are able to identify exactly who your customers are and how they are finding your website you have cracked half of the problem. If you can then see exactly where they are going on your site and how they move around it, what they look at, how much they spend and how many visits it takes to convert you can compile this to streamline your strategy. You can shake off all the things that aren’t working and concentrate on the ones that are, you can also learn as you add new products and services.
CRO is a case of trial and error and of constant learning. As your audience grows and the number of conversions that your audience make grows you collect more data and therefore have more evidence as to how and why you should change your strategy.