The role of optimization in growth strategy is integral to your success. Optimization is the art of assessing what you have out there on your website, reading the analytics, and optimizing your site to make the result better.
Let’s break down the steps for CRO optimization
- Have a starting idea
- Repeat items 2-4 forever
- Having a starting idea
Initially its almost impossible to know what will work for your specific traffic, and much guess work goes in to make the best possible website or eCommerce site that will accomplish all of your goals right off the bat. This is why it’s important to recognize that CRO is a process that should be prioritized at all times during your business venture.
You have to start somewhere though:
- We recommend that you do research on competitor websites to see how they have things laid out, take note of what you like and dislike from their sites and add the good ones for your own site.
- Talk to your current customers, friends and family about how they would use your site and jot dot the good ideas.
- Take yourself through the website journey and find what works for you.
- Install Google Analytics and HotJar to track your visitors’ movements on your site to learn their habits and what is working (and more importantly, what is not).
Building the customer journey.
One of the biggest elements to make this all work is to build customer journeys, or better said, what you expect and hope your customers will do when they are on your website. This doesn’t have to be limited to only sales, other goals and journeys can be to collect email addresses or get people to book a call with you.
A customer journey can look something like this:
- Customer arrives on the home page
- Customer clicks on product link 1
- Customer adds product to cart
- Customer checks out and completes purchase
This is a very simple journey and most ideal, but the flow concept works for every journey
- Customer arrives on home page
- Customer clicks on more information
- Customer books a call for more information
This is also a successful journey and one you want to plan for, meaning, setting up the website in a way that enables the customer to reach those goals that you set out for them.
When does it go raw? If the customer fails the objective or does not reach its goal. For example
- Customer arrives on home page
- Customer leaves home page to another website
This is also a journey, but not an ideal one. When it comes down to it, it’s all a numbers game. You will never have 100% of your traffic doing exactly what you want every time, and this is where Google Analytics and Hotjar come in to tell you how many users fell into which category.
A website can have 10s of journeys, it’s important to think of as many and continue to add as your customers use your website and you learn more as a company.
Build out the customer journeys that you want to see initially and continue to expand from there.
Now that your site is all ready to go and you have your customer journeys all lined up, it’s time to test your theories out and hopefully make some conversions along the way.
A big part of the test is assessing where the your site traffic is coming from, how they are reacting to your site and note the volume of traffic coming to the site
This can get tricky, let’s take a look at an example
You advertise on Facebook for audiences 18-25 male and female for your bicycle shop, you accrue 1000 visitors in a 1 month period. 500 of them never get past the home page, 400 never make it past the second page and you achieve 100 conversions.
Now that is a 10% conversion rate, which could be better. We need to figure out if the site caused people to dash away or if the audience that was brought in simply wasn’t interested or couldn’t afford the product.
This takes us to testing stage 2. Usually you want a control factor (something that stays the same) and a variable (something that changes) to test what is the difference between the current version and something changing.
Is it possible that the site is good but the demographic targeted was not the best, or perhaps the demographic is good but the site is not optimized in the right way? These are the big questions that need solving in order to perfect the site and traffic types.
Analyzing your results are key to understanding what is working and what is not. Like we mentioned above, analyzing your stats can tell you if your site is achieving its goals and which areas need improvement.
You won’t always know the missing link right away, which is why the analysis stage is so key.
Now that you’ve collected data like above, it’s time to optimize! The first step is to build new theories and hypotheses that can make the change from undesirable results to awesome ones. Continuing our example from above
If we believe that the traffic type is good but the site is failing, we can look at the site and see where most people drop off. In our case 50% of the people never made it past the home page. Similar to newspapers, being above the fold (i.e. the user not having to scroll down) what is being presented in the first glance of the website, what call to actions are being presented that the user should take action on?
If the user has to scroll, that may be a big indicator of why someone may leave the site, and it may mean that you should put the products or action buttons right at the top of the site.
This is just one example of the many factors that go into the whole CRO experience.
The best part is that you don’t need to wait a whole month (or whatever the longer testing period was) you can view it in half its time or even a quarter to see if the results are improving.
This is a time consuming and lots of guessing process, but a well worth it process to make your eCommerce website successful
5. Repeat Items 2-4 forever
Optimization never ends! Unless you somehow are getting 100% of your site visitors to convert, there is always room for improvement and we strongly recommend the testing, analysis, and optimization of your website on a fairly frequent basis, whether it be weekly or monthly.
As we can see, your conversational growth strategy is integral and tied directly to how well you optimize your website, the more you optimize, the more successful you’ll be. Whether your goal is to make more sales, more appointments, or simply to grow your contact list, optimization is key to make sure your deck is the most optimal at all times.
Conversational optimization is a whole nother field, where you are talking 1-1 with a prospective client and is much more difficult to optimize one conversation , which is often unique to another.
For this exercise we recommend a pen and paper to keep track of your conversations, attempt to find links and connections between those calls and find when certain responses are positive or negative. Similar to the above scenario of conversion rate, you will want to identify the negatives and make the changes (based on experiences as well) to find the sweet spot in those conversations.
For example: If you speak to 100 clients a month and when you bring up the topic of a new systems upgrade, you can gauge their responses from excited to dread. These responses can come from the potential downtime they may experience or getting them excited about the new features they will enjoy with the new product release. Oftentimes good news will be mixed with the negative, and the optimization may come in the delivery of the information.
For example: An agent may report to a customer “Sir/Madame, we are performing a routine upgrade to your platform, you may experience a short downtime and we apologize for any inconvenience. The upgrade will include long awaited features such as x,y,z, we sincerely hope you enjoy the upgrade and thank you for being a valued customer.
The agent above reported the negative, but sugar coated it with the benefits. Like other optimization attempts, you’ll never satisfy 100% of the audience, the goal is to get as many people positive as possible.
Had the agent simply stated “We are performing an upgrade, expect 3hrs of downtime” that may come off as stiff, the optimization of the benefits may help here
Similarly, if the agent only stated “We are performing an upgrade, except features x,y,z” without mentioning the downtime part, you may get some upset and frustrated users as well as they may suddenly not be able to access the program as intended. This is as well an item, although presented positively, that needs to be optimized.