In the landscape of Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO, there should be no room for guesstimates and hunches.
Every decision you make must utilize sufficient data from your customers, website, and marketing campaigns.
Unfortunately, a lot of one-man marketers and solopreneurs rely on the so-called best practices that are believed to increase conversions on a website. It could be a particular landing page layout, a punchy headline template, or irresistible CTAs that contain certain “power words.”
This isn’t to say that such strategies won’t have an effect whatsoever on your conversion rates. But if you want reliable results, you need to implement a system that’s tailored to your brand’s specific needs.
In this post, we’ll discuss the three methodologies that will help you mold a CRO strategy with zero guesswork.
Without further ado, let’s jump into it.
1. Measure and Monitor
Your CRO campaign must be aimed at tangible, measurable goals.
If you execute CRO strategies without well-defined objectives, it’s pretty much impossible to tell if your approach is working or not.
That’s why the first phase of your CRO system should be to identify the core metrics or Key Performance Indicators you’ll track as well as configure the tools you’ll use to monitor them.
Identifying Your KPIs
What plenty of marketers fail to realize is that they could be chasing vanity metrics that have nothing to do with their website’s profitability.
A vanity metric is a value that can be easily boosted — at times, manipulated — to make a strategy seem effective when it’s really not.
The number of page views your website gets, for example, can be the result of a social media ad, but it doesn’t automatically equate to conversions.
Rather than spending money to inflate metrics that won’t affect your bottom line, you can use a tool like Google Analytics to specify KPIs tied to user actions.
In the Google Analytics platform, these actions are simply referred to as “Goals.” These can be created, edited, and shared by heading to the “Admin” page and clicking “Goals” under the “View” column.
From there, you can create goals based on templates or custom triggers, such as arriving at a “Thank You” page, viewing a specific number of pages in a session, or playing a video. Of course, you need to configure a goal that makes sense for your website’s conversion funnel.
Once your goal is live, you should be able to monitor the number of conversions made in the previous page. You can also navigate to the “Overview” page under the “Goals” tab, which can be found in the “Conversions” submenu.
Understanding Other “Classical” Metrics
Aside from custom goals, Google Analytics also gives you access to fundamental metrics that can be useful in your CRO strategy:
Instead of raw page views, you should track the number of pages users view per session to gauge their engagement, the implementation of your navigation, and your website’s internal link structure.
Your website’s bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who leave after visiting only one page. This means they either already found the information they need. Or they simply didn’t have any compelling reason to explore your website more.
Average Session Duration
Lastly, a high average session duration is usually a good indication that your visitors find your content or landing page design engaging. A significant dip in this metric could sometimes point to issues that demand your immediate attention, such as crashes, poor website performance, or the lack of the visual “oomph” factor that captures the audience’s attention.
2. Analyze On-Page Elements that Underperform
Now that you know how to measure and monitor crucial KPIs on your website, it’s time to zero in on the elements that negatively impact them.
There are a handful of different ways to do this:
Online Surveys and Feedback Forms
With a tool like Google Forms, you can launch full-on surveys that ask visitors what they like and dislike on your website. It’s free to use and easy to set up — you just need a few minutes to create the questions and promote your survey via email, link, or an embed code.
Assessing your website via heatmaps skips the number crunching and visually track how users interact with page elements. Put simply, it identifies the “hot” zones that garner the most clicks and the “cold” zones that are often ignored.
Some of the heatmap tools you can consider for this step are Crazy Egg and Hotjar.
In addition to heatmaps, Crazy Egg and Hotjar also feature a session recording tool.
Session recordings can give you more in-depth insights on how users behave on your pages and respond to specific elements. As the name suggests, it captures a video of your users’ sessions so you can identify usage patterns and improvement opportunities.
One way to detect bottlenecks in your website’s conversion funnel is to identify key pages where your visitors tend to leave or “drop off.”
Again, a tool like Hotjar can help you track these events and identify the pages that need improvement. You can also use the “Behavior Flow” view on Google Analytics to detect high drop-off pages that could use some tweaking.
3. A/B Testing
Understanding how users respond to your page elements should help you formulate hypotheses on how to get more conversions.
This is where all the “best practices” you’ve learned from other guides may come into play. You can use a new CTA, change your headline, replace your images, and so on.
What ensues, however, is the most tedious part of CRO: trial and error.
Take note, even veteran marketers depend on rigorous testing to determine whether or not their hypotheses work. Unfortunately, the trial and error process usually takes a long time before it yields conclusive data.
With A/B testing or split testing, you can cut the time it takes to test your hypotheses by testing multiple versions of your pages at the same time.
Optimization platforms like Crazy Egg often have this feature built-in. Alternatively, you can use Google Optimize to split test multiple pages from websites that you already track via Google Analytics.
Always remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in CRO.
Everything you do must be based on measurable data — that is the only way to get surefire results from your CRO efforts.
With the three methodologies above, you should be more than capable of setting a clear direction for your CRO campaign. The only thing left is to expand your arsenal of strategies that improve key conversion elements on your website.
For more posts that can help you maximize your online success, we recommend you check out the official Verbolia blog. Good luck!