Website Conversions and Conversion-Rate Optimization: Every Brand’s Secret for Success
by Drew Burns
posted on 04-08-2016
If you don’t operate a traditional B2C business, it may seem as though you don’t need to worry about website conversions or conversion-rate optimization.
However, conversions are important for every business — no matter what your business model, service, or product is.
Every action a user takes on your site has an impact on macro and micro conversions — whether downloading an app, liking a Facebook page, or signing up for a newsletter. These conversions connect prospects and customers more closely to your brand and move them through the sales funnel. Typically, when people talk about conversions, they are referring to sales. However, brands should think of conversions as any time a user is successfully convinced to take action with your brand. And improving and optimizing those actions can provide an incremental and cumulative impact on revenue.
Optimization Through Testing
Conversion-rate optimization should be an ongoing, iterative process; both content and customer behavior/preferences are constantly changing due to new initiatives, campaigns, and trends. Testing allows you to refine your messaging, imagery, design, and audience for each campaign. Testing is something that should be accessible to every team in your organization, as they are all experts and can make educated contributions in their particular fields. Testing should be a democratized process, not something that only a select few in the organization manage.
To properly conduct a conversion-rate optimization test, you do not have to be an IT (information technology) professional or a statistician, but you do need to have a strategy. It’s best to use both a quantitative assessment ( analytics reports, anomaly detection that highlights bounce in a particular location) as well as qualitative analyses (customer focus groups and suggestions from product/channel specialists). Both boil down to determining a list of problems you would like to resolve.
Running tests certainly takes time and resources, which means that a cost-benefit analysis is very beneficial to determine the prioritization of testing activities and to constantly re-evaluate that prioritization based on results. The higher the velocity and quality of conversion-rate optimization that you sustain, the greater the returns in terms of revenue and data-driven insights.
What is really amazing is that, throughout the testing process, you receive real, hard data from reporting. You can also obtain additional drill-down and context provided by integrated analytics tools, enabling you to improve your conversion rates by providing actionable, real-time information. This is the motivation behind optimization solutions that provide integration with an analytics tool: broader contextual qualification of what you are seeing in the results and assurance that no audience is overlooked within a broader testing population.
When coupled with analytics, testing provides your brand with myriad ways to increase the number of positive customer experiences — such as providing a more efficient path-to-purchase or easier access to answers for frequently asked questions — which results in increased conversions and greater customer lifetime value. Machine-learning algorithms and automated personalization can also be very powerful in real-time performance evaluation, while maximizing relevancy and propensity for single or multiple conversions.
Optimization Through Personalization
Once you have a better understanding of what works for each audience type, you can begin optimizing conversions through personalization. Personalization allows you to present each audience type with the product or offer that they are most likely to act upon. Using data to understand your audience segments’ preferences — however broad or niche they may be — will help you to improve conversions overall.
For instance, if a father of a newborn baby hits your landing page where you are promoting your highest-selling item — a breast pump, let’s say — this may not be the most relevant offer for this audience segment. Instead, if you personalize your offer based on the most predictive audience that this user falls into, you will have a higher likelihood for conversion. In this particular example, your testing may have revealed that fathers of newborns, clicking from a search for “things that fathers should know about newborns,” are most likely to download an app that helps them remember when they last fed, changed, or washed their babies. Therefore, you could personalize your landing page to prompt them to download your app instead of attempting to sell them something they are unlikely to buy.
CRO: Every Brand’s Secret for Success
Ultimately, there is no website that is above conversion-rate optimization. Even power users in this space realize that it is a constantly changing landscape. Apply a critical eye to your own website; look at each element of an important page and ask questions related to strategic-optimization methodology: does content belong here? What type of content? What is the most impactful design, look, and feel? Should there be messaging; should it be personalized? There is always room for improvement, just as there is always room to potentially refine your message and call to action. Conversion-rate optimization can drive deeper customer engagement; improve customer consumption, loyalty, and brand advocacy; and increase overall revenue over time. These are things all brands should be striving to improve upon — and now, you can also through testing and personalization.