7 Data-driven Ways to Improve Your Conversion Rate

For digital marketers, one of the most valuable metrics to improve is your conversion rate. Conversion rate optimization seems like it’s just blowing up now. And why not? For agency retainers as low at $10,000 per month, corporations see returns into the millions. What better way to deepen trust with your clients?

I see more full-scope digital marketing agencies adding CRO to their list of services. But what I don’t see from many programs is a deep root in analytics practices.

These seven analytics strategies will help you add value to your conversion rate experimentation practice and improve your conversion rates overall quickly and efficiently.

Aside from agency retainers, why should digital marketers experiment at all?

Our friend, Jonny Longden, Conversion Director at Journey Further said it best.

“The reason experimentation is so powerful is because it removes opinion and bias from decisions about what to do to your website. Whilst we think we know what customers want, we don’t because they don’t even know themselves what they want. Experimentation settles the matter because they either behave this way or they don’t.

What this proves is that we’re inherently flawed when it comes to guessing what needs to be tested and what might work, and yet we have to do this in order to create ideas.

Analytics and research is another way of chipping away at the bias and opinion, which means that our ideas are more likely to work by the time we get to test them.”

Are you a believer? Then let’s carry on to the 7 steps of great CRO programs

Hint: This is not the answer to a high-performing CRO program.

1) Do your user research

You can’t expect visitors to click if you don’t give them a reason. You need compelling reasons for people to take action. What do they want, and how will your product or service fulfill that desire? Why did they come to your site? Understand what kind of content your prospective customers are looking for, and then create it. Clickvoyant algorithms often look into navigation clicks, content most frequently on a path to conversion, content that doesn’t convert, on-site search keywords. These are research goals analysts typically dig into before a site redesign or rebrand. Why not do it to inform your tests? Again, this is only going to increase your likelihood of a win.

You will want 3 categories of tools at your disposal:

  • Qualitative Research: Tools like Hotjar allow you to view recorded user sessions.
  • Web Analytics for Quantitative Research: Something like Google Analytics that counts all clicks, swipes, downloads etc.
  • User Feedback: Tools that help you ask direct research questions of your user audience like UserTesting.com or Survicate.

2) Test, Test, Test

Why this historically undervalued practice in digital marketing is just starting to blossom is beyond me. Especially when A/B testing is so easy to execute with free tools like Google Optimize. But here’s the thing; if you’re just throwing spaghetti at a wall with your test strategies, you’re doing it wrong.

If you want a win, you need a plan. Our plans always consist of these two critical elements; a strong hypothesis and learning strategy.

  • Starting with the hypothesis, this should be fueled by your research from step 1. What did you observe in this research? What insight did you glean about user behaviors? In what ways to you believe you can influence that behavior?
  • The second is the learning strategy. Every time I see a blue vs. green button case study I wanna puke. What does a win in either direction tell us? That the losing color should never be used… like ever? The intent of a CRO program is to increase conversion rate, yes, but a critical secondary objective is to create institutional wisdom about customer preferences.

Here’s an example statement:
If this test wins, we’ll learn that presenting FAQ in video format is more effective than content accordions in driving conversion rate.

3) Killer conversion landing pages must have great UX

User experience (UX) is more than just pretty pictures and clean design—it’s about achieving your goal. If you want people to take action, you must make it easy for them to do so. Whether you’re creating a landing page or designing a blog template, you have to know what the user motivation is and help them do that as quickly as possible. Review the pages that you’ve identified to test with a UX designer to align to best practices and consider what critical design cues a user could be missing.

Is the font on the CTA too small? Is this modal too obtrusive? Again, dig back into your analytics to verify your hunches.

Here’s a little more on user motivation and its priority in the conversion equation from Dr. Flint McLaughlin. It still works, and we’ve been watching his videos since 2010.

4) Hone in on your unique value proposition

If you’re looking for a few strategies for improving conversions, you can’t go wrong by developing a more accurate and compelling value proposition. What does your product offer that no one else can? What problem does it solve? How is it better than alternatives? Why you?

If your customers don’t clearly understand what you have to offer them, they’ll be less likely to buy. Don’t make people guess at what you have to offer; do the work yourself and discover where your strengths lie so that you can effectively communicate them. People want solutions—offer yours up front. This will make all of your other conversion rate optimization efforts much easier. Instead of having to coax or trick people into converting on your site, with a clear value proposition upfront, people will see exactly why converting on your site makes sense for them. It won’t just be about getting through an online funnel or filling out a form—it will be about taking advantage of something great in order to make their lives easier or better in some way.

And please… remove all instances of generic touts like, best-in-class, cutting edge, unrivaled. Speak plainly as you would from your mouth to another human.

5) Keep tests simple at the start.

For Pete’s sake, don’t start with a complete homepage redesign A/B test.

With as much research you will do, we still can’t predict how people will react to a particular test. Keep your tests as simple as possible at first and then iterate. This will allow you to improve incrementally and get quick results. From there, tweak what’s working and stop wasting time on what isn’t. Look for patterns or trends in your test data that can help guide future efforts or hone in on which type of content works best for certain groups of people. Focus on improving one aspect of each page rather than changing a bunch of different elements. These small tests will give you the foundational wisdom for larger tests in the future.

6) Use data to backup your test plan decisions.

What many don’t know is how crucial data-backed decisions are for all aspects of a test plan. The tricky part of going all in on conversion rate optimization (CRO) is doing so while also keeping other tactics—like lead generation or SEO —at full strength. Know how your test is going to impact other elements of digital marketing. Critical questions to ask are:

  • Does this page provide enough sessions to get to a statistically significant outcome in a reasonable time?
  • What other external variable like media can influence the outcome?
  • How will a redirect test impact SEO?

Think of CRO as an experiment that expands another essential digital marketing function. To do that, you have to be thinking about it holistically.

7) Dig into the behavioral data after the tests.

Our friend Andrea Ramcharan, CRO Manager for AdTalem, weighs in.

“Yes, we can A/B test anything and from a probability standpoint understand when a Variant is a win or loss. But what A/B testing cannot tell us is the Why. Why did this concept win? But even more importantly, why did it lose? Afterall, creative invested time, research and resources into its inception….can this be salvaged?

Having a trained analyst to dig deeper into site behaviors is a sensible starting point. Understanding which conversion benchmarks fell down can infer what might have happened from a design standpoint. For example, in a losing test, %Scroll went from 58% to 26%. Time on page went from 00:58 to 00:18. Form conversion went from 8% to 3%. We hypothesized that a blog article we promoted just below the fold deterred our audience away from what we wanted them to do, which was to fill out a form. After the blog link was removed, page conversion went up +35%.

A/B testing is only one part of the equation, web analytics is the other and having a trained analyst to investigate and interpret can help salvage and solve for design. Bottom line, if you are investing in an A/B testing platform it is also in your best interest to invest in analytics.”

Always Be Selling

We know CRO program can’t always have an analyst by their side. With a $200B gap in talent, that role is crazy hard and expensive to fill. Hopefully these tips will put you in the right direction for how to do it.

Buuuuuut, if you just can’t add that to your workload, I invite you to check out Clickvoyant analytics insights automations which find hypothesis opportunities in your funnel and analyze behavioral segments of your tests in Google Optimize.

We got your back.

Are you interested in data analysis? Do you want to know if your website may cooperate with our sexy AI algorithm that shows its best insights? Sign up for Clickvoyant today and receive your AI analysis in only 10 minutes!

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