Creating and Testing a Conversion Rate Optimisation Plan

When talking to businesses about a Conversion Rate Optimisation Plan, we often hear they have been advised to apply some of the tools we have been talking about so far. Much of this advice often relies on tricks that have worked for others and focus on quick fixes, like changing a checkout button colour. There is an inherent risk in not tailoring your strategy for your needs.

If you are only working with a list of generic optimisation tools and your conversion rate drops, you will most likely begin tweaking page elements in search of a fix.

THERE ARE TWO PROBLEMS WITH THIS KIND OF APPROACH:
  • You have no well defined action plan
  • You pay no attention to your customer and their behaviour
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT BUILDING A CONVERSION RATE OPTIMISATION PLAN, WE MEAN:
  • Figure out what the numbers mean before even trying to fix or improve anything
  • Form hypotheses based on test results and analytical data
  • Construct a plan of action to test hypotheses
  • Understand this is a well structured, ongoing process of making small improvements over time

BE STRATEGIC

When you have a strategic plan, your first action is to work out why those numbers changed. Do the needs of this new traffic source differ from your established sources? If so, how? These questions are then followed by tests that attempt to answer them or, at the very least, help determine which tests to run next.

When you implement a conversion strategy, you should do so understanding that a single tweak won’t fix all your conversion problems. You should be prepared for results not to support your original hypothesis. The knowledge you gain from testing it, contributes to growing an understanding of how you can serve your customers better.

The importance of having a strategic Conversion Optimisation plan is paramount. Now let’s look at some guidelines that will help you create that plan. Don’t think of these as steps that slowly progress from one step to the next, eventually ending. You should revisit each of the steps to continually focus on the changing needs of your customers.

BUILD THE FOUNDATION

Find out what “conversion” looks like for your business. You have to know what you’re measuring and attempting to optimise.

It is critical to the success of your plan to understand what drives conversion in your business. Don’t try to quickly pin results to a changing button or different page layout. Remember, the only way you will know for sure, is to isolate each element and measure how users behave under each of those circumstances. You need to do this for each element you want to better understand.

CREATE A START POINT

We now understand that a good conversion strategy is based on some metrics and customer input. In order to work with all that data, you need to understand where you are starting from. This is often referred to as ‘baselining’. Only by establishing your current performance can you measure the impact of the changes you make.

What is your current conversion rate? Which are your best sources of traffic for this conversion?

USE OPTIMISATION TOOLS

ANALYTICS TO MEASURE METRICS

Software to track and report on what’s happening on your site, like as Google Analytics, can be be used to perform advanced analysis in areas like audience segmentation and conversion tracking. Segmentation can produce data for different sets of people, and you can isolate spikes or difficult spots in your conversion funnel accurately.

Using tools like these is the only way you can make sure you are continually improving the experience for your customers.
SURVEYS TO GAIN CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

Analytics can only give you a limited amount of insight. You need to listen you your customers, hear their concerns in their own words. Nothing is as valuable as good user feedback.

LIVE USER TESTING

Observe how real users are interacting with your site. You can test potential changes, different scenarios and document the effect it had on the user’s browsing behaviour.

When you have established a baseline, you have something against which all future changes can be measured. When you change something on your site, compare the before and after results.

DESIGN YOUR TEST STRATEGY

Now, take everything you’ve learned so far and design a test strategy. Make a list of your priorities. What issues come up again and again in user surveys? What seems to be your block to conversion and what do you want to address first?

Be methodical here. Double check your metrics and and keep a written record of absolutely everything that happens while you are testing.
MAKE SMALL CHANGES

Look for something that won’t be too complicated to change and measure, but with real potential for improving conversion rates.

SIMPLE A/B TESTS ARE ALWAYS A GOOD START

Don’t make too many changes at once. If you do, you won’t know if it’s the new call to action button or the improved photo gallery that resulted in the improvements you measured.

THINK CREATIVELY

If visitors aren’t clicking “Buy Now”, the answer isn’t necessarily to make it into a big bright pop-up. 
(We see this so often and it usually ends up putting people off).

ASK SOMEONE ELSE

You may not easily see (or believe) the problem, especially if you were the person who created the page.

LOWER THE RISK

You might have to lower the “risk” for your users. Maybe you’re asking too much too soon? Free trials and promotions can help to earn your users’ trust sooner. Whatever you do, do not end your tests early because you think you’ve found the answer. You have to let your test run its course to be sure. To give your own numbers some perspective, you might want to look for benchmark data from your industry.

UNLEASH YOUR TESTS

The data from your test, when compared to your baseline, will tell you what do do next.
Optimisation is never an end goal, but an ongoing process. Because the way you do business is always evolving and your customers’ needs change over time, you will never reach the point where you’ve run “enough” tests.

When you’ve unblocked an issue in your user experience, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and then ask yourself what else can be improved upon.

If this test wasn’t a success, don’t be discouraged. All this means is that it’s time to review your data, and design a new test. You often learn more from a negative outcome than you do from a positive outcome.

  • Have the metrics changed?
  • How have they changed?
  • What are the survey results?
  • Did it change the way users interact with your site?
2018-05-19T22:43:40+00:00February 23rd, 2015|Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Online Stores, Websites|

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