Your website is #1 on Google search results and you have built on a sound marketing strategy. It’s time to rest and reap the results, right? Think again. SEO will only get you traffic but what about conversion rate and leads. The whole Conversion rate game revolves around how your user responds to each element on the site.
Most websites even the best performing ones have a conversion rate less than 5%. Driving traffic to the website will not sustain the business. The whole business of conversion rate revolves around the ‘call to action’ phenomenon. Changing icon colors, flashing buttons and messages is only a gimmick. The important task is to understand visitor behavior and leverage it for your profits.
Although there is a long list of facts that need to be established and a longer list of myths to be debunked, let’s have a look at the common misconceptions that are likely to be in your head when you are dealing with CRO.
Misconception 1: Conversion Rate is about Best Practices
Unlike other conventional business wisdom acts, CRO is not a one size fits all solution. Just changing button colors or doing the rat race attempts will not really yield results. Little tweaks will not be beneficial unless you dig deep into the “real” issues and make customized attempts as per your business and target customer. To put it simple, think over how an ardent buyer behavior on an e-commerce site is different from someone looking forward to a medical solution.
There are many articles, workshops, books, and media teaching you all the conversion tactics and skills in one shot. But the truth is that they only make you aware of the concept. You have to build on it and craft is as per your niche.
People often replicate or ‘smartly copy’ successful websites and then cross fingers. The real game changer is when you zero in into site statistics, analytics, user testing, and surveys. As each site has different conversion goals, it’s crucial to determine what you want the user to do: subscribe, make a call, buy a product or move to another page. This can be successfully achieved by data mining using current analytics. Reviewing engagement strategy coupled with competitor analysis aids in establishing a competent procedure.
As Michael Aagaard from Content Verve would put it:
“Conversion rate optimization really isn’t about optimizing web pages – it’s about optimizing decisions – and the page itself is a means to an end but not an end in itself.”
It’s crucial to understand and translate the whole idea of a powerful website into actionable results. Your total approach should knit programming, framework, marketing, quality, design and accessibility and get a tailor made a solution for yourself.
Each website has its own unique branding strategy, traffic sources, and overall appeal. One has to see the context and use the tweaks right. Also, a lot of case studies could be misleading as you may not know the exact control and variant situations they are perform it. Do not fall prey to some claim just because a lot of people are following it. Get things within your context and know your arena before performing the feat.
Misconception 2: A/B Testing is the alpha and omega of Conversion Rate Optimization
People often think of A/B or split testing as the ultimate goal and take it synonymous with CRO. Testing is only the tip of the iceberg of analytics and validation. As Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners puts it,
“Testing is a common component of CRO. And I am glad that some online marketers have belatedly gotten the “testing religion,” as I call it. However, it is only a tiny part of optimization. Basically testing is there to validate the decisions that you have made, and to make sure that the business has not suffered as a result. But even if you are doing testing well (with proper processes, traffic sources, statistics, and methods for coming up with ideas), the focus should still not be exclusively on testing activities.
If you simply worry about testing velocity or other tactical outcomes you will miss the larger opportunity. Unless you see CRO as a strategic activity that has the potential to transform your whole business, you run the risk of it becoming simply a tactical activity that is a part of your online marketing mix. And that would be the biggest tragedy of all.”
This graph highlights that CRO is not limited to A/B testing. There is definitely more to it. There are a number of analytics software that effectively track down the website activities with smallest details. This data can be valuable in creating engaging, powerful and actionable CRO strategy. Often people skip surveys thinking they already know their user or if they do, they do it once in a lifetime. A/B Testing works only on the traffic that is directed to the websites. But surveys can be a powerful tool for the mass potential target visitors. You also need qualitative data and the big picture to devise the unerring game plan. Minutest details like legibility, proximity, contrast, flow, fields, layout and overall appeal can be differentiating factors. You are likely to get stuck or go on the wrong path if you choose the wrong testing variables or execute split testing in silos.
One of the primary mistakes is not integrating test data with analytics. Another major glitch is to focus on the design rather than addressing the actual conversion issues. If you are tracking the wrong KPI’s, the results will obviously be misleading. It is highly recommended to go for cohort analysis, integrated study and reviewing the data before you head for conclusions.
Misconception 3: CRO is the solution to everything
A few years back, web designers were “too much” into SEO and claimed that it’s all you need. But with upgraded search algorithms, user surveys, and comprehensive analytics, the balloon finally burst. The service providers are often branding it as ‘everything you need’, but we need a more logical, realistic and documented approach.
CRO is not the replacement for content, user experience, and SEO, design, and quality product. These prerequisites have to be in place before you are heading to invest in Conversion Rate Optimization. Your website is the sum total of your marketing, advertising and lot of things put together. If a weak design is your loophole, forget any ROI for Conversion Rate Optimization.
For any company of website to excel online, a broad range of metrics are to be considered. These factors need to cascade from your larger business strategy. You are less likely to hear this from service providers who want you to buy the idea of CRO being the king. Like everything else, there are mistakes you are likely to make if you blindly follow the trends. It is not a deep secret or some highly technical rocket science beyond understanding. Spending sometimes on the subject and learning what exactly is your need is enough for you to fetch the right results.
When we are busting the myths, it’s important to know what’s the real truth is. CRO can be a boon only if you take a systematic and structured approach and rely on relevant data points. As this is a data-driven strategy, one needs constant validation and right tools to gauge the results. Considering CRO as a tool and means to achieve results can go a long way. The crux of the matter is that you need to evolve, recheck, revalidate and update your strategy with changing scenario. The CRO solution is right only when other prerequisites are in place. It’s a powerful tool only when you know how and when to use it. Investing in CRO is an intelligent business choice only when you know how to use it.
Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.