As a CRO agency, we don’t like bursting bubbles, but in our experience it’s better to do it now than later.
If you’re looking for that elusive and sensational upturn in sales, we have to tell you it won’t come just from conversion rate optimisation.
The best CRO agency in the world will only rarely buck the trend.
No amount of user research, a/b tests, or content marketing can produce improved sales beyond the best expectations for your industry.
We apologise if this is something you didn’t want to hear but we deal in reality.
Our services are based on experience and studying market trends.
All too often we’re approached by companies desperate for a CRO strategy or ‘quick fix’ because they’ve not invested enough in understanding who their market is, and what and how to sell to them.
Sadly at times, it’s too late.
The company has fallen into a ‘catch 22’ where it hasn’t the money to invest in the improvements so badly needed. It all tended to stem from their undying belief in their product or service, without realising their buyers didn’t.
The irony was invariably the product or service wasn’t the problem.
Either the business grew too quickly for the company to handle, sent out the wrong message to its buyers, or just expected too much too soon.
So here’s a question;
Do you even know what conversion rates you should expect for your industry?
If you don’t, you’re not alone.
Many companies don’t know what constitutes a good, bad, or indifferent conversion rate for their industry.
For them, it’s about overall turnover and profit which is all well and good but only if they’re blissfully unaware their competitors are working less but earning more- otherwise it will surely grate?
It’s important to really know your conversion rates and some methods accepted as being a barometer can be misleading.
Online businesses use Google Analytics to track performance and traffic.
There are many metrics to utilise and the tool itself is pretty simple to understand but it’s the interpretation of the resulting figures that can cause problems.
Findings are usually sample data rather than deep analytical results and if not interpreted correctly may duplicate, or even magnify the errors within a site.
Areas such as:
The speed of a website.
In order to not frustrate a visitor to a site, the speed in which pages load should be as fast as possible given the amount of information and the varying viewer broadband speeds.
Google Analytics only uses a small sample of visitors to a site (though there is provision for some adjustment) to determine a website speed.
The ‘Bounce Rate’
A bounce is determined by how quickly a visitor enters then leaves a website after only viewing the page in which they entered.
The issue with this is a visitor may have immediately found what they were looking for- a telephone number, website address, or verification they were in the right place.
Any could still be interpreted as a bounce and therefore poor user experience yet none are negative visits.
Google still vehemently denies they use bounce rate as an algorithm for their ranking but surely there has to be some value in the data or it needn’t be included in their analytics tool?
Page time averages
New or Return Visits
Google Analytics tracks
The problem with this is that if a previous viewer deletes their cookie history, the tool would assume any subsequent view to be from a new visitor resulting in false positives.
Similarly, if a repeat visitor is using a different device to come to the website, they would be counted as new. This data could be interpreted as increased website traffic when in fact there has been very little change.
Traffic from referrals
Referral traffic is often mistakenly considered as the number of backlinks on their website.
However, visits arising from other website referrals such as social media, campaigns via emails, or even internal links from other pages are invariably included, giving false data.
The results derived from Google Analytics ought to be considered as performance indicators or guidelines as opposed to being a true summary of a website.
Aside from the premium version of Google Analytics, called ‘Google Analytics 360’, there are many other data analysis tools which you could purchase to assist you with optimising websites.
This article from Venture Harbour gives you an insight into sixteen different testing tools.
Google too has website optimisation software called (unsurprisingly) Google Optimise.
This free software is fairly limited (though there is a premium version, Google Optimise 360) but it gives a beginner some idea of the areas involved in optimising websites.
Easier Conversion Rate Research
If your company is in an industry in which there’s a lot of competition, you’ll probably be able to discover average sales by searching the web.
That doesn’t mean you should settle for average. Every business ought to strive to achieve that which is just beyond their grasp as not doing so will expose them to failure.
Failure often hides in the shadows of average success.
Where it gets more difficult is when you provide a niche product or service.
After some time of trading, you’ll be able to calculate your average conversion rates but without competitive comparisons, how will you gauge your success?
This is when an experienced conversion rate optimisation agency shows its true potential.
There are basically three main areas of user research that needs to be carried out on any types of ecommerce websites.
- Technical Analysis
- Usability and Behaviour Analysis
- Content Analysis
This type of technical analysis for a website surrounds checking aspects that are more straightforward to correct.
Issues which fall into this category include problems such as;
- Error messages
- Broken links or pages
- Coding mistakes
- Slow speed pages or website
- Inability to load the site for certain search engines
These sort of issues should be remedied before anything else.
Usability and Behaviour Analysis
User journeys and user experience are terms adopted to describe the impression a visitor has while exploring a website.
Understanding how your site is perceived by understanding the user journeys are vital for creating the correct platform for your service or product.
Where a CRO pro testing agency goes further is they will understand the relevance of the findings and know how to logically strategise and prioritise the work that’s required and implement them efficiently.
Priorities may relate to obvious areas needing attention such as shopping carts being abandoned or incorrect descriptions, but may also be less apparent such as not having a guest checkout, or not enough payment options.
Seeing issues and being able to test and understand by experience what can move the needle is where expertise shows its value.
Clients employ conversion optimisation agencies because it can take months to learn how to interpret the findings and to correct them.
In that time, how much have you lost while learning?
Quantitative and Qualitative research also form part of usability analysis.
Quantitative research explores the analytical data optimise of technical points within a website causing a loss of converted sales.
With this form of original research you’ll establish the priority and urgency of correcting the findings.
The results from quantitative research is limited as each business is unique and just acting upon technical issues will offer only minimal improvements on sales.
Qualitative research involves exploring unmeasurable outcome from visits to your site:
It’s about things like the ease of use, colours and layout on a page and how they are navigated.
One of the best methods of determining how well a website works is through a/b tests.
Every CRO experts programme should include some method of user testing.
Through moderating tests a website owner will gain valuable insights into how easy (or otherwise) their website is to navigate and the user experience gained.
For instance, in an effort to ascertain whether one landing page performs better than another, a user test may show two or more web designs for the page.
User testers will be asked to form a consensus of opinion acting as a proportional representation of the public.
Landing page optimisation is just one example given for this type of qualitative research.
Even this type of research is subjective as it depends on the number and range of testers who may not represent the general public’s opinion as well as hoped.
This website from E4s.co.uk shows some user testing tools and sites that require testers, but in doing so promotes their businesses for companies looking for user testing research.
Blog posts can be used for qualitative purposes as it’s possible to gauge opinion from feedback and reviews.
Buyer surveys can form part of qualitative research.
Asking buyers for their feedback can provide valuable information, even from those happy with their purchase.
For example, you could ask them;
“Was there anything that almost put you off buying from us today?”
“Did you have any concerns about making your decision to purchase?”
You can get almost as much information from a purchaser as from one who didn’t.
- How they identify themselves (when compiling a user persona)
- What made them make the decision to purchase (What problem the service or product you supply solved for them)
- Where else did they look and what made them choose you?
There’s basically five different measurements that could be classified as social proof.
Social proof from experts
When a respected authority in your field or industry recommends your service or product, either by invitation or their own volition.
Celebrities earn money by endorsing products or services.
This can be through any medium such a television or radio advertising, mentioning your brand on social media platforms, wearing your product or using your service.
Some celebrities may actively endorse by design, whilst others are unaware of the influence they have had.
Social proof from users
When customers or clients recommend your products or services after purchases are made via reviews and feedback, this positive reaction will have an impact on others considering buying from you.
Once an online business becomes established, popular products or services have greater promotion potential from the hundreds or thousands of followers on the social media platforms set in place.
An element of trust emanates from feedback and reviews from friends, family or peers.
Consumer behaviour is influenced by peers as people often buy because others do.
This little post from Enchantingmarketing.com explains how companies sell without buyers realising they are being sold to.
Endorsements via Certification.
Usually reserved for those whose business is larger or established, endorsement via certification involves recognition from reputable and influential companies.
Think in terms of the blue tick mark on Facebook or Twitter, or the power seller logo on eBay.
Certificates give an air of authority, though the jury’s out whether they work for individual businesses in every industry.
Content analysis is a method of research used to analyse data from qualitative measurements and attempting to convert some of those findings into quantitative data.
An example may be from taking a survey into how visitors to a site feel after they visit.
Feelings are qualitative but from surveys and research it can be measured by the amount of visitors who feel similar or the same.
This then becomes a quantitative value.
Content for higher conversion rates should have;
- A clear, consistent and unique tone that gets your message across.
- Provoke emotions that echo the pains your visitors face, offering value propositions to remedy their problem.
- Show professionalism and authority.
- Show supported claims by citing sources of information where appropriate, or be evident the information expressed are from your own perspective.
- Entertain and engage in whatever form is appropriate for your marketing channel.
If your website has errors left unchanged, eventually it will lose ranking position and even the best conversion rate optimisation (CRO) agency will find it difficult to quickly reinstate your former position.
Don’t lose sight about other things that matter within your website.
- The traffic to your site
- How much it costs to draw in your customers
- How engaged the customer is within your website
The more you humanise your audience and truly know them, the more likely the results you expect will follow.
As with most aspects of life there are shortcuts, but long term big results are through real human interaction.
For free conversion rate optimisation or CRO marketing automation advice, or website optimisation in general, talk to a successful CRO consultation specialist here at Salesbloom.
Your digital marketing is in safe hands with us.
Salesbloom has been able to understand the complexity of our operations and, combined with their past experience, deliver a great solution for the business.
Jim really came through for us on a new marketing course for my brand and is a great guy I regularly work with on projects.
Not only does Jim know what he is talking about professionally, and can actually do what he says he does, but he’s a really nice guy as well.
He always puts the client first, even when this may be difficult.
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