5 Things Every CMO Must Know About Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Look before you leap! We learnt this lesson from childhood. Unfortunately, many of us forget this as we dabble with our hyper competitive and fast paced work regimes. Marketers are no exception and neither are their Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) projects because results are expected quickly – too quickly!

In recent years, CRO has gained significant traction. Many senior marketers want to start CRO projects. Their aim is to increase the conversion rates of people visiting their website. This, of course, is not a bad objective, but many times, it is their “only” objective.

So, what do marketers need to focus on as they embark on their CRO journey? Here is a list of the top 5 items:

1. CRO is not A/B Testing

CRO is about deploying measurable techniques that can be used to improve customer experience and consequently website or landing page(s) performance, which adds to the company’s bottom line. A/B testing is exactly what it is – you test two variants of the same experience. This is a small component of CRO. In many instances, A/B testing may not be needed in a CRO project.

For example, before you start a CRO project, you need to thoroughly analyze your site’s analytics data. If data indicates glaring problems that can be fixed immediately, you should fix them – don’t A/B test! Examples of problems include page load times, issues with Mobile load, or UI. Look for ways to improve customer experience immediately and great performance will follow.

2. Conversion Rate is Not Important

Yes, it’s contrary to what many marketers believe what a CRO’s end goal should be. However, conversion rate should not be the ultimate KPI. What really matters is business KPIs such as Number of Customer Wins and Monthly Recurring Revenue. These objectives are harder to measure and take longer to report.

Ultimately, a CRO project needs to measure the bottom line impact in any business.

3. CRO is Multidisciplinary – Put the Right Team in Place

CRO can get complicated. It is a methodology that taps into skills from Business consulting to UI/UX to Content to Analytics.

Here’s how these critical digital disciplines interconnect on a CRO project:

  • Business consulting helps you position your solution.
  • Marketing tells you if you have the right offer for the persona at the right time.
  • Analytics helps you identify the baseline performance and gives you regular data segmented by source, device etc.
  • Copy teams tell you if your content is persuasive and if your value proposition is clear.
  • Design teams will help identify and resolve the UI/UX challenges.
  • Content teams guide you with the right keyword strategy and SEO.
  • Developers and peers who are tech savvy help bring the technical solutions to solve a problem.
  • Marketing Automation and CRM teams inform you of the much-needed history on consumer behavior, sales cycle, type of content that has worked, and how best to retain customers/prospects – a.k.a offers intelligence around loyalty and customer advocacy.

There is no CRO without these multifaceted teams integrated together.

4. Statistical Significance is a Crucial Factor

Here’s a good reality check – analyze your home page traffic (specifically unique visitors/month) and existing website conversion rate. Next, use a test duration calculator (from VWO or Optimizely). Finally, make some reasonable assumptions on the number of variations and minimum improvement to expect.

You might get surprised to see the recommended test duration with statistical significance, especially if you are a B2B marketer or in a niche business. This kind of check helps you plan realistic goals and time frame for CRO.

Once you start the CRO project, resist the urge to end tests quickly. Look for the best-case statistical significance you can live with – we recommend 90% +. Some marketers make changes on 75%, but just know that higher statistical significance means better chances of making the winning variation do well in the long run.

5. Focus on the Strategy

Focusing on individual LPs or certain website CTAs alone cannot drive significant business impact from CRO.

Instead, focus on a larger content strategy based on target personas and corporate or product messaging. For example, ask questions: who is the target audience for a whitepaper? What they already know and how this whitepaper will impact them in a positive way? What will be the next logical action for that persona? Questions like these will help you build the right long term strategy and pool the right resources together for success.

Conclusion:

Even though CRO has gained significant interest among digital marketers, a lot of them don’t know what to expect, how to read results, or how to differentiate between tactics and strategy. Coincidently, according to an HBR article from 2012, marketers depend on data for 11% of their decisions, while a majority struggle with statistics, and a few who use data don’t do it the right way. Given the way marketing data has exploded in the last few years, we believe the proportion of people in the last category has increased. We hope the tips in this article help you navigate the complex CRO landscape with more planning and caution.

Divya Krishnan

Divya Krishnan

Divya Krishnan, Associate Director, Marketing Analytics has more than 8 years of experience in digital media and analytics. Her strategic focus combined with technical expertise has impacted the course of action for several world class companies including Financial Force, Truste, Philips, Coke, S.C.Johnson. She has expertise across web and marketing analytics techniques including campaign measurement, conversion optimization and predictive analytics.