Is Your Marketing Conversion Strategy Optimized?
One of the primary goals of most marketing efforts is successful conversion. All the effort spent engaging potential customers, building brand trust and reputation, and inspiring users to enter a conversion funnel will be of no benefit if some unforeseen obstacle in the buyer’s journey prevents conversion from ultimately taking place.
This is where a conversion optimization strategy comes in. Ensuring a potential customer has a smooth journey from initial engagement to conversion is essential. Removing any friction in the conversion funnel requires knowing where that friction exists and what causes it. This calls for verifiable data, good metrics, and an understanding of the overall efficacy of a site’s UX and underpinning technology.
Conversion Rate Optimization Audits
A conversion rate audit, sometimes also referred to as a CRO audit, is integral to the success of any conversion optimization strategy. Knowing how visitors move through and engage with a conversion funnel enables the discovery of problematic areas that can prevent successful conversion. Once identified, these problem areas can be further analyzed and ultimately repaired.
Optimizing conversion rates requires a comprehensive inspection of each step of the customer’s journey through the conversion funnel. Interacting with and verifying the proper functioning of each element of a site’s UX—and ensuring the absence of any technical problems—is the central method behind a conversion rate audit.
The ultimate objective of a conversion rate audit is to develop a comprehensive, detailed, and actionable list of fixes that, when accomplished, will ensure the best possible conversion rate.
Improving Conversions Through Website Optimization
A conversion audit won’t cause an increase in conversions any more than a conversion optimization strategy will translate directly into boosted sales figures. Like the optimization strategy it supports, the audit is intended to provide a roadmap of prioritized tasks directly addressing any problems uncovered during the process.
Though most conversion issues are typically caused by poor UX design, not all are. To identify potential problems, a conversion audit must look at every step of the buyer’s journey and every aspect of the customer’s overall experience. Though most fixes will focus on UX improvements, audits can uncover other underlying issues holding back an organization’s website conversion strategy.
Customizing the Conversion Optimization Audit Process
A conversion rate optimization audit needs to be unique to each organization and, in many cases, unique to each conversion funnel. The objectives of a conversion audit will be specific to current marketing efforts, advertising campaign goals, and even things like website performance and particular buyer personas.
Though the completed audit will provide a much clearer understanding of needed efforts, considering suitable objectives can help structure the audit process. Typical goals include reducing landing page bounce rates or cart abandonment, increasing click-through rates from specific pages, and increasing opt-in rates for a lead magnet.
Examining and Refining a Conversion Optimization Strategy
Developing a conversion rate optimization strategy isn’t as daunting as it might seem. It is a simple, systematic process that identifies problem areas in UX and other underlying components of a conversion funnel. Like any marketing optimization efforts, they should be thorough and cover all current conversion efforts on desktop and mobile platforms.
Having some baseline data to compare to after implementing a strategy is helpful. If insufficient performance metrics are available, it would be wise to gather them or develop them from existing data if possible. Once elements of an optimization strategy have been enacted, having historical conversion performance figures to compare against is the best measurement of that strategy’s immediate effectiveness.
The process of further refining a conversion rate optimization strategy isn’t as simple as starting over from the beginning and repeating every step in order. It’s essential to measure the impact of any changes and step through each part of the buyer’s journey to ensure it’s as streamlined and effortless as possible.
Assigning a test user a task or tasks to complete on the site hosting a conversion funnel and having them talk through their thoughts and actions at each step of the process can be an excellent way to refine optimization strategies further. This kind of “speak out loud” UX testing typically provides unexpected insight into confusing UX or ineffective conversion techniques.
Evaluating Progressive Changes
After each significant change or refinement to a conversion platform’s UX, underlying technology, or other components that have been determined to have a possible negative impact on conversion efforts, it’s essential to measure the effectiveness of those changes carefully.
Changing too many elements at once will cloud the changes’ effectiveness, making it impossible to determine which adjustment created a positive difference. Change a primary component and watch visitor behavior as it reacts to that change before making further adjustments.
Though developing an effective plan to optimize a marketing strategy requires considerable effort, the return more than justifies the initial investment. A carefully conducted and thorough audit can provide surprising insight and identify opportunities for immediate improvement. Sometimes simple changes can have a significant effect.
It’s best to think of conversion optimization strategy as a continuous process of tuning small details and observing changes. Successful conversion methods typically shift gradually, and there’s no one “fire and forget” plan that will work for long (if at all). Careful evaluation followed by minor changes will help determine the most effective way to secure those precious conversions, even as what works shifts over time.