Hiring a conversion rate optimization agency is a good investment – it’s something that has been proven over time.
But I understand that not every company has the resources to do so.
Some startup companies operate on a shoestring budget, and they can’t even afford to engage a CRO consultant – let alone having an in-house CRO team.
Luckily, you can still do CRO even if you have the leanest budget.
In this article, we will look at different CRO practices that can help cash-strapped companies optimize their conversion rate.
All the ideas shared in this article can be applied right away, whether you have massive traffic coming to your website or not.
1. Follow a Growth Process
What’s the one thing every startup needs?
It’s an open secret that startups want to grow, but without a proper process in place, your journey to desired growth will take too long, and it’s more likely to be plagued by unfortunate consequences.
Processes are there to eliminate guesswork and to move things faster. They are even more critical in the startup world, where speed is a competitive advantage.
At Invesp, we have a conversion optimization process to grow our clients’ revenue. We can launch tests fast and move swiftly simply because we know the series of steps to take to achieve a particular end.
There are many growth and conversion optimization processes out there. Pick one, modify it to suit your business model, and you will be able to accelerate your growth rate.
2. Customer Journey Mapping
Early-stage startups make one grave mistake of prioritizing their product over their customers.
They spend much time focusing on their product features and functionality – instead of being attentive to early customers in a way that makes customers feel like they are in good hands.
Investing in your customer relationship is not just a way to ensure customer satisfaction but also a way to get valuable product feedback and insights. A solid two-way communication channel is one of the most important things you can do to help your startup scale.
This brings us to the next point: how do you build strong customer relationships?
Building strong customer relationships begins with ensuring that the customer experience is positive. You have to go through every touchpoint – website, social media channels, emails, etc. – that customers have with your brand and make sure it is optimized.
All I’m saying here is you have to map the entire customer journey and make sure there are no conversion bottlenecks standing in the way of customers. Doing so will help you understand:
- Why people buy
- Their buying criteria
- Customer pain points
- Their behavior
- Their objections and unanswered questions
- The voice of the customer so you can resonate with them
According to the Co-founder of Vintage Cash Cow, David Weaver:
“A successful customer journey map will give you real insight into what your customers want and parts of your product, brand, or process that aren’t delivering.”
We have written an insightful article on creating a comprehensive customer journey map. Here’s a summary of the steps included in the whole process:
- Nail down your buyer persona:
- Understand your buyer’s goals
- Map out buyer touchpoints
- Identify customer pain points
- Prioritize and Fix Roadblocks
- Update and improve
3. Launch Quick Surveys
Successful startups understand the importance of feedback. Be it positive or negative, feedback equips you with valuable information that you can use to make improvements to your website.
Collecting feedback isn’t expensive. If you are operating on a tiny budget, you can launch quick visitor polls or surveys on your website. We use these all the time, bringing a maximum return for minimal effort.
Regardless of what you are trying to achieve, quick visitor surveys can help you:
Know your customers – while you may know your target audience, you may not be familiar with all their values and needs. A quick survey can help you gather important information, such as the challenges faced by your target customers and their needs.
Measure customer satisfaction – As an early-stage startup, your website may have some bugs which may have slipped through the cracks. You can launch a quick survey and ask for website feedback from your visitors. This can help you avoid negative customer experiences.
Gain customer testimonials – You probably know the importance of having social proof on your website. They help you alleviate anxiety and doubts in the mind of potential customers. So, shortly after a customer purchases and receives your product, send a quick survey asking them for a review that you can display on your site.
Build customer loyalty – Yes, surveys can help you build customer loyalty. All you have to do is send a quick survey asking for their opinion on a specific design change. This will make them feel valued, and once they realize that you value them, they will remain loyal to your brand.
4. Launch, Analyze Heatmaps and Session Recordings
To compete against giants as a startup, you have to guarantee a positive user experience on your website. In fact, nowadays, that’s table stakes – every site needs to have an enjoyable browsing journey to be successful!
You will find it challenging to improve your site’s user experience if you don’t know how visitors interact with your website. And when it comes to how users interact with your site, guesswork doesn’t work here. You have to be sure.
Enter heatmaps and session recordings!
Heatmaps and session recordings will show you what your visitors see and do when visiting your site. Even if you have little traffic coming to your site, you still have to launch heatmaps and session recordings to understand how users engage with your web elements.
CRO platforms such as FigPii give you access to tools like website heat maps and session recordings. A combination of heat maps and session recordings allows you to identify problems and make changes based on the data from the tools.
There is a way you expect visitors to navigate through your website, but as you watch session replays, you may be surprised by how they really engage with your site.
Sometimes, we place essential elements in areas visitors don’t see – and unless you analyze heat maps and session replays, you may remain oblivious to it.
If you do not have heat maps and session recordings running on your site right now, you’re missing out on essential conversion insights.
5. Conduct a JTBD Customer Interviews
Most of the startup clients we have worked with have one big challenge: they struggle to crisply articulate their value proposition, or their departments look at it a different way.
This happens because they don’t have a shared sense of empathy around the issues faced by users. It is tough to focus on what features matter the most if you don’t have a framework in place to tap into what customers want.
At Invesp, we’re big advocates of Dr. Clayton Christensen’s theory of jobs to be done. We have since incorporated the JTBD customer interviews into our conversion optimization process.
The JTBD framework helps you create better and non-obvious insights about your customers. At its core, it allows you to understand who your customers are, what motivates them, what turns them off, and what their unmet aspirations are.
With these insights at your fingertips, all you have to do is translate them into your value proposition and sprinkle it on different elements across your site.
Bonus Point: Conduct a lot of testing
As a startup, it’s likely that your product, messaging, and even process are still not mature. So, you still have to constantly test to see what works and what doesn’t.
In short, testing is your friend…
Conduct user tests or usability tests to ensure that your product functions as intended. This is something you should do before you even launch your new website or redesign.
At its core, usability testing is all about getting feedback. And user feedback is the lifeblood of an early-stage startup – you need it to succeed.
If you have enough traffic, conduct A/B tests and learn about user preferences. Test the messaging to see if it really resonates with your targeted audience.
Testing is not only meant for mega-brands with a budget for testing software. It can be crucial for early-stage startups looking to provide a great user experience, scale-up their business, and build a brand people love.
So, if you can’t afford to hire a CRO agency or consultant, don’t worry – there are still things you can do to optimize your conversion rate. In this article, we looked at six different practices that can help cash-strapped startups improve their conversion rates. But what are your thoughts? What have you tried in the past that has worked well for you? Reach out to me on LinkedIn and let me know – I would love to hear from you!