What is CRO Marketing and Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It
- Posted in Conversion Rate Optimization
Disclaimer: This section is a TL;DR of the main article and it’s for you if you’re not interested in reading the whole article. On the other hand, if you want to read the full blog, just scroll down and you’ll see the introduction.
Many online brands are already doing what it takes to drive traffic to their websites.
What Is CRO Marketing?
- Conversion rate optimization or CRO marketing increases the percentage of your existing traffic taking the desired action on your website.
Why Is CRO Marketing Important?
- Conversion optimization is essential to every business because it helps you better understand and serve your customers. And nowadays, customers tend to remain loyal to businesses that they feel understand them.
- CRO marketing helps you understand your customers, which gives you a competitive edge over the competition. This helps you deliver positive customer experiences.
What CRO Tools Will I Need To Get Started?
- Conversion rate optimization does not work in a vacuum. Before setting up your CRO goals, you need to have well-defined business goals that the conversion experts will align the CRO program with for success.
- In CRO marketing, we have the macro goals (this is the primary conversion that every business cares about) and micro goals.
When Is The Right Time For A Business To Get Started With CRO Marketing?
- The right time for a brand to get started in CRO marketing is when they want to know their customers better and improve their user experience.
- The first step is to make sure you have quarterly business goals you can align the CRO goals with.
- Study Google Analytics to study user behavior on select pages on your website/application.
- Collect qualitative insight using a tool like Figpii.
- Prioritize your observations based on the quantitative and qualitative data.
- Create a hypothesis and test it against a control.
How To Create A CRO Marketing Strategy.
- Find what brings people to your website.
- Conduct a deep dive to find the reason behind low conversions on your website.
- Uncover sweet spots that make your web visitors convert.
What CRO Tools Will I Need To Get Started?
- CRO tools are in three categories.
- Web analytics tools: the tools here help you understand what’s going on on your website.
- User behavior tools: these tools let you see how users interact on your website.
- A/B testing platforms: the tools in this category help you measure your variations against the control and see if your hypothesis works or not.
CRO marketing best practices to stay ahead.
- Have an ideal client profile.
- Document every process.
- Don’t copy your competitors without testing first.
- Have a well-defined CRO roadmap.
Here’s A Longer And More Detailed Version Of The Article.
Many online brands are already doing what it takes to drive traffic to their websites.
They have PPC ad campaigns set up, Facebook ads running, and they’ve also engaged influencers on Tik-Tok and Instagram to drive traffic to their website. Let’s not forget the good old Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that brings in that organic traffic.
But, despite these efforts to bring traffic to their sites, most of them still struggle to turn visitors into buyers. A study released by Episerver showed that 92% of e-commerce visitors don’t buy right away on their first visit to a website.
That shows that most e-commerce websites do not have a traffic problem, but they have a conversion problem.
This is where conversion rate optimization marketing comes in.
With CRO marketing, you don’t need to bring in more traffic to your site to increase conversions – the idea of this whole concept is to maximize conversions from the existing traffic.
CRO marketing helps you understand how visitors interact on your website, make hypotheses, run A/B test experiments to validate your hypothesis, and make changes on your website if the variations perform better.
In this article, we’ll be looking at CRO marketing, how to get started in CRO marketing, some tools you’ll need to get started, why CRO marketing is important, how to set CRO goals, and what is a CRO marketing strategy.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.
What is CRO marketing?
Conversion rate optimization or CRO marketing increases the percentage of your existing traffic taking the desired action on your website.
According to Wikipedia:
“online conversion optimization was born out of the need of e-commerce marketers to improve their website performance in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble.”
As many websites were born, the competition became intense, and marketers wanted to stand out because they saw how much they invested in generating leads, but the conversions were low.
This led to the development of tools in 2004 that helped marketers experiment with website design, content variations, layouts, etc.
In 2007, conversion optimization as a type of marketing had a significant boost with the release of Google’s free web optimizer.
Fifteen years later, many brands are still driving traffic to their website and landing pages. But, most of them are still struggling to convert more visitors into paying customers.
Why Is CRO Marketing Important?
Conversion optimization is essential to every business because it helps you better understand and serve your customers. And nowadays, customers tend to remain loyal to businesses that they feel understand them.
So, just by helping you understand your customers, CRO marketing gives you a competitive advantage that you can use to deliver positive experiences throughout your business.
The CRO marketing process involves qualitative and quantitative research and many other components such as hypothesis design, A/B testing, etc.
The data you gather from doing conversion research is used to create your hypothesis, then validated/invalidated using A/B experiments.
Another advantage of CRO marketing is that it helps you reduce the acquisition cost of new leads. Not to say that the top of the funnel acquisition is wrong, but you only get much more from the traffic you’re generating when your website is optimized, and you’re constantly running A/B tests to improve your numbers.
Other benefits of CRO marketing
- Grow brand affinity.
- Improve your customer experience.
- It leads to highly qualified leads.
- Earn more conversions that lead to an increase in revenue.
What Are CRO Goals And How To Set Them?
Conversion rate optimization does not work in a vacuum. You need defined goals to measure if your experimentation program is working successfully or not.
Before setting up your CRO goals, you need to have well-defined business goals that the conversion experts will align the CRO program with for success.
Failure to do this will only lead the CRO marketing team to work on experiments that don’t directly impact the business’s quarterly goals. This can lead to frustration for the conversion experts and the business owners, and we don’t want that.
To know more about how to align your business goals with CRO, see the highlighted article.
Moving on, in CRO marketing, we have two types of goals. The macro goal (this is the primary conversion that every business cares about), and we also have micro-goals (they seem like distractions and unnecessary). Still, every mature experimenter knows that you need to consistently hit your micro-goals to get your macro goals.
Here’s an example of a micro goal that impacts the direct conversion; for an eCommerce website, the primary conversion is a purchase; that’s what they want, that’s what they’re looking for.
A micro conversion which looks insignificant but is a major stepping stone to this macro goal is to recover more abandoned carts and this will work through setting up an abandoned cart flow in their email service provider which allows them to reach out to users who paused their purchase process and recover some sales.
Another example of a micro goal that leads to an uptick in purchases for this eCommerce website is the win-back flow to get previous subscribers/purchasers to buy again. The more previous purchasers buy again, the more orders are placed, directly impacting the macro purchase goal.
The difference between micro and macro goals and how they work together should be easy to understand now, yea?
Examples of macro CRO marketing goals you want to achieve could be;
- An increase in sales.
- To increase your email list.
- To see more conversions on your best-selling products.
- Signing up for an event.
- An increase in downloads of an application, guide, lead magnet, etc.
When Is The Right Time For A Brand To Get Started in CRO Marketing?
The right time for a brand to get started in CRO marketing is when they want to know their customers better and improve their user experience.
Improving their customer’s online experience here could mean;
- Making it easy for web visitors to navigate between different pages.
- Making it easy for web visitors to find the products they’re looking for.
- Improving the mobile checkout experience to get more sales and fewer abandoned carts etc.
There is no barrier to starting a CRO marketing program as a business, but let’s highlight the basics to do it well.
- As a brand, you don’t just get started with CRO. the best way to go about this is to have company goals, then set up CRO goals that align with your brand goals which could be; more sign-ups, downloading a lead magnet, purchasing multiple products or a particular best-selling product, etc.
In this beginning phase of making CRO marketing goals that align with your brand’s overall vision, you also need to benchmark your current performance to accurately measure your performance and document your learnings when you begin the CRO marketing program.
Also worth implementing at this stage is setting the right expectations. Conversion rate optimization experts don’t wave their hands and you magically see improvements and more revenue coming in. This is the picture many businesses have mentally and it’s good you let them know CRO marketing is a long term goal and the processes you have in place to get the business their desired conversions.
- When these basics are in place, the next thing to do is to look at your website analytics using tools like Google Analytics to see the pages related to your CRO goals and how users are behaving on such pages. Is there a high bounce rate? What’s the average spend time? What is the conversion rate contrast between devices, etc.?
- After quantitative research, which involves looking at Google Analytics data and analyzing user replay sessions using a tool like Figpii, you want to collect qualitative data that gives you insight into the ‘WHY’ of customers.
Knowing why your customers are behaving the way they do on your website is key to uncovering pain points that are stopping them from converting and what’s working you can amplify to increase conversions.
There are different qualitative research methods, such as heuristic evaluations and focus groups, but the easiest ones to implement so you begin to gather customer feedback immediately are polls and surveys.
To get more insights from your customers than polls and surveys can provide, you will want to conduct a JTBD interview. As a CRO agency, the JTBD interview is part of our qualitative research to uncover customer purchase intent, conversion blockers, and sweet spots. We conduct this interview with our client’s customers to better understand what influences their buying decision. This interview could last an hour to two hours.
With all the data you’ve gathered from quantitative and qualitative research, the next step is to prioritize the conversion issues you have uncovered in the user research step.
- The prioritization aspect of CRO marketing is an important step of the CRO process because, without it, you’ll work on conversion issues that don’t directly impact the business goals.
Prioritization allows you to unbiasedly look at all the conversion issues you have seen that need attention but work on the ones that directly impact the brand’s goals. Without prioritization, you could go ahead to form a hypothesis for an issue you feel is essential, but it’s not relevant to the company’s quarterly goal.
Now, when you’ve successfully prioritized the business goals, the next step is to form the hypothesis for the conversion issue you will test.
- The hypothesis is an assumption you’re making based on all the collected data (qualitative and quantitative research). You intend to A/B test it with your variant to see how your website visitors respond.
Note: A/B testing is not CRO marketing; it’s an essential process in CRO marketing and the perfect place for a brand to get started with conversion rate optimization. To know more about A/B testing, multivariate testing, the difference, and elements to test, check out this definitive guide.
How To Create A CRO Marketing Strategy.
According to wordstream, a CRO plan can boost conversions on your website by 50%.
Just imagine with me what a 50% boost in the conversion of existing traffic means for your business. Every benefit of CRO we’ve mentioned in previous sections of this article comes to mind.
- A reduction in acquisition cost.
- An increase in revenue.
- Leads to more customer retention.
So, what’s a CRO strategy?
A CRO marketing strategy is the plan or structured roadmap you take to understand your website visitors and improve their online experience over time.
This section will be insightful for the brands that don’t have a CRO strategy and want to begin their conversion optimization journey.
The first step in your CRO strategy process is to;
- Find what brings people to your website:
Present-day brands don’t have a traffic issue. Specific to your brand is how you generate traffic. It could be through SEO, influencer marketing, or PPC ads. When you’ve identified this, do a comprehensive audit of your process and what your audience responds to. This leads to more qualified leads coming down your pipeline.
- Conduct a deep dive to find the reason behind low conversions on your website:
This is the logical next step after finding out what brings customers to your website.
A conversion blocker deep dive is quickly done by looking at your user behavior analytics tool to see how visitors interact and behave on your website. Once you get the insights that cause your customers to leave your website without converting, the next phase in your conversion marketing strategy is to look for the sweet spots on your website that improve your conversion.
- Uncover sweet spots that make your web visitors convert:
This is the final step in your CRO marketing strategy.
Now, you know what brings the traffic, and you have plans to optimize it; you have discovered FUDs that affect conversions on your website; now, you need to discover what experience has made previous shoppers convert and what will make the undecided website visitor convert.
You can conduct interviews with previous shoppers to know what converted them, interviews with the undecided to find out why they’re yet to convert, and use pop-ups on your website to reach out to the web visitors you can’t have an interview with.
The details you gather are essential because they’re what you’ll use to form your hypothesis and run an A/B test experiment to learn what works.
You document your learnings, apply the winner (control or variant) and see your conversion figure increase.
CRO Tools You’ll Need To Get Started
Every niche, industry, and profession has specific tools that help them perform. The same can be said of CRO marketing.
Depending on where you’re on your CRO journey (beginner or mature experimentation program), you’ll need three categories of tools to understand customer behavior, what’s working or not, and how to test your hypothesis.
These three categories have several tools, but I’ll be highlighting just some tools. Also, note that some tools have multi-category functions.
That being said, these are the three major categories.
- Web analytics: the tools here help you understand what’s going on on your website. The tools in this category provide you with quantitative numerical data that can be measured.
- User behavior tools: Like the name implies, user behavior tools let you see how users interact on your website. This is very important in identifying conversion blockers for A/B testing.
- AB testing platforms: the tools in this category help you measure your variations against the control and see if your hypothesis works or not. Without these tools, you can’t tell if your hypothesis is valid or not.
Also, note before going forward that the tools mentioned in these categories are GDPR compliant since you’re working with people’s information, have a friendly user interface, are secure and integrate easily with other tools in the CRO ecosystem.
- Google Analytics (web analytics):
Google Analytics is one of the best website analytics tools for web analytics to know how users are behaving on your website. You can use Google Analytics to research how users act on particular pages on your website. It shows you session per duration and bounce rates; it also offers additional services such as traffic sources, user demographics, etc. The pricing for Google Analytics is free.
- Heap Analytics (web analytics):
This is another tool you can use for qualitative and quantitative research.
- It captures how users interact with your website, product, and app.
- It tells you who uses your product and how they’re using your product.
- It lets you segment users to personalize their interactions.
- It identifies moments of friction in your product (conversion blockers) and helps you diagnose them.
- It helps you identify the marketing channels and behaviors that convert the most.
The Heap analytics dashboard is clean and easy to use.
They have four pricing plans; free, growth, pro, and premier.
- Figpii (user behavior and AB testing platform): this CRO marketing tool from Invesp is a dream come true. This tool falls into user behavior tools and AB testing platforms.
Figpii is an aggregate of several tools in one.
- You can use Figpii heatmaps to understand how users interact with your site. Do they scroll down past the fold? Are they clicking on a word, thinking it’s a link or button? Etc.
- Figpii also has session recording. It lets you know how your website visitors move on your website, the pages they visit, etc.
- You can also run quick polls on your website from Figpii for qualitative research.
- Lastly, you can launch A/B tests to test your hypothesis and see how your variation performs against the control.
Pricing: starter $49.99, small $99.99, medium $199.99, large $339.99.
- Mixpanel (web and product analytics):
This tool helps you know who converts and why they convert. Mixpanel provides;
- Advanced web traffic source attribution capabilities.
- Unsampled and accurate user data is available for analysis in real-time.
- Seamless cross-device tracking and reporting across multiple user sessions, from pre-login to post-login user interactions.
- It also helps you build funnels on the fly, breaking them down by any user attribute or behavior to identify which users convert best.
- You can also locate the funnel steps that cause friction to better engage users before they drop off.
They have three pricing plans; free, growth, and enterprise.
Disclaimer: These are not all the tools available for these highlighted categories. These are just some of the tools we use for our clients. This section is not meant to be exhaustive; there are tons of tools out there. Carry out your research to check for other CRO marketing tools that better fit your budget and help your CRO program.
Also, note that some tools can affect your website load time, so don’t have them running all the time on your website.
CRO marketing best practices to stay ahead
Best practices as a term have been abused and overused by marketers all over the internet, but it doesn’t mean they’re no reasonable best practices in experimentation.
If you follow these three rules, your experimentation program will be fine.
- Don’t make any adjustments to your website without being backed by data. Data should inform your decisions.
- Have an ICE; this helps you know how to prioritize your hypothesis and know which one to test first.
- Document everything. It helps mature your CRO program faster and keeps information airtight.
- Don’t copy your competitors. You can borrow ideas from them, but A/B test the concept as a variation to know if it fits with your audience type.
- Don’t stop and edit a working experiment and then restart that same experiment. You’ll jeopardize your findings.
- Have a well-defined CRO marketing roadmap; we already talked about it in the strategy session. Without following a defined process, you’ll miss some critical steps in your experiments which will skew your results.
- QA every experiment before running them. This is good CRO marketing hygiene. Ensure all your goals are tracked, and the variation is rendering correctly for the users.
CRO marketing is what you need as a business to edge out your competition. It’s simple, the same visitors you’re getting on your website are the same visitors your competitors are getting on theirs.
You make more of your traffic convert by optimization backed by data. If you don’t take CRO marketing seriously in your business, you’ll be driving traffic from different sources but not converting at your best numbers, and you don’t want that.
Find this article interesting? Leave a comment below, tell us how conversion rate optimization has helped your business, and share with a friend.
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