How To Align Your Business Goals With Your Conversion Goals
I bet you’d agree that you might lack a certain degree of direction in your testing program when you aren’t clear on your business goals.
Essentially, you end up getting pulled in opposite directions – and that can cause a lot of confusion, which then leads to an optimization program that doesn’t add to the business’s growth.
That’s why it’s important to consider aligning business goals with conversion goals.
Not just because it will make your CRO program effective and keep it on track, but because it will let you know when and where to invest your effort to achieve favorable results.
I know that striking a perfect balance between business and conversion goals is difficult, but you can always strike a balance that works for you.
This article will show you how you can marry your business goals to your conversion goals for a better CRO program. We will give you some actionable steps you can use so that your experiments contribute to your business growth.
Let’s get started…
Business Goals & Conversion Goals, What’s the Difference?
In this context, business goals are well-defined quarterly objectives that a business anticipates accomplishing after having engaged a CRO Agency. Examples of business goals are:
- Increasing mobile conversion rate by a certain %,
- Boosting customer retention,
- Enhancing average order value, and many more.
Business goals represent a company’s larger purpose and work to establish an end-goal for a CRO Agency to work toward. Yes, the business goals have to be well defined, but it’s up to the CRO team to figure out the steps needed to achieve the business goals.
Having business goals is important for several reasons because they:
- Provide a way to measure the success of the CRO Agency you hired.
- Keep you and your CRO team on the same page as to what needs to be achieved.
- Ensures that an experiment is headed in the right direction.
On the other hand, a conversion goal is an objective that is based on an action you want users to take on your website. Like business goals, conversion goals can also be defined by the business. Unlike business goals, the steps taken to achieve the conversion goals are defined by your CRO team.
Conversion goals can help you measure your marketing or website performance and set benchmarks for improvement. Just as business goals can vary from one company to another, conversion goals can also differ from one website to another or rather from one web page to the next.
Depending on the type of website, examples of conversion goals for an e-Commerce site can be:
- Get visitors to purchase,
- Get visitors to subscribe,
- Write a review or rating,
- Sign up for a newsletter
- Download an eBook.
Conversion goals can be broken down into two different types: macro and micro goals. The macro goal is the end action you want visitors to take when they land on your website. Micro goals are the small steps that your visitors take to get to the end action (macro) on your site.
What Comes First: Business Goals or Conversion Goals
Well, it depends.
In most of the conversion optimization projects we handle, business goals precede the conversion goals.
For instance, clients usually reach out to us already having a (business) goal – like increasing their mobile conversion rate – that they want us to achieve through optimization. And our CRO team conducts conversion research, comes up with a testing hypothesis, and then designs an experiment around that goal.
But in some instances, it can happen the other way round. You can create a conversion goal without a business goal in place. I bet you are wondering how is that possible?
This scenario often plays out when a conversion opportunity – that a client didn’t even know existed – is identified during a conversion optimization process.
For instance, let’s say we are optimizing a website to increase conversions by 30% this quarter, and during this process, we notice a conversion opportunity of increasing AOV.
Knowing that this kind of conversion opportunity exists can trigger a company to have a business goal that is all about increasing the AOV in the next quarter.
So, no matter what comes first, your goal before designing an experiment is to have these two sets of goals aligned.
Aligning Business Goals and Conversion Goals
In the early days of CRO, marketers used to believe that if a CRO program’s outcome is not favorable, then there’s a problem in the alignment of business and conversion goals.
But now that everyone knows better. You can have business and conversion goals correctly coordinated and still fail to attain desired results.
That is what makes CRO so tricky.
On the other hand, you can have your business and conversion goals correctly intertwined but still achieve results that are not within the company’s main goals.
For instance, let’s say you want to increase your retention by 30%. And after you have conducted research and designed an experiment, then the only change you notice after that experiment is a decrease in shopping cart abandonment rate, and there’s no increase in your retention rate whatsoever.
Yes, that can happen often.
Following the above example, it’s important to note that tests will not always directly impact the ultimate goal. Sometimes, to get to the ultimate goal, your tests have to build on each other.
So, when building experiments, you have to think about the entire path that leads to your main desired goal. In most complicated cases, you will need more than one experiment to get to your Promised Land.
On the other side, it’s important to investigate because there might be a lack of continuity in your messaging. Your hypothesis may still be correct, but your implementation of it might be wrong.
Having said that, here are four simple ways to align your business goals and conversion goals.
Step 1: Set realistic business goals
Since most experiments are built around business goals, it’s important to make sure that goal is realistic in the first place. In other words, your CRO program will only be effective if the foundation (which is your business goal) is sensible.
Smart optimizers understand the inherent value of realistic business goals in steering experimentation in the right direction. Unfortunately, most companies set unrealistic goals and then expect CROs to achieve the results.
But here’s the thing: unrealistic business goals can spoil the whole CRO program.
At Invesp, we love working with brands that have challenging goals. It’s important to note that there’s a great difference between a challenging and unrealistic goal. We’re selective in terms of brands we work with most based on the goal(s) that the company has.
Here’s a breakdown of what achievable business goals look like:
- Doubling your conversion rate
- Decreasing your shopping cart abandonment rate
- Increasing your retention rate
- Increasing your mobile conversion rate
Step 2: Define the alignment necessary/Create a CRO roadmap
Once you have set realistic business goals, it’s time to define the alignment that is necessary for your conversion strategy to be put into action. This means making sure that all of the tests within your CRO program are geared towards achieving the business goals.
Defining the alignment necessary will involve asking yourself the following questions:
- How do you prioritize your experimentation ideas?
- Do you work in silos, or do you see the benefit in opening up experimentation to collaboration?
- If you do see the benefit, how do you plan to go about achieving it?
- How do you plan to address resource issues in your testing plan?
The answer to all these questions points to one strategic move that differentiates CRO experts from beginners – building a CRO roadmap.
I spoke to one of our Senior CRO Specialists, Hatice Kaya, and asked her how she goes from a business idea to a CRO roadmap. And she gave me this scenario:
“Suppose your business goal is to increase your mobile conversion rate during the first quarter. The first step is to look at the website’s analytics platform to have a brief understanding of what the mobile conversion rate is at the current moment. Checking your analytics before the conversion process is important because you will know whether you have improved conversions or not at the end of the project.
The next step is to conduct conversion research with a focus on the mobile experience. By conversion research, I mean you take a deep dive into heuristic evaluations, and we launch video recordings and heatmaps focusing on mobile visitors only. This process of research can take up to three weeks.
In most cases, if there’s anything that’s affecting conversions on the site, you are more likely to see it during the research phase. And whatever the conversion killer might be, you are more likely to see on almost every conversion research technique you use.
We then list all the observations we made during the research phase. This list of possible conversion bottlenecks is usually long, it can go from 60 to 80 or even 100. So, we then rank all the issues on the list using our prioritization framework to determine which issues will help us increase the mobile conversion rate.
When we have ranked the issues, that’s when we come up with the conversion goals, launch tests, and see if our hypothesis was correct or not.
Suppose we noticed that people were not scrolling all the way to the bottom, then we might need to launch a test: long page (original) vs. short page (new design). Suppose we noticed that people were clicking on the wrong areas of the page, then we might need to make it clear where they should be clicking. So, different tests may be launched at the same time or even at different times.”
Building a sustainable CRO roadmap guides your efforts and ensures it systematically contributes towards your business goals at large. Whether you are an agency handling CRO for hundreds of clients or someone who manages CRO for your company, a roadmap will streamline your efforts and maximize throughput by avoiding redundancies and providing a clear step-by-step approach towards optimizing your site.
I think of a CRO roadmap as a detailed schedule that shows you which experiment has to be launched when, the moment and resources it requires, and the expected results. Having a roadmap will help you ensure that every change, test, and tweak you make add value to the next step and accordingly strengthens it to deliver the desired outcome. With a dedicated roadmap to consult, you don’t rely on hope to get results from a few poorly planned and ill-executed experiments scattered across months.
Step 3: Communicate the goals relentlessly
The business and conversion goals should be shared widely with everyone involved in the optimization process.
Communicating both sets of goals to all team members is a key part of making sure that everyone is on the same page – and it’s a critical step in aligning business and conversion goals.
According to Ayat:
The key here is that any marketing initiative should be tied to a KPI or business goal for the quarter if the company is hoping to achieve it. Rather than having a siloed marketing approach – have a synergy between marketing departments and CRO and sales to make sure they’re all working towards those one or two outlined goals.
At Invesp, we always conduct weekly status meetings with clients to keep them updated about the different experiments, discuss new testing plans, and receive feedback on the current work. This way we keep everyone on the same page during the whole conversion process.
Step 4: Avoid distractions: focus on attaining business goals
I know it sounds so basic, but the most successful testing programs are focused on achieving one goal at a time. Experimentation is not the zone of trying to strike two birds with one stone. Doing so comes with a lot of disadvantages such as not knowing what exactly moved the needle.
If your test is focused on increasing the customer retention rate, so be it. If you are trying to increase customer lifetime value, stick to it. It’s better to launch a few more tests to get to reach the ultimate goal than to have one single test focused on achieving more than one goal.
With conversion optimization, it’s easy to get distracted along the way. Sometimes when we’re aiming to increase the conversion rate for mobile, there might be some desktop UX fixes that we might encounter along the way, but considering that those don’t align with our goal, so we will have to defer those experiments for later.
However, as much as you should focus on one goal, sometimes as you are working on an experiment, there’s a high possibility that you can bump into an experimentation idea that will have a long-tail impact on the goal. Although you must be very conscious, it’s important to consider those kinds of projects.
Coming up with a testing program isn’t hard to do. I mean the web is full of testing ideas and you’re full of ideas – there is no shortage of inspiration, that’s for sure. But, not every testing idea will be valuable to your business – some ideas are just time-wasters. A solid testing idea or CRO program is not easy to come up with – that I understand. Fortunately for you, you now know how to align your business goals with conversion goals. If you follow the above tips, at least you’re guaranteed not to invest your time and resources on a CRO program that doesn’t add value to your business growth.
Simba Dube is the Growth Marketing Manager at Invesp. He is passionate about marketing strategy, digital marketing, content marketing, and customer experience optimization.View All Posts By Simba Dube
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