• Three Ways to Make Your Conversion Optimization Strategy Make Sense

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    How’s your digital marketing doing? Good, bad or meh, if you’re like most, for every tactic that you’re using, you have at least one more that you wish you had more time and resources to do.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to prioritizing digital marketing tactics, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is more often the program that takes the hit and gets neglected.

    Almost 80% of digital marketing budgets are devoted to attracting new prospects through search engine optimization (SEO) and paid digital advertising (PPC). And less than 5% is set aside to optimize the conversion of those prospects into customers. CRO is so far down the list of digital marketing priorities, many leading CRO blogs, including CrazyEgg.com, are still forced to write posts with headings like “What’s Conversion Optimization?”

    While SEO and PPC are integral to a complete and successful digital marketing strategy, the woeful imbalance in the portion of budgets devoted to them, and what is devoted CRO, is confounding. It is no doubt a major factor in the abysmal single-digit online conversion rates that even the biggest players somehow tolerate.

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    Conversions are at the crux of all digital marketing, yet we continue to starve it of resources. It’s like trying to put water (potential customers) into a tank (conversions) through a funnel that’s full of holes. Although we put water into the funnel (through SEO and PPC), we still only get a little in the tank because most of the water – 95% – is lost through the holes. And, instead of devoting resources to plugging the holes so more water gets into the tank, we simply continue to pour more and more water into the inefficient funnel. And all those extra potential customers simply drain away.

    Two Reasons Why We Starve CRO

    There are two main reasons why CRO is given a short shift in our marketing plans.

    1. SEO and PPC Offer Instant Gratification:Everyone wants to see results. We are far more inclined to use tactics that show quicker, more tangible results because those results justify our actions and motivate us to do more of the same. SEO and PPC produce straight line results. The more we use them, the more traffic arrives at our sites. And if it doesn’t, then the need to adjust is clear.It’s difficult to wean ourselves off the rewards we enjoy from our ‘instant’ SEO and PPC results. Hey, it works, let’s do more of it. But, while scratching an itch feels great, it doesn’t get rid of the cause of the itch. SEO and PPC do not entirely solve the problem of getting more sales and leads. The increases they produce are at the expense of an inordinate drain on resources.
    2. CRO is Complex, Mysterious and Amorphic:CRO means trying to understand human psychology, emotions and motivations and incorporating that understanding into your web design. But who the heck wants to get tangled up in all that. Can anyone figure out how customers think, what fears, uncertainties and doubts they have, or what captures their imagination, and their clicks? And even if we take up the challenge, we must deal with a daunting number of variables that makes a complex task even out of deciding where to begin.
      CRO digital graphicSo let’s just forget it and go capture more traffic.

    But there is one big reason why you should want to devote at least a larger piece of the digital marketing pie to CRO. With everyone else devoting so little, yours will be the site that captures more of the traffic you pour into it.

    Towards an Effective CRO Strategy

    It’s true that CRO can be a big crowded forest of options that makes you want to turn around and head for the comfort of SEO and PPC. But it is so only if you let it. Here are a few tips for clearing a path in the forest and reaping the rewards that lie within:

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    1. Focus, Focus, Focus -The CRO forest seems menacing and impenetrable because we look only at its entirety. But if we focus on one small gap, it’s easier to get in. It means finding one spot on your site to optimize and putting on blinders to block out everything else that might need optimization.You could start with a single landing page. Or work only on your call-to-action buttons. Or find images that increase conversions. Not only are these all easier to accomplish than setting up a complete optimization plan from scratch, they will also increase the chances of you scoring a quick win which will motivate you and/or your c-suite to move forward with more CRO.
    2. Give yourself More Opportunities to Succeed- Obviously your final conversion rate is the ultimate determinant of your CRO success. But if you leave it as the only one, you deny yourself other opportunities for a win. Fortunately, Google and other analytics providers give you far more opportunities to justify your efforts andlearn more about your customers that will ultimately help you increase conversion rates, if not right away.PersonasAdd more indicators to your metrics, like repeat purchase value, average order size or even bounce rates, and you’ll spot more ways to achieve CRO success.
    3. Optimize Your SEO and PPC for Conversions, and Use CRO to Optimize your SEO and PPC – Hey, it’s not like it’s a SEO/PPC versus CRO war. They are all in this together.When trying to convert customers, you can’t start too soon. In fact, if you don’t start right away – from the moment you first engage them online – you risk losing many before they even get to your site. Use the copy and images used in your SEO and PPC to work in addressing some of the barriers that customers have to converting. In a recent post on the Invesp blog, we noted how Nordstrom’s highlighted “free shipping and returns” in all their search engine results that we came across. Concern about shipping costs is the leading reasons why shoppers abandon shopping carts, and don’t convert.search results for NordstromAnd CRO isn’t just about CTA button color and page layout. Depending on your product or service, you might need a certain amount of copy, images and other content that you will of course optimize for search engine results.

    CRO is a huge opportunity. If only 5% of marketing budgets are devoted to it, it’s an opportunity to leapfrog your competition. If your competition devotes a larger portion of their budget to CRO, it’s your opportunity to prevent them from leapfrogging you.

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