CRO marketing - A guide for brand marketers
What is CRO marketing?
CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation, is the process that seeks to improve the financial return from a website by using a series of improvements and structured tests. To fully understand the value of implementing CRO, a good place to start is getting to grips with the basic definitions.
Every service-led digital product (website, apps etc.) is unified through one common task – interacting with a Call-To-Action (or CTA). Whether it’s filling out a form, making an online purchase, registering for an event or submitting information, everything we do online should eventually end up in a click. This process is called conversion.
Actions like subscribing, purchasing, downloading or submitting are all key actions online. One or all of these actions can make up your brand’s KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. For many brands, getting users to their website isn’t difficult, but getting them to engage with a CTA that pushes them further into a sales or marketing funnel can be a challenge.
Conversion Rate can be measured by dividing the number of total conversions by number of total online sessions.
Monitoring and refining performance to drive great results
For the results driven marketers, CRO is a must-have in your strategy toolkit. If your brand has invested in digital marketing to drive engagement and revenue, whether its via social media campaigns, a sophisticated website solution or paid media – your goal is always a healthy ROI. CRO doesn’t work in silo, but is most effective as part of a broader, multichannel approach, that is supported by clear aims and tactics as a powerful technique to boost revenue.
One clear benefit of focussing on conversion rate is that it provides a key benchmark to measure website performance. A higher conversion rate means a greater percentage of a website’s traffic is converted to purchasers for arguably the same acquisition cost, thereby reducing the overall acquisition cost and improving margins.
CRO marketing is the key to maximising your strategy by turning your visitors into valuable leads, then converting into customers.
The conversion architecture
“Asking questions, surveying, usability testing, interviewing or engaging with customers is where to learn about how the customer’s headspace intersects with your product or service. Everything of value is happening at the boundary of that interface...”
The Conversion Process is a constant cycle of Researching, Planning, Testing and Analysing. Let’s say there’s a certain section of your website that needs improvement. We can attempt to optimise Conversion Rate using these four steps:
- Gather data and run analysis
- Aggregate your findings, generate hypotheses and develop a testing plan
- Design, configure and implement tests
- Measure, collect data, iterate and optimise
There are two types of insights that should be gathered within the optimisation process:
- Overview or Quantitative research: What are the main issues that need to be addressed?
- Tactical or Qualitative research: Why are these issues occurring?
There are various tools that can be used to gather data and start developing hypotheses. Some of the common ones are:
- Analytics reporting
- Online surveys
- Click analysis
- Remote user testing
- One on one usability testing
- Heat maps
- Eye tracking
The data gathered from the first step should lead us to areas of the customer’s journey that have the greatest issues and scope to deliver the most improvements.
The type of hypothesis will also depend on the KPI we’re evaluating against, e.g. engagement, bounce rate, percentage conversion rate etc.
Running and Managing Tests:
Be brave, be bold and be prepared to fail. If you’re not failing, you are probably being too cautious or aren’t testing enough.”
There are a few ways to run tests as part of the optimisation process.:
AB or Split testing:
This method refers to testing two (or more) different versions of what Google calls ‘variations’ of a page which contains different or re-arranged elements such as headings, images, buttons etc. against the original page.
This method is also the simplest form of structured testing, and is recommended as a starting point for smaller or in-house initiatives.
Multivariate testing is more sophisticated as many different variants of a page can be assessed simultaneously using testing software to serve different versions of different page elements. While MVT is powerful, it does it does require more effort to set up and needs higher traffic volumes to enable testing the different page elements.
Measure, Reiterate and Optimise:
Your chosen method of testing would have provided a decent insight into which design or structural changes would potentially yield the best results against your chosen KPIs.
Some changes would prove to not be as effective, whilst others would be earmarked to be implemented immediately. At this point, it is important as a brand to continuously observe, learn what is working and what isn’t and respond by optimising in an agile manner.
This step completes the constant cycle process that is integral to CRO.
CRO and dealing with cross-device, multiple touchpoint challenge
The next big frontier in digital measurement is tracking across the multi-device customer journey. This usually requires more expertise, so partnering with a digital marketing specialist like BBI that excels in an ever-evolving multi-channel world is a good way to achieve a more sophisticated execution.
There are plenty of stats to support this, but by now most marketers will instinctively know that online shoppers use mobile devices and desktop or tablets in a typical purchase journey. However, it’s still a challenge to gather cross-device quantitative analytics data, let alone run split test experiments, for user journeys that traverse multiple devices.
To gather the necessary insight marketers need a way in which sessions can be knitted together and tied to individual users. Web analytics tools solve this problem by assigning anonymous unique identifiers to users as they login to sites on their various different devices.
On transactional consumer sites, its increasingly common for the mobile device to be the first device used and it will quite likely be followed by a visit using a desktop or possibly a tablet on which the final purchase will be made. That’s not to say mobile-commerce isn’t growing substantially, in terms of traffic, mobile contributes more than 56%, it’s just that the desktop still accounts for a majority share of revenue taken on many e-commerce sites, 28% higher transaction value than mobile. Brands can capitalise on this user journey insight with their CRO strategy, optimising their websites and marketing to move customers towards conversion more effectively.
Implementing CRO into your brand’s marketing strategy
CRO marketing improved strategy effectiveness by elevating conversion rate and developing incremental revenues from different online audience segments. These include new visitors from different online media sources, mobile and desktop visitors, existing customers who haven’t bought online, and existing customers. In a multichannel business this should also include generating business from offline sales for a truly seamless experience.
Overlooking CRO in your brand’s strategy risks missing out on a wealth of opportunities. Understandably, not every organisation will have the right tools and expertise to implement CRO and so partnering with an integrated marketing specialist agency like BBI can help you to achieve your goals.
If you don’t know where to begin on your CRO marketing journey or you want to improve your CRO marketing, contact us, we’d be happy to help. We have been helping global brands across a spectrum of industries to grow their brand and achieve impressive results.