Are you making these mistakes with your website optimization? Are these mistakes limiting your website conversions to leads?
Website optimization and website conversion rate optimization (CRO) mistakes are more common than not. This article does not provide answers, it provides a mindset: Be a conversion scientist.
Test, analyze, test, analyze.
Obsess over the data. Nothing else matters. Some say there are an art and science to marketing – CRO is strictly a science.
And in science, we can learn from our mistakes. To start from the beginning…
Mistake 1: Do you know the difference between lead conversion and sales?
Lead conversions do not necessarily mean sales. Sales are the end of conversion, but what happens before the sale that matters too. Conversion rate measures the effectiveness of each action in your digital marketing campaign to achieve that sale.
Remember the Buyer’s Journey and the types of content a prospective buyer (aka lead) consumes based on where he or she is on the journey. Let’s think of conversions in a form of a word problem (yes, we are bringing you back to grade school).
Mary loves to travel and wants to help others plan their dream vacation, so she decides to start a travel agency. Mary knows enough about building a website, but needs help to get her website to rank high in search engines so she Google’s “search engine optimization.” She does not know what she needs, but she is aware of her problem. She is looking for more information.
Mary clicks on the first result that brings her to Matrix Marketing Group’s landing page about SEO. She fills in her information to download a report on SEO Tips. Mary is the first one to fill out this form and the tenth person to view that page since Matrix launched it. What is the conversion rate of Matrix’s SEO landing page?
Test and analyze each step of the Buyer’s Journey. Seeing the journey mapped out helps measure what your conversion rates are so you can improve incrementally.
Conversion Rate Optimization happens by knowing the difference between conversions and sales. Sales are conversions, but there are many more little steps that happen before a sale for you to optimize.
For more on Lead Capturing Tools and Lead Magnets, check out 12 Lead Magnet Ideas to Drive More Leads.
Mistake 2: Rely on the best practices for your CRO answers for website optimization
Do not think that what worked for one company will work for yours. The truth is, their customers are different from yours. Your value proposition is unique to your business and your customers. So why should your Conversion Rate be based on another company’s success?
You can use best practices to form hypotheses, but not answers. If one company got a 50% response rate on emails because they included a gif in the email, do not expect the same results. Instead, take that information and test it. Remember, be a conversion scientist. Create a hypothesis and test it.
Hypothesis 1: Putting a gif at the end of my email will increase the response rate, all else equal.
Control: Send an email campaign with no gif included.
Test: Send an email campaign with a gif included.
Results: Control email got a ___% response rate. Test email got a ___% response rate.
Base your actions on the outcomes of your tests, not on others’.
Mistake 3: Testing the wrong things for website optimization
Don’t let the conversion scientist mindset make you think that you should test everything. If you are testing for the sake of testing, you’re doing it wrong.
For example, if you are creating some ads for Facebook, you’ll realize that there are so many things you’d like to test: ad images, copy, target audiences, bidding methods, campaign objectives, etc.
The rookie mistake you’re likely to make at this point is creating an A/B test with too many changing test variables.
Let’s say you want to test 3 ad images, 3 headlines, and 3 main copies. This makes 3 x 3 x 3 = 27 different Facebook ads. This test will take weeks to conclude. A test can quickly become overwhelming. Let’s assume you want to test five images, four ad titles, and five precise interests targeting. This means you’d have to create 4 x 5 x 5 ads to test all the possible combinations — a total of 100 ads! I think you get the point. Start small.
Paddy Moogan at Distilled has a good model for making sure every test you do has an objective:
Understand that website-optimizationis all about testing, but you must be smart about it. Do not busy yourself with meaningless tests.
Mistake 4: Measuring the wrong things
What is the easiest way to increase your conversion rate? Track more things more accurately. Sometimes firms’ conversion tracking isn’t measuring the right metrics to paint an accurate picture of the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Kissmetrics found that the majority of firms who were tracking their conversion rates with Adwords were doing so poorly. The firm might as well have not been tracking anything at all. See diagram below.
For example. imagine a lawn care maintenance company who is tracking conversions through AdWords. This firm may be getting a fraction of the conversion rate they expected because they are only measuring clicks and form fill-outs.
In fact, most of a lawn care maintenance company’s leads come from phone calls or impressions from clients’ neighbors who see their trucks and the work they do on people’s lawns. Conversion rate goes up instantly if you start measuring beyond your AdWords campaign.
This company did have a good conversion rate, they were not measuring the right metrics. Remember the big picture and how your customers act when you provide them with valuable offers.
Mistake 5: Tests but no analysis
Tests are easy, but it takes a scientist to interpret and understand the story behind the numbers. Give yourself time to analyze the data your tests return. Be curious about the problem. Sometimes, you need to be human and dive into the numbers. They may not have the results you expected. Why?
If you are not asking ‘why?’, you are not a conversion scientist. If you asked ‘why’ once and still come up short, ask ‘why’ again! Give yourself time to get lost in the numbers. True inspiration rarely comes quickly.
Understand that Conversion Rate Optimization is about the scientific process, not the tests alone.
Mistake 6: Using a marketing agency that does CRO for you
Have you hired a marketing agency to do CRO for you? What has that experience been like? If this is the first time you are reading about taking a scientific approach to Conversion Rate Optimization, I recommend you get your agency on the phone. Why?
Because they are not including you, a very important player, in the CRO process. Conversion Rates increase when your potential customers find value in your content, services, products, etc. and take an action to attain that value.
You know your customers best – no one else, not even that marketing agency. If your marketing agency is going to get CRO right, they should know to include you in the process. Increasing your conversion rate means infusing conversion science into the culture of your own work.
Agencies are a great way to increase website optimization and lead conversions when you have a small marketing budget or need more brain power; however, make sure you communicate often with them. Have conversations about what your customer’s value and how they are responding to things you are testing. Make sure your agency is working with you, not for you.
NOTE: Web developers are not CRO specialists.
Mistake 7: No testing before going live
So you are ready to launch a new website? Email campaign? Ad campaign? Try to re-frame the concept of ‘going live.’ Because….
Incremental change > Big launch
Testing changes incrementally will decrease your risk and increase your website optimization rates. The thought of releasing a new, consumer-facing website without testing should be appalling to you. Do not assume that something will work because it is new.
If you want to release a Facebook ad campaign, release two versions of it to A/B test. The point of A/B testing is to figure out which one does best and improve upon it.
According to the picture, test B brings the best results. Had you just sent out test A, you lost the opportunity to realize a 14% higher conversion rate.
Your work does not stop there. See if modifying B will produce even better results. Remember, test everything deliberately and with a purpose.
This test is an example of incremental change, not a big launch.
Final Thoughts: How to improve your website optimization?
What has been your biggest mistake?
Have something to say and want to add to the discussion about website optimization?
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