Conversion Rate Optimization is a phrase that is often thrown around, but very rarely do people think about the definition of what exactly it means or give it much thought.
Here’s a few of the definitions from Google:
The method of creating an experience for a website or landing page visitor with the goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers. It is also commonly referred to as ‘CRO’.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a discipline that focuses on the testing of landing pages, aiming to find the optimal design and messaging mixture that produces higher conversion rates.
If you start to think about these definitions in a bit more detail, you begin to realize that Conversion Rate Optimization may be harder to define than at a first glance.
Conversion Rate Optimization is an outcome, not a service.
Think about it. Web Design is a service. Landing Pages are a service. A/B testing is a service. Conversion Rate Optimization isn’t a service per se. It’s an outcome. The outcome is an increased conversion rate.
Let’s say you engage a web design agency to build you a new website … and the new design turned more of your visitors into buyers. Was that Conversion Rate Optimization? Well, sort of. The outcome was that you improved and optimized your conversion rate.
But what if the new website actually lowers your conversion rate? Is that still Conversion Rate Optimization?
Ways To Optimize (Improve) Your Conversion Rate
Web design (sometimes)
Landing page design (if it’s good)
A/B testing (if the people who are doing the A/B testing know what they’re doing)
User experience design (sometimes)
Usability testing (sometimes)
Conversion Rate Optimization is really more about understanding the marketing principles behind your web site.
It’s also greatly affected by the quality, thoroughness of your work and your internal web design methodology.
The Big Myth In Conversion Rate Optimization
There’s a big myth in Conversion Rate Optimization that you can take a few guesses as to what will improve conversions and be right most of the time.
Sites like http://whichtestwon.com/ and blog posts like 12 Surprising A/B Test Results to Stop You Making Assumptions make you realize that often this isn’t true. In our experience, we’ve found our A/B testing “gut feel” to be right about 80% of the time.
The other 20% of the time, we’re shocked to see sometimes surprising A/B test results.
The bottom line take-away is this:
Formulate a test hypothesis about what you think will increase conversions and why.
Execute that test hypothesis (e.g: creating a new design, rewriting the copy, changing the user flow.)
A/B test it.
Measure the results
Learn from the results
Only then can you be certain of achieving an improved conversion rate over time!
The only way to be certain of improving your conversion rate over time is: Always Be Testing!
So why would I engage a Conversion Rate Optimization agency rather than, say, a web design agency?
What’s really unique about Conversion Rate Optimization agencies as opposed to web design agencies?
Well – they understand marketing, usability and what it takes to make a customer sign up to something. They also understand how to create, execute and interpret A/B testing results.
The biggest problem with most web designers is they have no idea about marketing, your business, what you’re trying to achieve or what’s going to cause a prospect to take action or not take action. And – they usually don’t A/B test the changes that they make for you – so they don’t really know if they’re having a positive effect on conversion rate or not.
Always Be Testing.