Optimizing your online channels to improve your results is a no-brainer – and that’s exactly what CRO is. Whether you’re managing a business looking to increase its newsletter subscriber list or driving sales for an ecommerce store, CRO will have a huge impact on how fast (and efficiently) you can reach your goals.
Lesson 1 – Stop the guesswork
If you’re not testing the changes made to your website you are taking business decisions based on assumptions and gut feeling. Although everyone can get lucky but guessing is extremely expensive for any business of decent magnitude. Why? Because more often than not, your guesses will be wrong. Google did a study a couple of years ago where they estimated that around 70% of the changes made on a website either hurts conversion rate or gives no uplift at all. In other words, 3 out of 10 changes actually have a positive impact on your business. The problem is, you don’t know what changes had a positive impact if you’re guessing. And, the positive impact is most likely cancelled out by the changes that have a negative impact.
Lesson 2 – Treat your website with respect
An important lesson in CRO is to understand that having a data-driven culture where you test your changes and treat your website with respect is as important as any other element of your commercial venture. In today’s world, few marketing concepts are released without critical follow-up and analysis. But when it comes to a home page or checkout page, it’s usually overlooked and changed on a whim – because of a spur-of-the-moment idea. If you treat your website the same way as you treat your other marketing efforts, you’re all set for success.
Lesson 3 – Start simple
CRO is not a game of creativity – it’s about consistency and persistence. The easiest way to gain momentum within the organization is to start simple. Not every test needs to be complex and based on months of research. A simple change, that can be designed and developed in a matter of hours, is a perfect place to start. You’re able to analyze behavioural changes and hopefully experience a positive uplift. If not, you’re an experience richer and one step closer to your first successful test.
Lesson 4 – Kill your darlings
No matter how much you liked the sketch, don’t be afraid to kill your ideas and old concepts. When it comes to CRO, you should not trust your gut feeling. Just because a certain design has paid off before when you worked at a different company doesn’t mean it will do it in the future as well.
Lesson 5 – Engage with CRO
Daily Conversion rate optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. Make it an integral part of your everyday work life. The combination of persistence and velocity will make you more successful. Still hesitating? Take a look at how some of the market leaders and global brands are viewing CRO. Amazon: Jeff Bezos has repeatedly stated that their success is a function of how many experiments they do per year, per month, per week, per day. Netflix: Everything on their website and app that has a user experience has been tested several times. Facebook: Does thousands of experiments every month. They’re often so small you can rarely detect them as a user. Booking.com: Has over 50 employees working with A/B testing. They even test bugs before removing them. Just to make sure that that particular bug did not lead to increased conversion.
Lesson 6 – Establish a process
Everyone can get lucky from time to time, but a few successful experiments won’t get you all the way. Instead, focus on establishing a long-term process that you can follow. This will make it easier for you to keep track of progress, analyze and measure tests against each other and. We have obviously crafted a comprehensive process that we implement for most of our customers, but in the end it doesn’t matter what it looks like. The most important part is to establish a process that works for you and your business.
Lesson 7 – Set clear goals
So, you’re excited and ready to implement a new process for your experiments. The first step, even before you start analyzing your website and writing down hypotheses, is to set clear goals of what you want to achieve. Babyshop Group, a very successful client of ours, did this particularly well. Before venturing into this new reality of A/B testing and conversion rate optimization, they decided to focus on a couple of macro goals:
- Eliminate guesswork as much as possible.
- Reach an always-on status for CRO and A/B testing.
- Test at least 30% of all changes made on the website.
- Build an in-house team with CRO competences.
Lesson 8 – Do a lot of tests
As a final lesson, we want to further highlight the importance of volume. Challenge your gut feeling and don’t spend time and money to optimize your website without a purpose or ways to measure. The more tests you run, the more you challenge your gut feeling and force yourself to take data-driven decisions. Knowledge is gained from test velocity. A good idea is to set clear goals (see previous step) on how many tests you want to run each month. ●