For those of you I have spoken with the past 8-9 years, you know I am consistent with my beliefs on how to improve your store and grow sales. My team can repeat verbatim my philosophy on how to convert more of the right customers.
One of the mantras I always say, whether on the phone or in a meeting, is your website is only designed to do two things:
- Attract the right people, and
- Get them to take an action (e.g. call, transaction, lead form, etc.)
Number 1 is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and where the majority of you focus your attention and marketing budget.
Number 2 is CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) and is always the low man on the totem pole but is where you make ALL your money.
CRO = Time, Money & Effort
It is rare that I get a phone call from a prospect that starts with “Hey Erik, how can we convert more of our visitors into buyers?” Usually, it is more “Hey, sales are down and I am no longer ranking well for my key terms.”
Now, I know you have interest in converting more traffic into sales but almost all of you tend to look at rankings and how to improve traffic (and bring in more visitors) before getting to the meat of running your business…which is truly understanding your customers, their needs, their fears, their desires and more importantly, the language they use to communicate to themselves.
However, if you are willing to spend the time, money and effort on understanding your prospects, I promise you will not only increase your online sales, but you will also increase your brand value and trust.
Do that well and you will be rewarded with even more traffic from Google and other search engines.
Want a case in point? Then read on…
Some Background Information
Historically, you have been trained to write for the search engines. You inject SEO keywords into your product descriptions to help increase rankings.
But what about persuasion and conversion?
If you're not writing in the language that your customer has in his or her head then you're missing out on revenue and brand messaging. You may think you know what they want, but until you've done your due diligence (i.e. CRO) then you cannot truly know if your product pages drive their greatest value possible.
To help explain, I have a client…and they operate an ecommerce store that focuses on clothing for religious celebrations.
- Strong visual product presentation
- Product descriptions were focused on SEO value
- Website targeted keywords that offered the greatest SEO traffic
Initially, they came to us for SEO help, and once we made some key strategic and architectural changes they improved traffic and rankings, however we saw their conversion rate was stagnant. We needed to understand why their visitors converted and equally as important, why they did not convert.
Our CRO Process
I will save all the various deep analysis efforts we performed for later posts, but some of the areas we covered were:
- Competitive Analysis – Understanding their competition including strengths, weaknesses and areas we could exploit.
- Persona Development – Developing a true understanding of prospective customer profiles which include their demographics, buying preferences and pain points.
- Heat Mapping – Looking at how visitors interact with the website.
- Google Analytics Analysis – Deep dive into what's working on the site, what's not and where we should A/B test for better conversion.
- Custom Tracking/UX Code – You can only understand your store when you track all individual actions to help gather intelligence on what's actually being consumed in your store.
- Visitor Surveys – Customer outreach is critical, from those that convert and from those that do not convert.
- A/B Testing – Once you have formed a viable experiment, it's time to test your hypothesis and drive a solid result that's based on actual user testing.
CRO Observations and the Light Bulb
After compiling our research, I began to see a difference in visitors who browse versus the people who were buying their product. I was able to deduce that there was a trigger that was motivating them to buy. This trigger was persuasive – this impact was much different than that of the SEO focused keywords plastered over store.
SEO was bringing traffic but I could see there was an opportunity to “talk” to the ones we truly cared about…the people who wanted to buy now.
Using that insight, we set up an A/B split test using Optimizely. We took a top product and we changed ONE word on the product description. We changed “christening” to “baptism” and that's it.
The results speak for themselves:
Look at the power of changing one word…the impact of converting a a SEO word to a CRO word is game changing! When you intimately understand what language motives a visitor to buy is when you can move your revenue needle and have a long lasting impact on your store.
Once we completed the experiment, we rolled in the final changes and monitored metrics with Google Analytics and other tools. After some time passed we again reviewed our data to confirm our hypothesis:
Nothing fancy folks, just listen to the language of your prospective customers, apply their feedback and it will improve product conversion rates and will be a business game changer.
Remember, 2017 is about CRO!