The ‘last mile issue’ is an irritant and stumbling block for many online business owners. In spite of the fact that analytic tools provide exhaustive customer footprint data, they fall short of pin-pointing the major reasons for customers exit just before the ‘Buy Now’ click. In the end, the only numbers that matters to the business owner are – sales clicks, leads, calls and opt-ins.
Credible persuasiveness and benefit projection are utilized all along the process – both on-site and off-site. We focus on the following in order to get maximum intelligence and customer behavioral pattern…
We are business owners first and then a marketer – so, we do not have to be step in the shoes of a customer in order to think like one – and the most important lesson we have learned through our own store-front is that a ‘lot of footfall does not mean a lot of business’. We only talk business with our clients, while leaving the technical nuances of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) to our technical analysts.
Conversion rates are seldom understood by only a deep technical analysis – The following business and customer attributes are vital to our CRO process and success rate…
1. Demography and Psychography: Deciphering the personality / persona and the social and cultural attributes of your potential customers – Age, Gender, Consumption potential, Preferences and dislikes – and the psychology of the consumer.
2. Content & USP analysis: Optimize the content for maximum and singular impact on the audience. Benefit hierarchy and USP (Unique Selling Proposition) are vital to the decision making of potential customers.
3. Trust & Credibility analysis: Trust and credibility are important factors for consumers in the whole transaction – This should be reflected by the website within the first 5 seconds of a customer’s arrival.
4. Pricing and numbers: Business is all about numbers. If what the customer sees on our website projects a good deal, then he/she is hooked for the next stage transaction. Pricing, Offers, Deals and Announcements placed appropriately play a decisive role in the rate of conversion.
We do not just present a diagnosis based on exhaustive sets of data – Business interpretation of the analysis is packaged for implementation. A business and transaction-centric approach makes it easier to understand our potential audience and their pain-points.
Like many of you, our journey along the conversion optimization route is marked more by setbacks rather than by successes – and this has played a vital role in rethinking our ‘approach to selling’ in this increasingly competitive marketplace. We struggled to make meaningful differences to our client’s fortunes for almost two years – which forced us to sit back and revaluate our methodology and conversion roadmap. In the end, we resorted to the ‘physical marketing’ ecosystem for inspiration – and then translating the thought process onto the digital plane – scientifically, reinforced by data and with common sense. The difference in the results has been noteworthy and consistent …
With every project significantly different in flavor, ‘influencing factors’ and the objectives, there has always been a new lesson to be learned with each assignment. We also observed the immense influence of cross-functional factors on the conversion rates – in contrast to our earlier mindset – where testing dominated all other conversion logic.
The most important lesson that we have learned is to speak the language of our business partners and clients – one which is pragmatic and reaffirms the common sense. We continue to explore clarity and precision as we share the crux of our experiential failures and wins…
[i] Understanding and measuring successful business outcomes
Majority of the clients have a very sound idea about their business outcome and quarterly objectives. In addition, we have found that most of them are very passionate about the day-to-day proceedings of the project and are very willing collaborators.
The onus is always on our team to capture all the knowledge and sentiments that our clients can share about their business. Once we move away from the discussion table, we carry all the threads of communication back to the analysis desk – The intent is to correlate the business goals with the measurable parameters – associate every business / success indicator with a web analytic. This sets the tone for a data-driven Conversion Rate Optimization project.
[ii] Know your digital territory – Perform a site Strength-Weakness analysis by studying the traffic movement
In very simple terms, we try to understand how our site visitors utilize the digital real estate – which pages of our site turns them off and which of them keeps them glued to the content within the page. The intent is to understand the friction from within the various sections of the website – to identify the resistance to visitor movement and site usability.
As we work towards a better understanding of the visitor movement, one of the indispensable tools at our disposal is the conversion funnel – which allows us to diagnose the weakest links along the conversion path. This early stage evaluation lets us shortlist the ‘Quick-wins’ and ‘Low-hanging-fruits’ for immediate conversion gains.
Priority Action Matrix-This is created for maximizing the conversions with a rapid action plan and in the shortest span of time. This exercise builds up the momentum for the more exhaustive conversion exercises down the road.
“Missed Sales Opportunities” – There is a lot to learn from the offline selling exercise – particularly in the post-sale situation. In the online world, there exists ample opportunities to engage customers at the right time in the buying cycle – before, during and after the transaction has taken place. These dormant or ‘missed’ sales opportunities are an important part of the Conversion rate optimization cycle.
[i] Visitor & Behavior profiling
While it is important to identify and understand the parts of your website which are favorable for customers and conversions, it is also equally important to know the digital signature of your potential customers. This knowledge helps in establishing scenarios / hypothesis for A / B tests – backed by data and verifiable logic.
Before we start the planning for A/B test, knowledge about visitor preferences, their origin, exit points and major navigation hurdles provides vital intelligence for the test structuring – for which we are building the case…
While a study of the data and the underlying behavioral pattern does provide the right intelligence for test hypothesis, many times the most important clue stays with the customers. In order to read the mind of customers, we utilize scientific customer surveys – we can utilize proven survey tools like Qualaroo, Survey Monkey or any other tool with which your team is comfortable with.
This stage of analysis is very challenging for our Conversion rate optimization team and it also involves a lot of cross-functional expertise.
The underlying objective is to create the test hypothesis on data and logic – and NOT ON guess work, historical experiences and a list of best practices – the focus is on identifying the disconnect – where the right customer is not connected to the right product at the right time….
[ii] Market & Industry voice
Intelligent decisions require intelligent inputs. Over the years, our CRO team has learned that the outcome of a test strategy depends squarely on the type of market and visitor intelligence that is collected prior to conducting the tests.
Significant blocks of data are present in the industry reports, market analysis and in the social threads relevant to the product / service. Even though a lot of practitioners consider this exercise as insignificant (to the ROI of the tests), our conversion rate optimization project has always benefitted from the external intelligence around the product / service.
For example in the Banking sector, the new policies or any amendment to the existing policies by the federal agency has a lot of bearing on the conversion rates of online bank loan applications.
Similarly the online conversion rates of the insurance sector gets a boost by a positive announcement in the insurance regulation.
[iii] Trust credibility USP
Similar to the brick-and-mortar business, every online business has some unique customer hooks – these are either found to be unused, unidentified or not tapped to its fullest. A lot of clients have to dig deep into their archives to bring out the positive stories about their product / service, customer service, quality or professionalism.
The objective of our Conversion rate optimization team is to brainstorm with the client and unearth the most persuasive aspects of the company / product / service, which can be served to the consumers at the right moment along the conversion path – and this can range from Press / media mentions, accolades in the industry analysis reports or by an expert, stellar testimonials by a well known industry professional or decision maker, an award to the company or to the head of the company…
At this point of time, all the groundwork for the DOE (Design of Experiments) have been completed and the Conversion rate optimization team has sufficient data and logical inputs to design the various test scenarios.
Create Test Strategy
Now the time has arrived to collate all the facts and findings in the previous steps and translate them into action-items for the A / B tests. We have covered a lot of ground to back up our hypothesis for a better conversion rate – and an effective test strategy will reflect all the hard work done previously.
The value of each test will be measured in terms of the increase in Conversion Rate. So, to start with, we establish test scenarios and associate each of these scenarios with the expected Conversion rate increments (achievable value). As discussed in Stage 2, the intent is to capture the LHF (Low hanging fruits) and the BIA (Big Impact actions). This approach brings clarity for both the design and the marketing teams – clarity of planning, execution and outcome.
With the test strategy in place, we are all set to execute the last and decisive stage of our Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) exercise – Test, Measure and Replicate.
Design & Execute Tests
It’s time to play ball. The hypothesis constructed in the previous step needs to be transformed into a conversion worthy wireframe. We all know the value of content, graphics, CTAs and well constructed headers. As the first challenger comes to life, stage is set for the iterative battle for a better converting page. Based on our comfort level, we can opt for various A / B test tools – ranging from premium quality free tools to paid ones.
The tests are run on auto-pilot and the outcome of a new champion page is decided through statistically significant conversions.