Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who complete your desired actions. These actions, called conversions, can be almost anything. The most common are macro-conversions – store purchases, quote form requests, and contact form submissions. Email newsletter sign-ups, creating an account, and adding products to cart are considered micro-conversions. CRO basically seeks to improve how users flow through your site to maximize how many of them do exactly what you want them to do.
So how do you get people to do what you want? How do you even figure out what they want?
There are two main methods for evaluating your website – qualitative and quantitative.
Quantitative Analysis – The Numbers
Quantitative evaluation uses analytics data to give you information on how people behave on your site. We use data and reporting to identify things like:
- Where people enter and exit the site<
- Most popular pages
- How long they spend on pages
- How they came to the site (Google, paid ads, email, social media)
- Demographic information on site visitors (location, language, age, gender, interest)
- What devices and browsers are being used
- Where people abandon the conversion funnel (creating an account, the checkout process, etc.)
Qualitative evaluation uses people-centered data. We find qualitative evaluation in on-site surveys, user testing, and surveys. One of my favorite systems is called Starbucks testing.
Starbucks Testing is a form of guerrilla user testing that works under the idea that five people can capture 80-85% of a site’s major issues. It’s named because of the idea of creating a small focus group of five people and bribing them with a cup of coffee.
By asking people – real people – how they feel and what they like about your site, you can get actual feedback based on specific pages. You’re able to get a bit more information about the how’s, why’s, and emotion behind choices people make on your site. Websites elicit emotional responses that dictate behavior. Instead of numbers and percentages, you can get feedback on what appealed to the user, what makes them different from the competition, what kind of experience they had.
Successful conversion rate optimization involves taking both the quantitative measurements and the qualitative feedback and combining them to make actionable changes. One place we often see websites breakdown is when they get the feedback, they conduct the testing and analyze the data, but then fail to take action on the results offered. It’s important to not only conduct the research, but also take the next steps to continue to improve, optimize, and monetize your website.