In today's competitive digital landscape, businesses strive to enhance their online presence and maximize conversion rates. While it may seem tempting to focus on trivial elements like button colours, the real magic of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) lies in strategic planning and understanding your customers' motivations. To shed light on this critical aspect of digital success, we sat down with Michael McCann, the Head of CRO at Somebody Digital, for an enlightening conversation.
Small Measurable Changes for Maximum Impact
Michael McCann emphasizes the importance of making small, measurable changes that truly matter. He highlights the significance of identifying not just parts of your website that perform poorly but also those that have the biggest impact in terms of traffic and conversions. "If you've got a limited number of tests, run them where they make the most impact," he advises.
McCann's approach to a CRO audit is methodical. He breaks down the website into various areas based on site architecture, homepage, product category pages, search results, product details pages, cart, checkout, and the account area. By mapping the number of users and their associated conversions and revenue within these areas, he identifies the key segments for testing.
He also suggests calculating the potential impact of changes. For example, when looking to improve the homepage for one of our clients, McCann notes, "With limited resources, we need to look at the opportunity cost of where we test. If I want to improve the homepage, I'm going to need a winning test to be three times as impactful as a winning test on the product pages."
Understanding Customer Motivations
McCann highlights the importance of understanding customer motivations in CRO. He explains that not all improvements lead to increased conversions; some may be minor enhancements. Therefore, he advises businesses to focus on what truly motivates their customers.
To achieve this, McCann recommends conducting extensive research using techniques that include surveys, customer interviews, and data aggregation from conversations. "Understanding what brings users to the website, what barriers they face, and what motivates them to convert is key," he emphasizes.
For example, if customers' biggest worry is the product's fit and return policy, businesses can counter these concerns by prominently displaying their returns policy on the website.
Convincing Users on the Edge
McCann suggests that it's crucial to convince users who are on the edge of conversion, not just casual browsers. He explains that customer service and sales teams often interact with these users, making them a valuable source of insights.
By asking questions like "What nearly stopped you from buying?" businesses can gain valuable insights into potential barriers to conversion. These insights can then be used to tailor strategies that address customers' concerns effectively.
Building a Strategic Plan
The challenge in CRO often lies in knowing where to start with limited resources. McCann's solution is to go back to the defined areas from step one. By focusing on key areas that drive the most impact and using insights from research, businesses can create a roadmap for testing hypotheses. This three-month plan allows companies to prioritize the most impactful changes, creating a roadmap for changes while also allowing for flexibility.
Framework for Evidence-Based CRO
McCann emphasizes the importance of a framework that validates the strength of the evidence behind CRO strategies. He notes that the numbers behind CRO can be incredibly impactful, even when making small improvements.
He mentions Somebody Digital's framework that encompasses various research techniques, making CRO more than just A/B testing. This process-driven approach ensures that businesses aren't guessing but are making informed decisions based on an understanding of their customers.
In conclusion, mastering Conversion Rate Optimization requires a strategic approach that goes beyond the surface level. By identifying high-impact areas, understanding customer motivations, and creating a plan rooted in research, businesses can significantly enhance their online performance. As Michael McCann rightly puts it, "CRO is more than just testing; it's about understanding your customers, and that's what fuels it."