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By Jacqueline McDonald |

Boost Your Conversion Rate Optimization — in 5 Steps


Which call to action resonates more? Where are users getting lost and leaving? What color should your button be? Conversion rate optimization (CRO) helps answer these questions to give you actionable insights—and have immediate impact on your bottom line.

Follow these five steps to make sure your conversion-rate strategy is successful and scalable.

Step 1: Align website objectives to business goals

If you asked six employees what your primary website goal is, would you get the same answer? Odds are you wouldn’t.

A critical part of a website’s strategic plan is the prioritization of objectives. So step one is to define your goals for your site. Next, make sure your conversion optimization goals are in line with those of your business. A great way to do this is to look at your company’s “goals waterfall.” Make sure your CRO goals line up with your overall marketing goals. Your marketing goals should already be inline with your overall business objectives.

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Now, quantify your goals. If your website goal is to gain leads, assign a dollar value to it. How much is a lead worth to your organization? If you know the value of each conversion, you can easily determine your Return on Investment (ROI).

Learn more about setting your CRO goals in Chapter 2, Setting CRO Goals, from the lynda.com course Conversion Rate Optimization Fundamentals on lynda.com.

Step 2: Identify test opportunities

Before you can start testing, you’ll need to identify which pages should be tested first.

Unfortunately, this is rarely as obvious as it sounds.

Start by looking at your web analytics. A good rule of thumb is to target areas with expensive traffic and low conversion rates, pages with high exit rates, or pages with a high visitor-acquisition cost. (See Chapter 4, Prioritizing Testing Opportunities, of Conversion Rate Optimization Fundamentals.)

Step 3: Generate a great hypothesis

Once you’ve identified pages to target, you’ll need to create an experiment hypothesis. A great tool to help you with your hypothesis creation is WiderFunnel’s LIFT Model:

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The LIFT Model illustrates the six factors (Value Proposition, Relevance, Clarity, Urgency, Distraction, and Anxiety) that affect your conversion rate.

Apply this framework when assessing your web pages to identify problem areas, and draft your hypothesis around these insights.

Step 4: Cycle for continuous improvement

A couple of a/b/multivariate tests is not a full CRO strategy. Repeated, structured testing is the best way for optimal CRO results.

If you’re having trouble coming up with test ideas, a great way to create your second test hypothesis is to base your question on a previous test’s insights. For example, if users responded well to the variation with the form above the fold, then perhaps your next hypothesis should be that forms above the fold convert more leads.

Step 5: Analyze results for insights

This step is the most important part of the CRO process. It’s all about the results! When analyzing your results, it’s easy to see the “what”: Which test won, or how many more leads a certain variation converted.

Remember to also look for the “why”: Why did test variation A win this round? What insights can you take from this test and apply to others?

Insights come from both great results and not-so-great results. As long as you are implementing Step 4 (making your testing process iterative) you’ll never have a losing test. Sure, you may have testing variations that disprove your hypothesis, but your insights can be used in future tests to get great results.

Conversion rate optimization doesn’t have to be unnecessarily complicated or intimidating. Learn more about why to test, what to test, and how to test with these lynda.com courses:

  • Conversion Rate Optimization Fundamentals: Chris Goward, CRO thought leader and author of You Should Test That!, provides a detailed, actionable framework to guide your CRO strategy. Learn the CRO best practices that will and will not work for you, as well as how to avoid common CRO missteps.
  • Optimizely Fundamentals: Optimizely is one of the most popular CRO tools on the web. In this course, Michael Duquet, a Conversion Optimization Strategist at WiderFunnel walks through basic and not-so-basic concepts of website testing and how to put these principles into action using Optimizely.


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