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Having a lot of traffic on your website is really pointless if visitors don’t do what you want them to do when they actually get there. Conversion optimization is all about changing user behaviors. To do that, you need data about what users really think and understand their problems and what questions they are having, and which answers they will need. Many firms collect data from various sources to get as much information as possible. And of course, there is a risk that data only turns into reports that are not used for optimization. They become desktop products and in the worst case, it can go so far that the focus is shifted to the data itself, not to what we would need to change to get better overall results.
Here we will try to give you some concrete tips on how you can start optimizing, or how to improve the optimization of your website. And it doesn’t start with the data that you might have in Google Analytics, best practice for contrasting colors or length of the forms, but with a hypothesis about what should change and why it should change.
Prioritize your business and choose a goal before you start optimizing your website
Conversion optimization is all about increasing the number of conversions. And of course, more conversions are better than fewer for most people. What is often forgotten when we talk about pure conversion optimization is to focus on the right growth and the right conversions. Growth Marketing is about working with communication holistically and looking after the business and the users’ needs first before we choose an idea, concept, or content. So first you need to prioritize what gives the highest value to your business right now. You want more leads or sell more products. But which leads are best, which products have a good margin, and which target groups are important to focus on then? And we shouldn’t forget that conversion is good for growth, but repurchases and additional purchases are important to get a high value per acquired customer. A returning customer is five times more profitable than a new customer. By linking conversion optimization with clear prioritized goals for sustainable growth, we can achieve our long-term goals in the best way.
Prioritize activities for the target groups that provide profitability
Surely it sounds good to focus on what gives profitability? In one example, we have an e-retailer that sells furniture. The target group that provides the highest conversion in the right product segment for this e-retailer is an older, traditional but loyal target group. This target group buys more products that also have a higher average order value, and they have a longer lifespan as a customer than the younger target group. In addition, this target group happens to be extra interested in self-manufactured products that have particularly good margins. If that is the situation we need to start prioritizing optimizing conversions for this target group first, which places demands on everything from usability, availability to information in the purchase price. It affects everything from pictures to buttons, colors, and product instructions.
How long should you optimize?
When we have insights on what to optimize, we need to implement the changes. Then we need to see that the changes we have applied really work the way we wanted them to work. A website is never completed but rather we can always find new data and improve our content further. So the question is when should we stop optimizing? The answer to that is quite simple – when it no longer pays off. There are ways to measure this that are about acquisition costs and customer value, but we will not go in-depth on this in this article. But it is important to make a decision about when you should choose to optimize or not optimize and keep track of the value of what you optimize. If UX or CX can decide, we would probably never be ready, but of course, every investment in optimization must be justified.
Various types of optimization; Google Analytics, web panels, or heatmaps?
Conversion optimization can be done in different ways with different tools and methods. Many pure conversion agencies advocate testing with a focus on experimentation. It can be done with, for example, Hotjar, A / B tests, or other tools that statistically confirm the users’ behavior. But when should we conduct interviews, should we use Analytics data or set up an A / B test?
We don’t think that one is better than the other, the more we can measure the better. We do not need to have a large amount of traffic to statistically ensure behavior. It’s a myth. According to our experience, it is better to have as many small tests as possible, five users in each test are enough to confirm a hypothesis.
Here is a brief overview of when to use what type of tests:
Google Analytics – works to describe the current situation, not to find out what needs to change. Here you can, for example, with e-commerce tracking see where users drop off, on which page, or during which function with extended tracking. It will help you find the problem. For example, the cash register side is a problem for the elderly to increase sales as they have difficulty understanding the function of easy checkout. In Analytics, you can see how many and who are dropping out. Then you can take this information and clarify your hypothesis about what needs to change to make an easier checkout process.
Customer interviews are always good to conduct, however, there is a prejudice that these are expensive and extensive, which may have been the case a few years ago. Nowadays, you can recruit a panel quickly and easily at a low cost. Now it’s time for deeper information on why users choose to quit. Everything from readability to length of form or lack of information can be important parts. Make sure the respondents are as neutral as possible before you start. If you want to optimize additional purchases or repurchases, you can, however, use existing customers in the panel.
A / B testing is perhaps the holy grail of conversion optimization. One version provides higher conversion than the other – therefore it is better. It is simple, statistically reliable, and relatively easy to measure. But it still does not provide answers to every question. So a combination of several tests is always better than just one type of test.
Each type of test has different advantages and disadvantages. Recording behaviors with, for example, heatmaps, eye-tracking, or the likes gives a good idea of where the user is focusing their attention. But that does not explain why they do it. So simply selecting behavioral data tools may not provide the full answer you might need.
Summarizing, it is all about changing behaviors so users do what we want them to do, regardless of what we choose to call it or how we measure it. We must start from a sustainable business before we start to optimize at the micro-level. Then we will measure it with several methods before we can give the answer to what needs to change, for users to take actions we want them to take.
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