Imagine driving down the road and seeing a sign that reads “Road Closed.” This is the only way you know to reach your destination. Making matters worse, there are no detour signs or arrows to help you find an alternate route. You’re probably going to be frustrated to say the least.
By ignoring Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) — the process of increasing conversions from a website or digital activation through optimization and testing strategies — companies risk doing the same thing to their potential users.
You could have done everything right – from designing a product or service to meet the needs or desires of your intended clients – to launching an effective marketing campaign designed to grab their attention and pull them to your website or online business portal. But all of that is worthless if friction points slow or block your conversion rate.
The toughest part about this challenge is that many businesses lack the perspective needed to improve conversion rates – reason being, they don’t continuously take the time to analyze their websites, landing pages, activations, or online portals through the eyes of their customers.
CRO isn’t a one-and-done activity, it’s a practice of consistently analyzing, optimizing, and measuring performance improvements through experiments.
More importantly, if there are friction points that trigger loss of potential clients, what steps can you take to identify and correct these issues?
Let’s dive into a few of the critical errors that cause conversion problems, how to fix them, and how to build a CRO roadmap to ensure ideal customers take action, such as buying, downloading, or subscribing.
Identifying Common Friction Points – Know Your Roadblocks
What are common mistakes – or roadblocks – that decrease conversions?
Long or Complicated Online Forms or Required Questions That Are ‘Too Forward’
When creating an online form, survey, or landing page, one important thing to remember is that unless you are paying each person who completes this form, you are basically asking them to donate a moment of their time.
So, if your form is so long and tedious that completing it feels like a job, there’s a good chance that many people will move on after the first glance.
Additionally, for the same reason you might feel uncomfortable giving your Social Security number to a stranger, there is data that a potential customer might feel uneasy sharing with a company or brand during their first interaction.
A great example of this is requiring someone to share how much money their business makes each year. Yes, this is valuable data – especially when determining whether a person or business might be a suitable client – but it’s something you could learn via research or from a future interaction.
How can you improve your webform experience, while still capturing critical data to fuel marketing efforts? As a rule of thumb, keep your webforms short and only ask for necessary information.
To gather more, we recommend progressive profiling, where you ask a few short questions at a time, slowly building out a larger profile of your prospect. Customers may initially only provide an email address and their name, but over time, you can invite them to complete additional forms, surveys, and preference centers, until you have a more robust profile.
Unnecessary or Complex Navigation and Other CX Issues
Research from the Nielson Norman Group shows that the average website user will typically leave a website within 10 to 20 seconds if they don’t find what they need. This means you’ve got one chance to have a successful interaction with potential clients before they leave your site or online portal for good.
A great customer experience needs to feel less like a treasure hunt and more like one stop shopping. Your goal, your focus should be to get the user to the content or products they’re seeking as quickly as possible.
A clear navigation, descriptive copywriting and product categories, intuitive product filters, simple customer service features, and AI-driven product or content recommendations are all ways you can make it easier for a visitor to navigate your website and find what they need.
It’s also important to make sure there are no UX issues, such as imbalanced layouts, broken submit buttons, hard to find CTA’s, or other technical deterrents that could impede your business from starting new and successful client relationships.
Your Optimization Roadmap
Everyone loves quick tips and suggestions, but the truth is that CRO is not a destination – it’s a journey. The good news is that for those who are ready for the real work, there’s a roadmap.
This process for building growth-focused CRO requires teams to brainstorm, define their goals or objectives, design and build, and most importantly, analyze and share.
Step One – Brainstorm
When brainstorming for CRO purposes, companies or brands should examine the past, present, and future of their business.
Analyze past performances on existing webpages and activations to see where users abandon or get stuck. Utilizing this information, document benchmarks to assess where you are currently, where you’ve seen success, and the qualities or attributes that define your most valuable clients.
Looking to the future, identify the highest priority pages or elements that should be optimized first.
Step Two – Define Your Goals
Always be deliberate. The purpose of the brainstorming process should be a defined hypothesis – what do you expect to happen as part of your CRO journey? What will your future tests validate?
Set goals in terms of what you are trying to achieve, with all testing designed to tie back to your business objectives. With these objectives in mind, what KPI’s or success criteria will you use to measure whether or not you were successful?
Because the testing phase cannot run indefinitely, be specific in terms of how long the experiment will run.
Step Three – Design and Build
Now it’s time to create content or update existing assets, including designs, copy, or messaging, for your tests. Your testing must include audience criteria, broken down into segments. And you should confirm analytics tracking is properly set up before launching your test program.
Step Four – Analyze and Share
Once your test has run, it’s time to dive into the results data. Ask yourself, what commonalities do you sense in the audience or activity? Then capture and measure your results against your benchmarks.
From there, prioritize how you will modify elements of the customer journey in response to your findings. How can you reduce friction or tailor your experimentation strategy to get greater insights?
Transparency is key here, so when you have documented all your data, including audiences, results, themes, and findings, share this information across the organization with the goal of identifying smarter ways to apply the lessons you have learned.
It’s a Journey, Not a Destination
CRO is never ‘complete’ – it’s a powerful culture shift to center enterprise decision-making in testing, optimization, and quantifiable results.
The world of digital marketing and sales is constantly evolving. Companies that build a culture of CRO processes across testing, discovery, and implementation will be steps ahead of those that don’t.
Those who utilize these steps be more flexible, agile, and proactive to modify their strategies to meet the challenges of the future. They’ll race ahead confidently knowing – and testing – what works for their customers and business, while their competition loses time and momentum in the journey towards their goals.