What is conversion rate optimization?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a methodology that increases the chance a user will convert into a lead, resulting in increased profitability of investments across digital touchpoints. When most people think of CRO, A/B testing comes to mind. Although testing is the most widely-used, fundamental activity of every CRO program, there are numerous other tactics to increase the effectiveness of CRO strategies.
An expanded approach takes into account all of our clients’ marketing channels, both digital and traditional, to create seamless experiences that offer opportunities for more meaningful audience interactions
Audience profiles and journey mapping
Marketing to an organization’s right-fit customer is the quickest path to conversion. One of the most effective tools we use to identify and market to right-fit customers for our clients are, at their most basic level, audience profiles. Profiles are representations of your ideal customers based on data and research of your current customer-base that identify their goals and associated behaviors. Audience profiles typically contain demographic and psychographic information as well as situational analysis. These profiles are used to inform every aspect of sales and marketing strategies by creating highly targeted, personalized experiences.
Once developed, audience profiles need to be mapped to a journey. A customer journey map visualizes all of the current touchpoints along the path-to-conversion. After the current touchpoints of the customer journey are mapped, the next step is to identify opportunities along the journey with the goal of accelerating business decisions, reducing churn, effectively nurturing leads, and continuously putting your brand in front of your customers. The customer journey map, coupled with the audience profiles, helps define personalized, omni-channel marketing strategies to align sales and marketing teams, resulting in increased profitability of marketing investments.
Lead nurturing strategies
One of the most common misalignments in strategy between sales and marketing teams occurs when organizations operate in a capacity where marketing drives in the leads, then sales takes over. This approach to marketing creates misalignment between teams. Once a user is converted into a lead, there are numerous tactics marketing teams can employ to nurture sales leads to accelerate buying decisions and improve sales close rates. Additionally, sales teams are also tasked with sifting through several leads to pick out the few marketing qualified leads (MQLs) worth pursuing. Marketing teams should not only be tasked with driving in marketing qualified leads, but should help nurture MQLs to become sales-ready leads to enable sales to close more deals.
Remarketing and social media management are two of the most common lead nurturing strategies employed by marketers. Remarketing involves setting a cookie on the browsers of website users, then serve up behavioral-based digital advertisements to drive them back to the site. This tactic can also be effective for reducing churn. Social media management offers non-paid methods of continuously putting your brand’s content in front of your audience to maintain their interest in your brand.
Marketing automation is a tactic that offers a deeper level of personalization with lead nurturing strategies. Marketing automation involves a technology platform that enables marketing and sales teams to automate repetitive tasks in relation to email, social media, and website personalization. By coupling CRM data with web behaviors, a marketing automation platform sends a series of personalized messages to leads to nurture them until they are sales-ready. Once a lead becomes sales-ready, the lead is handed off to the sales team to actively pursue the opportunity.
Leveraging UX and Search Insights
Traditional CRO entails ongoing website testing to increase the chance of conversion, but more often than not, I find that websites are too far off from where they need to be in order for testing to be a worthwhile endeavor. Whenever we take on a new client who is interested in a new website or looking to improve their current website, we start with UX and Search Insights projects to guide them down the right path.
A large part of envisionit’s Search Insights projects involves identifying opportunities for improved content, architecture, and technical execution. Performing an upfront audit identifies opportunities to get websites into a better place to attract right-fit customers to our client’s websites. This tactic is a necessary prerequisite to any testing programs to ensure all testing and decisions are made based on driving the largest volume of qualified traffic to the website.
UX Insights takes this approach one level deeper by performing a deep analysis of user behaviors on the site to identify gaps in the user experience and conversion strategy. Testing is meant for ongoing refinements to a website that is already performing well, while UX Insights is an audit designed to make larger, upfront changes to get a website into a position where testing will have an impact. This audit typically consists of heatmap analysis, recordings of live users on the site, conversion path analysis, content strategy review, usability analysis, and a technical assessment of site functionality.
End-to-end performance measurement & optimization
Marketing teams hear it all too often from sales – “All of these leads are low quality.” This is a common occurrence when a misalignment between sales and marketing exists. When this complaint comes up, it is usually due to the marketing driving in leads and only measuring and optimizing for on-site conversions. This approach creates a massive blind spot in marketing strategies by optimizing for the wrong KPIs.
Although an advertisement may result in a high volume of leads, those leads are useless unless they convert into customers. Optimizing marketing tactics based on CRM data creates a culture of measurement from end-to-end where all decisions are based on what drives revenue instead of leads. Technologies such as Zoominfo can also measure the quality of traffic driven to your website by marketing tactics to determine if the right people are even making it to your website.
Conversion optimization, when paired with analytics, is the key to marketing profitability. By continually monitoring, measuring, testing, and analyzing your site and marketing channels, you will always have data to guide the changes you choose to implement. And by continuously improving your marketing strategies to better engage and serve your audience, your customer base will only continue to grow.
When planning CRO strategies for digital marketing tactics, think outside-the-box. Building a culture of testing and measurement is an important foundational tactic to increase the profitability of marketing investments, but optimizing beyond just smaller refinements through iterative testing will have a much more substantial impact. Targeting the right-fit audience, building a user experience around that audience, effectively nurturing them, and measuring the bottom-line results will greatly improve the profitability and budget efficacy of your digital marketing programs.