The current digital landscape is so competitive that your website or app needs to perform efficiently to not only entice visitors to stay, but to ensure they convert into customers. In order for this to work well, product owners can apply Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) tactics, testing different options to continuously optimise the user experience.
What is CRO?
Conversion takes place when a visitor performs a certain action that the website is designed for. This could be a straightforward purchase, an email sign up or an enquiry via a contact form. Conversion Rate Optimisation is all about data and analysis from studying how certain features of your website help your visitors convert in the most effective way. CRO helps you to make informed decisions about your website or app.
So, what can we optimise for a successful conversion? Successful CRO campaigns run multiple tests and approaches, tweaking elements to determine the best performing option.
We often talk about UX design and user journeys. They help to navigate your users seamlessly through your site or app, and conversion is a huge part of it. This doesn’t have to be the final destination, but it’s a key point for your business.
The user journey needs to take your visitors to key areas to help them convert quicker. If you think about leading digital products like Amazon, Spotify, Asos and Deliveroo, their entire process guides the user to purchase something or sign up, using navigation, graphics, buttons and copy. These are all strategically designed journeys. Each button or message advances the user to the next step, helping them to complete their interaction from a landing page to checkout or form.
Understanding your users
To create an effective customer journey, all design elements need to take CRO into account- information architecture, calls to action, titles, copy, graphics and additional content. If any of them are in the wrong place or the wrong colour, the visitor might ignore them or even worse, leave.
To find out which design works best, it’s important to understand why visitors come to your site or app - what they want to achieve or find, It’s also important to understand how they use it. There are a number of tools that can help with this.
Heatmaps - you can install heatmap software to record how your visitors browse your site, what they look at and, importantly, what they don’t look at! This can give you a great overview of the key areas within your site that might be the best for placing converting design elements, such as CTAs.
Analytics - Google Analytics or any other data monitoring platform can easily reveal some interesting information about your site and customer behaviour. Picking the most popular landing pages, analysing session duration, events and much more can also give you lots of insight to work with for CRO. You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot on additional software, Google Analytics can help a lot.
User Testing - We do this quite often with our clients. We invite a set number of people that fall into our client’s target demographic to run through a website or app that we’re testing. User testing usually takes place in a specialised studio, recording every action, screen and comment so we can analyse it further and refer back to it when updating designs. It enables users to give us direct feedback, as well as allowing us to monitor how they interact with the product. User testing can reveal lots of great insight and might disprove some assumptions. It can also throw a spanner in the works which can take us back to the drawing board, but at least it’s a quick and failsafe way of developing a product! User testing on a small scale is much easier and cheaper than finding out something doesn’t work after launching your product to your entire customer base.
Designing for conversion
Once you have some good insight into what works and what doesn’t, you can start designing the user experience to improve conversion. This can be done with minor tweaks, such as moving a call to action, using a different banner, changing copy or placing a form to a more prominent position. You can do lots of other things based on data and your observations.
When doing this, we always fall back on proven products or data reflecting that the elements we want to try really work, so we get the buy-in from our client and also compare if this is viable for the site or app we’re working on. So if you like a design from a certain popular product, there’s a high chance it could work for you too, but you have to test it first!
Testing different CRO campaigns
So how do we test different approaches for conversion? We do A/B testing on different designs. We create 2-3 different versions of a landing page with varying copy, images, forms, CTAs etc - anything that we want to test to see if it makes a difference to the original data.
We then programme these versions to appear for a number of visitors on the site or app, so some of them will see version 1 while others will be using version 2 and so on. Once we have a good number of sessions and interactions (ideally about 1000 visitors), we can begin to analyse which design performed best and which design elements we can take further for our product.
Once we’re happy with the results and determine the elements that help with conversion, we integrate them into product design and we have some great stats to prove this will work better. Of course the process doesn’t end here, and it’s important to review these user journeys and the conversion rate over time to see if any further changes are required.
We highly recommend doing all of the above things to improve conversion. Utilising your own customer data will already reveal lots of great insight into what could be impacting your customer journey, but using other tools can help to find more specific areas. With this knowledge, you can design different CRO campaigns to test them and find the most effective option for your product.