The Truth About Conversion Rate Optimization
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Are you meticulously tweaking every aspect of your layout, every color of every button, in search of the highest possible conversion rate? Stop right now, because everything you think you know about CRO is a lie.
Yes, there are circumstances where you should split test things like the color and position of buttons on your site, but there’s a very good chance you’re nowhere near the point where such incremental improvements matter. Odds are much higher your site is suffering from more fundamental problems. Conversion rate optimization should start with this simple question:
“Why aren’t our visitors converting?”
That may be straightforward and obvious, but when we focus on the details, we can forget that this is the question we are trying to answer, and then solve. It’s easiest to see how we get lead astray when we frame our proposed solutions as answers to this question. For example:
“Our visitors aren’t converting because our button is in the sidebar instead of the main copy.”
When you put it like that, it’s starting to sound a bit ridiculous, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, changes in layout like this do make a difference. It’s just that when you start with the fundamental question, you’ll get more fundamental (and hence more effective) answers.
It’s time to start thinking a bit more about objections, the kinds of things that a salesperson would have to deal with. For example:
– “The price is too high.” What this really means is that the user isn’t sure if the product or service that they get will be worth the time they spent earning the money to pay for it.
– “I don’t need this product.” If you’re running into this problem, it means one of two things. 1: You didn’t target a keyword revolving around the problem that your product solves. 2: You failed to convince the visitor that your product solves their problem.
– “I already get this from somebody else.” What this really means is that they’re not convinced it’s worth the “abandonment cost” of leaving their current provider. They may feel emotionally invested in another company, they might not believe the value of your product is better, and they may fear that switching over will be more of an ordeal than it is worth. Emphasize how you are different (not always better) from the competition, and make sure guarantees are in place to tackle loss aversion.
– “I don’t have time for this.” This means one of three things. 1: The conversion process genuinely takes too long and you need to make it simpler. 2: You haven’t made it clear that the process is fast and easy before it starts. Hint: don’t try to accomplish this by telling the user, “The process is fast and easy!” Be specific about why. 3. The visitor isn’t convinced that the benefits of the conversion are worth their time.
One of the most common problems you will run into is a very vague and ambiguous fear of the unknown. The less your visitors know, the less likely they are to convert. Finding the right balance between this fear of the unknown and the point where they get bored of reading is one of the most important things you will do as a CRO professional.