Once your inbound marketing campaign is in full swing, you may become a little obsessed with checking your metrics. If you’re executing a thoughtful keyword strategy to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and blogging regularly, you’re probably noticing a significant increase in your website visitors.
But are you seeing a corresponding increase in revenue? If not, you may need to get serious about conversion optimization.
Conversion optimization, also known as conversion rate optimization or CRO, is the practice of making changes to your website pages and landing pages to increase conversions on your site. Your conversion rate is the number of visitors to your site divided by the number of those visitors who take a necessary action to move them along their buyer journey.
Since conversion optimization is directly tied to revenue, it’s an increasingly popular tactic. If you’re looking to get started optimizing your site for conversions, follow these three rules.
Rule #1: Conversion Tactics That Work For Another Business Might Not Work For Yours
Marketing best practices make everything so easy, right? To execute a fruitful marketing campaign, simply read what worked for a successful business and apply those tactics to your campaign.
Unfortunately, when it comes to conversion optimization, best practices don’t exist. Sure, red CTA buttons increased conversions 21% over green ones for HubSpot. But that doesn’t mean you should make all your CTA buttons red and expect instant results.
In fact, for every instance of a company having success with a certain conversion tactic, marketing expert Neil Patel has a counterexample that shows another company failing with that same tactic.
Does that mean you should give up on conversion optimization and ignore stories of companies having success with the tactic like those detailed in this terrific post on the Kissmetrics blog? Of course not. Instead, use optimization success stories as a starting point for brainstorming tactics that might work for you.
Rule #2: You Must Test (The Golden Rule Of Conversion Optimization)
To find out what optimization strategies and tactics work best for your business and customers, you need to test.
Testing is how HubSpot determined those red buttons converted better than green ones. Because each business and customer is unique, testing is the only way to determine what works best for you.
Choose from two kinds of marketing tests: A/B testing and multivariate testing. If you’re just starting out, it’s probably best to stick with A/B testing, as multivariate testing is often complicated.
A/B testing involves creating alternate versions of a certain web or landing page on your site using tools such as those offered by HubSpot, Optimizely, or Unbounce. Then, review your metrics to see which version resulted in more conversions.
It’s important to run your tests in a disciplined way. Set clearly defined timetables and sample sizes. Most experts agree that your A/B test should include at least 100 site visitors. If your business is in a niche market with a very limited number of prospects, you may be able to work with a lower number.
Once you define the parameters of your test, stick to them. In an influential blog post, statistician Evan Miller warns that concluding a test before reaching your pre-set sample size could lead to inaccurate data.
Rule #3: Test One Thing (And Only One Thing) At A Time
When you’re in a rush to boost conversions, you may be tempted to take shortcuts. Resist that urge.
One shortcut to avoid is making multiple changes to the website or landing pages you’re testing. If you change the color of your CTA button and its placement, you won’t know which change led to the increase or decline in conversions from the original version.
For this reason, start with one variable at a time. Once you’ve determined that a CTA button color change leads to more conversions, run another test to determine the best placement. After that, you’re able to test other factors, such as copy length or page layout.
While it may be more time-consuming, testing one factor at a time helps you discover the best formula to convert the most customers on each of your website and landing pages.
Following the unbreakable rules above allows you to discover the right conversion optimization strategy for your business, and that’s an integral part of boosting revenue.
Start Today Tip – Use analytics and heat maps to determine where you should start testing different variables. Review Google Analytics to discover pages with higher-than-usual bounce or exit rates. Such pages likely have hidden weaknesses that are driving visitors away from your site. Use a heat map tool like Crazy Egg to discover how users navigate your pages and to find variables that might be leading to poor results.