Like any facet of digital marketing CRO has its fair share of tools that are available to make your job a little easier and to make you look good to your client/Boss.
However with so many tools out there which do you try? well hopefully this post will help you decide and prevent you from being just another fool with another tool.
If you have any tools that I have missed just add them to the comments and I will update the article once I have given them the once over.
Page monitor – This plugin allows you to “monitor” a page and it will tell you every time the page changes. Great for monitoring competitors landing pages or your own site to make sure that you are always aware of what is happening
Ghostery – Allows you to check what trackers are on a site e.g A/b testing platforms, analytics platforms etc… Great for some corporate espionage, checking that your devs have correctly installed a tracker and for blocking said trackers with ease
Awesome screenshot – For full-page screen shots of all your A/B tests or other screen grabs
UA Spoofer – Allows you to spoof you browser client to pretend to be some of the top devices and Operating Systems on the market
Page load time – measures page load time and displays it in the toolbar. Great for showing your boss/client how long it takes your site/pages to load.
7. Formisimo – Analyses what users are doing on your forms and tells you drop out rates by field, time taken and most corrected fields
8. Hotjar for surveys, heatmaps, screen recordings – unlimited visitors for flat fee
9. Decibel insight – is a one stop shop for analytics featuring advanced heat maps, form analytics, session recording and a lot more
10. VWO – For low to mid end optimisation needs with WYSIWYG editor, heatmaps included as well as mobile testing and advanced segmentation
11. Optimizely – For mid to high-end optimisation needs with WYSIWYG editor, advanced segmentation and more API integrations then you can shake a stick at
12. Monetate – Personalisation and a/b testing platform that uses all your data plus their own to optimise and personalise user journeys
13. Unbounce – Create landing pages without IT support and host and test them against existing pages with an easy to use WYSIWYG editor
14. Survey monkey – Free basic surveys and more advanced features for paid accounts including white labeled surveys
15. Attensee – Blurs out designs/pages forcing people to use the mouse to see a small unblurred window. Basically its eye tracking done via mouse behaviour for a fraction of the cost
16. Paint.net – Want to edit images but don’t have the funds or time to source Photoshop or other image editing software then this free tool is a life saver.
17. Notepad++ – Great free tool for editing code has libraries that will highlight code in multiple languages
10 more things you never thought about split testing but you should probably test
Everyone loves a listicle so here goes with a follow-up to a popular one where we go into some less heard of ideas on what to split test in e-commerce.
1 – Most sites offer two flavours of free shipping Free for everyone or over £xx but how many people have actually tested this? I would recommend doing this as a priority but remember to measure AOV as well as conversions and if possible profit as well. Try testing on high profit and high volume items first.
2. Promo and voucher codes are ubiquitous on Ecommerce sites but have you tested including them vs not. Or displaying them as a small text link vs applying any relevant discounts automatically as above measure sales, AOV and profit for the full picture
3. Free returns or free same day shipping which works best or does offering both give you the biggest uplift
4. Web chat vs CS call centre test one vs the other or try both at the same time. What do your customers prefer
5. Type of packaging can be an unusual thing to split test but can be done send it a standard box or a shiny hamper
6. Showing most profitable products on homepage vs most popular can give big uplifts in profits and revenue, measure revenue and profit
7. Extra photos vs 3D images which convert better also make sure you measure returns as these can cost you big time.
8. Test affiliates A/B who gives you the best customer. try one for a month then the other for a month what are their relevant conversion rates and return rates
9. Test position 1 of adwords vs 2 or 3 I have seen some good results where position 2 gives similar traffic but lower cost per customer
10. Test bidding higher on mobile in the evenings and early mornings and daytime as people will tend to research on mobile and evenings then convert on tablet or desktop during the latter parts of the evening when they are home.
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” Chinese philosopher Laozi.
This especially applies to A/B testing where the hardest thing is knowing where to begin. So I hope these tips will give you some ideas of where to start
Calls to Action (CTAs)
The whole point of your site is that you want people to take a specific action. If that’s not the point of your site what is? So a good place to begin testing is your CTAs as they are usually quick and easy to test and can provide some good uplifts.
Click here to Buy? More info? Purchase? Checkout? Add to Cart? Test the CTA text on your buttons remember it needs to be something that applies to your site and answers the user’s question “I want to _________”
Try varying the positioning of your CTA, making key CTAs more prominent than others.
A/B test numerous CTAs per page against one large CTA per page.
Test different CTA hover states, make it really obvious that buttons are clickable
Test different colors, shapes, and sizes for CTA buttons on your website. (rectangles and squares usually work best but who know a triangle CTA could work?)
Content has the biggest chance of converting a maybe to a yes and a no to a maybe. So top-notch content is key not just for SEO but also for CRO.
A/B test if your users are willing to sign-up or provide information to access further content.
Do site visitors crave more information about your company before converting? Test adding or removing “About” content on your homepage and landing pages.
Tone can make a big difference in keeping users on your site. See what your visitors prefer by testing various tones and styles.
Test how content is shown, do users prefer to scroll or click to another page to learn more?
Copy is the best way to get through to your customers and helps users to understand your company and what separates you from your competition.
A/B test if your site visitors prefer shorter versions of headlines, taglines, product descriptions, and other content on your site.
Headlines are their to grab attention and are one of the most read pieces of text on a page. Try variations that are straightforward against ones that are abstract, goofy, or creative.
Test paragraphs or bullet points.
Test the tone of your copy sometimes positive copy works better other times negative copy tone works better
In summary think of the various elements that make up a page and see if an alternative element can achieve a better effect. Then A/B test against the original.
CRO has typically concerned itself with the elements that directly affect conversions such as CTAs, headlines and copy because they tend to have the highest impact for the least amount of effort required to test and implement the change.
UX/Design specialists have championed making websites simple, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.
However we are seeing where what was traditionally considered UX or CRO is beginning to merge and this is the reason why. if you start off with a badly designed site you can make it better and easier to use and ultimately convert but the time and effort required is much greater than doing this to start with.
So in the past where CRO expertise was brought to bear on sites that had already been built now we are getting a chance to make sure a site is conversion optimised before it is launched.
Much like how we are seeing SEO and Social merging as CRO specialists and UX specialist work closer together we will see more sites that will need less fixes once they are live and users getting sites they can use from day 0.
Will this mean the end of testing? I doubt it for the simple reason there will always be another headline, another way of displaying some piece of information or some other way to create trust or urgency.
I have heard some UX/CRO people are feeling like their areas are being encouraged by the other and I can understand the fear. However I would caution that sometime what is beautiful or simple or easy to use will not always convert the best because sometimes you need to make a user jump through a few hoops or make something obtrusive.
That’s why there is plenty of space at the table for both UX and CRO in the future.
Optimise the business not just the conversion rate
CRO as a discipline is experiencing the same issues that SEO experienced a few years back where the initial remit of the industry was too narrow to achieve the results that were being requested.
If you want to double the revenue your organisation returns from its online presence than merely optimising your web site/app is not going to deliver the results you want.
When people judge your business they are judging more than your site they are judging your organisation as whole. So if the site is great but you take a week to deliver their goods when you said two days that’s a problem. If you deliver a damaged item and it take weeks for a refund/replacement then that s a bigger problem.
Negative publicity will spread much faster and wider than good publicity so it is imperative your customer service is up to scratch. One company that constantly finishes at the top of the table for online customer service is Amazon.
That is no fluke they have invested millions to make it so. They understand that in a market as cutthroat as online retail that your repeat customers are like gold dust and everything should be done to keep them happy even if it means taking a hit and losing money in the short-term.
Now smaller retailers say we need to make money to survive as they don’t have capital to operate at a loss like Amazon does. Well that’s true but you can still afford to break even or perform a small gesture such as a thank you card for the customer in their purchase. Hell if you have some stock you are about to throw away give it free to the user they will appreciate it even if they never use it and might just be enough to win you a repeat order.
In short the customer is king they may not always be right but they have the right to expect excellence from you if not someone else will be more than happy to take their money.
Who has heard the old maxim that once you have written your headline you have spent 80cents of your dollar? If you have not then you are the lucky one as this is bandied about with fervour in the digital marketing sphere.
See the issue is that this was a quote about print advertising and not digital marketing and the two while similar are not the same. This is a classic case where “best practice” fails.
It is not because it is wrong it’s because it’s being used out of context, that is the issue with best practice. However there are specific things you can apply to digital marketing copywriting but as with everything it needs to be tested to make sure it applies to your organisation, company or blog.
Long live the CTA
So if the headline is not the boss who is? Well its the CTA. So does that mean you can change your CTA and deliver a triple digit uplift? Unlikely. However changing your headline and CTA together will usually deliver some good lifts.
Your CTA text should borrow from and reinforce your headline as they will be the most read elements on your page. That’s why you should always test headlines and CTAs together.
Hail to the kumquat
How do you get the attention of users who do nothing but speed read? You use unexpected language (see what I did with the headline). See the unexpected makes people stop and re-read what they just skimmed over.
Go small or go home
Depending on what blog you read the average time users spend on a site is anywhere from 6-8 seconds including loading. So you may have as little as 5 seconds to communicate your message to your users.
Therefore you should write as little as possible. Bullets are your friends and blocks of texts are your enemy.
Steal copy where possible
You know who writes in the same language as your customers? Your customers. When I need a new headline or ad copy I go to TrustPilot and read some reviews of your customers and lift what I need.
If you don’t have TrustPilot or something similar then go to your competitors. If they don’t find a book on Amazon about the same kind of area and read the reviews. Nothing beats this kind of copywriting because it’s used by the exact type of person your trying to convert.
Everything in CRO only has one job and stop making headlines that try to convert
So let me start this post with a question, how many people have optimised a Homepage for conversions. I would guess that it would be most of the people who read this article. I have to admit I have done it as well because for a large organisation it tends to be one of the most visited landing pages.
So why is that wrong? well your homepage has one page and it’s not conversion. The job of your landing page is to get people to view the rest of your site. Homepage are mostly used by returning users, people coming in on generic or brand terms. They don’t know what they so they need to be guided to the right place not forced into converting.
If a homepage has only job what about a headline? That too has one job, to keep you on the page and that is also the same for your for your sub-heading and the rest of your copy.
Your PPC ad test has only one job to get people to click. Your navigation has one job to get people quickly around your site. Your about us page has one job to tell a user who you are and what you stand for.
So whose job is to convert users I hear you cry? Why its your CTA of course, the clue is in the name Call To Action. Everything in digital marketing should only have one job because users don’t like to think so make it simple and easy for them and your conversion will soar that is lesson number one in CRO.