Applying Conversion Rate Optimization to All Aspects of Marketing

Posted on by Juli Durante

Conversion rate optimization is a systematic way to convert prospects. When marketers talk about CRO, they’re generally focusing on the rate at which a website visitor becomes a lead, sales opportunity or paying customer.

The CRO mindset is a natural extension of the promises of digital marketing. But CRO can also be applied other forms of more traditional advertising as well.

Building a CRO Framework

There are five areas to consider when building a CRO framework:

1- Auditing and Data Collection: What does the content look like today? What data do you have? For a website, ook at marketing automation, heat mapping, visitor tracking and analytics tools to establish baseline performance.

2- Gap Analysis: A gap analysis takes the audit’s findings and aligns them with recommendations for improvement, helping content fulfill best practices and addressing relative underperformers.

3- Experiment Design and Testing: Recommendations are converted into measurable hypotheses with results-oriented language. Here’s one example that only requires a spreadsheet, and another with a more detailed experiment canvas framework. As you test, a sample size calculator is a good way to ensure you’re collecting enough data.

4- Measurement: Your sample size is reached. Now it’s time to measure. Have your efforts improved conversion rates and key performance indicators, as set forth in your experiment design? Using a statistical significance calculator is a good best practice to ensure that your results matter.

5- Repetition and Iteration: One key element of good CRO is approaching every experiment, regardless of a positive or negative outcome, as an opportunity to retest and continue moving the needle up, up, up.

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Digital, Non-Website CRO

CRO is often attached to website metrics, but other digital content can also be optimized, including email and lead nurturing campaigns.

For example, say you sent an email nurturing campaign to 1,000 contacts over the last two months. As a whole, only one percent of contacts are meeting your goal, requesting a software demo. With an optimization mindset, you might look at the performance of each email in the series relative to the average, to see if there is an underperformer. You can also review the content and conversion opportunities in each message.

In going through this process, you might find that the final email in the series has only a three percent clickthrough rate, far below the campaign average. When you review it in detail, you find that you’ve gone from sharing an e-book in the prior email to asking for a demo. The gap between those calls to actions is likely too large. To remedy this, another email can be added in between, offering an on-demand webinar showcasing product features and ways the solution solves a real-life problem.

Taking the CRO Framework Offline

Optimization focus is very natural when you work in the world of hyper-measurable digital data. When you start talking about offline initiatives, the connection and measurement gets more difficult. In deciding to apply an optimization mindset to trade shows, direct mail and other offline marketing, you need to collect data to start improving. You have two options, quantitative data and qualitative data.

Quantitative Data: If you want to take a more traditional CRO approach, you’ll need to collect quantitative data, which will very likely require you to drive offline leads to online conversion. The goal here is to take an offline interaction and unite it with the digital world. Account based marketing tactics following a direct mail drop can help to proactively target those offline interactions. Once someone converts online, you’re able to:

  • Measure the rate at which offline interaction leads to online interaction and test different offline content, format, campaigns and approaches to optimize that rate.
  • Follow traditional web CRO for online engagements and improve the conversion funnel.

Qualitative Data: Occasionally, it doesn’t make sense to drive contacts online. Someone at a conference talking directly to a sales rep shouldn’t have to step back and download an e-book. In this case, look for optimization opportunities in the feedback you’re getting from your boots on the ground. Did people love the conference giveaways? Is asking someone an open-ended question about their challenges or goals a better way to start a conversation than requesting a business card? Are phone follow-ups going well, or are business developers leaving endless voicemails? Encourage your team to provide direct, candid feedback about offline performance and use that feedback for future tests.

Don’t Fear the Test

Creating formal tests and experiments sounds like an intense, difficult endeavor, but it truly doesn’t have to be. Once you stop, analyze, test and iterate, you’ll see that all of your marketing campaigns and content are performing better than ever before. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and play with your tried-and-true marketing tactics in a measurable way.

Juli Durante is the team lead and marketing strategist for SmartBug Media.



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