Have you ever found yourself wondering how you can get more people to contact your company from your company website?

If you’re like me, you might find yourself too wrapped up in other things to regularly make improvements to your website.

Luckily, those changes don’t need to be terribly time consuming, and you don’t have to improve too much at once.

Regularly working to improve the number of website visitors that become leads is something you should make a couple hours a week for if you haven’t already.

Writing blogs and creating content can help a company get more website traffic, but getting more leads from this traffic as possible should also be a part of your plan.

Understanding the conversion rate optimization (CRO) cycle clarifies the process. Continual examination, implementation, testing and verification of changes you make to your website helps you get the most out of your inbound marketing efforts.

Summary Steps of the CRO process at a high level

  1. Examine - Develop insights based on business goals and market research.
  2. Implement - Design, develop, iterate.
  3. Test - Collect data so you understand if improvement occurred.
  4. Verify - Make your your results are statistically significant.

Step One: Examine

Develop insights based on business goals and market research.

You might be tempted to think that the initial step of conversion rate optimization focuses completely on discovering the desires of your customers. That’s really important. First, though, you should consider the steps your want a website visitor to take.

Knowing what you want to achieve in advance helps put context around what you'll need to optimize.

For example, your company sales rep needs to sell $20,000 per month more. If you have a blog that's attracting thousands of visitors per month, you have a potential of getting many more leads for the sales process if you optimize your blog.

This context gives you a way to focus your efforts.

After determining your goals, pursue knowledge pertaining to your customers. Refer back to your target customer personas. If your customer personas aren’t detailed enough, have your sales rep pick a few people from your database of contacts and reflect on their conversations. What are their greatest challenges?

You might even be able to glean information from your customer relationship management (CRM) software. What have you learned about your customers?

Step Two: Implement

Don't hesitate to implement data-driven CRO strategy.

Using what you uncovered about your customers, try making some small changes to high impact pages on your website – those that are viewed the most.

Some changes you may consider:

  • Break up long paragraphs of text with a Q&A style format
  • Instead of long pages of text, try demonstrating it in a video
  • Add a visual call to action button as a next step at the bottom of a page
  • Add text links in web pages that lead to the next step or related information
  • Edit a web page and use more customer-focused language

What works for another company may not work for yours, so be adventurous and test! What you find may go against perceived wisdom or “best practices.” Keep in mind that when it comes to reaching your customer in a compelling way, the data doesn’t lie.

Remember that the conversion rate optimization process never ends. Improve over time, often a little at a time. You don't need to implement sweeping changes to improve your conversion rate. Making small changes and learning from them is your best bet.

Step Three: Test

Testing improves implementation while providing valuable data.

After you implement changes, you have an opportunity to test the success of your efforts. One method involves A/B testing, which compares two different versions of your marketing content to your customers. Variations might include website layout, content and even subtle alterations like the color of an individual button.

As you test these variations, you gather data on the effectiveness of different aspects of your marketing campaign. You might even learn something that you can add to your customer personas.

Without real, measurable data, conversion rate optimization is meaningless. Make sure you have a plan to measure your changes so you can figure out if the changes actually helped.

Step Four: Verify

Trust, but verify results - numbers may deceive at first glance.

After you make some optimizations, there's a good chance you will find that some changes worked. Instead of trusting a small increase in one metric, verify that your efforts are specifically linked to an increased conversion rate.

I like to do this by continuing to run a test until there’s statistically significant data. Then you know it’s not a coincidence.

Your changes may increase sales for unintended reasons. You might see a spike in traffic from a trade show that generates a greater number of leads rather than success due to a jump in conversion rate.

Once you’ve gone through the process, form your next hypothesis and tackle your next high impact web page. The idea here is to be scientific, document your results, but make small changes so they can be made quickly. You’ll learn more about your website and customers, and you’ll generate more leads for your sales process.

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