For most companies the goal of marketing online is not to get traffic, but to turn that traffic into conversion. This is where Conversion Rate Optimization ( CRO ) can be extremely important. To help explain the basics of CRO I talked with Nick Eubanks from SEONick.net. Hope you learn as much as I did.
How did Nick Eubanks get into marketing?
That’s an interesting and fun question to answer. I guess I should start off with a confession… if you would have told me in college that I was going to be in the marketing industry, I would have thought you were crazy. I had my heart set on working in the financial and real estate industries and really didn’t think I would ever do anything else…
Funny how life works out.
While in school I worked as an analyst (financial/business/real estate) for a handful of companies, usually working 30 hours per week while also completing an average of 17-19 credits per semester – needless to say, I stayed busy. The heavy workload paid off, and I was able to land a great job with a growing software company as a marketing communications manager, immediately after I graduated.
My experience working within the bureaucratic confines of Fortune 500 firms in some of my analyst roles lent itself well to marketing enterprise level software. The software itself was pretty slick in terms of functionality, but was in an extremely boring industry; regulatory accounting (Sarbanes-Oxley), and the interface looked like something from the early 90’s.
At the time SEO was not the buzzword it is today, and far from being an industry of it’s own, so it was relatively easy to get top rankings, although they weren’t receiving much search traffic at the time; something like 3,500 searches per month. However, more and more often I had prospects calling and emailing me asking about how we got to page one on Google rather than asking about the software.
After just over a year with the firm, I left for a position at a more entrepreneurial-focused company and began consulting, 2 years later I started my first agency with 2 partners, and the rest as they say, is history.
So What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
Optimizing for conversion certainly means a lot of different things to different people. To me it means removing any and every impediment that could potentially prevent a conversion.
What can be considered a conversion?
I would say a conversion is when a user completes a measurable action that positively contributes to the success of a campaign.
What’s your favorite example of a successful CRO campaign?
I am perhaps a bit bias towards average revenue per user (ARPU), but I would have to say Wider Funnel”s Campaign that double revenues per visitor for travelguidesfree.com.
Beyond that I was really impressed by the Conversation Rate Expert approach to optimizing the initial sales page for SEOmoz.
What tips do you have so people make the right goals?
Don’t just focus on the end-game, like revenue or sign-ups. Pay attention to metrics that can be early indicators of future revenue or sign-ups, like engagement metrics, such as time on page, shares via email, or tracking when a user prints a page.
What tools do you use to measure conversions?
I like tracking everything, including ‘micro-conversions,’, these could be things like scroll position, social shares, or up/down votes.
( Video Explanation of Google Content Experiments )
If a site doesn’t have a lot of traffic or conversions, how can they test CRO?
Honestly this may sound like a bit of an oversimplification but in my opinion there is no better, faster, or cheaper way to get unbiased and real feedback than through ad-hoc user testing. For this I love usertesting.com.
I would recommend using a minimum of 3 participants for any test, but if you’re on a bootstrap budget, spending the $39 for just one user test will give you tons of actionable feedback on where users are getting hung up in your conversion funnel.
What blogs, posts, people would you recommend to learn more about this subject?
My favorite CRO blogs are:
- http://whichtestwon.com/ <– personal favorite of Nick Eubanks
In terms of posts they are mostly a collection from the blogs above, but there are a few specific posts worth sharing:
The people I follow for both information and inspiration are:
Questions About CRO? Put them in the comments.