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3 CRO Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

by Marjorie Munroe

Date

October 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Picture1-10.pngLead generation is difficult. It’s why 63% of marketers cite lead generation as the main challenge of their company. Luckily, strategies like conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help you make the most of your online traffic. How? By consistently improving the content and the conversion paths your visitors frequent on their journey to becoming customers.

But like most strategies, when misapplied, there are ways that CRO can go wrong. Below are three common CRO mistakes and how you can avoid them to ensure conversion success!

Mistake #1: Not using conversion rate optimization

How many people on your team can define conversion rate optimization what is? Although top resources like Moz, Qualaroo, Forbes, and even HubSpot have beginner’s guides and walk-throughs of CRO basics, it can be surprising how many digital marketers don’t have a clear sense of its definition and don’t implement it on the site.

Let’s start with the basics: lead generation and conversions. Simply defined, a “conversion” is the desired action you want a website visitor to take. This can take on many forms like a visitor filling out a form or a visitor chatting with a sales rep through a chat window. Although marketing and sales funnels may have unique stages, the general flow of your inbound lead generation efforts will be a visitor coming your site, converting to a lead, and then becoming a customer.

That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in. Take a second to think about your conversion paths. Every stage in the process can act as a barrier for a visitor to convert. CRO is the process of changing your content so that it lowers the resistance of visitors crossing over those barriers on their way to conversion.

In this way, when you’re implementing CRO on your website, you’re implementing a method you can rely on to constantly be improving your site in multiple areas. As it relies on data gathered from your traffic rather than abstract buyer personas, the decisions you make are backed by evidence rather than guesswork. Although the wins might start small, they certainly can add up over time and enable you to continue to make the most out of the traffic already coming to your site.

Mistake #2: Prioritizing quick wins over the process

CRO is not a single step process. This is because experimentation lies at the heart of this iterative and data-driven method. That is, when effectively applied, conversion rate optimization is the ongoing process of checking in with how your content is performing and testing different ways to improve your visitors’ overall experience on your site. When done correctly, this will ultimately inform you and your team on what works for your online audience and how to make the most out of your current online traffic.

When just starting out with CRO, however, this may seem a little tedious. This is because CRO experiments should only be testing one element of a page to accurately determine whether or not that specific change affected user behavior positively or negatively. These tests can also take time. According to Mike Griffin, an Inbound Consultant at HubSpot, conversion rate optimization tests need to be run for approximately four weeks. On average, this time frame allows you to gather enough statistically significant data to draw concrete conclusions about the success of the change you made.

When you need as many leads as quickly as possible, it’s easy take shortcuts. You may be tempted to look at what competitors are doing. Maybe you even read an article that said certain call-to-action color always outperform others on website. It’s enticing to make decisions based on information that is immediately available. So why shouldn’t you adopt these tactics?

They simply do not teach you about your visitors. These tactics do not help you tap into the why behind your customers’ actions or if that change should help inform your long-term content strategy.

Instead, think of your online visitors as your personal content feedback network. They are coming to your site, interacting with your content, and choosing whether or not to convert on a daily basis. This data can help inform you how every piece of content can be altered and improved to better fit your visitors’ needs and power a higher conversion rate on your content.

Mistake #3: Having gaps in current reporting options

Conversion rate optimization is centered around data. Identifying gaps in your reporting early is a key step to ensuring your CRO process is effective from the beginning. Your online audience is making dozens of decisions daily that show areas of your website that could be further optimized or improved. Make sure this information is not slipping through reporting cracks.

Once you have a comprehensive view of what your online traffic is interacting with, you can start to create reports and gather information that answers essential questions such as: how is your content currently performing? Are there areas performing better than others? Where are there areas for improve? Having a clear sense of latter can help your team better prioritize what areas of your site to experiment with and optimize. Making sure you have the full picture of what is happening on your site will also ensure the accuracy of the conclusions your teams are drawing from your test.

Looking to take your CRO know-how to the next level? Check out these articles below:

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Written by Marjorie Munroe

Marjorie (Jorie) is an Inbound Professor on the HubSpot Academy Team dedicated to educating and inspiring people about conversion rate optimization and reporting and analytics. Engage with Jorie on Twitter @findingjorie.

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