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CRO

Chapter #1: Is your company ready to start with conversion optimization?

Have you ever wondered if your company is ready to start with conversion optimization?

You should!

Not every company is ready to start because of a number of reasons.

Here is a checklist of the things you need to consider before you can start a/b testing and getting your first win!

Enough traffic

You need enough traffic if you want your test results to be valid. The sample size needs to be big enough for a significant testing result.

When a website only has 100 visitors a week, the test will never meet the sample size. You will need a lot more traffic than that. When the change is smaller, you will need even more.

How much traffic you need is hard to say because it depends on many factors.

Duration

Chawla from VWO shows us the correlation between traffic and test duration to get conclusive results:

Correlation between website traffic and test duration to get conclusive results
(Image source)

By looking at this graph, we know that more traffic means that you can test faster. It’s useless to run your tests for more than four business cycles because the browsers will automatically delete cookies and pollute your sample.

So that would mean you will need at least 10.000 visitors to stay within that 4-week range.

Traffic zone

Peep Laja from CXL says the following about traffic requirements:

“As a very rough ballpark, I typically recommend ignoring your test results until you have at least 350 conversions per variation (or more – depending on the needed sample size). But don’t make the mistake of thinking 350 is a magic number, it’s not”

You shouldn’t base your decision on a ballpark number. To help you with this problem, you can have a look at the graph from Convertize.

Uplift zones to decide of your are ready start with conversion optimization
(Image source)

This graph from Convertize shows you the traffic zones of interest.

The traffic zones contain four factors:

Fearing

Which is up to 10.000 visitors per month

Thrilling

Which is up to 100.000 visitors per month

Exciting

Which is up to 1.000.000 visitors per month

Safe

Which is everything above a million visitors per month

This sort of correlates with the graph from VWO as it describes the 10.000 visitor mark as a tipping point where this opportunity starts to arise.

Another thing to consider is that conversion optimization will still cost you the time your team needs to put into it. When you have more traffic, the return on investment will be greater. The benefits need to outway the costs, and this simply becomes easier to reach when you have more traffic.

Depending on the risks you are willing to take, you can decide for yourself if you are up for it. When I started with conversion optimization, I was between thrilling and exciting and was successful in the end.

Traffic location

Traffic junction
(Image source)

Another vital factor to consider is how your company attracts this traffic and where it lands. Because your website might have 100.000 visitors landing on pages that might be less interesting to optimize. 

An example of this would be an e-commerce website that runs a blog on the side. 80% of that traffic is coming from Google, and these visitors aren’t particularly interested in buying products. They just look at the blog posts and immediately leave after.

Unless you want to optimize those blog pages with conversion optimization, you will probably need a lot more traffic to get a good result from a product page test.

Not ready to optimize? Bullshit.

Cow in your face
(Image source)

Hope is not lost if you find that your company does not have enough traffic for conversion optimization because there are other ways to grow.

The conversion optimization I am talking about revolves around testing hypotheses with quantitative data. But you are still able to research your users and improve your product without doing this.

Peep Laja has this to say about not having enough traffic to start with conversion optimization:

“You might not be able to run tests, but you can still optimize. It’s not entirely scientific, but hey, most of us are in the business of making money, not in the business of science”.

You are going to have to start somewhere! Check out his post about CRO with little traffic. You can also focus on activities that grow your traffic, such as search engine optimization and improving your advertising program.

Micro conversions

Add to cart micro conversion
(Image source)

Some marketers have started preaching that you can use micro-conversions to make up for the lack of final conversions and traffic.

An example of a final conversion would be someone buying something on a website. Micro conversions are the steps between your final conversions. The user needs to execute several micro-conversions to reach that end goal.

Examples of micro-conversions are:

  • Add-to-cart
  • Button click in basket
  • Search result viewed

The idea is that you will have a lot more conversions to work with because you will probably click the add-to-cart button a few times in a session. 

So why not just use that if you lack the transactions for significant results?

Because assuming more micro-conversions equals more final conversions is WRONG! You don’t know if the extra clicks in your specific test case contribute to more final conversions because you don’t have enough data.

This lack of data means you are taking a massive risk with implementing changes. Here is what Widerfunnel has to say about micro-conversions:

“We have seen many examples where the first step of a funnel can dramatically change the completion of a subsequent step, even a step that has several steps removed.”

This occurrence means that an extra micro-conversion has the chance of leading to fewer final conversions.

The big redesign

A big mistake would be to optimize a website or page that already has plans to be changed soon. Check with your development team to see what things are changing if you don’t know already.

Checking this might seem obvious, but failing to recognize such a change can kill your conversion optimization efforts.

Development

Developing code
(Image source)

A great deal of technical knowledge is needed to develop and implement changes on a website. Conversion optimization will require someone to have the time and knowledge to be able to do those things. Otherwise, you won’t be able to develop your tests and implement the winning ones.

If you are good at JavaScript you might get a lot done yourself but a winning test still has to be implemented by a developer. That’s why it’s important to have someone from development who is responsible for the quality control of your tests and has the time to implement winning changes.

This developer will be involved with everything that includes writing and reading code.

Mindset

Showing the right mindset
(Image source)

The final topic and requirement I want to talk about is the mindset. Peep Laja from CXL wrote three important rules every person involved in the process should have imprinted in their brain.

  • Your opinion doesn’t matter.
  • You don’t know what will work.
  • There are no magic templates for higher conversions.

He continues to talk about how the process of conversion optimization is the most important part and that without it, you’re probably going to fail. When everyone understands this, you can prevent untested changes and biased test ideas from reaching daylight. Your first winning a/b test will help you with getting people to drift towards this mindset.This is what Omniconvert has to say about the mindset:

“Most businesses have a fixed mindset, but there are companies like Booking.com, Amazon, Walmart, Uber, and Airbnb that embrace a Growth Mindset. That’s so important to look at when you’re talking about conversion optimization.”

Next chapter:

Chapter #2: How to conduct user research on a zero budget?

Have you ever wondered why user research is so expensive? Sometimes you simply don’t have the budget to get all the tools you need.

Don’t worry!

This chapter will show you how to conduct user research on a zero budget!

I will describe what user research is and how you can plan a zero-budget research strategy.

Then I will list many free tools and methods that you can use to fill your strategy and collect the insights you need for your first a/b testing win.

This chapter contains:

  • What is user research on a zero budget?
  • How to plan out your user research on a zero budget strategy?
  • How to collect your issues?
  • What do you do with those issues?
  • How to translate your issues to testing hypotheses?
  • What research methods can be conducted on a zero budget?

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