Director of Partner Growth, Callum Ridley, is excited to launch the new blog series ‘A Partner’s Guide to Marketing Channels’, taking a deep dive on different marketing channels and how partners can take advantage of these channels to improve site performance as well as to improve their performance when working with brands on the Partnerize platform.
To kick things off, Callum interviewed Dale Higginbottom, Head of CRO at Visualsoft, to talk about all things Conversion Rate Optimisation! Visualsoft is one of our Partner Agencies. Founded in 1998, Visualsoft are an award winning eCommerce ecosystem, with over 20 years experience of working with online retailers who are serious about growth.
Dale has been working in digital for over ten years, with a primary focus on Conversion Rate Optimisation, marketing strategy and web analytics. He heads up the CRO team at Visualsoft and oversees the CRO service which offers user research and experimentation to clients both on the Visualsoft platform and externally. Dale and his team are also involved in wider UX research and experimentation projects which support in improving the user experience on the Visualsoft eCommerce platform.
Callum Ridley: What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
Dale Higginbottom: Conversion rate optimisation is the process of using statistics and data to make proven and informed decisions on how to increase the percentage of website visitors to take a desired action. Those desired actions could vary from an online purchase, filling out a contact form, signing up to a newsletter or clicking an affiliate link but they all should be valuable goals that are relevant to your business.
CR: Why is Conversion Rate Optimisation important?
DH: CRO is no longer a luxury. If you want your website to make more money, CRO is not only important, but a crucial part of your marketing strategy. Directing traffic to a website that doesn’t convert well will stunt your business’ growth. By finding ways of understanding and listening to your site’s visitors, you get to make better decisions about changes that will improve their experience and make them more likely to do what you want them to do. In the case of an affiliate site a small text clarification or positioning of a key piece of information could be enough for that user to click your link.
CR: How do you calculate Conversion Rate?
DH: That’s quite simple.
Number of sessions (or users) that complete a goal / Total number of sessions (or users) – displayed as a percentage e.g. 1/100 = 1%
Ensure that the total number of sessions (or users) represents what you are trying to understand about the site performance. For example you may wish to look at the conversion rate of users that just visit a specific brand’s page rather than all users to the site.
CR: What is the average Conversion Rate?
DH: That’s not really important. Every industry, market, site, sub-site, user segment, goal or micro-goal will have a different conversion rate that reflects any number of factors.
The key thing is to ignore any stated “average conversion rate” and focus on your own site’s conversion rate and look to make it better. Conversion rates also usually decrease as traffic increases so hitting a desired x% is often counter-productive. A more impactful metric could be revenue per user, which will tell you on average, how much every user who visits your website is worth to you in a monetary sense.
CR: What would be your top three tips to improve Conversion Rate?
DH: Number 1 – Improve speed.
By this, I don’t just mean the obvious. I break it down into 3 parts
- Technical Speed – The obvious one, making the site faster makes it a better experience for your users and they are more likely to choose you over a similar competitor.
- Speed of Movement – Help your users find what they want on the site. Make navigation and search easy to use. Don’t hide key information that they want/need to see.
- Speed of Thought – Build in trust and reduce anxiety. Ensure that users understand your site and that their expectations when they click a button or open a page are met.
Number 2 – Listen to your customers.
Firstly, if customers tell you something is broken, even if it’s just on their device, fix it. Don’t assume everyone is viewing your site on top-spec devices. For other things, if your customers get frustrated by outdated discount codes (I know I do) or your site’s poor search functionality or they don’t believe that your product reviews are impartial then hear that and act on it. The more user research you do and the better that research, the more accurate your analysis of those users will be.
Number 3 – Be creative and test things.
Stop blindly copying what your competitors are doing. If you find an issue specific to your users then think of a solution that specifically fixes that and test it. You may find a solution that’s better than what your competitors are doing and move a step ahead of them.
CR: Can changing a button colour make a big difference to conversion rates?
DH: Short answer: Probably not.
Long answer: It’s unlikely that something as simple as a colour change can have a significant impact on conversion rate, however if there is a solid basis for the change then it could.
If the button is important to the user journey and it’s hidden to the user because it’s a muted colour, or it’s light grey and they think that it’s not clickable, then yeah, changing to a more contrasting colour could encourage more clicks. Changing the wording on a button can have a good effect, such as changing a “register” button to a “continue” button but it all depends on the possible impact to the user in their journey and how many users that it will impact.
As a general rule, the greater the change to the user and the greater the number of users it impacts, the more important that change is to your business and so these areas should be prioritised for testing.
CR: Can you recommend any CRO tools?
DH: Google Analytics. Sometimes the best tools are the ones you have but don’t use often enough. Make a point of using Google Analytics and tailor it to how you need to use it. For example, pull in successful sales into the GA so that you can identify patterns of users that are likely to convert.
Other than this, Microsoft Clarity is a great free tool for heatmaps and session recordings, Google Surveys is a free/low cost option for surveying your visitors and as for A/B testing tools, that depends on what your developer would be comfortable using and what works well with your site’s framework.
If you are not currently working with Partnerize, let’s have a conversation! You can reach out to our Partner Growth team on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can sign up for a Partnerize Partner Account here.
If you have additional opportunities available over the next few months, for brands and retailers to get involved with, let us know! We would love to help get the word out and share these on the Partnerize platform. You can submit your opportunities here.