A practical guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

(Die deutsche Version findest du hier.)

If you came here after reading a couple of super lengthy articles on CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) but still confused how to exactly implement it, you have arrived at the right place. This article is short...er but gives you a practical guide to implement CRO for yourself.

What is CRO anyways?

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) sounds like a scary word only to be used in a science lab but it is really a simple concept. Let's break it down word-by-word.

Every business wants their customer to perform an "event of value" when they visit their store or website and if the customer does it, that is a conversion. The "event of value" differs for business types and scenarios. A baker wants their shop visitors to buy some bread to maker her revenue. An insurance company wants its website visitors to submit their contact information and insurance requirements to capture & qualify leads. We, at Heyflow, want you to build more clickflows because that is how we capture value (Hint: Check out our pricing page).

Conversion Rate is the percentage of your total visitors that convert.

Why does it matter though? Let's say Company A's website has 20,000 conversions per day where as Company B's website gets merely 200 conversions per day. Clearly, Company A knows what they are doing, right? Errr...kinda.

Let me give you another piece of data now. Company A has 1,000,000 visitors per day (CR = 20000/1000000 = 2%) where as Company B has 1000 visitors per day (CR = 200/1000 = 20%). Now, you can see that Company B gets more bang for the buck.

Conversion Rate Optimization is the strategy of getting that more bang for the buck by converting more of the visitors you already have instead of trying to get more new users through Ads (low click through rate) or SEO (takes a lifetime of great content writing).

How to Cha Cha... I mean CRO

(but you will Cha Cha once you are done).

Let's get to the meat of how to exactly do CRO for yourself before you go "Agh! Another blog post of CRO theories". Let's go step-by-step.

Step #1: Define your "event of value"

Some common types of "events of value" are:

  • Submit requirements (Eg: Needs to rent an SUV for 6 people)

  • Submit preferences (Eg: Prefers a petrol car over diesel for rent)

  • Submit contact information (Eg: Phone number to call to discuss requirements)

  • Sign up for trial

  • Purchase a product (Eg: Bought a painting)

There are many more but you get the idea. One thing to remember is that there can be and mostly will be multiple "events of value" in your customer's journey that you are trying to convert them on. At the same time, you may need the customer to submit their requirements, preferences and contact information. Customers might not be open to share so much at a go and that is why at Heyflow, we allow you to add multiple Submit buttons in your clickflows. Everytime the customer submits some information, you get their response even if they didn't get to the end of the clickflow.

Step #2: Define a goal & timeline

They say "It's about the journey, not the destination...unless your revenue depends on it". You need to know where you are trying to get to (your goal) and by when you will get there (timeline). But why? Because that will help you decide how much business focus and resources you want to dedicate to this. Do you have investors breathing on your neck because you rarely convert a visitor and you want to raise another round next month? Go aggressive on CRO. Set up a large achievable goal and a shorter timeline. Do you acquire a decent number of customers per month at a low CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) but most of your existing customers are churning. Focus on retention and maybe experiment with CRO a bit. Aim for a decent CR increase with a longer timeline. CRO is amazing but not the silver bullet to solve all your business problems regardless of what your CRO consultants tell you.

Step #3: Set up instrumentation to measure conversions

Setting up Analytics to measure your conversions can be tricky and generally needs a Business Intelligence Analyst and a Data Engineer to help out. However, quite often we tend to overengineer our Analytics setup leading to this pain.

If you need a simple out-of-the-box setup, you can just connect to Google Analytics and get a lot of Analytics automatically tracked. However, you would need to setup custom tracking for your goal. If you are using a Heyflow, then this is a piece of cake because you just need to turn ON the Google Analytics integration and then you can choose to send any button click event to Google Analytics by just turning ON a toggle..

For a more complex setup, we recommend using a Customer Data Platform like Segment or a Tag Manager like Google Tag Manager (Heyflow has an integration for this as well) that allow you to send complex user identification and tracking data to multiple analytics tools like Heap (we personally use it because it autocaptures most user interaction data), Amplitude (best for experimentation & building complex dashboards), Mixpanel (great UX, strong predictive analytics & has notification features). If you are using Google Tag Manager, Heyflow exposes a bunch of clickflow events in the DataLayer even if the flow is embedded in your website.

Finally, if your conversions are submission on Heyflow, then you don't need to do anything I said above and just head over to our Analytics Dashboard which reports your conversion rate, visits, submissions, time to complete, breakdown of visits, per screen drop off (more about this in the next step) and much more in the making.

Step #4: Find where the funnel leaks

You are now tracking conversions and you look at how your conversion rate is progressing and you know something could be better. But what?

When your visitors are journeying towards conversion, they are flowing through a funnel. A sample funnel of an insurance agency trying to source leads looks like the following:

Funnels can be leaky, which in non-marketing lingo means that visitors can get disappointed/bored/find things irrelevant at any point of your journey and decide to not continue or "drop off" if we are speaking marketing lingo again ("opdray offyay" for people who prefer Pig Latin). Therefore, you will need to figure out where users are dropping off and why.

If you have already setup a strong analytics system in the step above, make sure that you are tracking all your funnel events. Then, build a funnel report that tells you what percentage of your users dropped off at each funnel event. Google Analytics builds it by default for page views. Most popular Analytics tools come with funnel reports as well but setting them up might take a bit of effort. If you are using Heyflow for your conversions, then each screen acts as a funnel. As mentioned above, our Analytics Dashboard tracks drop off rate (percentage of users that exit the clickflow at a particular screen after viewing it) out-of-the box.

Step #5: Fix the leaks

We know where the problem exactly lies now but how do we fix it? Let's tackle a few common reasons for funnel leaks

  • Bad Targeting: If your drop offs are high at the top of the funnel, it might be that you are attracting the wrong customers. This might be a good time to re-evaluate & A/B test your targeting and see how they affect the top of the funnel drop offs.

  • Not knowing what to do/say: If customers are spending a lot of time moving around a particular part of your funnel but not doing much and eventually dropping off, they are probably confused about what to do in the product/website or say as an answer to a question you asked. Screen recording tools like Fullstory help you figure this out really well. Customer education is key at this point. Make sure your copy is clear & actionable, there are hints all around on what to do, help content is rendered in context or not more than a click away and customer support is accessible and responsive. The best way to solve it is design affordance which leads a user to understand what to do just by looking at the design without any extra help. If you are using Heyflow, you can build affordance using placeholders, icons, decorators, masks and many more carefully crafted design settings.

  • Lack of trust: Sometimes we ask customers to share sensitive and personal information or push them directly to buy something before building enough trust. Let customers know how you secure their data, how you comply with privacy laws, how you secure their transactions and show some proof of your reputation. Shoutout.so is a great tool to show social testimonials. In Heyflow, you can even choose if a field is asking for sensitive information and that information will not be stored in Heyflow's databases.

  • Fastest path to value: Sometimes you would see distributed drop offs at every point and unable to pin-point the reason. Such a behavior can point to one of the largest reasons for users to drop off, that is, users don't see the value in continuing. The distributed behavior happens because different people have different patience levels. Some are ready to wait more than others to realize the value in your offering and some vice-versa. However, the point is that you need to ensure that:

    • Your value proposition is clear and relevant to the customer from the get-go so that they see it and say "That is exactly what I wanted". We have seen customers at Heyflow achieving this by offering to answer a visitor's burning question like helping them figure out the right insurance plan for their current requirement & qualification OR helping them price their property correctly OR helping them calculate their energy saving from solar panels. This information starts right from their clickflow's landing page augmented by the right use of headlines, subtitles, icons, pictures and avatars. Visitors are happy to give out their requirements, preferences and contact information in exchange for this help.

    • Customers reach their Aha! moment as fast as possible. No one has the patience to fill 50 fields in a form or read 5 pages of help docs or jump around the product/website for half an hour to get what they want. Therefore, make sure that you guide your customers to the value they came looking for early in the journey. It is easier said than done because every customer is different and comes to you for different things you offer. At Heyflow, we do this by using variables, logic jumps and progress bars. Progress bars tell you how many screens you have to get through. Logic jumps take you only to information relevant to you. Variables customize the clickflow content based on what you said before or which campaign link you came from.

Step #6: Compare Results & Repeat 4 & 5

Congratulations on finishing the above 5 steps. You are now a "practical" CRO expert. All you need to do now is to compare results from each of your CRO efforts and understand what worked well and what didn't. I am going to mention Heyflow's Analytics Dashboard for the 3rd time now because it really gets the job done. You can compare the Conversion Rates and per page drop offs for any time frame on the dashboard and figure out how your efforts have changed things. Once you have done that, just repeat Step #4 and Step #5.

This is really all that is to CRO. If this sounds like a lot of work, you should checkout one of our trial plans to see how clickflows make this process super smooth. What are these clickflows, anyways? Read this interview with Heyflow's CEO Amir to know how clickflows have changed the way traffic conversion is done.

Now, go CONVERT!