CRO helps you to understand your customer behaviour better, but, before you embark on CRO, it’s good to have some ways of understanding your customer to build your initial roadmap, prioritise and hypothesise.

When starting out on your conversion optimisation journey, the first thing you need before anything else is data. Data is at the core of any good optimisation programme. Data allows us to strategically hypothesise, rather than ‘plucking from thin air’ – which we’re all guilty of – let’s admit it! Typically, we’d get the ‘what’ from our quantitative data (CRM data or analytics data), and then use qualitative methods to try and answer the ‘why’. Although I think this is a good way to approach optimisation, I do think that qualitative research can contribute to identifying the ‘what’ too.

At Edit, we value data and we’re experts in it. That’s why we don’t undertake any CRO programme without getting to know our clients’ customers first. Whether its quantitative or qualitative research, both form a solid roadmap and help with prioritisation. When you really look in to your data, be it funnel analysis or usability sessions, I promise there will be something that can be improved, and may even offer some insight that will make you think ‘what are they doing!?’ Do not fear, there are a host of options to help uncover the ‘why’ part of what your customers are actually doing, and all of these help to build a really solid CRO roadmap.

A recent study by Econsultancy revealed that 80% of companies using nine or more methods to collect data are seeing an improvement in conversion rates vs only 38% using one or two methods. During the same study, only 58% of companies are using customer feedback to help with conversion rate optimisation, yet only 3% of people surveyed rated customer feedback as ‘very difficult’ to implement. So, there isn’t really an excuse, is there?

Throughout my experience of testing, some of the most valuable insights for hypothesis stem from customer feedback, usability sessions or customer journey analysis. Some of the best performing tests I’ve ran have also come from these data collection methods.

Steps to take to understand your visitors:

  1. Identify your top five business goals or KPIs.
  2. Identify what data sources you have at your disposal.
  3. Put aside some time in your week to review data.
  4. Prioritise areas of the site to focus on, i.e., do you have a high exit rate on one a particular page, are a certain group of users converting at a lower rate or do you see a theme with customer complaints about something?
  5. Add your ideas from reviewing data to your roadmap and PIE score accordingly.
  6. TEST!

Here are some of the best self-service tools and reports to uncover what your customers are actually doing on-site.

  • HotJar – HotJar has a host of features, all designed to help you understand your customer. From heatmaps, surveys, funnel analysis, forms and surveys and session recordings. Pricing starts from 29 Euros, but there is a basic free package available too.
  • CrazyEgg – Similar to HotJar, CrazyEgg gives you heatmaps, session recordings and scroll maps, but also offers a basic AB testing feature. Pricing starts at $29/m and they offer a free 30 day trial for any package.
  • WhatUsersDo – Remote Usability testing. Details or services are here. They offer a basic free trial. Pricing starts at £500 for a project or £7,200 per year.
  • Google Analytics – Enhanced Ecommerce offers a useful shopping behaviour and checkout funnel reports. If you’re not an ecommerce site, then setting up Goals is the best way to analyse customer journeys quickly.
  • VWO – An ‘all-in-one’ optimisation suite, VWO have recently launched their new platform (Conversion Optimisation Platform) which boasts a range of new features with key ones being visitor recordings and improvements to heatmaps and surveys.

In summary:

There are no excuses to not start getting to know how your customers are using your site. There are tonnes of ways to start, so using one of the tools above or something similar is a great starter for ten.

At Branded3, our qualitative methods are baked into our CRO programme, as are our quantitative methods. Want to know more? Read more about our services.

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