Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the practice which boosts the proportion of your website visitors who perform a preferred action on your website. Primarily, it is website optimization so that larger chunk of your traffic finds it illuminating and performs your desired action.
Need for CRO testing roadmap
A number of variables need to be tested in order to achieve your conversion goal. These variables include:
- Opt-in form placement, design, and draft
- Opt-in bribe (or lead magnet)
- CTA (“call to action”) color and copy
Testing such variables might lead you to cash on short-term success like increasing CTR to your landing page. However, to enjoy long-term and sustained success, you need to focus on CRO testing roadmap. These long-term goals include increasing MRR. Consequently, it is must to test CRO roadmap. This is because as a business it helps you to move from tactical testing to strategic testing. Based on positive results, you can optimize your focused areas of website. Moreover, it improves organizational resource planning.
According to Emma Travis, Senior Optimization Strategist at PRWD, having a testing roadmap “helps to communicate to the wider business what the ‘plan’ is.”
The major paybacks of developing a roadmap are better alignment of teams with brand visions and strategic goals. It sharps your testing in conjunction with the widespread organization and how you accomplish your goals.
The broad reasons why you need to develop a winning CRO testing roadmap includes the following:
1. Optimize resource planning
Few areas you need to decide based on your requirements, though trial and error may require. Such areas include hiring resources over outsourcing. Content writer, web designer, developer, and other vital resources can either be hired for temporary or full time basis. Considering costs and benefits, you may opt for outsourcing the same tasks. However, to decide – hire or outsource, a roadmap helps you know exactly when to hire resources for maximum impact. For example, if your roadmap reveals that you will not be testing copy till the next quarter, you can postpone on hiring a copywriter. Such tests if performed timely and wisely can save you from over-hiring and under-hiring. Ultimately, improves targeted results and your outcome.
2. Focus on strategic goals over tactical goals
In order to achieve strategic goals, one definitely needs to achieve tactical and operational goals. All long-term strategy should be wisely segmented into tactical and operational strategies. However, it does not mean that you should divert your mindset and only focus on operational or tactical goals. For example, if your tactical goal is to increase CTR by 40% and you achieve it as well. Still it remains your short-term success only. This is because “increasing CTR” is a tactical objective, not a strategic business goal. You may see a drastic improvement in your CTR but is possible that you end up losing on revenue. It improves a specific, remote metric (CTR) without considering long-term goals. Here, a testing roadmap fundamentally outlines these tactical goals in outlook. You know precisely how short-term, tactical goals merge with long-term strategic goals.
3. Prioritize tests
Here, you may pick up any sample page of website, say product / service page. On this page, you may run a number of tests. Such tests include:
- adding “Zoom” element,
- appending a size, fit and flex rating,
- detailing UGC (“user generated content”) of product images,
- attaching “Customer Q&A”,
- making CTA button even more prominent
4. Perform more complex tests
Often, a user restricts him with simple tests including changing font, page color, button color, or even tweaking a headline. Possibly, one can make the modifications in coding as well. These changes are fairly easy to work out. On the other hand, more complex tests require a number of resources working together to run the test. In larger organizations, even a team of tester is required to sign-off on a complex test prior to running it. Such changes include modifying checkout page design to focus on free shipping, tweaking pricing table, and others. Again, here, a testing roadmap can let you know precisely whom you need to bring on the project. For example, if you need the designer team to sign-off on a checkout page design test, you can employ them at the appropriate time.
5. Line up the rest of your business with your vision and mission
Last but not the least, especially for larger businesses, alignment of resources with organizational vision and mission is must. CRO repeatedly requires huge amount of modifications to your business, website, and sometimes, even your business model. Undoubtedly, a testing roadmap ensures that your entire business has perceptibility into these developments.
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How to construct a CRO Testing Roadmap
Construction of CRO testing roadmap is a subjective matter since it differs from business to business and industry to industry. .
Moreover, the field of CRO has yet not fully evolved. In spite of availability of numerous frameworks, most of the consultants use their own customized approaches to develop a testing roadmap. Experts suggest the following simple steps to construct your own CRO testing roadmap:
1. Clarification of business vision and mission
As a business, it is imperative to establish your business goal. Importantly, goals need to be SMART i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and tangible. With reference to CRO testing roadmap, you need to have consent on how the goal is measured. It should be noted that goals relate to business and industry and could be completely different from one business to other. For an e-commerce company, a goal could be “reduce shopping cart abandonment,” while for a SaaS startup, it could be “reduce churn rate.”
Your business goal would be the course of action behind every test you run. Any test that does not help meet your goal in some way should not be run.
2. Drill down strategic goals to meet business goal
Your business goal needs to be drilled down to the level of your strategic goal. For instance, if your e-commerce business goal is to “improve shopping cart acceptation rate”, your strategic goals could be:
- Augment checkout completion rate
- Boost product prices
- Enhance cart recovery email conversion rate
Enlisting such strategic goals with the help of various mind-mapping tools will ease your process of developing CRO testing roadmap.
3. Collate tactical goals to accomplish strategic goals
You need to achieve your tactical goals to accomplish your strategic goals. For example, suppose you own a digital marketing firm, your strategic goals and tactical goals could be as follows:
These tactical goals form the foundation of your testing idea brainstorming session.
4. Document on hand performance and set a baseline
Prior to moving towards brainstorming testing ideas, you need to set a baseline for your existing performance. It means you need to conduct a CRO audit to understand the areas which needs either attention or improvement. At least, for your online business, you should be aware of bounce rate, primary CTA & CTR, and exit rate. Such statistics should be noted down on excel sheet or any other convenient application.
5. Devise testing thoughts
Once you reach till the previous step, your next suggested move is to come up with ideas to meet each of your tactical goals. These ideas should be accurate and precise. For example, be clear if you want to change CTA copy on your product page or you want to change the design and look of your product page. Each goal should be tested using various mind mapping tools. In case your tactical goal is to attach social proof on your product and services page, you might come up with solutions such as:
- Demonstrate live purchases in numeric terms
- Provide klout / Moz score
- Attach testimonials
6. Prioritize tests
|Resource-first approach||Under this approach, first of all a user takes a stock of existing resources and identify which tests could be run with them.
For example, if you have an in-house designer, you can prioritize testing product page and thank you page prior to testing other elements.
|Results-first approach||Under this approach, first of all a user prioritize the tests based on desired results and accordingly arrange resources.|
Regardless of the approach that is being considered, the following two areas need to be measured:
|Simplicity of execution
|This measures how easy the test would be to put into practice. It is based on existing organizational resources, capability to acquire future resources and technical complexity of the test.|
|This measures what is the expected impact of the test on your target metric. It is based on historical data, case studies of similar industries, and test target|
Once this data is in place, you can use a color-coded scale (Red = high priority, Green = low priority) to denote the priority.
7. Build up your testing hypothesis
A hypothesis is an assumption made from facts that serve as the starting point for any experiment or examination. Every flourishing A/B test typically has a hypothesis associated with it. This hypothesis has three components:
- Assumption: what is assumed is true on the basis of past experience and available data
- Experiment: what is being experimented is focused to a single variable and is logically consistent with the assumption
- Expected outcome: need not to be precise but should be able to reveal the expected trend
For example, assumption is CTR for the button given on website is low since it is not prominently placed. It can be experimented by modifying size, style, or color of that button to test its impact. The results of the experiment could be measurable like changing CTR button resulted in 2% lift in conversion rates.
8. Collate all in one place
In case, you have successfully travelled across the above-mentioned seven points, you would have a strategic goal, various tactics to accomplish that strategic goal and prioritized testing thoughts for each of those tactical goals. Now it is the perfect and right time for you to collate them into a testing roadmap.
At the very least, you should note the following:
Apart from the above-mentioned checkpoints, you can also consider your baseline and target for the metric you are testing (such as CTR or bounce rate).
For ease of data and derived information, it is advisable to note all of this in a separate spreadsheet at the end of your exercise. It is worthwhile to keep this document practically open-ended and flexible.
9. Plan your tests
Once the entire data is filled up in your spreadsheet along with testing ideas, it would be easy for you to implement CRO testing roadmap.
Now you know how to devise a winning CRO testing roadmap. For your online business, you now need to run a CRO audit, list your strategic and tactical goals, prioritize tests based on execution ease and at last, RUN the test!