How Do You Get Your Boss to Fund Conversion Activities?

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how do you get your boss to fund conversion activities

With so many digital marketing efforts competing for attention, even some of the larger companies are opting to fund the visitor acquisition efforts and live with “good enough” web site usability for when they get there.

That type of scenario leaves conversion rate optimization in a bit of a limbo - important enough to be recognized it’s there, but not important enough to be more than a backburner project someone at some point will get to, after the different  aspects of search engine optimization, search engine marketing, Zero Moment of Truth, and social have been improved. 

To digital marketers trained in conversion, few things can be more frustrating. They recognize the leaky bucket. They know you can pour in all the water you want, but until you get serious about plugging the holes, nobody’s getting anywhere. 

The problem is, it’s tough to communicate this problem upstream; testing, even when conducted with free tools, is far from free. CRO is typically even less understood by upper management than SEO, and SEO is on average barely understood. So if you’re one of those marketers who are fighting the good fight, we feel your pain - and we have a few tips that may help.

Have Someone “Own” the Cycle

The first thing this addresses is that CRO is something on someone’s project list - it’s not. It’s a cycle that needs to be constantly part of the digital marketing mix, and someone needs to own that process. A structured approach to the testing and tuning, along with having a clear stakeholder who leads the process, heightens the chance of success.

eConsultancy conducted a survey indicating that 70% of respondents who have a structured approach to conversion had improved sales, but only 27% have a structured approach to CRO. The industry can stand to do better in that regard.

Attack with a Plan

If you are the person who owns the process, don’t raise the idea of testing without doing the background work. Make sure that you’ve used your site’s metrics tools, that you’ve hunted for the leakiest areas of the leaky bucket - that you have found the top areas that will benefit from conversion optimization. These are typically areas that receive significant traffic but have high bounce rates - pages that are primed to benefit most out of CRO. Hunt for them, then build just a few scenarios about the ROI when the needle moves just a little. The math adds to the tedium, but it increases your chances of being heard.

Did We Say the Top Areas?

Okay, maybe not the TOP areas. After all, the big kahuna of your web site is your home page, and you need a few wins under your belt before they trust you with that. Start smaller. The right balance is that the pages are big enough to lead to a demonstrable win with dollars attached, but small enough that you can start your tests without needing too many approvals. Understand whom you’ll need from the team, where they are coming from, and what the potential concerns are.

Show your Bosses You’ve Thought This Through

When presenting your plan, you need to show your boss you’ve done the pre-work tasks. Show him/her you’ve automated what can be automated to save time and money; display a readiness to tackle known elements by talking about the steps and your plan of action for the different stages; show that you’ve thought your testing action plan through, and talk about what the plan does to mitigate risks.

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

The industry appears to be going in the right direction. eConsultancy’s survey results are encouraging - more people are segmenting by demographics and geography, and about a quarter of companies with a structured approach to CRO have large sales improvements (and as mentioned earlier, 7 out of 10 companies with the structured approach improved sales to varying degrees.)

But it’s a long battle. Testing and tuning can take a while for some companies to get. There are huge opportunities, but some companies are more primed to recognize them than others. If CRO is novel to the company you’re working for, you have a double-edged sword. Testing may trigger giant red flags to the person responsible for the digital marketing budget, but there are clearly more wins to be had. Be patient, educate, run the math for them until you have a small set of tests approved, and then go for the bigger wins.

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