Podcast: Expanding CRO Quick Wins With Stephen Pavlovich

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In this episode of Landing Page Optimization, SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash speaks with Stephen Pavlovich, CEO of Conversion Factory about the process of conversion rate optimization, prioritization, and organization dynamics. 

Getting the Stakeholders’ Approval with Quick Wins

Tim and Stephen discuss the common problems faced by CRO consultancy firms and the approaches that work when dealing with the stakeholders. Stephen says the biggest problem is that CRO is a new discipline, so explaining how CRO works and why it’s important can be a challenge. He shares that the best way to engage clients is to do a simple split test that can be executed quickly but is targeted on one of the primary reasons people aren’t converting. This way you, in a couple of weeks, can show the client that a simple change on the website can result to a 10 to 20 percent impact on conversion rate. 

Stephen explains that although that might not sound impressive, when you work with companies with annual revenue of sixty to seventy million dollars, then a 10 to 20 percent lift means a multi-million dollar increase. 

Stephen also notes that a 20 percent lift in conversion can cause more than a 20 percent increase in profits - there’s a multiplicative effect. When you increase your pay per click (PPC) bids to acquire 20 percent more traffic, there’s an accompanying cost. But if, through testing, you have the same lift, the cost multiplier isn’t there – and because you’ll know the keywords in which the conversions have improved, you can expand the budget for those keywords, pushing the scale and expanding profits. Likewise, if you’re converting better and your revenue comes from affiliates, you’re going to start to attract your competitors’ affiliates.

After the quick win is reported and socialized, Stephen says you can get the attention of those who have the authority to let you do the bigger tests by making them see that if you can get an X percent lift working on a small part of the sales funnel, then you can make a much higher lift working on the entire funnel. 

Rolling Out the Program After the Win

Testing is the basis for everything we do in CRO. It has to be done intelligently. Stephen explains that you don’t want to be throwing random ideas onto a website hoping that some of them will stick. Conversion Factory gets a significantly higher success rate when they allot the first four weeks of the program for the “insight phase” – this is when they try to understand where the opportunities are in the website, what the visitor profile is, and consider the solutions and prioritize the tests to be run. 

Finding Opportunities in the Site

Stephen expounds that the first step in finding opportunities is to examine the sales funnel of the entire website – from traffic acquisition to lifetime customer value. This means looking at every step that customers’ go through. He shares that his company finds that (especially for clients with slightly lower traffic volume) they have to break things down according to the steps within the funnel, the traffic volume each step gets, and the conversion rate from that point towards the ultimate goal.  

The amount of time it takes to run a test is an important consideration when trying to get results for the client. Traffic volume and the current conversion rate are two primary factors that determine the length of the test. When looking at the sales funnel, you want to identify the parts you can test rapidly. Stephen shares that the last thing you want to do is start a split test and find out that it will take 180 days to run, for example. You also need to identify the high-opportunity parts of a funnel from a traffic volume point of view as well as where you’re losing people. 

Conversion Optimizers as Business Analysts

Tim and Stephen also touch on the importance of conversion optimizers looking at the whole user experience from initial point of contact to the ongoing communication with the customers. The goal clients care most about is the bottom line, so it’s important to look at where you can add the most value. Stephen relates that for some of their clients they often see a bigger increase in revenue by optimizing further down the funnel. 

Tim explains that the C-Suite talk only about money, so conversion optimizers have to speak that language as well. They have to be able to explain what a 17% conversion rate increase, for example, means for the bottom line. 

The priority for conversion optimizers is to identify where they can get the quickest impact on revenue, regardless if it comes into the funnel. Stephen shares that it’s even possible that biggest opportunity is getting expired SaaS (Software as a Service) members to come back versus getting new customers. 

Pointing Out the Broken Business Model

Tim asks Stephen how the latter tells the client when it’s the business model that’s broken. Stephen admits that this is a challenge because it entails a lot of trust from the client. He shares that to get the best results out of conversion optimization, the business components need to be looked at- either what’s being sold or how they’re being sold. So experimenting with the business model is the right thing to do but getting the client to accept recommendations is not always easy especially if the company has been doing business a certain way for a long time. 

Prioritizing What to Test

The biggest focus of prioritization is delivering the wins as quickly as possible. Stephen shares that his company is likely to test across several parts of the sales funnel (e.g. the landing page and the follow-up e-mail).  The goal is to see how they can do as much testing, focusing on the high priority tests - the ones that are going have the biggest impact on the conversion rate - while testing different leaders. He points out that if you're doing a test that focuses on trust for example, you don't to do three differents tests on trust at the same time across three different parts of the website because if that principle doesn't work, you'll lose three times over. What Conversion Factory does is test three completely different hypotheses across multiples areas of the website. 

Stephen leaves those who are planning on starting a CRO program with a practical tip: on the confirmation page, ask your customers one thing that nearly stopped them from converting. He says this is a good way to find out why people might not buy from you. 

First Air Date: October 14, 2013

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