How Do You Execute a CRO Audit?
To unlock your conversion rate growth, ensure a CRO audit is on your roadmap. The most effective CRO audits put your customers at the heart of their investigations—they strive to put your customers in their shoes, meet their needs, and smoothly guide them toward purchasing.
The goal of CRO audits is to create a seamless experience for your customers, ensuring that any tweaks you make enhance their journey rather than just pushing for conversions with no real improvement in their experience.
Here’s how you can conduct a CRO audit:
- Establish your goals and KPIs
- Define what areas you want to improve during your CRO Audit
- Select pages for optimization
- Analyze your audience’s website behavior
- Gain customer feedback through data and conversations with customers
- Assess the design of your landing pages
- Create a conversion optimization theory
- Perform A/B testing
- Review and analyze your testing results
- Implement the successful A/B test results
- Create a CRO audit schedule
Establish your goals and KPIs
When embarking on conversion audits, begin by setting clear, measurable goals. These range from increasing conversion rates to maximizing revenue per visitor. Ensure these objectives are specific and achievable to measure success against your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Document your immediate targets, like increasing conversion rates, and long-term goals, such as enhancing micro conversions.
Decide if your primary aim is to enhance brand awareness or increase leads, as each goal requires tracking different KPIs. For brand awareness, consider KPIs like blog subscribers (Micro conversions). Identifying these goals early helps keep your CRO strategy focused and aligned with your business objectives. For your macro conversions, this could be purchases, lead form submissions, or even customer lifetime value.
Define what areas you want to improve during your CRO Audit
When setting up your CRO strategy, defining the specific actions you want customers to take is crucial, aligning with your CRO goals. This involves collaborating with different teams in your organization to understand their unique conversion priorities.
Take a Medical Clinic as an example. Here, the marketing team might consider newsletter sign-ups as their conversion target, while the sales team focuses on getting visitors to fill out an ‘appointment form.’ The goal is to increase the number of medical appointments scheduled via phone.
It’s also essential to agree on crucial CRO goals with your team. Aim for one to three primary goals to keep things focused. Some common CRO goals might include:
Select pages for optimization
After setting your conversion actions and CRO goals, it’s time to choose the pages you’ll focus on optimizing.
To decide which pages deserve priority, ask yourself:
Given my CRO goals, which pages will lead to my desired conversions? Also, consider how much traffic each page gets and where it fits in the customer’s journey.
For instance, if you run a hotel, you should focus on key pages in making sales: the booking and check-out pages. This is the bottom of the funnel, likely to buy and get results quickly—the tactical lower-hanging fruit versus the more strategic and time-consuming endeavors.
Analyze your audience’s website behavior
Do visitors engage with your website and complete your desired conversion actions?
You would be shocked how many big and small companies do not know their analytics as well as they should or are looking at data that needs to be corrected.
- We recommend using Google Analytics to track your data correctly. Set up events and conversion tracking for both micro and macro conversions.
- We recommend using Microsoft Clarity, which is more qualitative for that data. This will give you heatmaps and visitor sessions to see why and where your visitors are leaving your site or why they are converting.
Gain customer feedback through data and conversations with customers
When doing a CRO Audit, you must have conversations with your customers who bought from you previously. You will get a lot of data from your website analytics, heatmaps, and recording tools. However, additional information needs to be assembled by talking to your customers.
What were some of the reasons they bought from you? What is it that they loved from your service or products? Were there any specific offers that made them complete the purchase?
And more importantly, what roadblocks did they encounter that almost caused them not to purchase?
It is vital to analyze and have all your questions ready when speaking to your audience.
Assess the design of your landing pages
After you have enough data about your customers’ interactions, it is time to review your designs to see what elements on your pages are creating conversion barriers. There will be elements on your pages that will block visitors from taking the desired actions.
Let’s make a business example. You are running a non-profit and have many different types of marketing strategies. Advertise on platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook with a reputable agency.
You quickly realize through your heatmap and recordings that they are not getting further down on the page and struggling to convert, and the reason is your offer is premature, and the audience needs more time to be ready for that CTA (Call-to-action). You will increase your conversions if you create a different CTA that is more tailored to what your audience is looking for.
Create a conversion optimization theory
Up to now, you have gathered customer behavior through your analytics channels. You know the conversion barriers on your key pages and what elements you need to change to increase the performance of the specific pages you are focusing on.
If we take the example above, you run a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping animals. On your donation and petition pages, your audience is not donating at the rate or the amount that you wish. They are not scrolling down to critical elements of the page and, therefore, are not converting. This is due to a need for more value and benefit bullet points (Section) where your audience can easily see where their donations go and what benefit they give animals in their communities.
Your theory and hypothesis are to remove some redundancy, make the content easily scannable, and highlight all the good changes your organization has made in the community with bullet points. Your conversion theory is that if you add these changes, you have an increase in conversion rate of 5%.
Now, you are ready to perform an AB test. All the hard work and preparation have led you to this point. The more thorough you have been in the previous 6 steps, the more successful you will be with your test.
The A/B test is a crucial part of conversion rate optimization. This is where you can measure everything you have done to improve your website performance.
An A/B test needs to run for a minimum of 1 week. Usually, we recommend Monday to Monday, but it might need to run longer to gather sufficient data. It all depends on your website traffic and the number of conversions you have.
“A/B Testing Basics: Take 30 Minutes and Get Started with Split Testing” – To read more about A/B testing, this blog provides an introductory guide on how to set up and run A/B tests, covering the necessary steps and considerations to conduct effective split testing for conversion rate optimization.
Following a structured approach to implementing the learnings from A/B tests on a website effectively is crucial. Here are the steps you can take:
Analyze the A/B test results: Carefully examine the data gathered from your A/B tests. Evaluate the conversion rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and any other relevant metrics. Identify patterns, trends, and significant differences between the variations of your website.
Validate your conversion hypothesis: Compare the actual results with your initial hypothesis. Determine whether the changes made in the experiment align with your forecasted outcomes. If your hypothesis was correct and the variations performed better, proceed to implement those changes on your site.
Communicate results and insights: Share the outcomes of your A/B tests with your stakeholders. Provide a detailed report on the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) website audit, including the changes made, the impact on critical metrics, and any additional insights gained during the process. This communication will help create a shared understanding and promote transparency within the team.
Implement the changes: Once you have confirmed the success of a specific variation, it is time to apply the changes to your website. Update the design, layout, content, or functionality according to the learnings derived from the A/B test. Ensure that the implementation accurately reflects the successful variation.
Learn from unsuccessful tests: Consider it a learning opportunity if your optimization strategies did not yield the expected results. Analyze the data and insights gathered from unsuccessful A/B tests. Identify potential reasons for the failure and formulate a new hypothesis based on your analysis.
Conduct more tests: To further refine your optimization strategies, gather more data and insights by conducting additional A/B tests. Build upon your previous learnings and formulate new hypotheses to test different variations of your website. Repeat the cycle of testing, analyzing, and implementing until you achieve the desired improvements in your conversion rates.
Following this systematic approach, you can effectively implement the learnings from A/B tests on your website and continuously optimize it for better performance.
Review and analyze your testing results
Once you have conducted an A/B test and gathered the necessary data, taking appropriate actions based on your findings is essential. Implementing the insights and learnings derived from the A/B test into your website or platform is recommended. By doing so, you can verify whether your conversion hypothesis was correct and observe the impact of these changes firsthand.
Remember that sharing your CRO website audit results with your stakeholders is essential. By communicating your findings and insights, you can ensure transparency and alignment among team members and decision-makers. This exchange of information will provide them with valuable knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions and contribute to the optimization strategies.
Sometimes, the optimization strategies employed during the A/B test may fail to deliver the anticipated results. If this occurs, it is crucial not to be discouraged. Instead, consider collecting more data and insights to better understand the factors at play. Utilize this newfound knowledge to formulate a new hypothesis and conduct further tests to assess the effectiveness of alternative strategies.
Remember, the A/B test is an iterative process, and continuous experimentation is vital to achieving optimal results. By implementing the lessons learned, sharing your findings, and utilizing subsequent data-driven insights, you can refine your optimization strategies and drive meaningful improvements to your website or platform.
When your test has finished, you can call a clear winner and loser whether you have conducted an A/B Test or a Multivariate test; reviewing all the different data sources to call the winner and the loser is essential.
You can learn as much from a successful test as from a failed test hypothesis. What has come is to find new things to test based on the data and review of your previous tests. Usually, new theories and hypotheses come to light, and that results in a new testing program or, as we call them, Test Plans
A/B tests serve the purpose of helping to validate conversion hypotheses. Similar to how scientific hypotheses are tested through experiments, A/B tests allow you to experiment with different versions or elements of a webpage or application to identify which one yields better results. By setting up both a test version and a control version and directing traffic to both, you can gather data and determine which version is more effective in achieving your desired outcome. It is essential to test only one element at a time during A/B testing to evaluate its impact accurately. Ultimately, A/B tests provide a reliable way to analyze and optimize conversions based on data-driven insights.
Implement the successful A/B test results
Finally, you can implement the new elements on your website and landing pages. This is when you finally reap the rewards of your hard work and dedicated commitment to the CRO audit and the process of making positive changes.
The more you perform A/B tests and audits, the easier it will become to spot new conversion rate optimization opportunities and conversion barriers.
Create a CRO audit schedule
Setting a regular CRO audit schedule is highly important for several reasons. Firstly, the digital marketing landscape constantly evolves, with new competitors and products entering the market. By conducting regular audits, businesses can stay updated on these changes and ensure that their campaigns, click-through rates, and conversions are optimized to remain competitive.
Secondly, customer needs and preferences are dynamic and can change over time or due to external factors like a recession. Regularly auditing their CRO strategies allows businesses to identify shifting customer behaviors and adapt their marketing messages and landing pages accordingly. This ensures that companies align their offerings with customer expectations, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
Furthermore, internal changes within a business can also impact customer engagement and conversion rates. For example, suppose a company introduces special offers or modifies prices. In that case, it is crucial to assess the effects of these changes on the customers’ interaction with the website and overall business performance. Regular CRO audits allow businesses to evaluate the impact of such internal changes and make necessary adjustments to enhance customer experience, leading to improved conversion rates.
In summary, a regular CRO audit schedule is essential because it enables businesses to stay informed about external and internal changes, adapt to shifting customer needs, remain competitive in the market, optimize marketing campaigns and message effectiveness, and improve overall customer experience, ultimately increasing the chances of conversion success.
Companies regularly perform Conversion Rate Optimization Audits. The time varies depending on the size of the company and the changes within each organization. It is recommended to do a CRO audit every 1-2 years. Technology is racing, and it is easy to be left behind by your competition if you do not keep up with the trends and new technological leaps.