CRO strategies are needed across a range of marketing activities: social media, email and web design. Some are specific to those areas while others apply to all three. There are plenty of lessons to be learned about goal-setting and measurement.
Being a social media marketer is about more than having a large following and posting engaging content. You must optimize your social channels. This means running pay-per-click advertising campaigns with conversion-inspired design and copy and having branded social media assets.
- Pay-per-click ads – The advertising that shows up on search-engine results pages, PPC is also known as paid search marketing. You create an ad with content optimized for search and get charged each time someone clicks on the ad.
- Social media assets – These include cover photos, Twitter backgrounds, social media icons on your website, etc. These assets should be cohesive and in line with the rest of your branding.
- Ad design and copy – This includes PPC ads as well as any traditional ads your company chooses to run. Content should be optimized for conversions (i.e. short, impactful and action-inducing) and the design should draw attention without distracting.
Email marketing is fairly common these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s being done well. Too many marketers are so focused on simply getting emails out that they forget to optimize them for conversion. Two areas of email marketing that can really benefit from CRO: newsletters and subject lines.
- Newsletters – These can be daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly, but it’s important to send them out on a regular schedule. To get the maximum ROI, include content that is interesting to your audience and avoid talking about yourself too much. It is OK, however, to mention a trade show or conference you’ll be attending or feature posts from your blog, just make sure not to go overboard with “We, We, We.”
- Email Subject Lines – Much like a headline, an email subject line is your one chance to convince someone your message is worth reading. It’s a good idea to do extensive research on the best and worst subject lines for your industry and then create a strategy based on your content. You should also A/B test your subject lines regularly to make sure they remain effective.
Your website is without a doubt the most important beneficiary of your CRO strategy. What you do on your social media pages and in your emails is all designed to send visitors to your site, but the work doesn’t stop when they land on a page.
- Popovers – These forms can be highly effective at gathering visitors’ information, but overusing them or using them incorrectly can annoy visitors to the point where they leave and don’t come back. To get the maximum ROI, make sure your popover has a prominent, direct call-to-action, an easy way to opt out of the pop-up and a compelling incentive. Also, be wary of overusing popovers. Generally, visitors should only see one popover per visit.
- Forms – These are the fields visitors must fill out in order to download your offer. Make sure you have a compelling headline and try to limit the number of fields to three to five. Asking people for too much information too soon can scare them off, especially if they’re in the early stages of buying.
- Landing pages – When visitors click on your popover, PPC ad, or CTA, they are taken to a landing page. This often includes a brief description of the asset you promised, another CTA and a form for them to fill out in order to receive your offer. It’s important that landing pages are free of unnecessary elements and have a simple, direct layout that makes it easy for the visitor to understand what action he or she needs to take.
- Link building – A traditional SEO practice, link building refers to getting other websites to link to your site. This tactic has been abused in the past, so it’s important that you comply with Google’s rules or risk being blacklisted. Best practices include:
- Publish quality content
- Build blogger relations to encourage linking with quality websites
- Monitor which sites are linking to yours and report those that employ black-hat tactics
- Encourage your social media followers to share your content
- Conversion funnel – A conversion funnel simply refers to the path users take on your website to get from Point A to B to C. Some best practices to remember are to A/B test different pages in your funnel regularly and to keep your funnel as simple as possible.
Analyzing and acting on the data generated from your CRO efforts is perhaps the most important aspect of the process. If you’re not paying attention to what your visitors are telling you, in the form of conversion rates, bounce rates and page views, you won’t be able to maximize your ROI.
- Analytics – This is a compilation of statistics about how users behave on your website. You’re no doubt checking these stats regularly, but there are a few that are especially important for CRO purposes.
- Conversion rate – This is the percentage of visitors who performed an action you wanted them to, either by downloading an asset, purchasing a product or signing up for a consultation. You can find the conversion rate by dividing the total number of conversions by the total number of visitors.
- Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing a single page
- Exit rate – This is similar to bounce rate, but, because each page has an exit rate percentage, it can help you identify which pages perform better than others.
- Average time on site – How long visitors stay on your site. This can be a good indicator of how engaging your website is.
- Average page views – This is the average number of pages a unique visitor views.
- Lead Scoring – This is a process used to rank how valuable each lead is. Ideally, your marketing and sales teams should work together to create a scale that evaluates prospects at multiple stages in the funnel. Learn more about this process in our B2B Guide to Sales and Marketing Alignment.
Universal Best Practices
There are also several CRO tactics that you should use across your social media pages, website, and emails. Each of these tactics is designed to help you hone in on what your target market wants.
- CTAs – Calls-to-action can be used on your website, in content, on social media and in emails. These are simply instructions to your visitors telling them what action to take. They need to be punchy and direct, and they must be the most prominent feature. If you hide your CTA or have five other CTAs on the page, visitors won’t know what action you want them to take.
- User Experience design – It’s not enough to design an attractive website. You’ve got to make sure the site works perfectly for visitors on desktop, tablet and mobile. Put simply, U/X design allows you to ensure that every visitor on your site has an excellent experience.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization is nothing new, but it has gone through significant changes recently. Updates from Google make it more important than ever to practice SEO the right way or face being blacklisted. Some best practices include using long-tail keywords, writing to answer a question and regularly using your keywords on your social media channels.
- A/B testing – We’ve referenced A/B testing several times already, which should be an indicator of how important it is. You can test everything from your landing page layout to the length of a blog post to your email subject line. If you’re running A/B tests on your website, it’s best to stick to elements that will have a significant impact on ROI. Traditional tests such as changing the color of your CTA button might be easy, but the impact won’t be nearly as great as A/B testing a CTA offer.
Next week’s blog post will explain how to integrate all of these elements to create an effective conversion rate optimization strategy.