We’ve all heard of CRO. According to SessionCam, for most marketers this primarily means A/B testing. What some fail to realize, though, is that CRO goes way beyond simply A/B testing. It requires digging into consumer research and gathering both quantitative and qualitative data about how a user interacts with a site. Accurate, actionable data (when analyzed correctly) enables organizations to understand their target audience and tailor their marketing efforts to best fit the consumer’s needs.
According to Gayle Fuguitt, Chief Consumer Insight and Innovation Officer at Foursquare, “We want to know what consumers are looking for, what their values are, and how can we meet their needs. It’s not just about Big Data; it’s about translating that into the truth.” Gathering actionable data about your target audience takes time and a systematic approach. It requires that you both understand where they are most likely to engage with your brand online and how they interact with your brand once they get to your site. In previous articles we’ve discussed heavily the various ways in which companies can reach their ideal customers (whether through SEO, content marketing, PPC, etc). Today I want to instead focus on the second part of the equation, understanding how they interact on the site.
Let me share a 5 step process that can fit nearly every website out there. While the insights gained from these steps will vary depending on the industry, the tactics remain the same:
- Enable heat mapping
- Record visitors
- Block IP addresses
- Set up funnels
- Track form fills
Step #1: Heat Mapping
The majority of marketers in the industry are at least somewhat familiar with the idea of heat mapping. The purpose of a heat map is to identify where visitors are clicking, scrolling, and engaging on a specified web page. Alternatively, they tell site owners where consumers are losing interest and dropping off.
Use this data to identify which buttons consumers click on the most and which sections of a page they spend the most time on. Here are a few heat mapping tools that are commonly used:
- Crazy Egg
- Lucky Orange
Pro tip: To get even more comprehensive data on the time consumers spend on a specific section of a page, implement anchor tracking. This will allow you to see exactly how much time a user spends and help you to see if they are spending too much time on any one paragraph.
Step #2: Record visitors
Many heat mapping tools will have this baked in already, but if not I highly recommend finding a tool that enables you to record visitors. These tools allow companies to watch users on their site in real time or save user interactions for playback in the cloud. While heat maps provide a page-level perspective, this gives marketers the ability to see how customers navigate across multiple pages, identify what sections of a page draw little interest, and even what consumers do before exiting the site.
Step #3: Block IP Addresses
It’s important that any data a company gathers is accurate and relevant to their target audience. If clicks and website visits from employees are being tracked it can quickly skew your data. As such, make sure you block your office IP as well as any IP addresses from third party vendors that are used.
Step #4: Set Up Funnels
It’s important to not only see where consumers go on your site but to also measure drop off rates. Best practice for sales funnels is to have as few steps as possible. This is especially true when prospects have to land on multiple pages before converting. Track the drop off rates between each step of the sales funnel to determine where consumers are getting confused or giving up. This will give you the insights necessary to better simplify your funnel.
Step #5: Track Form Fills
Much like funnel tracking, begin tracking individual form cells. Watch for cells where consumers spend an above average amount of time, go back to change their answer, or try to skip over. This will tell you what sections of a form the user finds unnecessary or cumbersome.
Remember, the goal is to create the best user experience possible to where they WANT to give you their information. As a marketer it’s important that you dedicate the time and resources to finding out what your consumer does and how they think. Then you can take this data and translate that into measurable A/B tests.