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Why a Structured Approach to Conversion Rate Optimization Is Crucial

Why a Structured Approach to Conversion Rate Optimization Is Crucial


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A new report underlines the importance of a structured approach to conversion rate optimization within companies to achieve the best results.
CRO can deliver excellent results, but firms implementing a CRO strategy need to get the basics in place first, and make a commitment to becoming more customer-centric.
Company culture and organization is key here. It’s easy enough to use a few CRO tools and conduct tests, but the right structure within a company is key to producing the best results.
CRO expert Paul Rouke made this point in our recent CRO guide:
“Think people, skills and process first before thinking about what testing platform you need. Too many organizations waste vast amounts on testing platforms without the necessary investment in resources and skills to drive forward an intelligent and strategic conversion optimization programme.” 
Econsultancy’s latest Conversion Rate Optimization Report (2017) underlines this view.
The report, based on a survey of 800 marketers, found that 82% of companies with a structured approach to CRO saw improvements to conversion rates. The same figure for those without a structured approach is just 64%.
In addition, just 37% of companies said they had a structured approach. In essence, this means that 63% may well be failing to make the most of CRO.

The risk here is that, by failing to implement a CRO strategy which is structured, and therefore more likely to be effective, decision makers within businesses will question their investment.
It’s a point that Paul Rouke makes in a recent post – CRO isn’t used properly, results aren’t great, businesses may conclude that it isn’t worth it.
It’s a pattern which can be repeated within other digital strategies, content for example. The hype around content marketing in recent years in another such example.
As Doug Kessler points out, with the help of the Gartner Hype Cycle, over-inflated expectations and poor implementation can lead to the ‘trough of disillusionment’ where people begin to wonder what the initial excitement was all about.

In practice what happens is that people see content marketing working, try adding a few blog posts, then decide it doesn’t work.
The reality is that content is a complex discipline which requires the right people, processes and strategy to succeed.
It’s the same with conversion rate optimization. The right strategy is key to its success or failure.
This word cloud sums it up. It’s the answers to the question: ‘What do you think would make the biggest difference to your company (or your clients) in improving conversion rates?’

To report uncovered problems around lack of leadership buy-in and an understanding of how CRO can impact business performance:
“Several respondents mentioned the importance of fostering an optimization culture, one that encourages regular testing and in which agility is front of mind. Among organizations running regular tests, an inability to act upon the insights that testing uncovers quickly enough often hampers their progress.”
After resources and budget, organizational problems are considered to be the biggest barriers to improving conversion rates.
This includes conflicts of interest between departments, silos, culture, strategy and ownership.

The good news here is that a structured approach to CRO produces results, and that any problems around implementation of CRO are solvable.
As consultant Dan Barker, quoted in the report, explains:

“It’s obvious that the biggest change most businesses could make to improve their conversion rates is to sit down for a few hours and put together a plan for how they’re going to resource, what the process should be and who will be responsible ongoing.”
Our own Expert’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization, which sets out the case for CRO and explains how to get started, is free to download. 

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Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.