How I work to increase conversion

On my current position a lot of people rely on me to increase conversion on their sites. Increasing conversion are in many cases not as straight forward one many think. If you have worked with it you might testify on the frustrating side of trying ideas that do not show any lift. On the other side I see a lot of successful cases of button placements that can increase conversion but those changes on a website or a page are few and you have to be a bit lucky to find them straight on. What many people don’t tell you is that when you have one successful test you most likely already have done a few unsuccessful tests.

My method for increasing onsite conversion is to work hand in hand with the business development of the site. My view is that sustainable online conversion can only be achieved when you understand the need of your users, and then applying this knowledge to the development process. Unfortunately this view is not commonly shared among online companies since many of them started small, grew and now is in a phase when growth is all about user knowledge tied to the business development – a phase that requires different skills than when you are a startup.

The other day I picked up this book and boy I was glad when my view was confirmed by the authors (The book is called: “Conversion Optimization; The art and science of converting prospects to customers”). This is the passage that elaborates on my view:

“The question is not whether you can achieve a double-digit conversion rate; the question is whether you are willing to do what it takes to achieve a double-digit conversion rate.

Expectations for conversion optimization results should be combined with realistic expectations regarding the amount of work required to achieve these results. Because many clients do not understand the investment and commitment required from their team, they give up too soon. Conversion rates won´t increase overnight. You must start by understanding the visitors you are trying to convert. You then have to create hypotheses about these visitors and why they interact the way they do with your website. Then you have to validate these hypotheses by making changes to your website and tracking the customer response. All of these steps require time resources and a financial commitment, which is why they must be done accurately and with great focus.”

So two keywords can be extracted, commitment and knowledge of the user intention. When you do a new conversion test you create a hypothesis, design your test, run it and confirm or deny your hypothesis. Thereafter you probably need to refine it and test again. This cycle might repeat itself a few times.

So far this process has worked well, with conversion increases of up to 40% but lately I am facing more and more obstacles, since the low hanging fruits have already been picked. Now I am trying to steer more and more towards the business development process adds the complexity since you also have to manage the expectations of various stake holders – a fun process but nontheless not as easy.

My advice to you is to inform your stake holders that quick results are actually not that quick in reality. Knowing what to test and doing it successfully in the long run demands a fair amount of deep user research and strong comittment. There is no way you can cheat on the users investigation step, since it is your fountain for testing. Remember to drag your stake holders into this since you need their long term comittment to be successful.

Good luck, and if you have questions dont hesitate to ask…

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