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Conversion Rate Optimization: How to Decide What to Test

Conversion Rate Optimization: How to Decide What to Test Blog Feature

June 6th, 2016 min read

Individual page conversion rate optimization is all about improving the percentage of users who meet a specific goal on a specific page of your website.

One of the hardest parts of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is deciding what to change and test on a page. There are literally a million different choices and possibilities for what you could choose to adjust. And there is no point in randomly changing things just to change them.

Change for the sake of change is pointless and wastes time. So, in your CRO journey, there must be a reason behind each action you take, as well as a measurable outcome you are looking to achieve. Step one is to make sure you truly understand and define the goal of the page you are working to optimize. If you don't know what you want the page to ultimately do, how are you ever going to try and improve the pages ability to do that thing?

So, how do you go about making the decisions on what to optimize or what tests to runYou need a framework behind your decision making process. Each and every test you run should be based on attempt to answer one of the following questions.

Is It Relevant?

This is the "why does it matter to me" section. If you want a user to do something on a page, they better care about doing it (or they will simply choose not to do it). All of the items on your landing page or website page should be relevant to the person looking at it.

Take stock of the text, images and information on the page and determine if there is a way you can improve the relevance of each.

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Let's take a real-world example that has nothing to do with marketing. Say my goal is to get someone to eat healthier. My first step would be to ask myself why is eating healthier relevant to the person I'm talking to? This is going to be highly dependent upon the individual. It might be that this person wants to look more attractive, wants to set a good example for their children or is worried about fighting off a specific disease.

When I'm working to convince that person that they should eat healthier, I'm going to use the argument that matters to them. I'm not going to waste time spouting off about how great of an example they will set for their kids if they don't have children and only care about looking good in a bathing suit.

There would simply be no point.

This exact situation is why buyer personas are so important. Step two in optimizing a page is determining who that page is aimed at. Now, all you need to do is find out how you can adjust the page to make it more relevant to the person who is supposed to be reading it so they will be more likely to meet the goal of the page.

Are You Providing Value?

The next thing you should ask yourself when optimizing a page is how your offer can deliver value to the person reading it. If I'm trying to convince someone to do something, I better damn well tell them what they will get for doing it. Humans are incredibly selfish in nature and rarely want to do something simply out of the goodness of their heart.

So, tell them exactly what they will get for doing it, and be as specific as you can.

Let's revisit the previous example. If I'm trying to convince someone to eat healthier and I've determined that the reason they care about eating healthier is because they are trying to fight off a specific disease like diabetes, I'm going to be very specific about what benefits they will get. I'll make sure to explain how eating healthier has been proven to reduce the risk of diabetes and how it can even potentially reverse some of the effects of those who already have diabetes. I will also make sure to cite examples of how it has provided these benefits for others.

Now, let's look at a marketing example: If I'm trying to get someone to download an ebook, I better be very explicit about what that person will get from downloading it. Any improvements I can make to my landing page to better explain the value are great choices to test.

Is It Clear What the User Should Be Doing?

This one seems pretty obvious, but is surprisingly a very common problem on landing pages. If I want someone to do something, I better be very clear about what it is I want them to do (or else how will they possibly know what I want?). This is what I like to refer to as the "dating paradox" problem.

When we first start dating someone, we all play the same game. (Don't even pretend like you don't do it, you know you do.) We want to test the other person. So, what do we do?

We are purposefully not super to-the-point clear about what we want from them. This way we can see how well they really know us, and if they want to pass the test they better magically read our minds and do exactly what we want.

This little game is a disaster during dating and even more of a disaster on a landing page. If your users can't easily and quickly figure out what their next action should be, they will give up and leave the page. That means anything you can possibly do to make it easier for the user to do what you want them to is a great place to start.

There are plenty of things you can test including form or button placement, explicit text that tells them what to do, adjustment of colors to draw the eye to the action or even putting an arrow pointing at the exact thing you want them to see. Just find ways to make it easier and clearer!

Remember the 3 Questions

There you have it. Every single one of your landing pages should have each aspect mentioned above from the start. When coming back through for a conversion rate optimization test, each specific test you run should be aimed at improving one of the three building blocks. If you are thinking about running a test but can't tie it back to one of those three questions, scrap the test.

Don't test for the sake of testing. Test with a purpose.

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