What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Why Should You Care? | Furlough Mastermind

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Join us every Wednesday at 2pm EST in the Furlough Community Discord for our Mastermind session hosted by Joe Casanova & Ophir Gadot. Our guests change every week and range from experts, entrepreneurs and creatives to influencers, brands, nomads, investors and more!

 

In this session your hosts: Joe Casanova and Ophir Godot talk about what is CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) and why your company should care about it.

 

You can also watch the replay of the mastermind here:

 

Joe Casanova  

Very excited to be here with you guys, we’re gonna go ahead and talk about CRO. And we already had a fantastic talk to start this session talking about conversion rate optimization, because that is exactly what CRO stands for. So I want to engage a lot, I want to have you guys talking, I want you guys to participate. So let’s start off right here, why should you care?

 

Why Should You Care about CRO?

Why Should You Care about CRO?

Ophir Gadot  

Brands who don’t work on CRO and improve their funnels constantly, will simply not be able to compete. It’s that important and that crucial to make the effort and make sure that you optimize every part of the funnel on a consistent basis.

 

Joe Casanova  

Absolutely, because when you optimize your funnel, your funnel has an objective and it’s for the conversion’s wide CRO conversion rate optimization, which will ultimately lead to your business getting more sales. And for most businesses, I would think 99% of them getting more sales is quite important. And when you have a great funnel, you get more sales, because you’re converting at a better rate. But you’ll also end up getting more traffic by getting more traffic. And that’s coming to your website leading to more sales, because of converting at a higher rate, you’ll ultimately end up saving more money, because on Google ads, Facebook ads, all those types of advertising channels, if they’re sending traffic to your landing page, and your landing page is not converting, your landing page has a bad quality score, which means you’re gonna end up paying more to acquire new customers to your page. It puts a focus on your customers, it gives them the best experience possible. And that’s why they’re converting at a higher rate because you’re enjoying this experience. 

 

Four Principles of CRO

Four Principles of CRO

So the first principle of conversion rate optimization is having a clear value proposition. The hero is the first impression on a brand. And if your hero isn’t addressing your offer, right, that value proposition, chances are it’s gonna cause some friction within the customer journey.

 

Ophir Gadot  

If the average attention span when considering loading speed, they give you literally one to three seconds it doesn’t hate it that one to three seconds you have a bounce. By changing the homepage banner, we’re gonna see such differences in conversion and time on site and everything. There’s no way to understate it.

 

Joe Casanova  

Beautiful. Next up, of course, the next principle is incentivizing customers to act. If you don’t give your customers the CTA, if you don’t tell them what to do, chances are they’re not going to do it. Okay. And it’s as simple as putting a button that says, join now, learn more, especially when you start getting into the larger volume of numbers, right? How different these types of copy can affect the amount of traffic that you have?

 

Ophir Gadot  

The thing about CRO is that you can never tell, just trial and error. I’ve had experiences when removing the CPA, better results, removing the pop up. Yeah, I’ve lost people joining the welcome series for sure. But they engage more with the products. I got better conversion, I got better trust from customers. So it’s like, again, I don’t know, and just want to test. Obviously, everybody puts CPAs. This is the best practice, most of the time it’s going to work. But their website is different. Every funnel is different. So I’m just saying keep an open mind and test it out.

 

Joe Casanova  

Spot on! I ‘m not going to even argue that maybe not having that call to action ends up converting more who knows to test it out, every funnel every project is different. So test, measure, learn, adjust, repeat. Next up, make conversion as easy as possible. Instead of forcing them to sign up to actually convert and purchase from your store, putting a guest checkout, these are slight adjustments that you can do. Maybe instead of a 10 step checkout, you make it a one click purchase, which is something that Amazon rolled out Amazon and eCommerce, the amount of CRO that they have done has actually revamped the way that ecommerce stores have operated. People who bought this frequently bought it. These are different types of upsells that have been extensively tested through this trillion dollar company. Let’s keep going. And last but not least, is making these customers feel safe. Trust badges are fantastic. Trusted payments, service providers, right? I mean, Ophir, Let’s be honest, adding a PayPal adding a.,,

 

Ophir Gadot  

Money back guarantee, if they know that you’re under the Amazon return policy, it is another way of making them feel safe. So Amazon is a great example for that because I’ve seen … in brands selling on Amazon more expensive than on the website, but still getting better conversion on Amazon because customers feel more safe to purchase there. And they know that if they return the product, they will get their money back. And rather than deal with Brand X or brand Z.

 

Signs You Need CRO

Signs You Need CRO

Joe Casanova  

So signs you need a CRO, okay, guys, this is a checklist we’re going to be doing and if it applies to you, let us know. So first up, you’re getting a lot of traffic, but low and declining conversions. There are times where seasonality comes into play, which is understandable. October is a slow month for eCommerce because November and December are such aggressive, strong months. But comparing how you did in October of last year following by September of last year, seeing kind of that percentage September strong because you have Labor Day, and it’s the end of the quarter of q3, you know, fall sales, back to school sales, things like that, it’s just kind of seeing the difference and seeing if you’re on track. And if you’re not, you need to focus on your conversion rate.

 

Ophir Gadot  

Coming back to, you always need to focus on a conversion rate. And the moment you have that mindset, this is a differentiator between just a brand and a brand that can compete.

Signs You Need CRO

Joe Casanova  

Another sign. And this is quite important. And this is why QA comes into such a strong pay, which is something that we actually covered in last week’s session. If you can’t identify where people are dropping off, you can’t really figure out where to tighten up your funnel or your flow. And these customer journeys, okay, which is so important, especially in this digital world that we live in, is to properly tag everything, an organization on the code of your website. 

 

Ophir Gadot  

Something that’s worked very well for me is an X button kind of quiz, when people go out, what is the reason for you to go out? Don’t get a lot of replies, but the replies you’re getting are super meaningful. And they already went to click an X button. So it’s not like you’re losing something, you’re not changing the customer experience of customers who actually stayed. 99% of the consumers are bouncing out because of poor experience, trust issues, or pricing issues.

 

Joe Casanova  

That is a great interesting test where instead of doing an exit pop up, or someone’s exiting out of your website, and you pop up, they do an email capture, you do a small little survey saying, hey, we’d love your feedback while you’re leaving our site. And, you know, at least you can then use that feedback and coordinate to have people actually stay on site. So appreciate that wisdom, there my friend. And…

 

Ophir Gadot  

As always, brother.

 

Joe Casanova  

And then of course, if your website looks exactly the same, then you’re kind of just shooting in the dark, you set your website up, you never really looked at the data, and analyze where you can improve. Keep it going with a few more things that you need. For CRO, this is the number one thing if anything is kind of straight up straight obvious. If your customers are complaining, something’s wrong. Alright. 

 

Ophir Gadot  

I’ll just say one thing, customers are always complaining, it’s our mission to be hands on with this, mindful of it and being able to communicate between departments. Because otherwise it just gets lost addressing. It is what makes the difference between brands who make it and who do not.

 

Joe Casanova  

Beautiful, customers aren’t returning. 

 

Ophir Gadot  

If your customers have a good experience, you give them good offers and retention offers like emails, or SMS, or promotions, or whatever it is, they will come back or not. If something in the post purchase experience is flawed, you want to test it, you want to send them an email, what’s your feedback? And how can we improve and it’s interconnected with customer service. And CRO combined. It’s not only CRO.

 

Joe Casanova  

Bingo, you know, in going back to what you said really depends on the product, maybe you don’t have a wide product line, or maybe your products are just a one time purchase. And these are some of the things that come into account. Let’s say you’re selling a hookah but you’re also selling the refills for your hookah. That can be a way to get those returning customers and something to really take into consideration of the overall strategy. But you want to have returning customers, if 99% of your customers are all new customers and you have no returning customers, it’s going to be very hard to build that brand and build that trust because you’re constantly like in a high turnover, bringing in new people, and they’re out the door, right? So try to focus on…

 

Ophir Gadot  

100% you won’t be able to survive this way. 

 

Joe Casanova  

Exactly. Right. Now the sign now looking at the data, this is something that we’ve emphasized so much. This is not something that you’re shooting in the dark. This is something that you’re really taking into consideration and looking at seeing what impact you can put what effort versus the impact that can yield from that. And ultimately giving your customers the best experience possible. It wouldn’t be conversion rate optimization if we weren’t talking about conversions.

 

How Can You Improve Your Conversion Rate

How Can You Improve Your Conversion Rate

So what are some ways that you can improve your conversion rate? It is optimizing the checkout flow, which can be reducing the steps, it can be your email automation, how you welcome them, how you nurture them, how you talk to them after they purchase, it may be incorporating certain packaging to your product to show that you care, right?

 

Ophir Gadot  

I’ve seen just incorporating post purchase emails that explain to customers how to use the product, best practices, and so on. It gets retention, big time. It’s cheap, it’s easy to do, by just making sure like Dude you bought from me, I want to make sure that you’re having a good experience.

 

Joe Casanova  

I mean, that’s really spot on. I love the education post purchase to say, now that you’re part of us. This is how you really maximize your experience here. And you know, this can be basically hey, here’s this fitness product. Here’s a free, you know, 30 day course that follows that to really get them using the product really get them to post on social media, because they’re using the product, showcasing it leading to user generated content, and more traffic and more exposure to your brand.  So next up, this is crucial. And if your site is slow, it’s got to go. Focus on improving your site’s feed in the world that we live in attention spans that are so short. There’s data that shows after a certain amount of time I think it’s like 80% of your traffic bounces out. It’s crazy, surprising how bad sites feed from a lot of players in the space. And at least some of the ways that I’ve gotten past clients and I’m talking about big whale clients. I’ve used Google Web speed, and when I type in their domain, I show that they have a 5 or 10 Something awful. I send them screenshots of Google saying focus on your site speed, because that will increase your, you know, overall user experience and conversions and sales.

How Can You Improve Your Conversion Rate

Ophir Gadot  

Giving features and marketing tools impacts loading time, because these loads before the website, sometimes it might be relevant to consider a certain marketing tool because of an impact on my own website speed.

 

Joe Casanova  

Absolutely. And then you guys hear me say it all the time, it gets to QA your website constantly. You never know. constantly check your website, constantly check your funnels, constantly check your flows.  Next up testing your headlines, I use the Ezra Firestone example of actually switching out your product titles and to use your customer testimonials actually helped increase his conversion rate on his eCommerce Store. There are several things which are product names, put testimonials, call to actions, you know, or, or money back guarantees or offers, it might not work for you something else might work. But this is where you got to constantly test, test test test, Ophir, drop some wisdom and also write better metadata, your meta titles, right and improving. When people do come across your SEO, what is your title, say in your meta description so that people can see it and ultimately come to your page, right? Or if I shared a link? What does that actually look like? Ultimately, when people your customers are sharing amongst their network, you have a crappy OG image with a crappy description and a blurry thing, chances are they are not going to click through. And actually, you know, it’s a first impression of your brand. So these little tweaks can ultimately lead to more traffic and exposure to your brand,

 

Ophir Gadot  

I would say that it all comes back to tighten up the customer journey because it needs to feel context. And with the right flow from step 1 to step Z, if I’m clicking on a beautiful image of whatever product it is, I’m getting to a website that doesn’t communicate that, this is where I have drop offs. If the headline, a CTA or the metadata, they flag to me an amazing sale and I come to the website and there is no reflection of that. There’s a problem. So just having this consistency across the board from the first touchpoint till the end of the customer journey is crucial. Like for example, I’m having a sale, right I’m having a sale, I’m doing an automatic discount of 20%. This has been communicated in the ad, in the creative, in the copy and in the website. And on the checkout, the price on the product appears after discount without reflecting that discount. So when we implemented that, like the retail price, and then the discounted price conversion going up. So having that consistency across the board and being able to communicate the brand promise in each part of the customer journey is big. 

How Can You Improve Your Conversion Rate

Joe Casanova  

Absolutely. So to test your headlines, simply switch out your headlines and take a look. You know, the more traffic the better. For example, button; changing button colors can yield better results and actually click through rates. Okay, the thing is, you need to do a small test one thing at a time. So you can really see the impact of what that one change did. Alright, experimenting with CTAs. There’s a big difference between Shop now, buy now or removing the CTA. Who knows that’s where you’re supposed to experiment. Going back to what we actually mentioned a few times, updating your product pictures incorporates user generated content. As you see, UGC is a big value- add for conversions and improving our social proof.

 

Ophir Gadot  

People buy on what they watch, not necessarily on what it is. But it’s like playing with that engagement tool, which is visuals, is the key.

 

Joe Casanova  

And on loyalty surveys, gamification, exit pop ups and such drop a little wisdom for us. Ophir.

 

Ophir Gadot  

Loyalty is another way to push up customer value. Gamification is another way to push customer engagement. Exit pop ups are another way to get customer insights. We want to play with these tools for the purpose of improving conversion and getting more value out of each customer. But again, you cannot do everything at the same time. You need to be mindful and check: Is my gamification addition to the store. Let’s say you come in and you spend a will and you get a benefit that discounts whatever it is. And I’ve seen stores where it drops conversion, because the stores were more luxurious. And customers see that we’re like what the fuck?

 

Joe Casanova  

Beautiful, And Eli asked us to pose a great question. And before we jump into the important metrics to watch. It is: “Does AOV optimization, which is the average order value, go under the CRO?” And I would like to say it’s not necessary. It’s still part of the converting process. Because if you’re able to get them to convert with more products and a higher value of their cart, than it does fall under that, and one of the things that we did was we actually tested out instead of doing $75, free shipping to all the products added out to about 75 I have to right before $80. So we said, let’s go ahead and actually do $80, free shipping so that they were forced to put another product in the cart to actually qualify for that free shipping. So we ultimately were able to pump that AOV by just that small, tiny adjustment. So yeah, I’d like to think as part of CRO. Are AOV improvements part of CRO, Ophir?

 

Ophir Gadot  

Depends on the company. And we need to say about every marketing department today, because it’s very fluid. Again it’s not written in stone, it depends on the company.

 

CRO Key Metrics to Watch

CRO Key Metrics to Watch

Joe Casanova  

Absolutely. Now, some important key metrics to watch: Time on site; the more time that they spend on site, the better experience with their ultimately having so focusing on these tiny adjustments that allow them to spend more time on site, especially if it’s an econ that means they’re probably spending more time browsing products, and exploring and reading about these products and pushing themselves down the funnel.  Next up, of course, bounce rate; you want to have a very low bounce rate. These are people that go to your site, and ultimately jump off. If you have a high bounce rate, you should probably check your site speed. Of course, abandon cart; keep in mind the abandoned cart flow when it comes down to your email marketing. Click through rates; Very important. How many people are throwing a page? If they’re actually clicking through to the next part, if they see a collection? Are they clicking through to specific products? Okay, if not, how can you make the products more enticing to draw people into those product pages, traffic sources, if you have a lot of traffic coming organically, you should probably put some effort into what’s bringing them there. So if you’re getting a lot of traffic in SEO, spend some time in Google Search Console and see what keywords are performing. If you’re getting a lot of traffic. Because a social media post talks about a specific product, well, maybe it is time to build a landing page to convert for that specific offer.

 

Ophir Gadot  

Google optimized because of its 100% integration of Google Analytics just allows you to really dive deeper on your existing experience and really optimize based on the traffic source rather than as a whole

 

Joe Casanova  

Beautiful Ophir. If you want to take the rest of you got new and returning visitors.

 

Ophir Gadot  

Obviously, returning visitors’ conversion rates is meaningful. You want to always be mindful of that. Because the new visitors are less inclined to make a purchase. So the CRO will give you more insights. So you want to have that comparison between you versus returning visitors conversion rates, and in general time on site, bounce rate and all the other metrics, I would add to that conversion value, because a lot of time part of CRO is like to play with pricing, bundles, offers discounts, and so on. So many times you want to push conversion down a little bit, but average value goes up. So it’s like two metrics to watch simultaneously.

 

Best CRO Tools to Use

Best CRO Tools to Use

Joe Casanova  

Alright, guys, the tools for CRO are some sort of e-tracking, mapping, those are great. And the analytics platform, there are so many tools out there, I’ve already expressed the process to me is irrelevant. It’s the outcome you’re trying to achieve. And what you’re trying to achieve with these tools. It really all depends on your brand, your business and your venture. 

 

Ophir Gadot  

Google Optimize is very powerful. If you have a developer in your team to set all the rules and everything you can track, it has a very strong algorithm behind it. These suggestions on what works better and not because most of the time, it’s not that easy to identify the winner. Google has a lot of tools to help you. And just think how many pages are being optimized with Google optimized and how much data they have behind them to support your optimization efforts. And it’s free, so go and use it gentlemen.

 

The Most Important Part of CRO

The Most Important Part of CRO

Joe Casanova  

Of course, and the most important part of CRO, everyone might call it different. Okay, so we put off three names over here. AB testing, split testing, variant testing. Constantly be testing and a simple example of how you can test let’s say you have a $100 product you’re doing 20% off maybe $20 off actually and leads to a better conversion rate. Okay, so I constantly test and a lot of these are all hypotheses. You can’t prove it, you think about their assumptions, and really the data goes ahead and backs that.

 

Ophir Gadot  

Most important part of CRO to me is always be open minded and know that you don’t know anything.

 

Joe Casanova  

Bingo. Really because whatever you think will work they won’t and whatever you think won’t work, ends up outperforming your hypothesis. So something to consider guys appreciate you, Ophir.