The Most Under Used CRO Strategy – Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!

CRO Strategy - Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!

Over the last 6½ years I’ve run CRO campaigns for many of the UK and Europe’s top brands and have learnt a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to conversion rate optimisation.

In an ideal world, with no constraints on time or money, every new change on your website should be tested. However in reality, we live with the constraints of time (and budgets) and prioritisation will therefore always play a central part when creating our CRO roadmaps.

I’m not sure how popular it is to say this, but in my opinion certain website changes should just be implemented as they will almost certainly improve the user experience (for example moving up key call to actions (CTAs) to be ‘above the fold’ wherever possible). Other things however won’t be as clear cut and would therefore present good candidates for your conversion rate optimisation programme.

One opportunity that I’ve seen neglected countless times is the idea of iterating on previous test ideas.

Lightbox Showing Exit Intent

Let’s imagine you’ve run an ‘exit intent‘ test (we’ve all been victims of those annoying overlays/light boxes that show up when you try to leave a site) and you’ve found that there was no significant impact on your conversion rate. Rather than abandoning this idea altogether and moving onto your next item on the CRO roadmap take a step back.

Consider what you’ve invested so far into this project:

  • You likely spent considerable time documenting the details of the project, including creating the CRO test plan with all of the transformations and tracking requirements
  • Approval had to be obtained by various stakeholders (product owners, brand, legal, compliance etc.)
  • Mockups were probably created so the developers knew exactly how the overlay should look
  • New assets (images) may have needed to be hosted
  • A developer would then have created the lightbox / overlay to match the test plan and mockups
  • QA would have been performed on different browsers and devices to check the test rendered correctly and that all conversions were triggering as expected
  • The project would have been launched

Often what happens is that a client will conclude that as the test was unsuccessful it’s time to abandon the project and move on to a completely different test on a different part of the site.

Given the amount of effort that has already been invested into a project like this it’s worth remembering one of the golden rules of CRO – iterate, iterate, iterate!

Most of the heavy lifting has been done – approval from key stakeholders has already been obtained, most of the planning, creative and dev work has been done. A few small tweaks here and there could make all of the difference. For example, the first overlay may have simply been missing a message that resonates with your customers. Perhaps the copy in the overlay was:

“Before you go, did you know we offer FREE Delivery on orders over £30?”

Perhaps the customer did already know this and didn’t care for the reminder as you weren’t telling them anything new or helpful. You also weren’t presenting them with a compelling call to action. However with a small tweak to the copy and some light dev work we could leverage the total cost from their basket to present a personalised message which may result in a positive result:

“The 3 items in your basket exceed £30 and therefore qualify for free delivery! Check out now to benefit from this and also earn yourself 68 loyalty points while you’re at it!”

This time around the AB test may well be successful and result in a significant lift in your sales conversion.
Of course, it still may not.

That being said, I’m reminded of this interesting fact about sales:

How Sales Relates To CRO - Never Give Up Iterating

Don’t give up on a test when it fails the first, second or even the third time! Perhaps move on to a different test idea but be sure to always revisit previous tests (even if they were successful) to improve on results.

Top 5 reasons to iterate:

  1. Much of the heavy lifting has already been done (planning, dev, approvals etc)
  2. Small changes can make a BIG difference
  3. Everything is changing. People change, online user experience (UX) trends change, your products change, your USPs may change etc. Be sure to test and re-test regularly to continually be maintaining and improving conversion rates.
  4. Even positive results can always be improved upon
  5. Negative results are not insignificant. They’re simply telling you that this version doesn’t resonate with your customers – it’s still great insight to feed into future test iterations.

Keep on iterating!


Published on April 20th, 2017

Author: Phil Williams

Phil is the founder of CRO Converts. He has had the opportuntity of creating successful testing and personalisation strategies for many of the UK and Europe’s leading brands.

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