The Top 5 Most Ridiculous Excuses Not to Do CRO

You can always think of reasons not to try something new if you think about it hard enough. In fact, it’s that same fear that holds back countless buyers from converting each year.

As a person who knows the importance of action, you know analysis paralysis can stump progress any day. Yet, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is often one of those things that’s analyzed every which way before actually starting because businesses think it’s a huge undertaking.

But it’s really not that hard to start CRO. Really. And the ridiculous excuses we hear when CRO is on the table need to be squashed right then and there.

So here are your counterpoint arguments when that Negative Nancy starts up again about why you can’t do CRO. Or maybe this countdown is just the kick in the pants you need to release those fears and get started.

No. 5: “We Don’t Know Anything About CRO”

We are living in a web marketing age where premium information is often free for the taking. In fact, companies are nearly trampling over one another to be the first to offer the best, most progressive marketing tactics out there in an attempt to establish thought-leadership and awareness.

So it’s not hard to find resources and ideas on how to get started with CRO. In fact, I’ll give you several you can start using right now:

The second edition of my “Landing Page Optimization” book
SiteTuners blog (my company)
Which Test Won
Conversion Conference blog
KISSmetrics
ConversionXL
Get Elastic
ion interactive blog
Unbounce blog

Get in there and learn. Borrow ideas from others. The point is, there’s a great knowledge base on CRO out there just waiting for you to dig in.

No. 4: “We Don’t Know What to Test”

Do you know what you want to sell on your site? Do you know what sort of signups exist there? Of course you do. And that’s a perfect place to start looking at where you can optimize the experience. Think home page, purchase path, cart, and other important areas of your site.

But remember that CRO is not about guessing, and some pages on your site may be more important than you think. So take a moment to get familiar with your site’s analytics to see where people are going on the site and where they are spending the most time.

You can even look at the flow of visitors in tools like Google Analytics (a free service) to see which pages on the site your visitor went to next or where they came from prior and when they dropped off, and then optimize the entire path to conversion.

Aside from analytics, you can access low-cost tools from the following places to help you further understand user behavior on your site and to discover where to optimize:

  • Crazy Egg (in-page web analytics)
  • UserTesting (video recordings of people completing tasks on your site)
  • AttentionWizard (visual attention prediction – where someone will look on your page)

No. 3: “No One at My Company Can Do It”

Say you run a site that sells kitten sweaters and it’s just you, your virtual assistant, and ol’ Bob out in the warehouse. Who’s qualified to start this whole CRO thing? The answer is “anyone,” if you approach it the right way.

Make it really simple to start. Draw out a 2×2 square and label it as follows, and then fill in the blanks.

The Top 5 Most Ridiculous Excuses Not to Do CRO image resizedimage450154 weigh cro optionsThe Top 5 Most Ridiculous Excuses Not to Do CROOnce you’ve filled in those areas with your ideas of what you can test, go for the high-impact, easy-to-do conversion optimization tactics (upper right corner). That could mean doing something as simple as testing an alternate headline on a landing page or changing a button size and color.

CRO doesn’t have to consist of a full site redesign to be successful. Start with some relatively simple tests and get some wins under your belt before you start thinking about bigger changes.

No. 2: “We Don’t Have a Budget for CRO”

If you don’t think you have a budget for CRO, then you’re looking at it all wrong. CRO impacts the ROI of all your traffic acquisition efforts. So in fact, it’s a profit multiplier on the money you’re spending, because you get more conversions.

If I could tell you how to increase the efficiency of your acquisition efforts by 20 percent, is there a reason to say no? You can build a business case for CRO with real dollars tied to it that show the payoff of doing conversion optimization.

No. 1: “We Already Know What Our Users Want”

And the No. 1 most ridiculous reason not to explore CRO is thinking you know everything there is to know about the performance of your site and how to best meet the needs of your users.

Even if you’re the marketing guru, and you have a master’s in marketing from Harvard, unless you also have a Ph.D. in mindreading, you are not qualified to claim that you know exactly what your visitors want and what they are thinking when they get to your site.

So what then? Risk everything and look like a fool? Yes. Ego is the No. 1 killer of CRO. Once you let go of the idea that it’s not about expertise at all, you are less intimidated by the results. Yes, expertise can get you to the point of launch, but beyond that, it’s all a guessing game without CRO.

Remember, your voice can never be a substitute for the voice of the customer. After all, they’re the ones paying the bills.

The key to starting your conversion optimization process is to have reasonable expectations. Don’t go into it thinking that every CRO activity is going to be a big win. You will make mistakes along the way, and it’s all part of the learning curve. Over time, consistent CRO will have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Once you submit to the learning process of CRO and start seeing those results, being humble is almost mandatory. So sweep your ridiculous excuses aside and start optimizing!

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This article originally appeared in Tim’s ClickZ column July 9, 2013

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