INSIGHTS - November 2022

Inside Conversion Rate Optimisation

So for SMEs, getting enough traffic to your website to convert into business is the key, but what do they do when they get there? So over the years lots of small businesses have invested millions and millions of dollars, thousands of dollars for small business it all adds up, trying to drive that traffic to convert it into more business. So that’s turned into an industry called conversion rate optimization.

And today we’ve got Matt Pezzimenti from Conversion Kings, Australia’s premier conversion rate optimization business, to tell us a little bit about conversion rate optimization and to give us some insights into the the tips and tricks of what small businesses can do to help drive traffic. So thanks Matty for turning up today.

Yeah, thanks Jace for the introduction, and really grateful to get the invite to come and help share a little bit of in information about conversion rate optimization, hopefully today we’ll be able to dispel any sort of myths that may be laying around for CRO and also pass on some knowledge that we’ve acquired over the last six or seven years. Yeah I’ve known Matty for for quite a while and I’ve seen the rise of Conversion Kings.

It’s been a fantastic journey for Matt but it’s also timed at the right time for conversion rate optimization or CRO we call it. Give us a little bit of an overview of what it’s been like in that that six year journey. Yeah, well firstly what was interesting about getting into CRO is I read a book um called the 4 Hour Work Week, which is the first myth i’d like to bust! There’s been no such thing as a four hour work week never! four hour day or even yeah so um so it’s been a really interesting journey as we’ve gone through because what we needed to do at the beginning of the agency is fundamentally redefine or define at least what conversion rate optimization is, how to deliver it, what the expectations are the outcomes are going to be, and then what’s really involved in being able to do it properly at scale.

So it’s been a incredible journey a big part of it was trying to find other subject matter experts to learn from at the beginning which i ended up having to fly over to london to meet some people in relation to that and they’ve also given me a lot of great advice and which again sort of changed our approach the way we do it, because we needed it to be able to scale and to be able to do that properly we needed a full execution team behind us. Which included data science, ux ui design, front and back end development, project and conversion management and then additional data analysis and research. So um building that entire team it now makes it infinitely easier to do conversion rate optimization opposed to expecting one person to run you know hold a number of different hats. Yeah… big change.

So we know that conversion rate optimization is not just uh whatever you do on the page, there’s a lot of testing that goes on involved with, and I guess a lot of people see CRO as just testing but it’s a lot more than that can you give us a like an overview of the strategies you go through in that in that process to bring it online. For small businesses it can be really difficult to know what to change on your site and when to change it or how to interact with your with your customers so we need to think about UX not just testing, so it’s a it’s a kind of holistic approach isn’t it? That you you undertake.

Can you tell us a little bit more about that. Yeah definitely and I guess to kick off with it iId like to use a bit of an analogy to understand really what is conversion rate optimization and also what it means for small business and i actually might start the question, yeah Jace, have you ever made a mistake before like being dead certain on something is 100 right you’ve done it and then after the fact you’ve realized maybe this isn’t something i should have done yeah all the time yeah, and imagine if every decision you make was a positive decision for the business moving it forward opposed to yeah. It would be huge! Well fundamentally, that’s the premise to conversion optimization because what it does is using a number of techniques that i’ll just share with you shortly on the strategy and the how we deliver um it gives the like a bit of a uh what are those called balls that people use to predict the future, crystal ball! Crystal ball, yeah and making sure that everything you do is that going to have a positive impact on the company or on the web experience at least so yeah that’s a good way of thinking of what conversion rate optimization is about. It enables you to make decisions they’re going to help move your business forward guaranteed. So it takes out that “should i should i not” do this, so that’s fundamentally how it helps. Great.

The outcome to that is phenomenal um so you know you can have a small lift, you can have large lifts, but also what i do is it actually stops you from making bad decisions which actually cost the business money which which shouldn’t or um challenges you hitting your targets of what you need. fantastic. Do you want me to break into the strategies. Yeah absolutely. So the way we normally look at this is identifying exactly what are the key metrics within the business they want to move so, is that leads, is that sales, is that the average order value of sales, is that the reduction of churn through a SaaS based platform, is it about understanding how the best way to present your offering, to the business around brand is being able to be supported.

So any business question you can have optimization could really help that out and that will adjust what we do, or how we approach it for your particular business case. So from there once we identify what we need to achieve out of it, we then go through and go well the most person that’s really important here is your customer. So we want to really dig down into understanding how does your customer transfer through your website, what is their baseline performance, what is um why are they falling out of your conversion funnel at the moment, I said, WHERE are they falling out of the conversion funnel and then WHY are they falling.

So once you have that really good understanding. you’ll know where your problems are on the site then it’s the fun part here is about how do you come up how do you ideate solutions on solving those once you’ve solved those issues of ideas that you’ve identified challenging your performance then it’s a matter of how do i organize these improvements and or tests in a logical strategic order so that the value from one test or the learning from one test gets moved to the next test and move to the next one. yeah because as web problems are similar to us humans we’re very complicated and there’s no generally single bullet to solve one problem, but problems can be quite dynamic and may have a lot of different variables to them. Then once you’ve been able to build out your tests so much your testing plan and your roadmap of how you’re going to implement it then it’s a process of going through you know your designs, your development, your UATs and the scheduling it in to be deployed.

Deploying it live, reviewing the results updating the different strategies and findings and then an update strategy plan and then continue on with the process. Fantastic! So you’re got the top australian brands working working with you on a week-to-week basis sometimes for small businesses, it’s hard to sort of wrap your hand around the difference between oh okay that’s what these guys do they’ve got enormous budgets, versus a smaller medium business where cash flow is tight i can’t throw uh you know thousands of dollars at testing necessarily… so let’s have a quick discussion around what are some low-hanging fruit for small businesses that may not have a lot of cash but um and may not have enough traffic to actually run effective tests.

So maybe we just uh you know touch on a few of those points. Yeah sure, what will the first point to look at again what is the purpose of the CRO program to begin with and so the reason we want to start with that true objective because that will then challenge the way that we roll it out. And what we need to focus on and how one of the typical things and one of the biggest areas of low-hanging fruit for any SME is actually getting proper reporting. And i know that sounds like boring, but it’s so important, because if you don’t measure where you are and where you need to get to how can you possibly come up with ways to get you from you know where you want to get to if you don’t know where you’re starting from. So it’s really super important to get your analytics correct to help you make the right business decisions that’s going to move your business forward. So that’d be the very first thing we would look at if we’re working with a small business, let’s say they’ve got less than 10,000 sessions a month. You know this is one of the first places we talk about so once we know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

In the process we need to identify the customers who are those customers and how do we talk to their needs and in a big business we generally run um a process around developing their personas if they haven’t had that already or been ratified. Yeah we’ve spoken about personas in this video series. Yeah and it’s an expensive process yeah you know especially when you’re looking at large clients different verticals or types of customers that they have and being able to do that also requires quite a lot of research into mapping clients back to you know the other data sources to identify the database and trends. so one of the tactics we use for small business where they don’t have that budget where you can put in a lot of effort around identifying the personas is we we can either do things which are quite gorilla in their in their way of being executed so what we would do is we’d pull out um a hundred of their existing customers we would then use that to potentially do a visual review of who those people are based on performance when you plug their names into facebook so what are you looking at there.

What are the things one of the key things in Facebook that you’re looking at well I’m just wanting to make sure of gender firstly so male/female the other one depending on the client we may look at other attributes so working with a uh an anti-acne company what I was really interested in is what’s the uh i can’t say this word sorry but yeah what’s the national, ethnicity, yeah that’s one thing um what is that so you can do that visually by looking at the person and coming up with assumptions yes. This is not 100 but it’s not completely accurate because people may have different images and whatever but at least it’s giving you a beat of where to go to, then what i use is then looking at google analytics demographic data that you find in your um your normal settings and that will then give us a Google analytic perspective of what persona do they think of. Yes. From there, you can also see the difference between people in analytics personas and we’re looking at actual sale data of personas as well so that helps us really come up with a good picture of who the customer is, and it’s something that you don’t need specialist help on being able to do this. You just need to know how to use Facebook.

Spend the time.

Yeah and do that so for an SME to be able to come up with who their personas are. it’s a really comprehensive way you could do it, with a very small amount of time and obviously no budget. So that that’s really helpful yeah from there once we put ourselves into the situation of the customer we then do a UX review which is using UX fundamentals to look and go where is this applicable is there problems, or is everything okay. So some of the main things we look at there is, here’s a good one… accessibility for disability. Now the reality is there’s a lot of disabled people with disabilities online and i urge you not to just discredit it because it has other benefits not just to the customer here yeah so what it basically does is we’re looking at a number of different things around visuals so if the contrast isn’t the right contrast other than something else people who have bad, visually impaired, yeah it’s going to affect them and then secondly is around when we apply the right techniques to making it accessible it actually has a benefit to SEO as well.

Because a lot of this is around SEO fundamentals, yeah so we look at that so we look at the UX side of things we then look at the conversion fundamentals so are you breaking conversion rules in your current process. So you’re talking about is the flow smooth to achieve your overall goal. Yeah that’s one thing we look at, but we use a methodology from mclabs, and what it looks like is what is the motivation the user what’s the perceived value for that particular persona what’s the incentive to make them take an action right now how much friction are they going through to perform the action we need and what anxiety could the customer be having at this point in time and how can you resolve that, so good case feeling on that one is something i had personally last week when i bought a pair of personalised plates. My biggest anxiety was you have to go through and have your plates designed as they were like what background colours format and i was really anxious going i want this set of plates because they look gorgeous for a car that i’m apparently going to purchase in the future! Hopefully! Yeah and my anxiety then is well what happens if i end up having to buy a different colour car. Yeah these plates aren’t going to be relevant for them but i don’t want to lose that combination you know so what do you do um and then what would have been helpful for me in that process would have been having can you remodel these plates going forward and what would be the cost associated with that which would give me a lot more confidence that i can make a decision now it’ll still be relevant in two three years time. Yeah so that’s why that part is important.

So we’ve looked at um UX fundamentals uh we’ve looked at conversion fundamentals and whilst going through that we may come up with some really strategic tests that we want to run and it’s important we don’t run multiple tests because we literally don’t have the bandwidth and we need to make tests which are going to have a large impact so changing the colour of a button and if the contrasting is already fine may have a very small level of impact and originally everyone thought that’s what testing was, I would just change a few things, you know change the heading or a title or the name on the button, the label on the button, the color of the button, but it’s so much more than that. It is, and um i know where that language came from which is one of the, it’s been a good thing and a bad thing because the good thing is it’s generally served from a software or a platform pushing out into the market that… hey anybody can do testing it’s really easy just push it button ticketing so they’ve got everyone involved and go okay. Well I read this article of amazon that just changed the colour of the button and it made a million dollars more or something, but you think amazon has a kajillion amount of traffic yes you know so small changes are going to have a big impact to them yeah. But if you’ve got a small business you need to flip it around so you’re a small business big impact is the only possible way to get a reliable outcome from a test and from a small business those types of tests are around the way that you sell and how you’re leading people through a conversion. 

We had, we were looking at one client that wants people to go through a sales flow and they’ve positioned it about go through here for us to you know um to apply basically for this financial product. Where all their competitors are out there talking about have a look and see how much you can borrow. Yeah so you can see the different contrasts so these are going to be really helpful tests with this client to go should you go down this route. or should go down that route. Yeah, and so for small businesses those types of tests are really helpful. Yeah and then the next part to it is how do you then action those um those things that you’ve identified.

Yeah and that’s obviously through um you know getting the right uh what they call it assistance to be able to design those those tests or fundamentally input those recommendations and that can be quite a complex piece of work. And that’s why you’ve been so successful because you’ve implemented that for some very big brands on the fly serving different data, serving different variations to lots of lots of customers. So it’s yeah it’s a testament to how you can get that info out there quickly and make those decisions on a month-to-month basis.

Yeah so quite often, what I’ve noticed with you as well that testing is a longer a longer play it’s not a short term fix the more you get to know the business the more you get to know their processes the more that you can build better outcomes for them using… oh i think this test will work is that is that how you… with the enterprise businesses we generally map out the conversion program over 12 months and it’s important to do that so we understand what their plan promotions are around any planned maintenance on the website that we need to be mindful of. And then we can create a longer strategy which is obviously able to be updated as we go through, but at least gives us a base understanding how we’re going to execute it for a small business. however due to the you know the the business owner has a wearing a lot of hats at the moment yeah and maybe we’re sharing a lot of time with the conversion agency over an extended period of time maybe a little bit too much for them yeah so what we and also we only want to double down for these small businesses especially when we’re finding the profit that comes out of the end of testing can then continue to finance it going forward with the additional revenue you get from it.

Yeah so that’s what we’re very mindful on so we’d look at a minimum of a three month uh project for small business where we sort of draw a line in the sand we let the effects of what we’ve done sort of start filtering into the performance of the business and then we meet to discuss how to move forward because at the end of the day we’re only here to help business not to slow it down. Not to negatively affect it so if we’re adding value and which we do and we can prove that through data and results and the uplifts then good to go. yeah if if what we’ve done hasn’t been able to solve those additional problems we obviously reset what needs to be done and then make those recommendations give it to that customer as well.

Yeah i think we’re one of the key factors with CRO sits is a lot of businesses just go oh my ads are working i’m getting business and they just start dialing it up paying for more ads and paying you know throwing cash at google for no real good reason yes they’re building their business but whereas this is a reflection on okay let’s actually see if we can turn this dollar spent here into a lot more cash, that’s a critical baseline fundamental of what you’re working with isn’t that like that’s… yeah it is. A tricky one as well because this also means a continual feedback back to the client of what really affects your conversion rate the conversion rate is defined by the amount of people coming to the site that achieve what percentage of these people perform a certain goal which might be a conversion so if you’re running at a certain conversion let’s say it’s two percent and they thought you know what i’m going to just push my acquisition traffic up through paid search through the roof so they may have had a budget of say ten thousand dollars we’re gonna get twenty thousand dollars but what that does is that you’ll quickly realize there’s a diminishing return on expanding sometimes your account because those keywords that you’re going for are not the really premium keywords so you’re going to get getting dropping performance so your conversion rate is sitting here solid you increase the amount of traffic being unqualified it actually moves your conversion rate down! Yeah right.

So that’s it’s really important to see that yes and it’s not uncommon to see people’s paid search spend lose about 50% of its efficiency through the bounce rate. So if you’re running your paid search and you’ve got let’s say a 50 percent bounce you know i’ve seen it between 60 to 90 because that’s just look at 50 and you spent 10,000 that month on paid search and with a 50 bounce rate it’s kind of like you’ve taken another fight they’ve taken that five grand strong shoulder yeah which is a really hard thing to do so in conversion optimization we need to see what are your most effective uh channels that are bringing in traffic and at what point in time you’re getting a diminishing return. So just throwing more money at it isn’t there yeah we’ve also had times where people going okay well my PPC isn’t really diminishing returns i’d like to change to a um a retargeting strategy and this way they’ll generally buy a lot of let’s say google display people go to the website they bounce but they don’t care that’s kind of what they were intending on, because they’re going to drop a cookie and just retarget that person to go through as well and then come back in and again we had another client like that um that changed their strategy um and whilst actually we could see how their conversion rate was getting was still solid and actually growing a lot of it was because of the test we were executing.

But what effectively that meant was it affected their their true conversion rate they’ve got all this really low quality traffic happening and then their retargeting strategy wasn’t effectively bringing those people actually so there’s a there’s a few things in there. There’s lots of moving parts. Yeah you just really need someone from a data analytical non-emotional side to come in and go that’s not working this isn’t working and we need to adjust your change yeah and i’d have to say having known uh Matthew for a long time are the one thing he’s totally obsessed about is analytics and data spreadsheet He’s the spreadsheet king!

It’s very impressive uh now as we move with you know 2020 has been a shocker uh but we’re moving into 2021 what do you think uh some trends you’re seeing in CRO in that in that space that that we can take forward you know the secrets that no one else knows about yeah well you know the biggest trend i’m seeing especially in this late part of the year is a lot of that’s a small business case as well but from an enterprise space they’re all wanting to build an internal CRO department and the reason being is they’ve come to the realization that this department is should basically sit in the middle of the company making sure we leverage and optimize all channels all experiences and all customer feedback yeah yeah business so that’s a cultural shift in the business yeah yeah it really does remove um uh arguments in the business because like you might have an opinion on something i may have an opinion or something we’re looking at the same data we can’t somewhat agree on that yeah and see where it lands yes and uh i think just removing ego out of it that’s where i’ve even seen challenges with recruitment people moving their head away from oh i reckon this is going to work to then go no no we need data to validate it.

Yeah so yeah so i think from an enterprise space we’re going to see a lot more people building internal CRO teams which is fantastic and i really hope everyone does the best with that because the better practitioners the better support we have in the industry um and then from an SMEs perspective i’m seeing it come in as a point of curiosity, but the biggest challenge i’ve all been told is that you don’t have enough traffic to do it so it’s a little bit frustrating for them um however that being said we have found some really unique ways to apply a cro program into a small business that has very little traffic but at least get some good insights out of it.

Yeah very cool, very cool, so if you’d like to know more uh please don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to Matt at Conversion Kings, the website is conversionkings.com.au you can subscribe to this channel for further updates we do weekly and fortnightly updates on various things web and digital touching all parts of not just conversion but development and hosting and optimization so stay tuned and we’ll talk soon. Thank you very much Matt.

Thank you, it’s been great!