The Basics of CRO and Nurturing Your Leads

  |  August 13, 2013   |  Comments

A look at the five basic steps to conversion rate optimization and a lesson on the new Google Analytics Content Experiments API.

As marketers, we spend a great deal of time and effort trying to get people to visit our website. It only makes sense that once we attract these visitors we would have also taken the time to devise the best ways to keep them on-site and offer content that is relevant to what they're seeking in an effort to get them to convert. Here are five basic steps to CRO with a bonus sixth step revolving around the new Google Analytics Content Experiments API.

What Is CRO?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is all about creating an experience on your website or landing page that results in an increasing number of visitors who end up doing whatever it is you set out to try and have them do, whether it's signing up for a newsletter, buying a t-shirt, or sharing a link on Twitter.

Step 1: Gather the Data

The first step in optimizing your conversion rate for a particular page is to analyze the data that's coming in from Google Analytics (or whatever other analytics tool you use) to find out which marketing channels are driving visitors to the page. You can review the out-of-the-box, basic data that Google Analytics offers, or choose to invest in a more bespoke data analysis by using Custom Dimensions.

Step 2: Create Personas

Once you've identified the sources of your site traffic and have a basic understanding of where visitors are arriving from, you can begin to create personas around the groups of traffic that come in from different sources. In this stage of the game, you really are just taking a best guess about what certain groups of people might be interested in and also where they are in the conversion cycle.

Step 3: Look for Clues

For search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO), this creation of personas can be analyzed one step further. You can try and make a guess about what the specific keywords that are driving traffic to your page might tell you about the visitor's psychology. Is the keyword in the ad the visitor engaged with informational? If so, it might be suggestive of someone who is still in the information-gathering phase of conversion. Was the keyword more sales focused? That might imply a degree of commercial intent and therefore suggest the person might be closer to approaching the acquisition phase of the conversion cycle.

Step 4: Get Aligned

Once you've drawn some basic conclusions about your visitors, it's time to examine the landing page associated with the traffic to determine whether or not it's aligned with each particular persona from a content and call-to-action perspective. For example, someone in the information-harvesting phase should not be given a hard sales pitch because she isn't ready for it and will not respond favorably to that type of language/imagery. Instead, you could solicit her engagement with something more aligned to her information-gathering needs, like an e-book or downloadable guide.

Step 5: Nurture Your Leads

The type of visitor described above in Step 4 might then be a good candidate for a drip marketing campaign. There are marketing automation platforms (like HubSpot) that help you to nurture your leads over time. Drip marketing campaigns should be carefully built around each persona to provide the content that persona is seeking and to help guide her along the path to conversion in the most natural way.

Bonus Step 6: Google Analytics Content Experiments API

Google Analytics Content Experiments are now generally available and provide a considerable opportunity to validate the work described above. After all the work of constructing personas and matching them to appropriate associated calls-to-action, you can A/B test different landing pages of varying content to determine which pages garner the most conversions.

A/B testing, or split testing, varying landing page options is the best way to refine personas and better determine what type of content your visitors respond to along each stage in the conversion cycle. It also helps to eliminate the guesswork associated with designing landing pages.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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Aubrey Beck

Aubrey is the director of marketing programs at Salted Stone, a digital marketing agency in Southern California. She specializes in brand strategy and inbound marketing, working with emerging tech companies and B2B providers to identify their voice and create revenue-driving content plans.

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