I would like to start this blog post by stating I am NO Analyst! However, I am on the front lines, talking to the people contacting FutureNow Inc. and answering their sales related questions. My unique lack of expertise in the day to day analytical reporting allows me to share some insights about what is necessary to begin a Conversion Rate Optimization Engagement, even before your first call with an analyst!
We have a mixed audience at FutureNow Inc., those who understand conversion rate optimization but need some outside perspective or guidance and those that understand conversion because they can see their numbers but don’t know what to do with those numbers.
I think our own Howard Kaplan said it best, “a good percentage of our audience calls looking for help, but haven’t taken some basic steps to turn their Google Analytics data from a thermometer into a thermostat.”
A thermostat analyzes a situation AND takes an action, as opposed to a thermometer that gives you nothing but a meaningless number if you don’t know what step to take next.
The following are simple steps you can take before you start an engagement with us or another optimization company, so that when we come together to increase ROI, we can hit the ground running. If all these steps are prepared and taken before your kickoff call, you will get the benefits of our analyst’s expertise and professional insights based on what they find in your data faster, and you will be able to begin testing right away! If you cannot set these things up on your own, the company you plan to engage with should help you.
1. Make sure you know what the goals of your site are. We cannot say it enough. whether you are an ecommenrce site or a lead generation site, B2B or B2C, give a numerical value to everything. Know what the value of your goals are. It can be tough, but it has to be done. We can assure you that more complicated things have been given numerical value before. No Optimization company out there can give you proper insights if they cannot calculate the value of the the changes you make, and the improvements you experience on your site. This information will help you to prioritize your site changes and use your resources effectively. If you need more insight about calculating goals, you can read more about it here.
2. Set up goal funnels and ecommerce tracking in your analytics account. This is a great article from Kiss Metrics, for those out there that are looking at the number on their thermomator and don’t understand what to do with their numbers. Before calling a service provider looking for help, start by setting yourself up to succeed by setting up goals & funnels. Kiss Metrics does a great job of showing step by step, how to take your data to the next level.
3. Get site search set up on your website if you have it. You do not need to add site search if you do not already have it. Let your conversion experts look at your data and decide if it could be a valuable contribution to your site. Read this article for help on setting up site search.
4. Make sure you have a team of resources that can help you implement testing and changes to your site. You cannot do it all on your own. Even the smallest site should have one designer and one developer contracted before starting a CRO engagement. From our experience, clients with at least these resources at their behest have the most success in increasing their conversion rate.
5. Get Google Website Optimizer or some other testing platform set up and get a basic understanding of how A/B and multivariate testing work. This can be a little complicated and you will probably need assistance from your CRO experts and developers once you start testing. At the same time, you will be much more comfortable starting the engagement if you have some background information. Here is a tutorial to help you set up GWO, and also the GWO Techie Guide that you can skim to get a good idea of how to start setting up tests.
6. Lastly, have a goal in mind. Don’t be afraid of setting goals, they are notorious for helping people be successful. Maybe you don’t know what a reasonable goal is this early in the process, but don’t worry, your goals can change. Write down 3-5 major things you would like to see happen on your website that directly affect your bottom line. An example list might be:
a. Increase average sales per day from 60 to 100 within the next year
b. Develop a social media campaign to increase my sale of blue widgets by 20% from Facebook, Twitter and our company Blog by the 4th quarter
c. Decrease spending on our PPC campaigns by 10% while keeping ROI from campaigns consistent or improving it in the nest 3 months.
d. Increase page views from homepage to increase Adsense revenue by 15% by December 2012.
Notice that we’re able to calculate the value of each of these goals, they are actionable and are given a specific time frame. Goals like these help your company and your CRO team stay on the same path. When everyone is working toward the same thing, it gets done faster and with less headaches!
Now that you have all the basics set up, give us a call! Again, if you cannot do all these things on your own, we can help or we have resources that can.