Walk through Bournemouth Gardens and its iconic hot air balloon bears the logo for one of the UK’s leading online health insurers. It’s a crowning part in a number of popular tourist attractions, and can be seen for miles. Capturing your audience’s attention is the easy part, however. Holding on to it, and converting it into business; that’s the challenge. That’s where conversion rate optimisation (CRO) comes in.
Whilst the term CRO is mainly applied to the digital space, by taking an integrated view of the customer journey, you can significantly increase the impact of your marketing spend. From that stroll through Bournemouth Gardens to hearing a radio campaign, logging on to a website and making a purchase, there are potential customers lost at every corner. However, our job, as marketers, is to keep them walking. The more you convert, the better your return on investment (ROI).
This industry can be full of baffling acronyms, but CRO and ROI are at the heart of everything we do. Whatever our client’s budget, our goal is to ensure their marketing activity pays for itself and much more by turning indecisive browsers into confident buyers.
Fireworx work with a number of local clients such as Mortgage Intelligence and Bistech, as well national retailers BrightHouse and Cargo. We find that ‘integrated CRO’ means different things to different businesses. It may be a telephone call, an online enquiry, a brochure download, a purchase or all of these things. The important thing is to recognise what that is and the rate at which you do it.
We work with a number of clients for whom website enquiries are crucial. A small increase in conversion rate can mean a big increase in revenue. A typical CRO for one of our clients was 4.9 per cent when they came to us. We set ourselves a target of five per cent and achieved a healthy conversion of 5.4 per cent. The numbers might seem small, but actually, this accounted for an additional 10 per cent in sales, which meant tens of thousands of pounds in profit, a considerable ROI.
It’s important to look at the complete customer journey. At every step from that hot air balloon to the phone call or email we ask ourselves how do we make the customer feel? And how do they respond? It’s at the core of everything we do.
We measure response through user experience research, split testing and ongoing adaptation. That way, we can improve the performance of the sales team, the website or whatever other channels the client deploys.
In fact, we’re always measuring and adapting to win those incremental improvements, both online and off, because how customers felt and responded last year is not necessarily the same this year. We don’t have a crystal ball we don’t know what our customers really want unless we find out. We have to create, test, measure and optimise… over and over again.
So how exactly do you test your marketing activity? By following a well thought-out plan. Here are some silver bullets that every marketing plan should include:
1: Put aside a 10 per cent test budget
Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t just a secret stash for finance directors who need to bump up year-end profits. Use your test budget to trial new technology, channels or a half-mad campaign to a new market segment.
2: Control groups
To understand the uplift from your direct marketing, you need to ask what would have happened if you’d not run your campaign. Track the response of 20 per cent of your potential campaign audience who don’t receive the promotion against those who do. And then we all pray for an uplift!
3: Set your objectives
What hypotheses are you testing? And how are you going to measure the success of your marketing? Sales are great, but Twitter follows, email sign-ups and inbound links all help build a better pipeline for future business.
Try and learn one new insight at a time. Tools such as Google Experiments or Optimizely make it easy to start testing online, and for traditional media, you can do far worse than spreadsheets.
5: Ask why?
For every sentence you write detailing ‘what’ happened, write three on ‘why’. Your analytics can share some insight, and if you’re using SurveyMonkey or a similar platform your customers certainly can.
6: Fail fast
As a rule of thumb, 50 per cent of your tests will fail. Learn what this tells you about your approach, product or customers and move on to something new. The odds dictate the next test is likely to succeed.
Dan Smith, Managing Director, Fireworx
Tel: 01202 559559