Before I even get into what a conversion rate optimization analyst does or how they can help an online business, I want to paint a little picture about the state of the Internet and online businesses today.
Gone are the days when you could just throw up a website in a week or two and “set it on autopilot” to watch the money roll in. Sure, you can still toss up a site and get instant traffic via PPC and thus have sales streaming in almost immediately. But I’ve got bad news for you: Unless you have literally reinvented the iphone or truly developed some new, innovative, and insanely useful product or service–well, your marketing-t0-sales ratio won’t be profitable.
The plain truth is that marketing costs have skyrocketed in the past five years. Five years ago, you could come to market with some half-assed ebook and some money to start a ppc campaign and “jump start” a site. Invest some of your profits (since your fulfillment costs are virtually zero, there should be some profits) into SEO or social media and voila: Even a mediocre-converting site could be profitable and actually grow.
Today? Shiiiiiit. That ebook better come with dancing elves because if not someone is going to rewrite it and sell it on Amazon for a fraction of what you’re charging or even could charge due to your marketing costs.
And a mediocre conversion rate? No, you can’t afford to be giving away 40, 50, or even 60% or more of your sales due to poor copywriting, weak sales funnels, or any one of a 100 things that can suppress online sales.
But sadly, most sites are lucky to be converting at even 1/2 of the industry standard conversion rate for their niche. So how does your site stack up? Well, just use Google Adwords Grader and find out what the average PPC conversion rate was for niche. Now with other traffic sources, your site should actually convert a little higher than the average PPC rate for your niche. But, in any case, it’s a solid bench mark that at least let’s you know what neighborhood you should be in with respect to your conversion rate, or c/r.
So where do you stand? Well, if your site is converting 15% or more lower than the standard rate for your niche, then you may want to consult with a conversion rate optimization analyst. Because if so, your site is not only losing out on loads of conversions–but more importantly, it’s missing out on a potential windfall in profits.
So What Does a Conversion Rate Optimization Analyst Actually Do?
As the name suggests, a conversion rate optimization analyst sifts through data, tons and tons of website traffic data. So what are they looking for? Well, to put it bluntly: Statistical anomalies. That’s right, conversion rate optimization analysts are looking for statistics that are “out of normal range” and indicate a problem, such as:
- Unusually High Bounce Rate for Site or Key Conversion Content
- Excessive Abandonment Rate from Shopping Cart/Sign Up Page
- Poor Visitor Distribution Throughout the Site
- Unusually High or Low Percentage of Mobile Traffic
- Traffic Sources with Low Average Time on Site or High Bounce Rates
- Low Time on Page for Key Content on Site (like sales or landing pages)
- Low Percentage of Visitors to Key Conversion Content
Now by themselves, these stats are fairly meaningless. But with experience, a conversion rate optimization analyst knows that a high abandonment typically means that there is inaccurate information on the shopping cart or some sort of configuration issue. A low percentage of visitors to primary conversion content like a sales page signifies a sales funnel problem.
The point is, the statistical anomalies indicate the presence of a problem that is suppressing online sales. A conversion rate optimization analyst knows the primary causes of these anomalies and then investigates further to zero-in on the exact cause.
So, how exactly does a conversion rate optimization analyst actually help make or save your online business money?
Eliminates Guesswork and Unnecessary Optimization Costs
Website split testing is, essentially, conversion rate optimization. However, split testing is also extremely inefficient and most people give up within a few months after their conversion rates fail to rise in proportion to their efforts.
And if we are being completely honest, rewriting sales pages and product descriptions from scratch is also conversion rate optimization. However, it too is extremely inefficient because then you are throwing out what works with what doesn’t work rather than focusing on the problems that are actually killing conversions.
But a conversion rate optimization analyst eliminates the guesswork and uses website traffic analysis to:
- Identify Statistical Anomalies that Indicate Conversion Problems
- Uses Heat Mapping Analysis to Identify Weak Copywriting and Web Design Tools
- Can Isolate Conversion Problems Down to the “Sentence Level”
However, the web traffic analysis and heat mapping tools can only help a conversion rate optimization analyst find the problems. It is their experience, research and consultations with other Internet Marketing specialists that help them actually fix the conversion problems.
Estimate the Effectiveness of CRO
Companies like Facebook, Netflix, and even SEO giant MOZ have hired conversion rate optimization analysts and companies to optimize their own sites. Yes, companies that already have staffs filled with SEO experts, web designers, copywriters, and loads of programmers are hiring CRO firms to eliminate the conversion problems and boost sales and profits by up to 100% or more (MOZ has reportedly boosted conversions by over 100% from CRO).
But while CRO can indeed explode online profits for large websites, it doesn’t generate as much ROI for smaller sites with fewer products or services. Plus, factors like the average price point, traffic sources, and business model all factor into the overall ROI from conversion rate optimization services.
So on a site with low traffic, even a massive 50-75% boost in conversion rate might only yield a modest increase in overall sales volume. Plus, for sites with massive price points where the conversion rate is already low, even a 100% increase in conversion rate might only yield a few extra sales per month if traffic volume is also low.
Therefore, you really want to have a conversion rate optimization analyst review your web traffic data first to estimate the effectiveness of a CRO project. If you are unable to recoup your investment within 6 months or less, then it may be better to invest your money elsewhere and return to CRO at a later time.
A conversion rate optimization analyst can help increase online sales by identifying problems and then designing solutions to fix them. And if you want to optimize the website yourself, a CRO analyst can help you avoid unnecessary split tests or replacing content from scratch by pinpointing the exact issues that need fixed.
The simple truth is that massive international tech firms aren’t hiring CRO firms for shits and giggles–they are hiring them because most websites have never, ever been optimized for conversions. That means there is massive room for improvement and thus a huge pile of profits to be had by websites that are one of the first to optimize in their niche.