What is CRO?
Conversion Rate (CR) is a key metric within online businesses, revealing the percentage of your site’s total traffic completing a specific task (Ratcliffe, 2015). Thus, CRO is the process of optimising your website to increase the likelihood of the task being completed by page visitors. Within the context of financial service providers, this task usually relates to lead generation through the scheduling of an explanatory meeting (see image below from Strategic IFA, 2017). Lead generation has been an area in which financial service providers have been struggling (Epictenet, 2016), and could be your reason for reading this blog!
The notion of CRO can be daunting for financial service providers who lack experience but seek to increase their website’s conversion rate. As such, the most effective CRO techniques are discussed in this blog from both academic and practical perspectives to provide a brief outline of the reccommended methods for successful CRO implementation.
CRO is appealing to many businesses as it does not incur much extra cost in comparison with other techniques (Cave, 2016), as CRO focusses on the conversion of current site visitors rather than generating more traffic (Venture Stream, 2016). In short, the leverage impact of effective CRO can increase your business’s revenue whilst simultaneously decreasing percentage marketing costs and bounce rate due to the increased efficiency in converting page visitors (Chaffey and Smith, 2012 and Hisham, 2016). Therefore, those in the financial service industry can benefit from CRO implementation and employ it to achieve a number of financial gains.
Although many small financial service providers perceive marketing language to be overwhelming and the concepts unsuitable for their company, continued loyalty to old fashioned, outbound marketing techniques is proving costly and inefficient for lead generation within the industry (Gallagher, 2013). Furthermore, experts emphasise the applicability of CRO to all online business types (Chuang, 2015) and the image below depicts the trend of small businesses becoming increasingly involved with digital marketing. As such, implementing a relatively new concept such as CRO can gain you a competitive advantage amongst other small financial advisers, as many of them are yet to employ it.
The ‘Conversion Architecture Cycle’ provides a layman’s breakdown of the imperative steps within prosperous CRO campaigns, briefly explained below. This method is centred around the creation of a new webpage and continuously comparing it with the original in order to achieve improvements in CR.
Analyse – The examination of current performance and discussion of future targets. Kissmetrics.com (Kissmetrics, 2017) is a popular website for this type of analysis, providing insightful information regarding your website’s current conversions.
Talk – Having outsiders test the original site and collecting their opinions regarding the website’s attractiveness, functionality etc. in order to incorporate relevant ideas into future versions.
Plan – Consideration of the website basics through Wireframing and discussion of the methods used to convert visitors, etc.
Design – Taking time to procure the creative ideology, branding and design underpinning the second website.
Test – A/B testing whereby the original website is assessed for its CR in comparison with the second version. This is usually undertaken numerous times with various alterations in an attempt to achieve a continuum of CR improvement. As displayed below, an Econsultancy (2016) survey shows that A/B testing is considered to be the most effective method for assessing the conversion success of a new website.
Market – Selecting appropriate methods to spread the new content to suitable audiences, such as SEO, blogs, etc.
Once these steps have been undertaken, you should have a strong idea of which version of your website is likely to facilitate the best conversion rate. If this remains unclear, feel free to carry on altering the different versions and carrying out more tests in accordance with feedback until a clearly successful style becomes prominent. For an in depth explanation of the conversion architecture concept, feel free to read this insightful post from Smart Insights (Cave, 2016).
Points for consideration
The aforementioned lack of capital required will increase CRO’s appeal to many businesses, however this does not equate to CRO being an easy method of increasing lead generation, as successful CRO requires human resources rather than financial capital. Therefore, CRO involves a significant investment of time, whereby combinations of all factors (including headlines, call to action text, layout and design, colour, etc.) are thoroughly tested in order to achieve the required improvement (King, 2008 and Crook et al., 2009). If sufficient tests are not completed in a continuous search for improvement, the concept of CRO will not work.
CRO is not a quick fix to achieve marketing prowess amongst your competitors; if your company’s individual page visits are low, it may be beneficial to focus on attracting more traffic through methods such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and then concentrate on conversion once the page generates sufficient traffic. SEO and CRO should be employed simultaneously for the best results (Florian, 2015).
Remember, it is imperative that any public version of your website is compliant with FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulations (FCA, 2017).
To conclude, CRO can be a hugely beneficial tool for your financial service business when employed in conjunction with SEO and sufficient testing of variants.
Please be aware that this blog has been written by a University of Brighton student and the content is solely representative of my perspective; however, I have experience within the provision of financial services. All queries, opinions and feedback are appreciated, so please feel free to comment below or tweet @SpeirsTom1994!
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