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Running the numbers

“It’s a numbers game.”

You hear it in sports, you hear it in sales, and these days, you hear it a lot in social media. While these examples may indeed be run by the numbers, when it comes to optimizing your business, “it’s a numbers game” takes on a whole new meaning.

At Cro Metrics, it’s not uncommon for clients to ask us to work on an engagement where there are not enough transactions to support A/B testing. (In order to generate statistical significance, you need a minimum of a few hundred conversions to go through a test.) However, this doesn’t mean companies with lower volumes can’t optimize their site for conversion. It just means we need to use alternative techniques. Unfamiliar with what these techniques are? Read on:

See What Your Users See
If a site hasn’t been user tested, this is a key first step, as there are almost always potential improvements that become obvious once we understand how first-time users experience the site or app.

Make A Mockup
If your company is at a very early stage or is testing a new concept, it’s expensive to build multi-page flows or develop an entirely new app. Instead, we’ve helped several companies develop realistic interactive mockups of a new site or flow. Our mockups look enough like real sites that people can’t tell they aren’t actual websites. By having go through the flows on these mockups, you can quickly understand how people will react to your design and can iterate rapidly, without spending engineering resources. It’s a huge time and money saver. Interactive mockups are between 10 and 1000 times more economical than iterating by having your engineering team build software to be tested!

Do Heat Map Analysis
This is one instance when “the heat is on” is positive. Heat maps allow you to determine where people are clicking on your site, how far down they scroll, etc. Looking at this data often yields surprising results. For instance, we’ve seen several cases where only one main navigational element is being clicked. This is a sure sign that the main nav bar can be improved to help users find what they want sooner, usually by exposing whatever is behind the popular main nav item.

Analyze Your Analytics
You can look for key conversion opportunities in your analytics data. For instance, looking at the popular landing pages, or what conversion rates are on mobile versus tablet versus desktop, can reveal conversion opportunities. Mobile phone conversion rates seem to be about 30-40% of desktop conversion rates, so if your site is significantly lower than that, it’s important to explore why, perhaps by conducting a user test on mobile users.

Implement Best Practices
On a number of small engagements, a few best practices site changes generated significant conversion improvement. For example: auto-rotating carousels are one important CRO qualifier. If I see a client with an auto-rotating carousel who wants a CRO evaluation, I first recommend they change the auto-rotating carousel to a static image featuring the most important item in the carousel, since we’ve never seen a carousel win an A/B test. Beyond usability best practices, site speed is another way to produce great gains — a fast site converts better, and Google explicitly says that faster sites both rank higher in search results, and get lower cost per click rates in ads.

Survey Your Customers
The best “growth hack” is also the most basic: a superb product. The ideal way to sell a great product or service is to understand why your customers want it, and to make sure you communicate this clearly to your users. Using tools like Qualaroo and Delighted, you can learn how your product best serves their needs. One of our favorite “plays” from the Cro Metrics playbook is to use Delighted to ask the Net Promoter Score question: On a scale of 0-10 with 10 being extremely likely, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague? Why?. We then look at the reasons 9s and 10s gave. These are the people for whom you’re delivering value they can’t get elsewhere, so you should aim for more customers like them. Using the language these customers use to describe your solution often works very well as ad/site copy.

Engage Your Customer Service or Customer Success Staff
One of our favorite sources for testing or flow improvements is the customer service team. This group is typically the unsung heroes, “fixing” site issues by resolving customer problems. While management may not be familiar enough with day-to-day issues to know which of these problems are easily remedied, the solution is often obvious to the customer-facing individuals in the organization.

Yes, conversion is a numbers game. And as you can see, there are many excellent, cost-effective ways to dramatically increase your site’s performance — without requiring large numbers of transactions.

Ready to optimize your site, or have questions about our tools or how we use them? I invite you to get in touch at or call me: 415-505-7625.