It’s that time of year again – Christmas has gone and marketers are busy putting together budgets for the next financial year.
Some of you will have no doubt done it already to follow the calendar year. I hope you allowed some space for discretionary spend in there (or put plenty of fat into other areas that you can siphon off – I know how you lot work ;-)).
Because you need to have CRO in your budget. It’s a must.
In fact, without meaning to scaremonger, you’ve made it near impossible to hit your KPI’s/ targets if you haven’t included it.
Firstly, let’s look at what I mean (and don’t mean) when I say CRO
Let’s get a few misconceptions out the way straight off:
So, what is CRO?
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) is the process of persuading more of your website traffic to reach the ‘end point ‘of your web sales journey.
Your ‘end point’ might be to fill in a form as a warm lead (if you’re B2B that’s probably it), subscribe to your list or, of course, the ultimate example is to buy something from your ecommerce store.
Whatever that ‘end goal’ is for your business, that’s your conversion.
And that’s what digital marketing is all about.
More reach, more followers, more branding… they’re all just small milestones on the bigger journey of getting more conversions. No such tasks serve any purpose if those people aren’t – at some point – converting.
All of your KPI’s and targets will come back around to conversions. Your boss knows it and their boss certainly knows it. The sale is king and the king always wins.
So, like breathing, we can agree that it’s pretty important.
But there’s more…
The Power of the CRO Multiplier
What is it?
It’s the big light bulb moment when you realise just how powerful doing CRO is for your business (and this is also how you persuade your boss or FD to let you spend some budget on it).
Increasing your conversion rate is not just a one-hit wonder, it’s Elton John on steroids – hit after hit, CRO keeps on giving a lifetime of wonder (and profit).
Here’s the Maths:
Each month you sell 1000 of ‘widget A’ for £20 a go through your ecommerce store at a conversion rate of 5%.
You increase your conversion rate from 5% to 10%.
You now sell 2000 per month. That’s an extra £20k in revenue.
But you now have 1000 more customers on your books and, on average, your existing customers come back and buy another widget every 6 months.
That extra 5% conversion rate has given you another 1000 customers, who buy twice per year on average… meaning that’s an extra 2 sales (or £40k in revenue) every 12 months.
Now, if you weren’t already persuaded, here’s the final slammer:
Your conversion-optimised web pages are set up and running forever more. It’s not an advertising source that gets turned off when you stop paying. It’s there, on your site and working hour after hour, day after day, month after month and year after year.
So, in our example above, you’ve added 1000 customers for each of 12 months.
That’s 12,000 new customers each buying 2 times per year.
With our widget company at just £20 per sale, that means £480k in extra annual revenue.
From an investment of probably less than £10k.
Show me another part of your budget spreadsheet that gets you that ROI and I’ll eat my hat, coat and even the shoes.
Oh, and one last thing… that example was based on going from 5% to 10% – an improvement of 100%. The average we achieve here at PSM is nearly double that, but I’ll leave you to do those maths…
What You Should Do Now
Or to be more precise, humans have 3 main parts to their brain (Cerebelum, Limbic and Neo-Cortex) and they each have very different ways of behaving.
First, here’s a very brief bit of background on those 3 parts and what they do:
Cerebelum (the Lizard brain)
Otherwise known as the Brain Stem, this is the part that looks after all of our basic needs from breathing to beating our heart.
In other words, it’s about survival and all of our most basic needs. The lizard gets hungry, scared, angry and horny. It wants to eat, be safe, secure and reproduce.
The lizard controls 50% of our decision-making process.
Limbic (the Mammal brain)
Also known as the Hippocampus and Amygdala, this is one step up from the lizard where we start to feel emotions.
The mammal records memories of behaviour, matching them to both good and bad experiences so we learn from them. Consequently, it is responsible for our emotions and controls much of our sub-conscious behaviour.
The mammal controls 27% of our decision making process.
Neo-Cortex (the Human brain)
Only now, in this third part, do we start to have rational thoughts. Only so-called ‘higher-order’ animals have one like humans, dolphins and some primates.
The Neo-Cortex gives us compassion, reasoning, imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills. Crucially, it also oversees and rationalises the reactions of the lizard and mammal brains… the trouble is that it needs to be consciously activated by one of it’s troublesome siblings, and they don’t always want to (hence, all lack of rational thought when the ‘red mist’ comes down).
The human controls just 23% of our decision-making!
It means that we humans are not as logical as we like to think we are.
It means that a whopping 77% of our decision-making process is complete before we start to engage the ‘human brain’ and begin to rationalise the decision.
It means that unless your Neo-Cortex is freakishly powerful, you don’t buy the products and services that are most useful for you. You buy the ones that are marketed and sold the best to the lizard and mammal.
And it’s exactly the same with your prospects and customers.
In most markets I’ve seen (not all by any means, but most) the top businesses have products that are all largely the same. Sure, a few features here and there are different but they all do pretty much the same quality job.
What gives each business its customers and makes some customers very loyal is how well they have been marketed and sold to. In many ways, even your post-sales service is just another form of selling and marketing.
Some of your competitors are not as good as you. Maybe they care less about their customers as well. But they still nibble away at your market share. It’s because they’ve tapped into the lizard brain more than you have.
And the ONLY way you’re going to do that (unless you get very lucky – like, win-the-lottery-lucky) is by having a deep and specific understanding of your prospects wants, fears, frustrations and desires.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t keep making your marketing ordinary.
Focus on the lizard brain for each of your prospects and customers and see your ROI, your leads and your market share go up.
As I like to say many, many times, there is no ‘magic bullet’ for an overnight upturn in your conversion rates. A dramatic upturn can only really be achieved by following a robust and thorough process of understanding your audience and planning content appropriately to become an effective Persuasion Journey.
However, there are still some simple things you can do to start improving your conversion rates before diving into such an in-depth process. In this post, I’ll walk you through a 5-point checklist that you can follow to start making some really positive improvements.
So, here goes:
These are just a few of hundreds of silly laws U.S. states have on the books – and us Brits aren’t any better either. It’s hard to know exactly why or how laws like these came to be. They must’ve made sense to somebody, some time, I guess. Of course, most of these are now just ignored – although they remain on the statute books…
I got me wondering about the so-called rules of digital marketing. Our industry has more than its fair share of silly (though unwritten) rules that the masses seem eager to follow. Solid rules and best practices are great for managing well-established systems and to keep social order. But in marketing, following unwritten rules can be a recipe for rotten conversions.
My first real job was mostly in writing direct mail. I worked as a Marketer for a software company (this is pre-Internet days) that sold mostly through good old-fashioned DM. In fact, we sent about 3 million pieces of it a quarter across 11 countries and in multiple languages. I also wrote all the copy for our catalogues, press releases and ads. I sat and churned out sales copy 8 hours per day for several years – and I learned a lot about what sells, what engages and what different audiences respond to. It’s where my fascination in thoroughly understanding people and their buying habits started.
A person’s first job inevitably shapes who you’ll become. If your first graduate outing is in journalism, your brain gets tattooed (in a good way) with who-what-where-when-why, fact-check-everything, never-bury-the-lead. If you start out as a photographer’s assistant, you learn other stuff. If you plunge into business on your own, the education is about self-discipline, self-motivation and self-validation.