How To Use CRO Data to Fuel Your Content Strategy
Conversion Rate Optimisation and content marketing might be the perfect partners.
So, why haven't marketers cottoned on to this? Well, they probably just need a little enlightening … But don’t worry, that’s where we come in. Here’s what we know:
Content Marketing and CRO – Can They Work Together?
At FABRIC8, we say they can! Here’s a quick run-down of both so you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about:
We don’t want to teach an old dog new tricks, so here are the three main things you need to know about content marketing if you want to combine it with CRO:
- Content marketing is lots of different content working together
- It's educational, not promotional
- It should solve the audience’s problems, fit with their customer journey, and address their needs (this one’s big!)
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Conversions are the actions your visitors take. CRO is when you try and make as many visitors as possible take those actions, by making small changes to the user experience.
You do so by analysing and understanding user needs and behaviour … see where we’re going with this?
How Do They Work Together?
Put simply, the data gathered through CRO identifies key behavioural patterns and highlights important features that will drive up your conversion rate.
This is great for content marketers because they can see exactly what their audience likes and responds to. Once you know what appeals to them, you can create more of it and produce a stack of high-performing content.
That’s how CRO data influences your content strategy.
So, How Do You Collect CRO Data?
The data you collect needs to be high quality if it’s to be effective. It’s also vital that you understand it, otherwise you’re going to have trouble implementing any changes.
That’s why we’ve created a quick overview of the key ways to collect CRO data. Once you’ve read this, you can jump right in, start analysing behaviours and improve your content strategy.
This is an analysis of a webpage based on the user experience. It’s relatively quick and involves reviewing individual pages to identify problems with usability and user interface (UI) design.
You can do this yourself, or call in the professionals to help. There are three main approaches to heuristic analysis, so opt for the one that suits your business.
The Neilson Norman Group’s Heuristic Evaluation
It’s a bit of a mouthful, but you soon get used to it. The NNG’s technique includes ten steps you need to work through for each page. It’s a lot to consider, but you should gain some interesting insights.
Marketing Experiment’s Model
The Marketing Experiment’s model is based on this equation:
C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a
C: Probability of conversion
M: Motivation of user (when)
V: Clarity of value proposition (why)
I: Incentive to take action
F: Friction elements of process
A: Anxiety about entering information
Now, we don’t know about you, but we have forgotten most of the algebra we learned at school. Even though the following version is slightly wordier, it’s possibly easier to understand:
The probability of conversion depends on the match between the offer and visitor motivation. Plus, the clarity of the value proposition (the reason why the visitor might want it), plus the incentive to take action. However, this might be affected by any friction caused by poor usability and anxiety about entering information.
This is similar to the Marketing Experiment’s model, but don’t worry there's no maths! Instead the LIFT model features a handy graphic that outlines the six conversion factors that it focuses on.
One thing to remember when considering Heuristic analysis is that it doesn’t tell you the solution to the problem, or even how important the problem is. It just tells you it’s there and helps you better understand the layout of your webpage.
If you do stroll down the Heuristic path, you’ll have to do some other tests to gain concrete CRO data. But it could be a good starting point...
Conversion Funnel Analysis
Conversion funnels are great tools for marketers. They outline the customer journey, where content might sit within it, and the needs of the customers at each stage.
By analysing this funnel, you can identify key drop-off points, areas where extra content may need to be created and which parts of your audience should be targeted, leading us neatly to …
Segmentation is where you split your customers into groups based on type. This could be based on various differentiating factors, including:
- Customer status: new/returning
- Product interest
By looking closely at users’ behaviour and how they interact with your site, you can establish patterns and start crafting content to suit the needs of a particular segment. It can also really help with personalization … but that’s for another day!
Heat and Click Maps
Use these tools to get to grips with what's getting noticed on your page, and what gets clicked.
This will highlight areas you need to focus on and any techniques that might be able to be used elsewhere (e.g. a listicle title or a bright red button). But once again, when these are used in isolation to other data they can’t tell you why something is happening.
A/B Split Testing
You may have some ideas on why segments behave the way they do. Challenge those assumptions by using A/B split testing. This is a great way to test your hypotheses and improve the journey for your individual users.
Don’t be afraid to make big changes, but remember small ones can work just as well. Changing one word can often make a huge difference.
Get Some Clever Software to Assist You
Don’t try to do it all on your own – use top-notch analytics software to help you.
Google Analytics is a great place to start as it’s free and provides a wealth of information on user behaviour. Pay attention to bounce rate, average order value and conversion rate to work out areas for improvement.
Use the behaviour analysis suite to see what users are doing on your site and document any patterns that exist. You can use this to your advantage later.
Try using dedicated user analytics software like Mixpanel, Kissmetrics and Amplitude. Such software provides actionable real-time insights that tell you how to improve certain pages. It also removes most of the legwork, and can generate some great ideas for your content strategy.
Talk to Your Customers
Lastly, why not try talking to your customers? We know it’s scary, but it can give you some great qualitative insights into their experiences on your site, and their opinions about your content.
By talking to them through social media, your customer services team or online surveys, you’ll get a better sense of what they need and how you’re serving those needs through your content. Can you really afford not to?
How Can Data Fuel Your Content Strategy?
So, you’ve got piles and piles of data, now how do you use it to tweak your content strategy?
Know Your Audience
All that data gives you unique insights into your customers as individuals, segments, and as a whole.
You’ll have so much info, you’ll find it easy to create awesome customer personas and tailor content to their needs throughout the customer journey.
Really honing-in on them will make it difficult for users to tear themselves away from your site. It will help persuade customers to like and trust you – especially if you employ a little emotional persuasion.
This will also help when it comes to choosing content topics. You should create content for where there are gaps in the sales funnel, or where your customers highlight that work might be needed.
All this data should identify problems for you to solve through your content, all you need to do is give users what they want!
Establish Goals For Content
CRO is based on having a goal – a desired action you want your users to take. Every individual piece of content should have one too. Otherwise, what’s the point in creating it? You won’t be able to measure its success, and it will just sit their gathering dust.
Goals should align with the customer journey, habits and conversion funnel and can be anything you want!
Hint that users should subscribe to your newsletter, or share content to social media. If you’re confident that it’s appropriate, you could push them to buy your product. Or, if you want to reel them in, just direct them to another piece of content tailored to their needs.
Suggest Changes to Layout
The CRO data should have identified key formatting elements that your users liked – especially the Heuristic analysis, A/B testing and heat maps.
Keep this in mind when creating your content; did they like where images were placed or the use of headers and bullet points, how about throwing a video in there too?
Where possible, replicate user preferences in your content to try to improve your conversion rates.
CRO can have a massive influence on your content strategy and content marketing approach if you know how to use it. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to get your head around, so why not ask FABRIC8 for some advice?
If you’re brave enough to go it alone, we salute you! Start planning what you’re going to do today, make those tweaks and watch what happens to your conversion rate!