When it comes to online retail (and any businesses where a website is considered a fundamental part of a customer generation strategy), we know that you will likely be making a considerable investment in acquisition.
After all, being visible to potential customers is vital for your success. This is especially true if the majority of your business transactions are conducted online. If your acquisition strategy is working well, you should have a continual stream of relevant traffic to your site. But what are your visitors doing once they are on your website? Are they behaving in the way that you want them to and most importantly, are they converting?
If they are not, then you may need to consider paying greater attention to your conversion rate optimisation.
This means finding out what is preventing your customers from behaving in the way that you want them to. Once you’re aware of what your pressure points are, you can take action to convert these audiences into paying customers. And it’s this resulting transaction that leads to increased revenue and business growth
In our experience, your conversion rate optimisation activities should always be closely aligned with your acquisition strategy.
In this article, we’ll explain why acquisition and CRO should be considered complementary.
Acquisition and CRO need each other
For many years, businesses have been focusing a significant proportion of their marketing budgets on acquisition on the pretence that more traffic will naturally lead to increased sales or revenue which should, in turn, lead to business growth.
But it’s not always that simple.
Let’s start by looking at acquisition activities.
For an acquisition campaign to be considered a success, it needs to generate revenue.
The traffic generated by your acquisition activities could be created organically, or it could be part of a paid-spend campaign. If you are investing money into attracting website traffic, you need to feel confident that you will receive a return on your investment. This could be an immediate return (such as the purchase of a product via your online shop), or it could be a longer-term return on your investment such as the building of a relationship with a potential client.
If your sole focus is on acquisition, then a key part of your work will be based on improving your search engine rankings, improving organic traffic, and improving the online visibility of your business. But that’s where the work stops. Once the visitors have landed on your website, the task of converting them into a paying customer moves elsewhere.
This is where we need to pay attention to CRO specialists.
Your conversion rate optimisation activities should focus on finding new ways to convert visitors into paying customers. This could be through improving the user experience. It could be about using visual techniques to make specific products or calls to action more visible. It could even be about retaining users and making the most of your existing customer base through wider marketing tactics.
CRO is about helping to guide your potential customer along your sales funnel.
By understanding what they want to do on your website, you can implement effective changes that help them to complete their journey in an easy and hassle-free way.
How are acquisition and CRO connected?
In our experience, too many businesses fail to see the connection between the two activities.
We believe that whilst is vital to generate traffic and to entice people to visit your website, it’s just as important to convert those visitors into paying customers. And beyond that, it’s important to make sure that any conversions align with your wider business strategy. This is the most effective way to ensure that you are maximising the impact of any increased revenue.
This is why we think it’s important to take a holistic approach to any digital marketing activities. Acquisition and CRO should not be managed in siloes. Instead, they should be carefully connected and thought through as part of your wider digital strategy. By considering them as a complementary duo, you’ll be better prepared to take advantage of new opportunities or react to changing environments.
What’s more, it can also be far more cost-effective.
Let’s explain more.
Taking an acquisition-first approach
If you focus solely on your search engine KPIs, then you may start to pay too much attention to the technical aspects of acquisition, namely technical SEO. It can be easy to become focused upon these metrics without understanding their wider implications.
For example, we know that websites need to have a mobile-first approach to design and build. This is because consumers are increasingly using their phones and/or tablets to browse and shop online. An SEO team may recommend that you make minor changes to a page to improve its visibility on mobile to improve the search engine performance. Your SEO team could suggest reducing the number of images in a bid to improve site speed.
However, because their sole focus is upon the technicalities of SEO, they may not have to consider whether those changes could hurt that pages’ conversion rate.
The result could be that whilst that particular page ranks better organically, the conversion rates drop. As a result, your business may need to invest more in paid-spending activities to make up for the lower conversion rate.
Taking a CRO-first approach
Similarly, taking a CRO-first approach to your website means that too much attention is focused upon improving the conversion rate, without understanding how that could impact the wider SEO implications.
You may look at your website page and feel that visually it could benefit from a refresh. Perhaps your customer analytics are telling you that visitors are not reading lengthy product descriptions. Instead, they simply want to view individual product photos before making a purchasing decision. From a CRO perspective, you could recommend reducing the written content and increasing the number of images. However, that content may have been heavily optimised to attract organic traffic. By removing the content, you may have increased the conversion rate. You may also have inadvertently prevented any new customers from finding that particular page because the changes cause the page to fall down the search engine page rankings.
The result, like the acquisition-first approach, could mean that you have to spend far more on paid activities than you need to. This is because you’ll need to use paid-spend options to increase that page’s visibility within search engines.
What are the benefits of considering acquisition and CRO at the same time?
It is clear that by taking careful consideration of both acquisition and CRO activities at the same time, you could find that you have a far more cost-effective digital marketing strategy.
We believe that by considering them a partnership and ensuring collaborative working between different teams or departments, you’ll yield far more effective results. This can in turn provide you with a superior return on your investment.
There are so many elements of a good acquisition campaign that are intrinsic parts of conversion optimisation that it’s a no-brainer that the two activities should be carefully combined. A core part of your CRO strategy is to ensure that the UX is carefully thought through. This can include the page layout, the overall visual image, the site speeds, etc – all of which are hugely relevant for SEO tactics. The better optimised the page, the easier it is to attract the right organic traffic that is intending to convert to a paying customer.
Are your acquisition and CRO activities aligned with your wider business strategy?
One final element that is often missing from both acquisition and CRO campaigns is having an innate understanding of what your wider business strategy is.
In an ideal scenario, your newly combined acquisition and CRO activities will increase traffic to a particular page. Conversions will be quick and easy because you’ve used all of your available data metrics to understand what the visitor is looking for, and what they expect to find on your site. You’ve put everything in place, but it may still not necessarily lead to increased revenue.
This is because you need to be clear about your wider business performance.
If you’re a retailer with an online store, have you focused your attention on the products that provide you with greater margins? To increase your revenue, you need to factor in how much you are spending on acquisition or CRO activities with the manufacturing/production costs of that specific product. The higher the profit margin, the better the revenue generated.
If we come back to the theme of collaborative working, you should ensure that your marketing and acquisition teams are working closely with your sales teams. This way you can prioritise your most important products or services. By focusing on your best-sellers first and foremost, you can quickly and effectively improve your revenue and create an effective return on your investment.
We can use our expertise to help you.
At Sherwen Studios, we have years of experience in naturally combining CRO activities with UX skills and technical SEO capabilities. We understand how this all blends to create an effective digital strategy that helps to improve your website performance.
Our consultancy service will help to identify your strengths and make recommendations to transform your weaknesses. We can offer impartial advice that is designed to help you improve your performance, with a focus on both short-term goals and long-term planning.
For more information about how we can help you, please get in touch.