If your company isn’t a web optimization agency or a marketing agency, there’s a chance your coworkers and bosses don’t understand how efficient Conversion Rate Optimization can be.
You’re a convert (pun intended). You understand how powerful data-driven CRO can be and how with just a few tweaks, it can help you increase profits. But your superiors aren’t so sure about it. Most often, they’re unsure because they don’t understand or know enough about CRO. This is an easy fix.
We help our clients run as many A/B tests as they can and work a lot with CRO agencies, marketing agencies, in-house company experts and freelancers. What almost all of them tell us is that they have trouble convincing their superiors and co-workers to give CRO a chance. So we decided to do something about it and help them.
We looked around and gathered the best tips and tricks that can help you sell CRO to your company. Whether your company simply doesn’t understand CRO or your higher-ups are opposed to it for whatever reason, you can find worthwhile advice on how to educate them and change their minds in this article.
Here are 5 most common problems you are going to face and how you can solve them. These tactics entail actionable advice that can help you sell CRO to your coworkers and superiors (and scroll all the way to the end for a bonus pro tip):
- Problem 1: Company spirit and culture
- Problem 2: Your boss thinks CRO is too expensive and a lot of work
- Problem 3: Your company is afraid of failed experiments
- Problem 4: CRO isn’t taken seriously
- Problem 5: Why CRO and not some other growth strategy?
- Bonus Pro Tip: Don’t trust your customers or your ideas
It’s not a secret that some of the biggest and most famous companies base their growth on CRO. They invest heavily in it and depend on it when making decisions about future innovations and strategies.
Booking.com, Facebook, Amazon, Google- all the heavy hitters do it and it’s an accepted part of their everyday business. You can also find examples of much smaller companies that embraced CRO and swear by it. It has worked wonders for them too, even if they’re just a fraction of the size of those giant companies. Size isn’t what’s important here. It’s company structure and culture.
What all these companies that use CRO successfully have in common is inter-sectionality: their departments and teams aren’t separated. If your IT department is separated from the rest of the company with what feels like an Iron Curtain, while your marketing department is in a ditch somewhere on the 3rd floor- and they never interact- it’s no surprise you’re having trouble explaining what CRO is.
In companies that champion CRO, the different departments work together. They often cooperate, know each other and when people feel like a team, it’s not too hard to hit up your friendly IT girl and ask her to help you run a quick A/B test. You’ll be able to rely on the different departments to help you out when you need them too, whether it’s to help you implement a CRO strategy or back your case with your superiors about why CRO is a good idea.
SOLUTION: Build personal connections with people who work in different departments or teams in your company.
If there’s no inter-sectionality in your company and people never work in mixed teams, all hope isn’t lost. You can make an effort to get to know the people working in different departments personally. Find people who are interested in experimentation and they don’t have to be experts. Even if CRO just sounds like a great idea to them, it’s good to gather some support. Build rapport with those you can, so they’ll want to help you when the time comes or at least they can recognize you!
When first starting out with CRO, you can easily scare your bosses off if you approach them with a complex and expensive CRO strategy that will cost a lot of money to implement. They’ll give you one skeptical look and turn you down. If they don’t understand what you’re doing and the impact you can have on company profits, they are not going to agree to something that sounds risky, time-consuming and expensive.
So how do you overcome this obstacle? Start small and make sure to gather data.
Identify the biggest problem on the website and fix it. See where in the sales funnel you’re losing the biggest number of clients and plug that leak. What you’re aiming for here are small wins you can easily achieve. Find a problem that’s the easiest to fix and use a solution you’re pretty sure is going to work and show a significant change in numbers.
SOLUTION: Find the easiest problem to fix, do a free A/B test in Google Optimize and show your superiors how that affects your profits.
Do a small A/B test you’re more or less sure is going to affect the conversion rate and show the data to your superiors. What’s amazing now is that with Google Optimize you can run A/B tests for free, which means you don’t need a budget for them! Run an efficient A/B test, for free, and then show the data to whoever is sceptical about the power of CRO.
This way you can show your boss that CRO isn’t that much more work and it doesn’t have to be a massive cost, especially when you start small, so you won’t scare them off. You’ll gather data and it’s best if you can turn those numbers into hard, cold profits rather than showing them that the number of clicks on a certain page increased. Chances are they don’t understand what your 70% increase in click-throughs means and they don’t care. If you present something as an increase in profits and give them a projection of how much more they could earn with more complex CRO, you’ll have a much bigger shot at turning them into believers.
By starting small, you can offset their worries about the costs, and minimize risk. Still, even when running small tests you’ll often hear: ‘’But what if it doesn’t work?’’. Indeed, what if an experiment doesn’t yield positive results? Does this mean the experiment failed?
Absolutely not. Even a failed test can help you learn something about your visitors, only in this case you learned what they don’t want. It’s better to be aware of what doesn’t work for your business than to blissfully and ignorantly go about your work, while thousands are visiting your website and deciding they don’t want anything to do with you.
It’s better to change the header on your website and discover it performs even worse than the original. At least then you’ll know that your customers want something completely different than what you did in the test and you can give them that.
SOLUTION: Set the expectation that CRO is about learning about what your customers want and don’t want, rather than increasing profits overnight.
And that’s how you answer that question ‘’But what if it doesn’t work?’’. Set the expectation that CRO is primarily about learning . It’s not about increasing profits overnight, but discovering what works for your customers, learning about their behavior and optimizing your business accordingly.
Plus, sure, you could be running a failing experiment (you’ll still be learning!), but you could also discover something that will sell 4 times better than your current website version. Your opportunity costs outweigh the risks, almost every time.
This is one of the most efficient ways to make your bosses and coworkers listen. Just tell them that your competitors are doing something and they’re guaranteed to stop and pay you attention. Tell them that your competition has been working on CRO and if you want them to really take it seriously, try getting your hands on some data.
SOLUTION: Tell them your competitors are doing CRO and show them how they used it to grow over time.
If you can’t get data about your competitors, you can be creative and compare the growth of their business with what they’ve done to their website. Websites like Internet Archive, which offer you a glimpse into the past and show you what a certain website used to look like at a certain moment in time, are your best friends in this case. Check how your competition optimized their website over time and see if that correlates with their growth. Then show it to your boss.
It’s not a lot, but could be a good argument to convince your boss to let you do some minor, initial experiments.
What also helps is if you remind them that companies that are the best at growth (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon), are all using CRO to innovate themselves. Your CRO programs don’t have to be as comprehensive and massive as theirs, but you should be testing and optimizing. Every business wants to grow and be innovative, so remember to play on that sentiment when convincing your bosses and colleagues. Remind them that they don’t want to be left behind.
The world of digital marketing can be very fickle and difficult to control. Understanding and predicting what’s going to help you with your Google rankings is becoming more and more difficult. You’re at the mercy of increasing PPC costs. But the one thing that you have complete control over is your website and your sales funnel. That’s what makes CRO so powerful.
SOLUTION: Explain that the only thing you have control over is how well your website performs and CRO helps optimize that performance.
You can get all the necessary insights to optimize it and make sure that your website is performing well, regardless of what happens with anything else. Through CRO you’re modelling your website on what your customers want and you’re making sure that the customers who do end up on your website are buyers. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of traffic, if it’s not the ‘’right’’ traffic and your visitors aren’t buying from you. CRO helps you optimize your website and make sure each visit counts.
Explain to your superiors that through CRO you can take control and actually protect your business from any other changing circumstances. It can help you get the right traffic and increase your chances of turning your visitors into customers.
You can’t trust your own mind or what your customers say they want, because it’s actually our subconscious that controls us. The only way to find out what really works and what will lead to growth is to experiment.
Bart Schutz is a Consumer Psychologist and Chief Inspirational Officer at Online Dialogue, a Dutch CRO agency that has helped their clients grow their ROIs more than 800%. He’s also the man behind The Wheel of Persuasion. In short, Bart has scary insights into how the human brain works and that’s exactly why companies like Booking.com hire him.
He is a big believer in the power of CRO and has had to convince a lot of people to give it a chance. What he often uses to ‘’seal the deal’’ is a simple fact about human psyche: we have no clue what we want. The way Bart explains it, it’s the subconscious mind that decides if we like something or not, if we’re going to buy-in or opt-out. We only think we know what we want. This is exactly why we can’t trust ourselves to know what will appeal to our customers.
‘’Humans are not good at creating the most efficient customer journeys or webpages, because we are not aware of all the unconscious processes in our brain. Think about this: would Booking.com’s website look the way it does if customers designed it? What will lead to an increase in profits and growth is very different from what our conscious thoughts tell us. The only way to find out what works is to experiment and get data.’’ – Bart Schutz, Online Dialogue
CRO will get you enough data and show you exactly what you need to do to appeal to your customer’s subconscious. You really shouldn’t trust your own ideas.
The root of the problem is that your bosses and coworkers don’t understand you’re trying to introduce CRO because it’ll be good for the company. And the reason they don’t understand is because they don’t know how CRO works and how it can increase their profits.
The better you understand where they’re coming from and what they don’t know, the easier it will be for you to educate and convince them. Take into consideration their fears and present CRO in such a way that you don’t scare them into rejecting your ideas because they sound too complex or expensive. Suggest starting small and with simple, inexpensive tweaks (thank you, Google Optimize!) show them how experimentation can help them earn more.
Remember to talk in a language that will resonate with them. This also means you should use data that will have the biggest impact and is the most relevant. Frame the data you get as ROI or profits. No boss will decline your ideas if you can prove they will help them make more money.
Good luck with your CRO activism and let us know if our advice helps!