At the end of 2014, digital marketers put conversion rate optimization on the top of their priority list.
That’s right, ahead of content marketing, mobile marketing, and search engine optimization, marketers listed “driving increased conversion rates” as the number one priority.
And why wouldn’t we? For the same traffic, we get more revenue. It makes sense.
So as marketers, how are we doing?
According to the TrustRadius survey on Conversion Rate Optimization, 72 percent have implemented some CRO processes while only 18 percent consider conversion optimization as a part of their DNA, which is a bit like saying you do content marketing, when in reality you only blog once per month.
OK, but how are we approaching testing and optimization? Surely we’re doing this better, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not good news either, as 63 percent of marketers optimize websites based on intuition and best practices.
Ugghh! If you have ever wondered why conversion optimization isn’t working for your business, there is your answer. You are optimizing your website based on things you have heard or read.
How Can I Get Started with Conversion Rate Optimization?
You need to invest in a great set of tools, and through these tools you will have the data you need to optimize your website.
The data is important because it will help you understand how people engage with your website and how they perceive your brand. And to do this, you need to conduct research,and then test improvements. Once your tests are statistically significant, you can then implement the changes to your website.
It’s a clear framework: Research your visitors, test your changes, and then implement the winning results.
You can’t expect to understand and convert your web visitors without the right set of tools. A handyman doesn’t turn up without his toolbox, does he?
But conversion rate optimization tools are expensive, right?
Although the TrustRadius report shows that 58 percent of marketers spend more than $10,000 on digital analytics tools for conversion rate optimization, the conversion rate optimization tools listed below are free (at least to begin with). At this price, there are no excuses for doing CRO the wrong way.
Below is a list of 14 conversion rate optimization tools to help you succeed.
Why you need these tools: To perform quantitative research, which provides you with the numbers and hard data about where things are going wrong on your website (exit rates, bounce rates, shopping cart abandonment, etc).
Google Analytics allows you to track website behavior and reports on visitors, engagement, traffic sources, content, and e-commerce sales. Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics platform on the market and can help you identify your most profitable marketing channels.
CrazyEgg offers a range of tools, but the best tool to optimize your website is the heat map. The heat map allows you to see where visitors click on your website. This lets you identify pain points on a page that show where visitors are clicking and where they are not clicking.
Cost: Free 30 day trial
Clicktale Analytics now comes in a freemium package that tracks up to 5,000 recordings per month. Clicktale records website visitors but will hide any sensitive information for user privacy. You can watch website visitors take action on your website and understand how they use the site, or what issues they run into when navigating.
Cost: Free up to 5,000 visitors
Mixpanel is an advanced analytics platform for mobile and web. While Google Analytics measures pageviews, Mixpanel helps you analyze visitors’ actions and optimize funnels. For example, an action can be uploading a picture, watching a video, or sharing a blog post. This platform allows you to understand exactly how people interact with any web page and how they navigate through your site.
Cost: Free for up to 25,000 data points
Formisimo is an advanced form analytics tool that records how a user interacts with a web form and checkout fields. Formisimo records how users engage with the form, the fields they do not complete, and when they use autocomplete versus manually entering their information. This information helps you eliminate fields that cause friction.
Cost: Free 14 day free trial
Why you need these tools: To perform qualitative research, which provides you with insights into the “why”: Why customers complete a purchase or more importantly – why visitors do not buy your product or service?
Peek (by Usertesting.com)
Launched earlier this year, Peek provides you with a free five-minute usability test. You simply enter your website URL, and the test participants will review your website. Having a tester browse your website and complete “simple” actions will unlock plenty of hidden usability issues that you can work on to improve the user experience and boost conversion rates.
The i-Perceptions has been endorsed by Google Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, and it’s a pop up that asks three simple questions to website visitors. The three questions include:
- “How would you rate your site experience?”
- “What describes the primary purpose of visit?”
- “Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit today?”
You can use the feedback to understand how people engage with your website and find opportunities for improvement.
Collecting customer feedback is essential to understanding what turns a website visitor into a customer. Survey Monkey allows you to ask up to 10 questions and collect up to 100 responses for free, which means you can ask questions such as:
- What made you buy [product]?
- What’s the best thing you like about [service]?
- How would you describe [brand] to your friends?
Answers to these questions will give you great insight into how your customers view your brand.
Cost: Free for up to 100 responses
Cross Browser Testing
Cross Browser Testing allows you to view your website in real-time through a wide range of browsers and operating systems. This tool helps you to identify why some browsers convert better than others.
For example, if you find that the latest version of Chrome converts better than IE9, then you might want to look at how IE9 is being displayed to your visitors. Using the Cross Browser Testing tool, you can see exactly how it is displayed and what you need to fix.
Cost: Free trial for 60 minutes
Why you need these tools: To experiment and test your hypothesis, which is based on the quantitative and qualitative research (Congrats! You’re now testing based on historical data and no longer testing based on best practices).
VWO (Visual Website Optimizer)
VWO (which I do have an affiliation with) offers split testing for as little as $49 per month, but the free trial allows you to test for up to 30 days for 1,000 visits. You can edit, modify, and remove elements on your web pages through the VWO editor; and you can test images, copy, design, and web-forms. At the end of your tests, you can see which test won and then implement the changes directly onto your website.
Cost: Free for up to 1,000 visitors
Fivesecondtest allows you to ask for community feedback on new landing page designs, without having to change any elements on your website. Your new design will be displayed for five seconds and then a series of questions are asked to the user. Feedback comes in the form of answers and a word cloud, to identify the most prominent elements that the user remembers.
Cost: Free for 20 responses
Unbounce is an easy-to-use landing page platform that allows anyone to build great landing pages without the need for a designer or IT. You can create landing pages from scratch or choose one of the many landing page templates. You can use Unbounce to create landing pages for your paid search campaigns or to quickly test out new web page designs.
Cost: Free trial
Why you need these tools: To growth hack your way to a better conversion rate. Be aggressive in what you want your web visitors to do, and at the very least get that email address from your visitor.
Screenpopper helps you convert more users through a pop-up appearing on top of a web page, with the goal of promoting a single call-to-action. The benefit is you get the visitors immediate attention, which can be used to for conversion purposes. If your goal is to get more newsletter sign ups, you can use the pop-up to offer an incentive in exchange for an email address.
Cost: Free 14 day trial
Hellobar is an optimization tool, which displays a visible bar that sits at the top of a web page to draw the web visitors’ attention. Hellobar acts as a primary website call-to-action. You can include Hellobar on one page, several pages, or across your entire website. For example, if you are launching a new eBook, you use Hellobar to include a simple message to promote it.
These conversion rate optimization tools are easy to implement and mostly require a single line of code that you or your developer can insert into the header of your website.
And while some of the tools listed above are free for the basic packages, they do come with limitations. However, even with the limitations, you will still be able to collect mountains of data to help you grow your conversion rate.
At no cost, there are no more excuses. You could double or triple your conversion rates for free!
I know I haven’t been able to include them all. What are some of your favorite conversion rate optimization tools? How many of these tools do you use?
By Steven Macdonald SEO Tips.