Set Your Stage for Increased Returns
Many clients have asked “what makes a good conversion optimisation team?” Should they create an internally resourced stand-alone department, pull together a one-off project or be agency led?
There’s an easy answer to this question, don’t sweat the structure, focus on the detail. The structural make-up of the team is less important than the skills mix and methodology used. What is important…?
1. The optimisation process you choose
One of the top four variables most strongly correlated with improved conversion is having a structured approach*.
A structured approach to conversion optimisation ensures you develop a consistent methodology for the gathering and analysis of data required to de-risk design decisions and ensure continuity of concurrent tests.
This means that no matter the size and make-up of your conversion optimisation team, you are all following an approved (by you) approach to optimisation.
The LBi optimisation team follows a cyclical process with five clear steps:
2. The optimisation methods you use
Companies whose conversion rates improved between 2010 and 2011 used on average 26% more methods to improve conversion than companies whose conversion rates didn’t improve*.
The optimisation methods chosen will likely be dictated by the area for analysis e.g. checkout funnel, the skillset of your team (see ‘blend of skills’) or the resource available (see ‘support at exec level’). We highly recommend a diverse mix of skills on the team allowing you to strategically choose the methods most likely for success.
3. The blend of skills in team
It’s very important that the blend of skills in your conversion optimisation team contains a mix of those best able to gather and interpret data from multiple sources and those able to turn these insights into design hypothesis with the ability to communicate these ideas to a delivery team of user experience architects, creative designers and interface developers.
At LBi we have a centralised optimisation team who manage the optimisation process and are able to share key learning both internally and externally. This means that for smaller projects we can carry out all conversion optimisation activities from start to finish and for larger projects we’ll lead a blended project team to draw on individual expertise from each discipline, fostering innovation and new learning.
4. The strategic input and insight gained
A process that supports the gathering, analysis, research, design, testing and learning of lessons from your chosen optimisation methods will ensure that your organisation can:
- Gain insight into what is happening on site, and by whom
- Interpret why this may be happening
This will allow you to design and develop solutions for conversion and performance that can be tested. Every test you carry out will increase your understanding of what does and doesn’t work for your specific audience segments.
5. Support at executive level
To achieve the level of co-ordination required in blending the right skills, or the budget to hire them requires support at executive level.
To gain executive support you must be able to show a return on the investment required to build your team. The good news is that conversion optimisation makes perfect financial sense – by increasing conversion rates you are turning more of the traffic you acquire into paying customers so you can maximise returns from your marketing activity helping you advertise more profitably. An increase in profit can allow you to advertise in other media – or contribute to funding your own internal optimisation team.
With one or two successful projects or experiments under your belt you can justify the activity required to deliver a continuous program of on-going performance improvements for your site. This can be achieved with simple internal trials or by gaining the support of an experienced external conversion team.
*EConsultancy Conversion Rate Optimisation Report 2011