Conversion Optimization Blog

12-step Conversion Rate Optimization Audit to Identify CO Priorities

This brand new year offers a fresh start for you and your online business. Just like how you list down New Year’s resolutions for your personal goals, you’ll need to revisit existing marketing executions to hit business targets better through a conversion rate optimization (CO) audit.

What is a conversion rate audit?

This specific type of audit is an assessment of your current business strategies and executions that are relevant to your CO metrics.

Through this thorough analysis, you get to weed out low-priority strategies and increase the conversion rate of your executions. These will ensure successful conversions for your website or ecommerce business.

Why is a conversion optimization audit important?

This assessment process should speak for itself: the CO audit is important because it helps you identify top CO priorities that will lead you toward your overall business goals.

You waste no time on non-urgent strategies when you identify those priorities that are in line with your CO targets. This critical assessment process will refresh your brain and guide you toward opportunities that’ll ensure successful ecommerce conversions for your business today.

The conversion audit optimization process

Before we dive into identifying CO priorities, let’s quickly review the overall audit process for general conversion optimization:

  • Identify your conversion rate goals. These specific goals are what happens when visitors complete a specific action on your website or ecommerce platform.
  • Study your target audience. Who are they? What are their demographics? What can you offer them? Study your audiences to see how you can optimize your assets to increase conversions. 
  • Match metrics to business goals. The conversion rate goals and metrics you set should be in line with business goals to achieve your overall objectives.
  • Assess current content and assets. What does and doesn’t work among your content and assets right now? Assess your current situation and create hypotheses that you can run tests for so that you can see how to improve your work.
  • Run your CO tests. This is the point wherein you execute the conversion optimization tests you planned out for a set period.
  • Evaluate, optimize, and do it all over again. Once you have statistically relevant results from your tests, you can use this data to optimize your assets. Then, you repeat this process all over again for a different CO hypothesis.

How do you identify priorities using your CO audit?

Now, let’s move on to the real meat of this handy guide: identifying top priorities according to your CO audit.

Just like how you make New Year’s resolutions based on your priorities, you’ll want to make conversion marketing strategies based on your optimization assessment to effectively leverage your executions. Here is your step-by-step process to achieve those successful conversion opportunities:

  1. Gather and match data to current benchmarks
  2. Identify results that didn’t hit targets
  3. Investigate poor performance
  4. Write down all your observations
  5. Write down your hypotheses
  6. Pick the best hypothesis
  7. Execute the hypothesis as a test
  8. Run an A/B Test to compare performance
  9. Set a new benchmark
  10. Monitor current performance
  11. Determine the “winning” execution
  12. Do it all over again

Ready to hit your CO goals this year? Then let’s dive into these steps to identify your priorities through the all-important audit process.

person presenting targets and audits

Photo courtesy of RODNAE Productions via Pexels

1. Gather and match data to current benchmarks

Just like with any marketing initiative, you’ll want to start your assessment by gathering relevant data and matching your findings to your current business benchmarks.

Existing business benchmarks are starting points for your conversion audit process. By gathering and matching data to existing targets, you can begin to identify what did and didn’t work in your past marketing efforts.

Utilize effective CO tools to aid your data-gathering process. Tools for website analytics and customer research like Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Optimizely can help you gather the intel needed to identify priorities for your upcoming initiatives.

2. Identify results that didn’t hit targets

Once you collect and match the data to your current business benchmarks, you’ll have a clearer picture of the results that did and didn’t hit targets from past marketing initiatives. 

Identifying results that didn’t hit targets is an important best practice for any conversion audit. This step helps you weed out marketing efforts that didn’t work in your conversion optimization process, thus optimizing your CO for better results the next time around.

3. Investigate poor performance

When identifying priorities for your business, don’t just ditch initiatives that didn’t work the first time. To truly understand what happened to your marketing initiative, investigate its poor performance to gain that clearer view of your situation.

Don’t be tempted to skip this step in the evaluation process; further investigation of your past performance is crucial to identifying priorities for your future executions.

For example, let’s say you had no clicks on a website call-to-action (CTA) button. You might be tempted to remove the button entirely, without wondering why users didn’t click in the first place.

Investigate this past performance with tools like heatmaps to see where users landed the most on your site. This will tell you where to situate your button for successful conversions next time.

4. Write down all your observations

In line with the previous step, make sure to write down every single observation you make in your conversion audit process.

For example, if you noticed that no one clicked on your CTA button because it wasn’t visible to users, keep that observation in mind for your next website redesign. All the observations you make in the audit will guide your prioritization process throughout your CO work later on.

5. Write down your hypotheses

Now that you’ve collected all the data that’s relevant to your priorities, you can build workable hypotheses that can help you execute your CO strategy.

Based on the examples from the previous steps, one hypothesis you can try is to change the background color of your CTA button to increase clicks over a certain period. Another hypothesis is to change the location of your button to drive visitor clicks.

Whatever hypotheses you posit, make sure to write them down in preparation for the next steps in this process.

6. Pick the best hypothesis

Remember: your goal is to identify your top execution priorities based on your CO audit. Now that you have several hypotheses in mind, it’s time to pick the one that works best for your business needs.

When picking the best hypothesis, make sure to choose the one that is easiest to do with the least amount of effort on your end. Why? This ensures that you can run several tests on several hypotheses within a limited period. More tests mean more opportunities to identify priorities for your overall goals.

You should also pick a hypothesis that utilizes data sources relevant to your needs. This is so that you can measure variables and results with ease, to know if your hypothesis is effective for your brand.

conversion optimization strategy meeting

Photo courtesy of Mikael Blomkvist via Pexels

7. Execute the hypothesis as a test

Have a hypothesis in mind? Now is the time for you to execute this hypothesis as a test on your website or ecommerce platform. 

Let’s say you chose to change the location of your CTA button to drive more visitor clicks. Run your test for a limited time and record your observations for this hypothesis. These observations will be crucial to your prioritization process over the next few steps.

8. Run an A/B test to compare performance

Once you have your results, it’s time to conduct an A/B test to analyze your newfound data. While there are many types of tests you can use on your hypothesis, the A/B test is still the best and simplest method to identify the results that worked better for you.

There are tons of A/B test tools that you can use to compare your results. Once you analyze your data, you can proceed to set new benchmarks for your upcoming marketing initiatives.

9. Set a new benchmark

With all the information you’ve gathered so far, it’s time for you to set a new benchmark based on your previous performance. Let’s say your old benchmark was 1000 clicks in one month. Now you can set a data-driven benchmark based on the testing you accomplished – like 1200 clicks in one month.

10. Monitor current performance

Have that new benchmark in mind? Then the next thing you’ll need to do is to monitor your current performance with these new benchmarks and executions from your audit process so far.

Your new executions, when planned correctly, will work to highlight the priorities you identified throughout the CO process. For relevant results, make sure to monitor the execution’s performance for two weeks, up to a month. Also, make sure to record all your observations again in preparation for the last few steps.

11. Determine the “winning” execution

Once your monitoring period is done, you’ll be able to determine the “winning” execution – that is, the execution that worked best for your identified priority.

You can determine this winning execution based on how it hit your newly set benchmarks. You can also determine the top execution based on all the data you gathered throughout your CO audit.

12. Do it all over again

Did you hit the goals you wanted to hit for your current hypothesis? If you did, then congratulations! Now it’s time for you to do this process all over again – this time, for a different hypothesis in your conversion optimization audit.

CO can feel like an impossible task sometimes because of its incredibly iterative nature. But remember: when done properly, the conversion optimization process will ultimately benefit you and your business online.

With a well-prioritized CO audit, you can develop executions that’ll help you drive visitor traffic, increase revenue, and ensure more long-term and successful conversions for your business this new year.

person strategizing

Photo courtesy of Mikael Blomkvist via Pexels

Key takeaways

It’s a new year, with a new you that knows how to identify new priorities for your business today. Make the most out of your CO audit when you learn to identify opportunities that drive successful conversions from your newest marketing executions.

Here are three key takeaways that you should remember when identifying priorities based on your conversion audit this year:

  • Audits are essential in life and in CO. Just like your personal New Year’s resolutions, audits help you revisit past initiatives to refresh your goals for your upcoming business executions.
  • Don’t just ditch your past initiatives. You need to analyze the things that did and didn’t work in your past marketing initiatives. All this data is important when it comes to identifying priorities and setting new goals for your business online.
  • Do it all over, again and again. You’ll need to run several tests throughout several periods to gain insights that’ll be relevant to your business success. So make sure to run simple and easy tests, collect as much data as possible, and use these insights to guide your process for prioritization.

There’s no harm in getting expert CO help for your goals this new year. Subscribe to our newsletter for additional advice on your CO initiatives today. 

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