Use experimentation roadmaps for CRO programs

1. Identify parts of your sales funnel that are underperforming. Use a set of metrics to monitor each step of the funnel.

2. Discover under-performing channels within that stage of the sales funnel by monitoring the number of users who progress to the next stage of the funnel for each channel.

You can often find that a single channel or even campaign is reducing your overall conversion rate. For example, do PPC ads encourage more people to progress than social media posts? A website could seem to be under-performing when the real problem was a poorly-targeted ad campaign driving the wrong people to the site. Identify the poor-performing channels and address these first.

3. Narrow down the problem with an under-performing channel through a combination of analytics, heatmaps, and other tools.

For example, Google Analytics can help identify where a user drops out of a checkout process, and then heatmaps and session recorders can help you discover where things are going wrong on the page.

4. Use qualitative testing if you need more insight into the exact problem.

For example, usability testing may help you understand why users abandon their shopping cart in a checkout process.

5. Brainstorm potential improvements that could be made to address the issues discovered.

You may come up with multiple solutions for each issue found. A/B testing is excellent for testing multiple solutions and finding the best. However, if A/B testing is not appropriate, then a series of low-fidelity mockups combined with some simple testing with users will help you identify those with the most potential.

6. Create a backlog of potential improvements, prioritized based on ease of implementation and their potential to improve your metrics.

For example, it is easier to change copy than the flow of pages on a website, which is likely to generate a more significant return for a lower investment. Go for quick wins if you are new to conversion optimization, as this will show the potential to management and get stakeholder buy-in. Start small.

7. Address each item in the backlog and decide whether you can address it through A/B testing or whether it requires more significant changes.

A/B testing tends to work better with minor changes to text or imagery rather than page flow or functionality changes. If you find yourself changing a lot on a page, then A/B testing is probably not the right tool for the job. You will start to impact page performance.

8. If a potential improvement is not suitable for A/B testing, create one or more prototypes and test it with a sample group of users.

For example, if you are making improvements to your checkout, build a mockup in a tool like Figma and run some usability testing. If you don’t have access to Figma or find that a bit intimidating, a tool like Balsamiq can help create low-fidelity mockups you can test.

9. Periodically repeat this entire process to identify new areas for improvement and add these to your backlog.

Remember to prioritize their position in the backlog, rather than simply adding them to the end of the list. Fixing some issues with the website will uncover other problems, so it is essential to review the funnel as often as time and resources allow.