Whether your role centers around digital marketing, sales, product development or something else entirely–you can become a conversion rate optimization (CRO) expert.
If your work impacts the customer at one or more points in the conversion funnel, you likely care whether the website is operating at full efficiency. Today, we’re going to highlight several roles that can become CRO experts and show you how to do it yourself–if you’re up to the challenge.
What is a CRO expert?
A CRO expert is someone who studies website visitor behavior to create a better website and increase conversions.
It’s really that simple.
CRO can be a massive inter-departmental effort or it can be something that only happens when you have extra time. Either way, the focus is on giving people on your website a better user experience. And because there’s such variability in how companies handle this optimization, there’s a wide array of job roles that can take the lead.
10 job roles that can be CRO experts
What follows is a breakdown of different role types that may have an interest in conversion optimization and the angle they should take to become the expert on their team.
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(Salesperson, Sales Manager, Customer Support agent)
If you depend on your website and the online sales funnel for leads, you might want to become a CRO expert.
For the salesperson or manager, becoming intimately familiar with which content on a website your leads are reading (and not reading) can help you deliver better sales messaging. Even if you’re not the person doing the research, you may end up benefiting from the analysis in a workflow like the one detailed below.
And while you may not have the keys to update the website or change marketing tactics yourself, you can provide real evidence that leads or a part of your target audience could be better served by a different feature or content block. You may also wish to follow a login or price quoting process to ensure your leads are having a great experience.
Here’s one example where the CRO analyst shares information with a sales team leading to improved clarity in their next call or refinement of their email marketing.
If you’re in customer support constantly fielding questions about the website, you can benefit from something that lets you look behind the scenes. With a tool like session recordings or live view, you can even watch as a specific person navigates around the website.
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(UX designer, Developer, Product Manager)
This is one area where CRO responsibilities often fall in a company. Usually, a front-end developer or a UX designer will be on the website every day working to increase the overall conversion rate through testing and analysis.
A general developer should also have access to CRO tools if they’re doing work that impacts website layout, performance, features or really anything else that may change the visitor experience.
For example, they may want to know if the changes they’ve made to a category page for products or services are rendering properly on a mobile browser. Dynamic heatmaps, shown below, can give them a quick glance to confirm everything is working properly and even help them identify high-impact content blocks.
(Content marketer, Marketing analyst, Brand manager)
As a marketer, the benefits of an optimized website are clear. From key messaging to content length and media types or web form performance–you need to know that the hard-earned organic or pay-per-click traffic visiting your website is getting a great customer experience.
What’s important here is balancing the relationship between marketing and whoever has the keys to your website. Developing a great rapport will allow insights to become action in a sustainable way.
For example, if you see that a product is overwhelmingly popular during a marketing campaign, you may want to talk to your developers about adding a featured product block on the home page. In this Dynamic Heatmap, we can see that the top left product listed is getting the most attention. Before making major changes you must dive deeper to confirm this product is actually performing well, but the heatmap sets you on the right track.
As the top person at an organization, your time is split between a variety of high-impact activities. Because of this, any time spent with CRO tools needs to be efficient and focused. It’s all about getting a quick glimpse into what’s happening so you’re more well-informed when you go to make other decisions.
While you may not regularly have time to watch a cluster of Session Recordings, looking at heatmaps for key pages on a weekly basis will help you check-in on visitor behavior at a high level. Whether you have someone to hand your findings off to will determine what happens next.
If you’re a solopreneur and have to take action yourself, consider formalizing your optimization process to keep it from getting thrown to the back burner–which is VERY easy to do.
Here’s what this might look like in practice:
Consistently improve the website user experience
- Evaluate dynamic heatmaps for the home page, the top two product pages and the bottom two product pages every other week
- Push one A/B test live per month based on findings
- Make notes of A/B test results in a rolling document
- Push one visitor poll live per month asking about product preferences or website usability
How to incorporate CRO practices into your job role
So, how do you go about incorporating CRO practices into your role, regardless of what you do?
CRO success is all about workflows and communication. Workflows that seamlessly fold CRO activity into your day-to-day work and communication that empowers you to take action when you find a noteworthy insight.
There are generally two ways to start handling CRO responsibilities–proactive and reactive. With reactive CRO, you identify an issue with a business metric or trend and try to figure out how the website impacts what you’re seeing. On the proactive side of things, you use CRO tools to find opportunities for optimization or to spot potential issues before they impact key metrics. Which of these makes sense largely depends on your role and the rest of your day-to-day activities.
We recommend starting small.
Make it a goal to look at heatmaps weekly or to find a key session recording to watch a few times each week. If most of your day is spent bouncing between search engine optimization, Google Analytics and blog writing, consider blocking two hours a week to jump into your CRO toolkit. Once you start learning more about your website visitors and your approach to related projects is refined, you’ll keep coming back for more.
From a communication standpoint, it’s all about making your new information useful for others. Packaging up screenshots of heatmaps with descriptions of what you’re seeing can oftentimes be enough. Depending on who you’re handing things to, you may or may not want to include your recommended action.
Sometimes, it’s quite powerful to simply surface an insight for someone and let them add their expertise to the picture before making an optimization decision.
For example, if you’re a developer sharing heatmaps with a marketing director, you might say:
“In the Dynamic Heatmap shared below, the effective fold is just above our “find the perfect pair” block. I know you’re paying to promote this on social media, so would it make sense to move this block up the page to increase visibility?”
A note on job responsibilities
When it comes to taking on new responsibilities like CRO, lines need to be drawn. If you expect work that results in tangible improvements to your website’s performance, adding formality and definition around CRO responsibilities is huge. Give someone ownership of your CRO tools, hold them responsible for regular updates and hand them the keys to A/B testing or customer research if it makes sense.
This doesn’t mean your CRO expert gets to (or should get to) make unilateral changes to the website–but it does mean they’re a go-to person when there are questions about customer behavior on the website.
And if you’re not ready for one person to handle this level of work, breaking it into more than one person is okay — just be prepared to draw lines for responsibilities somewhere. Doing this will help people understand that while your culture is one that supports proactive optimization, there is a formal process for ideas to get tested and for identifying issues throughout the conversion funnel.