The Definitive List of Tools You Need for Conversion Rate Optimization

Apr 29, 2022 | TIPS & TOOLS, PODCAST

In this episode, we break down all the tools you need for a successful conversion rate optimization program for your business. We cover everything from strategic planning, to testing and even landing page development.

This is the third episode in our series about CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization). If you’re new to CRO or would like a refresher on the basics of CRO, we encourage you to listen to our previous two episodes.

This week, we are really peeling back the curtain and giving you insight into the strategies and tools that we use and implement EVERY SINGLE day for our clients.

 

Listen In to Hear About:

  • How to go from start to finish with your CRO strategy:
    – Strategy
    – Testing
    – Development
    – Measuring results
  • Tools we recommend for:
    – Strategic Planning
    – Testing Calendars
    – Analytics Platforms
    – On-site Behavior
    – AB Testing
    – Landing Page Development
    – User Centered Design
    – Website Speed
    – CDP & Data Flows
    – Shopify

Listen to the Full Episode

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The Definitive List of Tools You Need for Conversion Rate Optimization

What do these types of companies have in common? B2B, B2C, SaaS, service oriented, and ecommerce? They can all benefit from a CRO strategy to scale their business’ success. We have clients in all these industries and with our real-life applications and research on hundreds of platforms, we have come up with a The Definitive List of Tools Your Need for Conversion Rate Optimization.

We cover everything from Strategic Planning to Landing Page Development, Testing, Heat Maps, everything in between, and even more! 

Strategic planning

We’ve got three pieces of strategic planning documents that we would recommend for every business, one being a data strategy in place, documented, and shareable across your organization. We do have a great template available, which is available for download on our website, or you can opt-in to our email list and we’ll send that your way. So number one is to have a data strategy in place. Number two is to have a framework for landing page success and Number three is to have a strong CRO testing calendar. We have templates for all three of these that are available on our website.

Testing calendar

The first step in implementing a testing program is making observations about how you’re currently performing. You want to analyze your data, and your marketing funnel and get a sense of what’s working and what’s not, make observations about where you can stand to improve. And then from there, you’re going to create some hypotheses, maybe you need testimonials on your website or change the button colors so they stand out more. These are all hypotheses that are worth testing. Next, you’ll need to test your KPIs, so defining exactly what will be your metric of success for the tests that you implement. And then you would want to analyze and implement the results. We’ll get into specific tools for implementation later.

  • Observations about what you need to test
  • Hypothesis about what will improve CRO
  • KPI how you will define and measure success
  • Results (statistically significant results)
Analytics Platforms

Thinking about what kind of analytics platform you should be using for your CRO program, you have some options. We’re not listing all of the options here, obviously, that list would be pretty long. But these are the top tools that we generally tend to recommend for websites and mobile apps.

In terms of analytics for websites, the most popular one is going to be the free version of Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Amplitude and Indicative.

These are all platforms that allow you to do a bit more advanced audience segmentation, and are generally good to use when you have a product that allows people to create a user profile. Meaning, you can have more internal events and complex flows that are occurring that can then be segmented to different audience channels.

  • Google Analytics/Firebase
  • Mixpanel
  • Amplitude
  • Indicative
On site behavior

On-site behavior tools, like user recordings and heat mapping, basically aggregate the behavior of mouse activity, click activity on your website, so you can get a sense of how users are behaving and lifetime.

Our favorite tools for this function are Hotjar, and also a tool called Mouseflow.

These tools generally have features such as heat maps, where they will break down the various activities on your website on various pages and give you a sense of how far down page users are scrolling, for example. That type of data can inform how long to make your pages.

  • Hotjar/Mouseflow for:
    • Heatmaps
    • User recordings
    • Marketing funnel analytics
    • Surveys
  • Mobile apps: UX Cam
AB Testing

When it comes to AB testing, you have to approach it in a little bit of a different way, when you’re working with websites versus apps. With the nature of apps, you have to submit your application to the app store, whether it’s iOS or an Android. It makes it a little bit more complicated to set up an AB testing platform, you have to be strategic about the way you code the app at the beginning of your project to make sure that you’re able to do these experiments without having to resubmit every time you change something to the App Store.

Firebase is the tool that we recommend to do that. The trick here is you just have to code it in a way where you can identify a particular component within your mobile application with a particular ID, and then set it up so that it’s easy for you to just change that file structure or that text structure in and out inside of the code without resubmitting everything.

In terms of websites, you can also do some of these things with VWO, and a couple of the other AB testing forms on mobile.

Google Optimize is a free tool, but it’s not our favorite tool. If you don’t have the resources to buy one of these fancier products, that’s a great tool to get started on.

Our regular go-to’s for website experimentation, or VWO, Convert, and Optimizely. They’re cool. They allow you to go in and reengineer the page, you can add your HTML and CSS, and even JavaScript.

  • Google Optimize 
  • VWO
  • Convert
  • Optimizely
  • Firebase
Landing Page Development

Let’s pivot and talk about landing page development. There are many different cases in which you might create a landing page completely outside of the environment of your primary tools, for example, ads or that type of thing. Sometimes your marketing team is completely outside of the web development team, they need something leaner or there are various use cases. But we have found some of our favorite landing page builders over time.

We have four on this list.

The first one is Instapage, which is a lean and wonderful product, very easy to replicate pages quickly and keep them organized. They have a lot of really great integrations with the ads platforms. And it’s just like a very simple drag and drop builder, really beautiful UI. We enjoy using that tool a lot.

Another front runner that many people have probably heard of is ClickFunnels, they have mastered a lot of different marketing functions in terms of marketing funnels, and CRO technologies. They’ve got a pretty wonderful system when it comes to breaking up each step of your marketing funnel. And if you don’t have an in-house web development team, if you’re bootstrapping it as an entrepreneur, it’s not the worst tool to go with in terms of building out every component of your website, if that’s all you have then ClickFunnel is a pretty great way to go.

Another great landing page tool is HubSpot, which integrates with their full CRM solution, you could do ongoing customer retention, email marketing, and all that good stuff, they’re awesome to use. The only thing I would say is that you have to be mindful of the pricing because after some time, the pricing scales pretty quickly, so you have to just be aware of that. But their tools are sophisticated, and we like them a lot. And one of our favorite tools that we love to use, not necessarily for AB testing, because we do have the resources for accessing tools like VWO and Convert, but if you are trying to make a landing page, and you have a WordPress website, our favorite theme that we use is called Divi, by Elegant Themes.

And their theme itself has some pretty basic AB testing capabilities, if you’re trying to implement basic AB tests on headline or hero images and that kind of thing, their tools are sophisticated.

  • Instapage
  • Clickfunnels
  • Hubspot
  • Divi built in AB testing
User Testing (user centered design)

Once you have a new landing page design you want to experiment with and if you have the resources and the time, we recommend using a tool like usertesting.com. This tool allows you to have real people going on to your application, using the page, testing the experiment, and it’s done with the video, so they’ll do eye-tracking. You’ll be able to see their facial expression when they get confused. That’s the catch-all way to be able to understand whether something is working or whether it’s not. This is also a methodology that we recommend when you’re developing a new brand or a complete rebuild.

User Testing (usertesting.com)

Website Speed

If your pages are not loading quickly, it’s going to negatively impact your user experience and your SEO score, so you’re not going to have as good a ranking as you could if your page is loading quickly. The three tools that we usually use to test page speed are Google Page Speed Insights, GT Metrix, and Pingdom. And one thing to keep in mind here is to remember that Google is indexing in a mobile-first process. When you’re doing this test, I’d recommend testing mobile primarily. You can still optimize for the web page, but mobile is the most important score here, so keep that in mind.

  • Google Page Speed Insights
  • GT Metrix
  • Pingdom
Shopify

Shopify has some really specific plugins that we love, one of them being Elevar. Elevar has proven to be a wonderful analytics tool for us to use and is built for Shopify customers specifically to implement what’s called enhanced ecommerce tracking in your Google Analytics account. Before Elevar, it was almost impossible to be able to do more sophisticated goal tracking, and do things outside of the box, because you have to use a combination of the Shopify tracking, and the third-party system simultaneously. We’re very, very excited to discover this tool.

We have found another great Shopify plugin, called Shogun, and it’s a drag and drop builder. It does allow for a lot more flexibility around the design and the layout of a page. That’s been a pretty great tool for us if you’re restricted in that way by your Shopify theme.

  • Elevar for Enhanced Ecomm
  • Shogun for page testing
CDP & Data Flows Design

CDP stands for Customer Data Platform. There are a few tools here that are the basic tools that you need for forming a CDP, which could be the backbone of your CRO strategy from a data perspective. One of them is Segment, which is a data pipelining tool, so this is the kind of tool that you would use to connect to your application and send data to all the different outside applications that you’re using within your CDP. It might be a data dashboard, it might be another third-party analysis tool, and then into your data warehouse for permanent storage. Those data flows can go back and forth and you can also modify and slice and dice the data inside of it.

Zapier, another data flow tool, does a similar thing. We have a bunch of APIs built into it. But there are APIs that are more specific from application to application, not necessarily.

The two data warehouses that we recommend are Google and Amazon. For Google, it’s going to be Google BigQuery. For Amazon, it’s going to be Amazon Redshift. And then the last tool that we’d like to recommend is a tool for building your custom API integrations. For instance, where you can’t use a pre-existing connector, because they don’t have those APIs built into it, Postman is a great industry standard that allows you to build out the infrastructure and APIs in a secure way. And then also to be able to share that documentation with partnering organizations in a professional way, which makes it easy for them to access and utilize.

  • Segment – data pipelines
  • Zapier
  • Google Big Query
  • Amazon Redshift
  • Postman – For building custom APIs

Check back next week for our next installation on our CRO topic on Conversion Path!

 

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We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post

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Post Contributors

Jaclyn Hawtin

Jaclyn Hawtin

Senior Data Architect

Over a decade of experience in product management, devops, startups, and agile methodologies. Track record of simplifying complex technical processes for cross-functional teams. Proficient in user centered design, UX, IX, UI, IA, user research and data analytics for responsive web, mobile and tablet applications. Incredibly adaptable, fluent with both people and machines.

Mani O'Brien

Mani O'Brien

Conversion optimization manager

Mani is a senior marketing manager with roots in storytelling. She nerds out on everything data, technology, human behavior and design. Chat with her about UX/UI, marketing funnels, conversion and goal tracking, marketing experimentation and astrology (she’s a Virgo Sun, Aries Rising).

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