CRO: Why startups should prioritize conversion rate optimization early on

I’m happy enough to have worked for companies that ranged from corporate giants like Uber and Coinbase to smaller startups that ran out of private homes in Silicon Valley. One of the biggest differentiators between these companies was their respective emphasis on conversion rate optimization (CRO).

The initial focus for smaller startups is usually on growth pillars, such as paid acquisition or launching a lifecycle email program. Larger companies, on the other hand, have dedicated teams to manage and implement their CRO efforts, in addition to all their other activities.

It makes a lot of sense to reduce paid acquisition costs when funds are tight. Likewise, launching email marketing campaigns to improve performance through the funnel can be equally important. However, what many startups don’t realize is that CRO can help lower paid acquisition costs and push users down the funnel as much, if not more, than the other pillars.

As a founder, how should you spend more time on CRO and what strategies will best help you establish a CRO position? After reviewing my experiences with what works best, you’ll understand how to better prioritize your time.

Think of CRO as a great addition to all the other items that the growth side rolls out in the early days of a startup.

Examples of KRO

CRO has traditionally been limited to running tests on landing pages, but there are many other areas to test, including app store pages, email campaigns, and retargeting campaigns.

Basically, if you’re testing methods to push more users through your funnel and then improve their conversion rates, you’re running CRO experiments.

For our purposes, I’ll go through the specific CRO tests you can run for your startup’s landing page. Below are some of the largest areas to test:

  • To inform
  • Images/Videos
  • Module additions
  • Module placements

Most startups already test posts on paid acquisition campaigns, but testing on a landing page is another area to experiment with. When I consulted for a product that appeared on “Shark Tank”, we ran dozens and dozens of weekly CRO tests on the website’s onboarding questions to find out which answers gave the users the highest propensity, a very high test rate .

It was quite surprising how much I was able to influence the conversion rate thanks to the repeated testing of different modules, such as testimonials or FAQs, and where they end up appearing on the website. For example, I’ve found that putting testimonials or press logos above the fold and not requiring the user to scroll down to find them has always increased the conversion rate.

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