Conversion Rate Optimization for the Enterprise


By Chris Goward
President & CEO, WiderFunnel

It takes more than just good test ideas to get the best results in an enterprise-level company.

  • How do you implement a conversion optimization strategy for a website that has over 17 thousand pages, plus landing pages and campaign microsites?
  • How do you make sure your website experiences are maximizing conversion rates and that the learning is applied across the organization?

You need good planning and great execution. The conversion rate optimization strategy must be closely meshed with tests designed to maximize marketing insights. Individual tests should feed learning back into an evolving understanding of your customers.

In short: you need a continuous improvement system.


Enterprise Challenges

But, in a large organization, the marketing manager or director isn’t able to “just start testing.” There are unique challenges. If you work in a large company, you may recognize some of these:

  • Delegated goals – Are your growth targets set by others?
  • Advocacy support – Do you sometimes need third-party credibility to help sell ideas?
  • Competing priorities for resources –Do you have hiring constraints and are unable to build a full cross-functional CRO team?
  • Diverse responsibilities –Are you responsible for social media, SEO, CRO, Infographics, etc.?
  • Complex campaign coordination – Do you have to oversee all aspects of multi-channel campaigns?
  • Multiple agencies & partnerships –Do you need to manage many agencies and suppliers?
  • Knowledge dissemination –Do you have challenges distributing marketing insights and priorities throughout the organization?
  • Culture shift –Do you have to educate your organization to move them from opinion-marketing to data-driven marketing?
  • Need to build expertise – Do you want to “learn to fish” to build your team’s CRO expertise?

You’re not alone!


An Enterprise Example

Let’s take a look at the example of Iron Mountain, where WiderFunnel has a three-year history of running a conversion optimization testing program.

Iron Mountain was driving expensive traffic to their landing pages and website and knew their conversion rates needed to be improved. Many of the designs had been created by their landing page management software and didn’t perform as well as hoped.

WiderFunnel’s strategists formed a comprehensive conversion optimization strategy, called the Kaizen Plan™, and ran a series of dramatic A/B/n tests that propelled conversion rates for Iron Mountain. We worked with their teams to involve all stakeholders in the planning and to disseminate test results throughout the organization and to other external suppliers.

In fact, I happened to bump into another search marketing company at a conference recently that was also an Iron Mountain supplier. He knew all about WiderFunnel’s tests and raved about how the results had benefited the company. I hadn’t met him before, but good news travels fast!

The Kaizen Plan was the starting point. It prioritized where to focus and mapped out how the results from each test could be multiplied by transferring learning to other product groups. It gave a truly global perspective on all of Iron Mountain’s website conversion paths.

As an ongoing retainer client, WiderFunnel’s strategists kept the plan updated with regular refreshes from web analytics data and heuristic reviews to keep an eye on the most important improvement opportunities.


The Results

Our tests started with a 45% lift in the first test, then a 404% boost (!), then another 44%, then an additional 38%, followed by a 49% conversion rate increase. And, that was just the beginning.

The best result for me was when a sales manager walked down the hall to ask our marketing client what he’d done to increase the lead flow into the sales team. That’s a great feeling!

You can get results like this too.

The secret to making big improvements is the structured process wedeveloped to create powerful test hypotheses.

One of the tools we use is called the LIFT Model conversion optimization frameworkto construct task-based hypotheses. The LIFT Model shows the six conversion factors that are impacting your conversion rates right now.

Here’s an example of some of the LIFT points we identified for one of Iron Mountain’s landing pages, for example.


We can then take those problem areas and test to find the best ways to eliminate them.

Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths

The LIFT points are used to turn an online experience’s weaknesses in hypotheses to improve your conversion rate. Another word for the “strength” in this case is a hypothesis.


A good hypothesis needs to follow a certain structure that says “Changing x into y will do z.” So, potential hypotheses in this example would look like this:

  • If we reduce emphasis on the privacy policy more people will complete the form.
  • If we add a review of our service more people will complete the form.
  • If we change the header graphic to an illustration of backing-up data more people will complete the form.

Each of these hypotheses has a clear means for testing, a recognizable goal, and is possibly false.

We ran through this process for every page in priority order to maximize the Return on Effort for Iron Mountain.

While a lot of people will be confused into thinking the raw number of tests you run is very important, much more important is the efficacy of each test and the overall results. A single, high-impact test can be much more valuable to the organization than a dozen tweaks or non-performing tests.

How do you apply this to your website?

When you look at the experience you are trying to improve, list out the six LIFT factors and find at least one change to improve each factor.

  • Establish Value Proposition
  • Create Urgency
  • Increase Clarity
  • Increase Relevance
  • Reduce Distraction
  • Reduce Anxiety

Look at your LIFT points and create a hypothesis like: If I changex into y my prospects will do z.

Now that you have a clear testable hypothesis you are ready to begin your test. You can use whatever tool you are comfortable with (e.g. Optimizely, Adobe Test & Target, Monetate, etc.) to run the test, and because you have created a valid hypothesis you will have an insight for your marketing, not just a completed test.


Want to learn more?

Come to my session at Conversion Conference Chicago where I’ll be sharing some of my top CRO tips! You should also sign up for the WiderFunnel conversion rate optimization blog for ongoing insights.

About the Author


 Chris Goward was one of the first people to look at online content and say: “We should test that!” From that revelation he founded WiderFunnel—the marketing optimization agency that pioneered conversion rate optimization methods for companies such as Google, Electronic Arts, SAP, ShutterflySalesforceand He is the brains behind the LIFT and Kaizen™ methods and speaks at conferences and seminars around the world to evangelize how marketers should test their marketing to get more leads, sales and profit. Chris is author of the new conversion optimization book, “You Should Test That!” published by Wiley Sybex.

See Chris Live!

Chris is presenting “Conversion Optimization Tips from the Testing Sensei” at Conversion Conference Chicago 2013, June 11-13. See the session description and register today! 

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