Today, marketing is all about numbers. Big data, small data, analytics. Maybe we love numbers because they help us visualize our efforts. Maybe we love them because we can measure our results. Maybe the numbers make us feel safe when customer opinion and brand reputation are impossible to quantify. It’s easy to forget that qualitative data is just as important as quantitative data. Sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole story. And in a world where the consumer has the power to post their honest opinions online for the world to see, you better make sure you are valuing user experience (UX) just as much as the numerical data.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the key to balancing both outstanding UX and utilizing analytics in your favor. CRO is a strategy that involves analyzing and altering a business’s website in order to convert existing traffic into leads or sales. CRO can be analyzed through software. Its popular functions include A/B testing, multivariate testing, heat mapping, mobile analytics, concept testing and surveys — just to name a few. It can be used in conjunction with paid advertising, but it’s just as effective when used alone (and cheaper too!)

To be successful at CRO means you need to know more than just the number-crunching. Remember: customer experience is what defines your company. Always consider your customer’s needs when strategizing CRO. Your reputation lies heavily in the hands of your customers, not just the content or advertising you produce. Focus equally on your company’s reputation and the actual conversions when performing CRO. You can do this by prioritizing UX.

Providing superior UX requires performing consistent and detailed optimization. Look at every inch of your website. Even the smallest change, such as switching the header font, can increase conversion rates significantly. Not only will your research help increase conversions, but also help gain user trust and loyalty. Here are some tips on improving CRO efforts while focusing on UX.

Big DataDon’t listen to your gut

Going against popular belief, here. But when it comes to CRO, “going with your gut” will get you nowhere. This cliché is dangerous advice; it keeps you locked in to the same, outdated habits you’re accustomed to. Numbers don’t lie. If you are starry-eyed over your web design but the data tells you the customers don’t agree, listen to the data. The beauty of CRO is that you use what you already have. No need to create a new website, just make a few edits and you’ll instantly see results. Go into it with an open mind and let CRO show you what efforts to ditch and what efforts are worth your time.

CopyBe the user

Let’s face it, you spend more time on your company’s website than any user. Your site’s flaws are masked by your familiarity. Take a step back and browse the site as if it were your first time. Be honest and recognize where your website becomes confusing or difficult. Is purchasing your product a time-consuming process or does it only require a few steps? Is it easy to find your contact page? Or will the user be squinting at the screen to find your company’s phone number? A fresh perspective is sometimes all it takes to maximize CRO.

Improve your conversion funnelExpand

A conversion funnel, also referred to as a sales funnel, is the series of steps a user takes which results in sales or leads. Let’s say a user wants to buy a bike. Every step she takes-from searching for a bike on Google all the way to purchasing a bike on your website-is the conversion funnel. A conversion doesn’t have to be an online purchase; it can be receiving a customer phone call, obtaining a customer’s email address, and so on. But no matter the conversion, giving the user the right information at the right time is crucial to creating an effective conversion funnel. Reduce obstacles on your website to implement the smoothest conversion funnel possible.

Web OptimizationUse your words

Seriously, use them. Few tactics for improving UX are as effective as talking to the customers directly. Contact your most loyal and frequent customers. Not only can they tell you what you’ve been doing right, but they are the ones truly experiencing the changes you implement. Customers will be the first to encounter any mishaps on your website. Plus, asking for their input makes them feel important and boosts brand loyalty. It’s a win-win situation.

The user and their experience should remain your top priority when executing CRO efforts. While the software does most of the data analytics for you, it’s your job to execute CRO so it heightens the user experience. When CRO and UX are strategized hand-in-hand, the outcome can only be positive. Exceptional UX and extensive CRO will result in a unique, celebrated customer experience and a significant increase in conversions.