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Conversion Rate Optimisation for SMEs post Google Optimize

Date: 21/08/2023

Stuart Watkins


Conversion Rate Optimisation for SMEs is often overlooked compared to high-volume e-commerce websites. However, you can get significant results even on websites with lower volumes by iteratively improving your landing pages and forms.

We’re talking more leads or sales for the same amount of traffic. Who wouldn’t want that? Websites are dynamic platforms and should be built to adapt to market and usage changes and developed over time.

We always recommend clients start with minimal viable product (MVP) sites and learn from their users. A wealth of data and tools is available to help guide this process. Here’s how we approach CRO for SMBs

CRO Process

Initial business research

Ideally, this should be a workshop, but we will create a question sheet on smaller questions to gather the information needed from the key business stakeholders.

We will ask our clients about the following:

  • Overall business goals
  • Personas/User roles
  • Target markets
  • Competitors
  • Unique Selling Points (USPs)
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • KPIs

This initial research helps us focus on guiding the right type of visitor to the best outcomes for the business or organisation.

GA Health-check

Next, we must ensure that GA4 is set up correctly with the correct tracking codes (events, custom dimensions, filters, libraries etc). 

Once GA is set up correctly, allowing at least two weeks is important to ensure sufficient and quality data is coming through.

Heuristic Analysis

Initially, we will conduct our first wave of analysis based on the best practices and experience of conducting a/b tests and experiments on hundreds of websites for the last 25 years. 

We will often return to this following our dive into the data.

The Value of Hotjar for Qualitative Research

In digital analytics and user experience optimisation, Hotjar stands out as a beacon for qualitative research. 

Unlike traditional analytics tools that offer volumes of quantitative data — like page views or bounce rates — Hotjar delves deeper into the human side of user interactions. Hotjar provides invaluable insights into how real users navigate, interact with, and feel about a website through features like heatmaps, session recordings, and on-site surveys. 

Conversion Rate Optimisation  for SMEs

Such granular observations illuminate potential pain points, barriers, and moments of delight in a user’s journey. 

While quantitative tools tell you what is happening on your site, Hotjar gives you the why behind those actions, making it an indispensable tool for businesses seeking a holistic understanding of their audience’s behaviours and preferences.

Whilst there is a free version, we recommend using the Business plan for a month to provide a good data pool. You can view pricing here.

Once we have a good pool of data, we can then analyse:

  • how visitors are currently using the website
  • click and scrolls maps to find where users click and how much content they consume
  • user feedback (we can implement polls and surveys to get any insights about your target audience)
  • Form analytics so we can determine how people fill in fields and which fields significantly decrease conversion rate.

Quantitive Analysis: using Google Analytics data.  

Here we can dig into:

  • Analysis of paid traffic to find the most effective and ineffective campaigns, keywords, ads groups, time of showing ads, etc. 
  • Deep technical analysis of website performance: Page speed, by Operating platforms, screen resolutions 
  • Landing Pages analysis (Conversion rate, Bounce rate, Relevance of the content of the LP to the ads)
  • Funnel analysis, Enhanced Ecommerce Shopping Report / Checkout Report analysis 
  • Correlation analysis using segments (To find segments of users with the highest conversion rate and suggestions on how to increase the number of such users)
  • Other deep analyses related to business

Using the research data, we can suggest ways the content and UX can change to reduce friction and increase conversions. In an ideal world, these would be A/B tested before going live. 

What to do after Sunset: Five Alternatives to Google Optimize

There are several commercial alternatives to Optimize, some with free trials and some with free but limited plans (VWO for instance). 

Optimizely is a popular A/B testing tool that offers various features, including multivariate testing, feature flagging, and personalisation. It is a good choice for businesses of all sizes.

VWO Testing (formerly Visual Website Optimizer) is another popular A/B testing tool that is easy to use and offers a variety of features. It is a good choice for businesses of all sizes, especially those with limited technical resources.

Kameleoon is a more advanced A/B testing tool that offers features such as real-time personalisation and AI-powered recommendations. It is a good choice for businesses that want to get the most out of their A/B testing efforts.

Zoho PageSense is a comprehensive A/B testing and analytics platform that offers features such as heatmaps, session recordings, and funnel analysis. It is a good choice for businesses wanting to get insights into how their website visitors interact with their content.

Crazy Egg is an easy-to-use tool that will integrate easily with Google Analytics and Salesforce. It is a popular tool among businesses of all sizes, as it is easy to use and offers a variety of features.

Deciphering the Best Tool for Your Business

  • Integration Capabilities: Compatibility with existing tools is a game-changer.
  • Ease of Use: You want a tool that’s an asset, not a hurdle.
  • Budget-friendliness: A balance between features and affordability.

Conversion Rate Optimisation  for SMEs

Balancing Budget and Aspirations

High-end tools come with high-end price tags. But remember, a smaller budget means something other than compromising on quality. Look for cost-effective solutions that make sure to include features.

A/B testing does need volume, so it may take a lot of work to get good results with smaller visitor numbers.

Quality Traffic and Desired Conversions

Seeking the Right Audience

While huge traffic numbers might give you a momentary high, the relevance of that traffic truly counts. SEO and CRO, when combined, create a symphony of quality and quantity.

Adaptability: The Key to Sustained Success

Change is the only constant. Keep a finger on the pulse of your CRO metrics and be ready to pivot when needed.

Conversion Rate Optimisation  for SMEs: FAQs

Is A/B testing the be-all and end-all of CRO?

No. While it’s significant, especially for e-commerce giants, there’s a whole world beyond A/B testing in the CRO realm.

How do multivariate tests differ from A/B tests?

Multivariate tests analyse multiple variables simultaneously, while A/B tests compare two webpage versions.

Which CRO strategies work best for service-based SMEs?

User feedback, customer journey analysis, and usability testing are gold mines for service-oriented businesses.

How often should CRO strategies be updated?

It’s a continuous process. However, a comprehensive review every quarter is a good benchmark.

Can CRO tools replace the need for customer feedback?

Each tool must be able to replace the authentic and personal insights derived from direct customer feedback.


Embarking on the Conversion rate optimisation journey for small and medium-sized businesses after Google Optimize Sunsets is like venturing into uncharted waters. But, equipped with the right toolkit and mindset, SMEs can navigate and set sail to unimagined horizons. The sunset of Google Optimize is less of an end and more of a new dawn in the vast world of CRO.

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