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After about seven months of diving into the world of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) at 3Q Digital, I have learned a thing or two about the industry and, more importantly, incorporated these new lessons into my everyday life. Below are my “Top 6 Things I Have Learned About CRO”.

1. It’s not about what you say, it’s HOW you say it.

Our words, language, and how we communicate can make or break our reality. Don’t believe me? Think about this scenario: You go to a clothing website and instantly a pop-up disrupts your experience. The pop-up reads: “Submit your email” with a form beneath it to complete their request. Would you submit your email? Most likely not since there does not seem to be any perceived benefit for doing so. You may even find yourself asking, “What will they do with my email?” which can stir feelings of anxiety and drive you away.

Now, think about this scenario: You go to the same clothing website and the same pop-up reads, “Sign up to receive exclusive offers & promotions straight to your inbox!” The request is the exact same as the scenario above (submit your email), but it is worded in a way that adds value (exclusive offers & promotions) and becomes much more compelling.

This is one of Robert Cialdini’s laws of influence – when you give people something, especially that of value, they are more compelled to return the favor or even go beyond the request. This is the same mindset that can be applied to CRO – add value through compelling language and match visitor motivations to help “influence” or increase conversions.

2. The right imagery can go a long way.

This one may not come as a surprise to most since we live in a world where Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc., consume our minds with content through pictures 24/7. However, this actually surprised me when I first started in CRO since I never really thought about why this was the case. One of our clients consistently has us run A/B tests of their hero imagery, which helped me understand the importance of it. I began to realize that imagery specific to that company’s target demographic tends to perform better than imagery that is not relevant to that demographic.

This was also something I gained insight on through user testing/research. When asked why visitors liked certain pages compared to others, many answered that the imagery made them feel comfortable and that they could trust the site. Imagery can affect the overall feel of your website, and it is important to match the imagery you use on your site to your customer demographic and what motivates them. People tend to be more influenced by images of people who remind them of themselves. It helps to tell the story of that product or service and how it will benefit the visitor, should they decide to take the plunge and convert.

3. Size matters – sample size, that is.

This might be one of the most important lessons here when running experiments and analyzing the data. My CRO guru is constantly drilling into me that if a test is flat, it is inconclusive, and that is neither good nor bad. This was a hard pill for me to swallow since seeing negative or positive lifts when running a test can initiate a response to want to call a test too early without a sufficient sample size.

It is always important to let a test run for as long as possible to reach the right sample size for your site so that you don’t fall into the black hole of false positives and negatives. Our minds are always creating stories for us without evidence almost all hours of the day – that’s where statistics steps in to help keep us on track towards the truth. Without a proper sample size, it is hard to determine if your results are truly reflecting your entire customer base.

4. Don’t get wrapped up in small details.

I find this one funny because it seems a bit like a CRO oxymoron. The overarching theme in CRO is to focus on the small details that can be changed on site that generate significant impact. However, when it comes to test creation and implementation, many people can get too wrapped up in the small details that can delay the execution of a test. What’s most important in CRO is testing velocity and turning tests around quickly so that small changes can continue to build up to larger conversion rates. The faster tests are turned around, the more insights can be attained, which can continue to help in generating more ideas to make bigger changes along the way. It’s a snowball effect, if you will.

So, again, it is important not to get wrapped up in the small details of what the test should look like down to the font size or color. If the test wins, it can be implemented into the site in a more clean and polished way afterwards by your company’s internal development team.

5. Think outside of the box.

As humans, we love routine and consistency. We live in our patterns and at times, cruise through life on autopilot. When we do this, our brains don’t have to do much work since we are continuously doing things that are familiar. This way of thinking can create tunnel vision and we can become attached to our ideas, opinions, and thoughts since they become things we identify with on a daily basis.

This is always something to keep in mind in CRO. It is okay to have your own personal thoughts and beliefs on what works; however, when you only think about yourself, you miss out on other perspectives. Keeping an open mind and fresh perspective is key to generating innovative test ideas, especially if you are working with multiple clients across many different industries.

How can you continue to have a “think outside of the box” mentality? Question everything. Once you have mastered the art of questioning everything and keeping an open mind, you’ll start to understand human behavior better and can translate those insights and learnings to your own business and customer base.

6. Every test, regardless of results, is a learning opportunity.

Think about a time you failed at something. What did you learn?

Now think about a time you succeeded at something. What did you learn?

Just like in life, sometimes our biggest failures teach us the biggest lessons that help us to make huge changes and improvements in our life. This same principle applies to CRO – sometimes a losing test can give much more insight into what customers like or dislike and can help us change our course of action to improve. What makes a great analyst is someone who can question everything and dig deep into the data to find where things went right or wrong then come up with a strategy to drive business forward.

Read more about one of our client success stories and how CRO dramatically changed their website performance and overall bottom line, here.

Contact us to learn more about the world of CRO and how it can benefit you or your company.

Stay curious, my friends!