graduate-student

Mastering Conversion Rate Optimization?

  |  October 5, 2012   |  Comments

First you must master these six principles.

We (Jeffrey Eisenberg and I) were naïve and full of ourselves; in 2005, when "Call To Action: Secret Formulas To Improve Online Results" hit the major bestselling book lists. In 2006, "Waiting For Your Cat To Bark: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing" also achieved the lists and we thought we were truly popularizing customer-centric conversion rate optimization. In accomplishing a mean goal we lost sight of the end goal. Client success and the recognition of our peers as conversion rate optimization gurus wasn't what we really wanted.

As conversion rate optimization gurus perhaps we shouldn't say that conversion rate is not a reliable key performance metric. It can be a useful diagnostic tool to understand sales, similar to body temperature for understanding overall health. We intended the message to be that CEOs should be accountable for online sales by making sure their teams cooperated, collaborated, became educated, and were focused on meaningful customer-centric metrics. Apparently, that is a message we failed to effectively communicate.

The principles of conversion rate optimization are simple:

  • Great brands, products, and experiences naturally generate better conversions.
  • There is a hierarchy of optimization.
  • There is the conversion trinity to master.
  • Understand that conversion is a measure of your ability to put your customers' wants and needs first; it's not limited to a landing page.
  • Optimization should not be a one-time event or project; it's an ongoing process.
  • Optimizing conversion rates is not exciting; it's boring, repetitive, detailed, but necessary work, much like general management.

All the rest is commentary!

We are convinced that the 10,000-hour rule, which states that to become an expert you need 10,000 hours of practice, is more of a principle than a rule. Nevertheless,10,000 hours in conversion rate optimization would mean that an expert today would have been working full time in the discipline for at least five years. We know a small handful of people (we couldn't fill a bus) who can truly make that claim. Yet, in 2012 the world is full of "conversion rate optimization experts" (just read their Twitter profiles) - after all, as Erasmus said, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

You may remember "Wax on, wax off!" from the movie "The Karate Kid." Daniel practiced the fundamentals until he was exhausted, a thing no brand-new-shiny-object-chasing-marketer wants to do. Mistaking unconscious incompetence for unconscious competence is what happens when the consciously incompetent read a few blogs, learn a few tools, experiment a little, have a few successes, and then decide that they know what they are doing.

We work hard at remaining consciously competent. It's easy to fall into the know-it-all trap, especially when people ask you questions they believe have simple answers. Here is what we are working hard to understand better:

  • Every day we practice and refine the fundamentals (see above).
  • We keep up with the latest tools, research, and blogs (more human behavior-oriented than CRO).
  • We try to understand the ongoing changes in how companies are organized so we can create successful processes for them.

Ten thousand hours isn't enough for conversion rate optimization because it calls for expertise in so many disciplines. Humility is hard work. We hope you aren't offended if we remind you, and we beg you to remind us, gently, when we forget.

Graduate student image on home page via Shutterstock.

Tags:

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • Customer Service Consultant
      Customer Service Consultant (Bonner and Partners) - Delray BeachBonner & Partners: Full-time Customer Service Consultant Position Who we are...
    • Financial Editor
      Financial Editor (Confidential) - DurhamSIX FIGURE EDITORS WANTED: To enforce lofty NEW editing standards. Easy Conditions Unlikely. Promotion and...
    • Information Processing Specialist
      Information Processing Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreInformation Processing Specialist – The IP specialist position ensures the successful...