After completing the part of “soft skills”, with copywriting, persuasion, neuromarketing and other skills that allow you to bring your landing page and conversion to a level of performance you will not be able to reach without these skills, and after a long and very insightful course on Google Analytics, you finally delve into the core of the matter: Conversion Rate Optimization.
This review is part of my scholarship programme with the CXL academy, which offers scholarships for minidegrees in exchange for a partnership, like these reviews I am posting every week.
I was attracted to this programme and Coversion Rate Optimization (CRO) in general, as I saw that digital marketing was the future of my company – any company, actually – and, despite the successes we had, I knew we were barely scratching the surface.
We have many websites and none of them, until know, has ever had Google Analytics attached to them, or a Facebook pixel for that matter. We build a Coaching school from scratch, in a very competitive world, and made it one of the biggest in Italy, in just three years, thanks to digital marketing, without ever checking Google Analytics once. We have attracted some of the biggest multinational companies in the world thanks to our videos, articles and webinars – and we did not know why. That was what was bothering me: we did not know why they came to us. Of course, we asked, and almost everybody mentioned our videos: we have been producing around 200 free tutorial videos a year and our efforts were rewarded… but not the way I wanted or I saw happening for other companies. Something was missing. Something big. We were creating great videos – we have two recording studios with professional cameras in our office – we were writing articles and following the gospel of Content Marketing, we were producing podcasts and e-books and books and everything possible under the sun – and we did not know what worked and what didn’t. We were somewhat successful because we were producing a massive amount of content. After enrolling in CXL’s CRO minidegree, I have a nagging feeling – which, as of the latest lessons, has become a painful certainty – that we have waisted most of our efforts.
Since we did not know what worked, we produced a lot, and since we did not know how customers chose us, we were not able to stop. We have become Content Marketing addicts. We could not stop.
In the latest session, I have learned about the CRO research method at CXL and how they optimize websites. Once again, I realized how much potential there is in growing and adding sales and knowing exactly what works and what doesn’t.
You start the lesson with an overview and the learn how to do site walkthroughs – basically a qualitative analysis of the website, page by page, to check firsthand the first, most visible mistakes and low-hanging fruits that reap immediate benefits. Researches show that even small changes in a website can bring huge advantages. But you have to know where to look.
Data versus opinion: it is a losing battle for opinions 100% of the time.
You learn about heuristic analysis, which is already much more than most companies ever do, and still, it is only scratching the surface.
Then you go into details on the methods used by CRO experts to optimize websites and e-commerce sites, sometimes completely changing the results they get – without changing the products they sell.
Everything can bring “lift” as CRO experts call it: chat transcripts, user testing, surveys, interviews, in-house polls. You learn to use them all in the first part of the CRO section. There is much more to do to finish the minidegree, and still you learn so much you did not know, your head starts to spin.
You feel a bit anxious: on the one hand, you want to start immediately, on the other, you don’t know where to start. There is too much to do: too many software to download, too many opportunities. I like that sound. Yes, it stresses you at the beginning, as the learning curve is pretty steep. But then you regain control of your website. Now we are launching a B2C e-commerce and everything will be checked and optimized. We have already developed the website with so much new know-how, it turned out to be completely different, and more effective, that any other site we have built for our company.
You see why, at the beginning of the course, they tell you that, in theory, Conversion Rate Optimization never stops: there is always a new opportunity for improvement. Now you see why: from heat maps to scroll maps, from mouse tracking software to Google Analytics, funnels and goals. Even if you are able to do all possible checks and optimizations, you have so much to do that by the time the last optimization is completed, you can start again.
Since every chapter of this section is a potential opportunity for growth, you just look at your website, start doing the analysist you learn in the course and start developing tests and hypotheses, without worrying about all other conversion opportunities. You start with one, then two, then three, and you start seeing how it works. This is what we are going to do with the new website.
Everything is very practical, with real examples and some over-the-shoulder videos that, for example, teach you how to optimize your Google Analytics to gather the right data and start with the right foot.
That is why I suggest to anyone enrolling in one of CXL mini-degrees, to start implementing what they teach you as soon as you have some of the tools and understandings: it makes everything stick (also, consider that this course in particular is 74 hours long – not a walk in the park by any standard and, for sure, nothing that can be remembered by heart).
Start with one chapter, one tool, one page of your website: start testing, and optimizing, and failing and succeeding. Opportunities are endless.