Statistics is a fascinating discipline.
I say that again: statistics is a fascinating discipline.
If you are, like me, a professional with a humanistic approach, this declaration sounds hilarious. Come on, statistics is boooring!
Not if you go past the numbers. See, many years ago I launched my Coaching business, when Content marketing, SEO, social media were still in their infancy, at least for professionals and entrepreneurs. So, I did what everybody did: I used to send letters to businesses, make calls, go to networking events etc. I got some business, and the referrals did the rest. For a while, I was all set: I was young, I earned much more than my peers working in a company, and everything went well. Then two things happened: the worst economic crisis in modern history and digital marketing. The worst of the two, for entrepreneurs that did not move and change and innovate, was the second. Because the first one, yes, it was terrible, but it lasted some years and then everything went back to normal. Digital marketing is here to stay.
I started seeing a decline in businesses calling, especially referrals – not because I was doing a sloppy job, as I did not change and actually continued to innovate my methodology – but because…. Well, I did not know then. Competition was getting fiercer, but something else was on the horizon: people were starting to move online when searching for, well, everything. We got used to Amazon, to carts and checkouts, to sharing our credit card numbers with a form of a website we had never seen before to buy a product we had never touched, hoping it would arrive at our doorstep in a few days’ time.
For B2B operations, it took a bit longer, but people caught up. The same managers that now shopped online and learned to use their smartphones, were not looking for business answers online. They were looking for business partners online: I understood that I had to do something. I talked to digital marketing experts and reads their articles and watched their videos and two things always came up, about the urgency of moving our business online and being present with our content and ads:
- Online searches are rising and, one day, people will search everything online
- You can track all possible business data online.
I understood the first one, as I was experiencing it myself: I was going to stores less often, as it was easier to search for stuff online and buy them with a click of a button, and I was choosing business partners and suppliers online more and more often. People started to talk about my videos and articles, even though I was not popular, and connected with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.
What really interested me, though, was the second: tracking potential customers, knowing what they preferred, which pages they visited, which articles they read, was incredible. For years I had been producing content with good results, but with a very annoying question on the back of my mind: “why are customers calling??” I knew it was for the content and the Ads we were putting out, but, we did not know what worked. Not even a little bit.
Then I launched a new, bigger business, with an online academy in addition to consulting services. This time I wanted to do everything right. So right, that I attended a Lean Six Sigma course and became a Black Belt. Lean Six Sigma means becoming really serious about statistics and using statistical software like MiniTab. Let me tell you, statistics are fascinating: they shed a new light on reality and explain what you cannot explain, sohwing what you cannot see, without the numbers. You have many “aha” moments with statistical analysis. But it is not for the faint of heart. It takes a bit of studying, practising (and, for those out there that flunked their math tests over and over again, a lot of crying…) and mistakes to get the gist of it.
That’s why I was really surprised to get to the part of the CRO mini-degree at the CXL academy and find… a lot of statistics. Like, real statistics, talking about p-value, confidence intervals, normal curves and much more. These guys are really serious about CRO, I thought. Putting it into an online course is, to say the least, challenging for the learner: but it gives you a really solid foundation for you’re A/B tests. Because, as you learn in the course – they immediately tell you the mistakes most often people make when using statistics – it is really easy to consider a test as a winner, even if it is not, or reject an hypothesis that was, in reality, a good one. Or get a false positive, and change your landing page only to find out months later that there was something wrong in your statistical settings, and not in the landing page itself.
I am now in an advanced stage of the course and you need to take a deep breath, relax, and follow closely lessons about statistics because they will give you the know-how you need to avoid making rookie mistakes and especially to create solid experiments from the start.
In the statistics for A/B testing, you learn the fundamentals of statistics that you will need to master to be a professional A/B tester and not just someone who “tries something” on his/her landing page.
You learn what happens with A/B testing, what factors to use, when to use multivariate testing and much more.
You learn how to use the software you need to conduct A/B tests and how to interpret results – because even if you do everything right and you get the results right, you may still give an interpretation that will lead to wrong business decisions.
So, this part of the course is probably the hardest, for most of us at least, but the one you need to follow closely if you want to become a real CRO expert.