Fight the urge to fix what is broken (first)

For those of us in conversion rate optimization (CRO), we’ve all been there: suffering from a leak in the conversion funnel. Perhaps users are bouncing off the landing page, or not submitting their email address, or falling off in the buy-flow, or getting mixed up by the payment process. Whatever the root cause, resist the urge to fix what’s broken immediately. For some of you this may sound like madness but it’s true.

Let’s look at an example. Say, you see a conversion funnel that looks like this:

Many would think that the best place to focus would be on the 1.3% conversion rate since it is the lowest of the entire flow. I.e., That stage must be the lowest performing, we should address it, right? Not necessarily.

Mathematically speaking, as long as you doubled the performance at any stage of the funnel, you should produce double the conversions in the end. So why could focusing on the 1.3% rate be a bad idea if doubling anywhere along the funnel has the same end result?

What this thinking ignores are your core competencies and ROI.

You aren’t perfect. Focus on what you rock at.

More often than not, at least from my experience, it’s much harder to grow a small conversion rate than a large one. The reason usually boils down to this: you are better at some things than others. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to address your skill gaps. But in terms of getting things done well — sometimes it is better to do more of what you’re good at because you can get them done thoroughly, expertly, and competently.

Everything costs something.

Also, all activities cost you something. Be it in terms of money, time or opportunity. Ultimately, you need to evaluate all activities in terms of cost. Referring back to our funnel above, you need to understand what stage of the funnel you can impact with the least amount of cost. Typically, it’s the activity or activities that you are really good at but you shouldn’t rely on gut alone.

Account for Impact, Confidence, and Effort

The ICE Score is something that Sean Ellis popularized to help growth hackers prioritize their work for ROI. Essentially it forces hackers to look at the potential Impact of doing something, the Confidence that the impact will be realized and the Effort required to pull it off. I think it’s a powerful framework — but you should adjust this for what makes sense to your business. As always, don’t blindly rely on best practices. In the end, whatever you do, as long as you focus on always getting the biggest bang for your buck — you’re golden.

Happy Hacking!



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