7 must-know CRO fundamentals based on running 22,000 tests with Ayat Shukairy




Ayat Shukairy 0:00
Remember, whenever people are purchasing, there are jobs that they’re trying to accomplish that are both functional, but they’re also social and emotional. So the the point is, is that a lot of times, if you look at any type of website that’s kind of selling any type of product or service, they’re very focused on the functional aspect, which is, again, it’s a valid aspect, it’s definitely not something that you don’t want to include you do want to include that information. But what’s lacking a lot of times is again, social emotional.

Ayat Shukairy 0:38
Hello, everyone, I’m super excited about being here and talking to you about seven lessons I’ve learned along the way. After launching really 1000s upon 1000s of tests, I’ve been doing conversion rate optimization for about 16 years since 2006. We’re actually the second company that did conversion rate optimization in the US. And we’ve seen really an average of 65% uplift, on average for the experiments that we launch. We’re just really blessed with having the opportunity to have and work on so many different projects across the world. So what’s the first lesson that you need that we learned along the way? One thing that a lot of CROs sometimes focus on is the tweaking template tweaking what we call template tweaking. And news to everybody who’s watched experiments. I’m sure everybody who has launched experiments already knows this. But you know, CRO, is not about changing the CTA color. And, and actually, I get quite offended when I go to a presentation. And people are talking about how, you know, changing the CTA, increase your conversion rate, by whatever 85% 235%. I’ve seen some ridiculous stats there. And the reality is that, you know, that’s not what it is about. And a lot of those case studies, they could be outliers, or really the case study is based on little data and not enough statistics. So sometimes when you first launch and experiment, the first day, you might see like this huge, huge, like, you know, increase in conversion rates, people get excited, they think that test is included in the end, rather than waiting it out. And making sure first that you measure how long you should actually be running the experiment, because there are specific measurements to that in order for you to reach really best statistical confidence. So we have to kind of stop lying to ourselves. I remember once I went to a presentation, and they gave this whole talk about conversion optimization. And, you know, some lady came up to me at the end of the, the conference, and she said, Well, I was thinking you were just gonna give us like a checklist or best practices list that we can follow to do ourselves. And I’m like, No, that’s not what conversion rate optimization is all about. Right? There has to be kind of those database based experiments that we’re running so that we can really see those consistent results. Like if I want to see, again, a 65% increase, I need to see then that these experiments have been well thought and they are data backed before I move forward with them. So if I’m looking for repeatable, sustainable growth, that’s what we always kind of aim for. We’re not aiming for, you know, like, once kind of success, I’m looking for something repeatable, sustainable, and I’m always going to see constant growth when I’m going to be running experiments. So the reality is that hoping is not a strategy. Just hoping and praying. So a new approach that we suggested, again, again, of following a specific process. And really, I would say that almost majority of conversion optimization processes are the same. You know, like, if you go to a lot of those major conversion rate optimization companies ours included, you’re gonna find a similar process in terms of collecting data prioritizing, and then doing a lot of praying. Nope, that’s what I said before, if we’re not going to be focusing on hope and praying for our testing, we want to really follow a process. So our process is we just kind of put it in this really cute little acronym, a ship. If you think about like shipping products or shipping, any type of development, usually they use that terminology. And that’s why we’ve loved this acronym. We thought it was perfect. And it stands for really scrutinize, hypothesize, implement and propagate. And that’s what we do in our CRO process. And as you can see, kind of like these arrows that kind of feed into each other. Because really, it’s an iterative process. It’s something that’s ongoing, it’s repeatable, and thus sustainable. And you’re always going to see kind of like that consistent growth. So we’re looking again, for that constant growth, the 5%, the 7%, and the 10%. And by following a process, and not just hoping and not just template tweaking, you’re going to see some amazing uplifts. The second important point is you want to interview for growth. So what does this mean? One of the first things when you look at our process Is that highlighted under scrutinize, you see something called jtbd. What that stands for is jobs to be done. Now, again, a lot of CRO companies out there, a lot of them do interviewing where they interview the customers, because really, to collect kind of the qualitative data, interviewing is super, super important and often overlooked. So we definitely encourage that. And the way that we conduct it is a very specific approach as well, we try to get into the subconscious, we want to understand the emotions behind a purchase, we want to understand the social aspects that impacted a purchase, because a lot of that might feed into our strategy online, and the different copy that we can use and the different, amazing, you know, like images and elements that we can use to really help kind of guide the visitor into into moving forward and persuading them better. polls and surveys are amazing. But a lot of times, those just hit the top of mind and you get answers that aren’t necessarily what they really, really mean, right? Like if I want to really, really know what somebody wants, I have to kind of dig a little bit deeper. And that’s what jobs to be done helps you with. And there’s always this a saying by Theodore Levitt, that’s people don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want to buy a quarter inch hole. And I say actually take it a step further. People want to feeling right, they want that feeling of satisfaction, when they have that beautiful art piece that they’ve been eyeing on their wall, they want that feeling of of of relief, after they hang up, you know, the family photo, because their spouse has been nagging them forever. That is what people are going for. And so if a company selling a drill focuses on that aspect, rather than, you know, just these other specs, these other features, that’s going to change the game, right, that’s going to make their product a lot more desirable, no more interesting. And something that’s going to again, persuade and hook the visitor in a way that other products will not. This is

Rommil Santiago 7:05
Rommil Santiago from experiment nation, every week we share interviews with and conference sessions by our favorite conversion rate optimizers from around the world. So if you liked this video, smash that like button and consider subscribing, it helps us a bunch. Now back to the episode.

Ayat Shukairy 7:17
So the way that I try to explain how the drops should be done is that everything that you do in life requires some sort of, you want to kind of make some sort of progress. So any product or service that you purchase helps you make that progress. So I buy a piece of clothing, because I want to look better, and I want to feel amazing, right? So I have like an actual self how I feel today and feel okay, normal, but I want to feel great, right. And so by that piece of clothing, I buy that, you know, like you know that that the makeup of a benign or that jewelry up and I and same thing for surfaces, like my company’s in a certain state now, we’re gonna we want to, you know, be even better and even more efficient by having this specific service or subscribing to this program or whatever it is. So we always want to make some sort of progress. And what I do what we do during the job student interviews, we’re trying to find out what that progress is. Because that progress is going to link to a lot of, again, emotional social aspects that are going to help us understand a little bit more about the visitor psyche. Remember, whenever people are purchasing, there are jobs that they’re trying to accomplish, that are both functional, but they’re also social and emotional. So the the point is, is that a lot of times, if you look at any type of website that’s kind of selling any type of product or service, they’re very focused on the functional aspect, which is, again, it’s a valid aspect, it’s definitely not something that we don’t want to include you do want to include that information. But what’s lacking a lot of times is again, the social emotional, so how can I make sure that I design offerings that really are addressing both and not just one prospect? So this is actually such a great case study? We did we work with a company that sells basically these truck bed organizers, and you know, it’s it’s a really great product. And when we did our, the the jobs to be done interviews, not only did we really dig into understanding the social, social and emotional, but again, the social aspect was a lot of these are the purchasers of this product had a lot of pride in their trucks, you know, and they’re these truck owners, they love their trucks, and they invest in their trucks. And so, you know, kind of when we talked about this, one of the things that we noticed and uncovered was that they definitely showed it off to their colleagues and co workers and their friends and family. So what we kind of discussed with our client was well there’s such an opportunity there for referring a friend and getting some sort of incentive as a result of that, and expanding basically the customer base. The other great opportunity that we found was based on our interviews, we were able to uncover the fact that there were some industries that our particular client was not aware of, and are a lot of the interviews, they would say, like, for example, there was one man that was focused within the air conditioning industry. And, you know, again, an industry that our particular client didn’t necessarily think that to reach out to that specific area, but he talked about really the a lot of the functional aspects that, you know, this tool this product had for, for his type of work. And again, so that kind of opened up a revenue opportunity for our client to kind of reach out to to this particular market. So again, you know, it’s a great way to interview and understand a little bit more and uncover a little bit more about your customers. The third one, this one gets me every time, take a stroll through your website, the really, the funny thing is, I find that people don’t do this enough, you know, they don’t go through and actually make purchases and sign up and, you know, just go through like, the site as if they were a customer, they don’t see it from that lens. They’re always trying to bandaid on top, and just focus in on an area that there’s an issue with, but not necessarily going through the site. It’s always funny, when I go through and do a walkthrough with our clients, it’s one of the first activities that we do. So we almost conduct a heuristic evaluation with them. And we go through it. And we try to really understand show them kind of like some different areas, ask them different aspects that we want to kind of go through. And they’re always shocks, I can’t believe this, like this, this looks horrible. There’s like, and it’s just always like, to me, I always like kind of look back, and I’m like, wow, this is so interesting, you know that companies don’t necessarily go through and walk through their website. And, you know, a lot of times again, like, you know, we’re so in something, and we’re so focused on something that we can’t see all perspectives. And if you want to see it, you know, that complete picture, you really need to kind of take a walk through the website. And people I’m sure people that are on this call will be familiar with the 10 heuristics. But this is just a great way, getting looking at that visibility of system status, the consistency and standard error prevention, all that those are key elements to making sure that I have a very great, you know, kind of usability overall on the website, and ensuring that, you know, I kind of highlight and address all of these concerns, before even delving deeper into the more persuasive tactics that I’m going to be capturing visitor, I need to make sure that I’m at least, you know, getting with these standards, right. So this is kind of a really critical component. And what’s also important when you’re kind of doing these walkthroughs is thinking about how the site doesn’t require people to you want to make sure that your site doesn’t require your visitors to think too much. Typically, you know, the way that people are people are essentially is that they have like two systems within their brain. One is the fast automatic intuitive system and approach to thinking. And one is more the slow analytical, right. And what’s important to understand is that we utilize for 80 to 95 of the of the things that we do, we use our fast system system one. So you want to make sure that your site is like that. Now, sometimes, of course, we do require the customer slow down a little bit, you know, we want them to use this widget, we want them to enter certain information, we want them to focus with us. So there’s certain tactics that you have to consider in order to be able to get them to slow down and to be more analytical, right. But it’s important to remember that for the majority of the function that on your website, you want it to be fast, you want it to be intuitive, you want it to be automatic, don’t make them think too much right, like make it easily accessible. Make that sent very strong throughout the site so they can find exactly what they’re looking for. The other really important aspect to a walk through is kind of doing the Korean framework. And this is a converted framework is something that we’ve developed ourselves, but again, nothing that’s new or different from what a lot of different CROs do in terms of making sure you focus on the trust, the fears, uncertainties and doubts, engagement and incentives. Now, those are website centric factors that you can control. And you can kind of evaluate every single page and every single element to ensure that it is addressing trust funds, engagement and incentives. Now there are things that you don’t have control over. That’s what we call the visitor centric factors. The buying states the persona and the sales complexity. You don’t have control over them, but you can optimize for them. Knowing my sales complexity I can optimize considering that no Knowing the different buying stages that visitors are coming in, from what sources and whatnot, I can make sure I optimize for that. The fourth is you want to align your business objectives with experiments. This is always so interesting how a lot of times you have, you know, again, depending on the stakeholders within the company, you might have some people that are champions of CRO, and some that are not, you know, and you’re one of the big things that we always say, whenever you’re gonna do conversion rate optimization is you want to really make sure that those stakeholders are, are all in tuned and all on board with conversion rate optimization, because it will make especially if you’re an agency or a freelancer, that’ll make your life a lot easier. But, again, a lot of times they bring it in, they’re thinking CRO is something like changing and tweaking and whatnot, CTA button, or are just small moments here and there. But it’s not right. And so you have to make sure you align and you kind of reassess, hey, well, okay, what are your OKRs overall, as an organization, and how can we make sure that whatever we’re doing in terms of conversion rate optimization, is lined with that, like, for example, we had one client that said, this year is a year of mobile for us, you know, we’ve kind of delayed optimizing mobile for so long. So all of your experiments really need to be focused on the mobile customer. And creating that mobile experience and making sure that that’s going to be very unique and easy for the visitor. So this is another case study, when we conducted actually, for another client, conversion optimization, again, all stakeholders were on board, we had one champion within the organization, and that was about it. And and the rest were not. So what happened was they had a huge brick and mortar presence, and the majority of and, you know, the majority of their their revenue was coming through the brick and mortar, we did optimize, we made, you know, the website a lot better. But what we noticed was that, as a result, we saw more traffic coming to the website. And we saw, you know, more conversions coming through the website and a drop through foot traffic in their stores. And that was a huge concern of theirs, they didn’t want the website to

Ayat Shukairy 17:15
you know, basically, they don’t want the website to be better than what they have in their stores, they still want their stores to be the dominant revenue factor. So again, there was a lack of alignment there. The fifth point I would say is don’t take shortcuts. We had one client that started out with us, they were like a one man marketing team doing everything from car wrote PPC to, you know, like email marketing, you name it, he was doing SEO, he was doing everything. And we did conversion rate optimization, we saw some great success with them. But then they decided, you know, what, we want to actually do this in house. And when grow our CRO team, they saw how effective it was. And they decided they wanted to take it all in house. So they built their team out. And they, by the time we came back on board, they were a it was a few years later. And they were a team of 10 people just dedicated to conversion rate optimization, and the marketing team abroad was so much larger. But because, you know, they had been testing and testing and testing, and then I think they ran out of concepts and ideas. So they types are tried to try to take every kind of incentive that you can possibly think of timers, you know, urgency, incentives, scarcity, incentives, and just like kind of fill the site with them, even if they weren’t even real or true. Like, for example, oh, one item left, but really, there really wasn’t one item left that type of a thing. That it just drove down their conversion rate. So they came kind of to us for help to, you know, bring take them out of the hole. But again, you know, this was for them really taking shortcuts like they no longer innovating, they no longer thinking they were they weren’t thinking from the customer’s perspective, they were just so focused solely on launching, test, launching experiments, trying different things. But you know, they kind of lost her purpose and focus on the actual value of the product that they’re providing to their their customer and the job that they’re trying to achieve again, for their customer. Number six is six is super important to Stop copying competitors. I mean, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a client tell me Well, Amazon does it this way. So I don’t know if people have experienced that as well. But it’s definitely not the way to go right? Look at these different ecommerce websites. can you really tell the difference if you don’t see the logo? Not really. It’s always kind of what we call this herd mentality. Everybody’s copying everybody else. Nobody’s really distinguishing their brand and that’s why, you know, a lot of CRO is actually focused on building that brand ring building that value proposition. People don’t necessarily think of CRO like that anymore, because what has happened Over the years as AV testing has kind of become the dominant factor of CRO, you know, and essentially really CROs was always there, right? It was always about optimizing the site, AV testing came along the way afterwards to measure what ever you are making whatever changes you’re making. But it then became kind of the dominant thing, people started thinking only about AV testing, we think CRO, I think, right away, AV testing. They’re not the same. CRO is really the umbrella. And AV testing is a component of, of conversion optimization. So that’s kind of important to think about, well, you know, what are we doing for our brand to really distinguish us make us different than everybody else and beat out the competition. And you’re not looking at just beating competition, you’re looking at making a quantum leap. And if I want to make a quantum leap, I really have to zero in on that random value, and that brand story, and that, you know, overall, a unique value proposition. Think about that job that you’re achieving for your customers? And how are you going to be able to translate that effectively and efficiently on your website and give visitors exactly what they’re looking for? Right, because we’re not looking at just competing with price and incentives and whatnot. We’re looking at innovation, like you want to innovate, what you’re offering and innovate, you know, within your brand. The seventh one is well, what comes first, there’s always a question like, What do we do we have so many different changes that you want to make? The reality is that you should be when you’re doing any type of research. So during that scrutinize phase, if you remember the the ship method that I showed you at the beginning of the presentation, the ship method also talks about the fact that we’re doing the scrutinize phase, we’re collecting a lot of data. I’m collecting qualitative, quantitative, I’m collecting user research, I’m collecting all of this, and I’m categorizing all of these different areas. So there’s some things that are fixed right away, there’s some things that are more, you know, based on Hey, no, I want to tag different elements, so I can really understand them a little bit more. There are some things that I have to actually experiment with the research opportunities. And there are some things that are investigate further, this is an area where, well, I’ve maybe uncovered something, but I’m not sure is this actually something that I need to be concerned about. So maybe I need to look at another aspect of research, uncovered it in analytics, I want to validate in user research or vice versa. So when it comes to usability, and conversion issues, like of course, ultimately, we want to create a better user experience and a better and more user friendly website. But whereas usability is more focused on making the website easier to use, a convergence more focused on making the website more persuasive, are used where usability is focused on top of mind issues, conversions more focused on the psychological elements, right, that are going to persuade the visitor to convert, and ultimately, really, you know, bugs and implementation, yeah, they need to come first in terms of like getting them out of the way, there should be no bugs that are going to cause visitors to bleed out and leave that’s uh, stop the bleeding, you know, the fix right away items. And but then there’s, you know, usability and conversion issues, what we say is typically, when we conduct experiments, we’ll try to conduct to maybe experiments that are smaller in scale that are more usability focused, and more than maybe a couple more, that are more conversions, so they’re going to be a lot more involved. Um, so that’s kind of how our approach is. And that’s kind of like on a monthly basis, that’s what we’ll do launch those four different experiments. And again, it depends client to client basis. You know, however, how big the website is, how many, how much traffic they got, all of those are considerations that you have to kind of think about, but the conversion issues, that’s the area where you’re gonna see the biggest bang for your buck. And then, you know, again, we have a great and I think there’s lots of tools out there actually, that have like, kind of prioritization sheets, how you can decide, you know, you can plot all the different research opportunities, for example, and you can decide, like, what am I going to work on first, because there are so many different things and you have limited resources. So you have to also consider that I have three bonus points, get fresh eyes on your solution. You know, sometimes we have teams that are working on specific projects, but getting an another team member from a different project and letting them see different solutions that you’re going to be launching in terms of experiments is a great way to just get fresh eyes and ensure that you’re going to be able to you’ve thought of all the different aspects and all the you know you’re not so in the zone that you you know, don’t have a way to visualize other other alternatives. Don’t stop your experiments early. This is you know, one of one statistics one on one you want to make sure that again, there’s so many tools online that you can Google that can help you understand how long you should be running an experiment. And then again, course like within the testing engines, depending on how They’re built, whether they’re bows on or free for contest, they will also measure when you should you reach statistical significance. So you have to have both of those in tandem working. And lastly, don’t forget about micro conversions. So a lot of times we have so many people that say, Hey, I don’t have enough conversions on my website, like overall orders overall signups or whatever it is, whatever that mean, primary conversion is, but there are micro conversions. So you can measure like from one step to the next how visitors are flowing. So maybe I want to get people from this page, for example, it’s a very like, you know, like your landing page, for instance. And I want to see how they go to the next step. So I’m measuring, I’m creating an experiment that will increase the flow, right, so I’m going to just test them for my primary goal that you can look at overall conversions. But if you’re really getting little primary versions, you may have to run the test for like an insane amount of time. So think about the micro conversions when you’re working within a smaller website. And that’s what I have for you today. I hope this was helpful. And I hope you enjoyed the presentation. Stay connected, you can email me you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Definitely want to connect with the all of you and appreciate your attendance. Bye bye. It

If you liked this post, signup for Experiment Nation’s newsletter to receive more great interviews like this, memes, editorials, and conference sessions in your inbox: https://bit.ly/3HOKCTK

Connect with Experimenters from around the world

We’ll highlight our latest members throughout our site, shout them out on LinkedIn, and for those who are interested, include them in an upcoming profile feature on our site.

Rommil Santiago