CRO: Conversion Copywriting, Product Messaging & Psychology

I am Kiruba Sekaran, a Search Engine Optimizer and I’m curious to learn new things every day. Although I have been coming across conversions and conversion rates every day in my SEO reports, I always felt that I need to learn the fine techniques that CRO Specialists use. SEO and CRO seem to be dealing with many common things like copywriting, but CRO is completely about giving the users a great experience inside the website, an experience that persuades them to drive conversions. What is the point in just bringing in a lot of traffic to the website which only leads to a bounce rate and no conversions?

At times I have read that SEOs and CROs have different views and opinions from each other. To mention an example, as an SEO I was very particular about having detailed product descriptions that will optimize the product pages for search engines, but I recently came across an interesting case study by CROs that says that a cheap bookstore for college students has increased their conversions by 10% after removing the detailed product descriptions. It is conflicting, right?

Hence I find the CXL Conversion Optimization MiniDegree a great opportunity to learn what I should be doing to keep the visitors happy after they visit the website. I also got the opportunity to review the course, where I’m going to be sharing my experience while undergoing it.

What is CRO?

  • Ideas/Hypothesis — You need ideas, lots of great ideas. Writing hypotheses is the first step in CRO.
  • Supporting Data — The data need to support your hypothesis.
  • Sample Size Quality — You need a significant sample size. To understand this better, we can think of a scenario where we choose to have dinner at a restaurant with 4 stars from 450 people over a restaurant with 5 stars from only 10 people.

Example: If I make the ‘buy’ button size large, I expect the number of purchases to increase, as measured by Google Analytics Conversion data.

In the above example, increasing the button size to get more purchases is the idea and the Google Analytics conversion data is the supporting data. To perform this experiment we need a quality sample size depending on the business.

Brian Massey gives a deeper knowledge in the above areas and also shares a great spreadsheet for individuals and teams to plan and analyze their hypothesis. He also gives an introduction to A/B tests that are performed to show different versions of your creative and analyzing which one of them delivers more. The important point that he mentions is that this process is double-blind.

Best Practices

  • Web forms
  • Ecommerce category pages
  • Buttons and call to actions
  • Fold and page length
  • Ecommerce signups
  • Incoming phone leads & call tracking
  • Principles of persuasive design
  • Typography and content
  • Radical redesign vs. evolutionary design
  • Home pages
  • Pricing and pricing pages
  • Website speed optimization
  • Visual hierarchy
  • FAQs on websites
  • Importance of visual design
  • Internal search
  • Shopping cart pages
  • Ecommerce checkout pages

A few of these best practices are

  • A longer form can be split into multiple steps
  • Error messages can be included right next to the fields than giving them during form submissions.
  • The font size can be reasonable bigger as studies show that larger texts tend to dive more conversions
  • While working on long page content keep the most important content on the fold
  • One in four people abandons conversions since they are forced to register/sign up before purchase. It is good to have a ‘purchase as a guest’ option
  • Try avoid answering in the FAQ page for the questions that need the answers to be in the product page
  • Although the home page is the top landing page, the necessary CTAs should be identified and placed to take users down the funnel to other pages
  • Ecommerce websites need category pages to arrange things and make it easy for the user to narrow down their selection in the most efficient way

Although we need to ensure that the best practices are ensured in the above areas of the website, he mentions that this can be used as input to design hypotheses and not as final decisions. Always make your design decisions data-driven.

Conversion Copywriting

A good value proposition is short and precise, communicates the solid results that consumers will get from the product/service, and reasons out why your product is different from your competitors’ while avoiding hype.

Where should they be placed? The value proposition should be on the homepage as well as the main landing pages of a website. Additionally adding boosters like “free shipping “, “fast shipping”, etc favors your value proposition.

The below example shows a great value proposition which talks about the benefit a user will get from Spotify, that it is free to use, no credit card is needed, and that their collection is huge with millions of songs.

A good Value Proposition by Spotify

Now you have a copy with a great value proposition model, it is time to review and improve your copy. There are two ways to test a copy

‘Would you read more?’ Test

Value, Clarity, Credibility Test VCC Test

Is there a value to the user?

Is it clear enough to persuade the user?

Is it believable? (Does it have specific sentences supported by proof)

A small but very beneficial takeaway from this section is that

“people prefer specifics over superlatives and hype”

Ex: “We are the largest brand in the USA” vs “We serve 10 million people in the United States”

We prefer the latter as it is more specific and avoids hype.

Video Content to support the page

To measure and analyze the performance of a video, three things are tested

Unique visitor/play ratio — The number of unique visitors who played the video of the ones who visited the page. Measuring this helps to increase the number of video plays. Some techniques to optimize this are adding a call to action above the video that says the use of watching it, moving the video to a more prominent spot, making it big, changing the thumbnail, and enabling autoplay.

Audio retention rate — How many of them watched it till the end? The number of drop-offs in a short period. This can be improved by having a great opening.

Impact on conversion rate — Did the page with video convert better than the one without it? This helps you to understand if video content is required.

Product Messaging

Conducting a Copy ‘Teardown’

Mining Messages

Pinpointing your Best Value Proposition

Creating a Messaging Flow for your Sales Page

Writing the first draft of your Sales Page

Editing your Sales Copy

Formatting your Sales Page

Momoko Price shares amazing spreadsheets, forms, and templates to work on each of the above strategies.

Psychology in CRO

Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Persuasion and Fogg Behavior Model is explained in detail with some great examples, followed by a great explanation about the human brain. The human brain has three layers,

  • The New Brain, that thinks
  • The Middle Brain, that feels and
  • The Old Brain, that decides and is mostly concerned with survival.

Your message needs to focus on triggering the old brain, a selfish organ. There are certain things that you can do to achieve this.

  • Your message should convey what is in it for the old brain?
  • Show changes or contrast with before and after situations
  • Give it a tangible input in the form of easily understood words like “more money”
  • Use novelty — Introduce the unknown to it
  • Always use visuals next to text to communicate key points.
  • Use emotional stimuli

There are many persuasion techniques with scientific research examples and online persuasion tips in this part of the course from which I am highlighting a few.

Self Generation Affect Effect

Facial distraction

Fear Appeals

Peep covers a lot more techniques in this lesson. However, he warns not to go overboard with the persuasion techniques and suggests choosing the principles that are a good fit for your case.

Key Takeaways

  • You need to get people to believe what you write
  • It needs not just ideas but also strong sources of data to support them
  • Copying a competitor or another business’s case study might not favor your business, the best way is to understand the context and do what is suitable for you
  • Use the frameworks suggested by the experts or have our own framework to make the day-to-day CRO work effective

Having gained an amazing amount of information in the first week, I look forward to sharing more of my journey with CXL in the following weeks as well.

SEO and Web Analytics Enthusiast

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