The 7 Best Conversion Rate Optimization Tips from Inbound.org's #CRODay AMA

April 9, 2018

In this most recent in our series of expert tips from Inbound.org AMAs (AKA Ask Me Anything), we've culled the best conversion rate optimization advice from the recent #CRODay AMA.



The team at Inbound assembled a massive panel of the brightest minds in CRO for their AMA on April 9, giving readers the chance to ask experts literally anything they wanted to know about conversion rate optimization. How often do you get to pick the brains of superstar marketers like Shopify's Tommy Walker, Oli Gardner from Unbounce and Inbound's own Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré?

Over 42,000 people tuned in to see what the pros had to say about everything from the skills needed to succeed in CRO, to best practices for checkout conversion on e-commerce sites, to the nuts and bolts of good (and bad) conversion rate testing and much, much more.

Here are the top seven CRO tips from Inbound's #CRODay AMA:

1. On finding the right CRO specialists for the job:

“Here are the top 10 traits to look for in a CRO specialist:

1. Be Empathetic

2. Have Insatiable Curiosity

3. Have An Understanding Of Buying Psychology

4. Understand Usability

5. Have A Different Sense of Design

6. Have An Understanding of Good Classic Copy Writing

7. Be A Critical Thinker

8. Be Humble

9. You Gotta Love of Data

10. Have An Open Mind”

- Bobby Hewitt, Creative Thirst

2. On A/B testing versus intuition:

"I would rely on human feedback (or new ideas, etc.) to try to find new ‘global maximums’ (e.g. a completely different offer, completely different flow or strategy, etc.) - then use A/B testing to find the ‘local maximum’ for that idea (different images, colors, fonts - smaller things like that)."

- Me (Larry Kim, WordStream)

3. On how long to run a test:

"I try to get at least 100 conversions per variation before I start looking at the winner (or the one with statistical confidence) and I try to run it at least 2 weeks (starting and ending on the same day).

When you don't have enough traffic maybe testing might not be the best option for you? Maybe you can try user testing, or looking at heat maps to try to understand how your traffic is moving along on your page, or even use fivesecondtest.com to try to understand what your users are seeing when they go on your page. With that information you can make educated decisions on what to change on your page, implement it and then look at your results over time with all your traffic."

- Tiffany Da Silva, Powered by Search

4. On button copy:

"So nobody wants to ‘learn more’ or ‘download my free guide.’ They want the promise of doing that action; they want the value or the outcome on the other side of it. I don't take a negotiations course because I want to take a course (action); I take a negotiations course because I want to make more money for the same amount of work (value / outcome).

I've been breaking CTAs down into calls to action vs. calls to value. Calls to action speak to the exact thing you're doing: Download free CRO glossary. Calls to value speak to the reason you're doing it: Speak confidently about CRO. Test to see which works better at each point in the funnel. 

The deeper into the funnel you get – and certainly in-app – it's often wise to pull back on the call to value and focus more on the call to action. For example, when you're confirming your order in a clothing retailer's checkout process, ‘Place Order’ (call to action) is likely a much better button than ‘Dress for success’ (call to value). But early in your prospect's experience with you, calls to value tend to perform best."

- Joanna Wiebe, CopyHackers 

5. On button design:

"It's fairly unlikely that one little change to button design will have an impact. However, if you apply many principles at once you'll have a better chance. I see this as more of a legitimate use of a best practice as opposed to an optimization tactic.

Here are some of the characteristics of a usable button:

  • Size
  • Shape - circles don't look like buttons
  • Color - not as important as contrast. Persuasion through color is only really possible when considering the entire page.
  • Contrast - does it stand out from the dominant hue of the page?
  • Depth - flat or 3D
  • Position
  • Location - if it's part of a form we know it's a button (more often than not), if it's a standalone click-through button it has a bigger job to do
  • Proximity to other elements - what you write close to your button can impact its use
  • Surrounding element design - directional cues pointing at a button can make a button appear more buttony


Landing page ideas use directional cues
  • Clickability - ghost buttons are a massive design trend, and the buttons simply don't look clickable in the truest sense. Will we train ourselves so this doesn't matter? Perhaps.
  • Interaction: rollover state - is there a strong contrast when you mouseover?
  • Interaction: rollover cursor change - does the cursor change to provide feedback based on link conventions?"

- Oli Gardner, Unbounce

6. On local landing page best practices:

"1. The copy on this page actually needs to have value (I wrote about this here) – a big hindrance on conversion rates and SEO alike is content that reads like generic fluff for the sake of targeting phrases.

2. From a conversion standpoint, a local landing page isn't that much different from your typical landing page. You still need to convince a person to take action – but the context might be different depending on your service.

For some businesses with urgency baked in (restaurants, plumbers, etc.), you want to make sure that your phone number is front and center, because so much of local traffic is done on mobile where the person doesn't want to read a sermon and just wants to pick up and call.

The other thing I'd say is that it's just as much about your scheduling/sign up process (whether it's a form submission or calendar-based system) – if I encounter a single annoying bump in trying to contact you, I'm definitely leaving on a mobile device and probably leaving on a desktop. You need to make converting totally frictionless and avoid bouncing me from domain to domain or from trusted-looking page to random-looking scheduling software.

3. It's important everywhere, but if you're a professional service whose clientele care about a personal touch, a human element to the page (REAL photos of you/your local team) can play a role in building trust and credibility. Worth testing, but not a hard and fast rule."

- Joel Klettke, Business Casual Copywriting

7. On how pricing can affect conversion rates:

"There are many articles on the subject of pricing as pricing has many psychological sides to it. In general there are many cognitive biases that have an impact on our behavior. Cognitive biases are tendencies of our brains to think in certain ways, sort of like ‘unconscious’ triggers that make different connections in our brain to help us make decisions. The $29/month vs $30/month is a way to capitalize on a specific cognitive bias. This specific tactic has been researched, tested and proven to work, in fact both researchers at MIT and the Quantitative Marketing and Economics journal found the number 9 worked better than ‘sales’ tactics (when you show the before and after price). There are a few good articles you can follow on pricing that I recommend:

- Talia Wolf, Conversioner

The full AMA is a massive read, but well worth it. Grab a coffee, give yourself a half hour and head over to Inbound.org to see the entire CRO AMA. Also, check out:


Larry Kim

Larry Kim

Larry Kim is the founder of WordStream and CEO of MobileMonkey, a chatbot building platform.

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