Conversion Conversation with Robert Brady [CRO Chat Streamcap]
Our latest #CROchat is an interview style with a Conversion Conversation with Robert Brady (@robert_brady). The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:
To start, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background in digital marketing?
I got started in PPC in 2005 in-house for a software company, moved to an agency, went freelance & then started by own agency.
And do you still do freelance or just at your agency?
Great! What lead you to CRO? Money? Fame? Uncontrollable desire to archive a Bounce Rate of 0%?
In PPC I quickly found that I was judged not just on clicks, but how they converted. So I started with Landing Page Optimization (LPO) & then went full Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). But the fame is nice too.
Ah yes, Landing Pages are the main gateway to full Conversion Optimization! Can you tell us a little about CRO Pros and what lead you to start it?
LinkedIn is a great platform & I was participating in some great PPC groups, but I couldn’t find a CRO equivalent. So I made CRO Pros to provide a forum on LinkedIn for people to ask questions, link to valuable content, etc. The CRO Pros group has the smartest people in the industry & they’re very open to sharing & helping.
You have seen a lot of changes throughout the years in regards to PPC. What was the biggest challenge you ran into? – Tamara Fortner (@aramatf)
Tough question. I would say the increasing competition & increasing skill of competitors.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to get into Conversion Optimization?
Start small & imperfect, but get started! People try to launch a full multivariate test on the homepage with their 1st test. Pick a well-trafficked landing page and start with a simple A/B test. Don’t be careless, but don’t be a perfectionist either.
Good advice. What elements would you then suggest to new CROs to test first?
Page layout/flow is a big one. They say a camel is a horse made by committee and many pages are camels. Find what is absolutely necessary to keep a prospect moving through the funnel and many times that means you need to cut A LOT out.
And what often “gets cut out”?
Lots of copy usually gets cut. Irrelevant images. Unnecessary form fields.
What tools do you use the most in making your CRO decisions? – Unbounce (@unbounce)
The grey matter between the ears is the best tool (but Excel, analytics & statistical sig. calculators help)
Where do you see the future of CRO heading? – Erik Bortzfield (@ErikBortz)
I see CRO becoming a fully integrated part of the marketing mix & less of an island. Needs to be done continuously.
How do you give your horses the wings to fly?– Mukul Mehta (@MukulMehta)
Make them lightweight & powerful.
What are the conversion-focused websites, blogs or authors that would be on your “must read” list?
Tim Ash (@tim_ash), Lance (@loveday) and the@ioninteractive team are some of the early pioneers that I follow. @MarketingExperiments is putting out stellar stuff too. What are some others that you recommend?
The last couple weeks we have talked a lot about multi-page funnels. What do you think is the best use-case for them. – Carlos del Rio (@inflatemouse)
In my experience multi-page funnels are best when qualification is a primary goal.
How often are you surprised by the unconventional? That is, results that defy conventional wisdom? – Timothy Paskowski (@timpaskowski)
People naturally gravitate to the known & avoid change, so most of the time I’m not surprised by results but people are unpredictable as well. Gotta keep testing.
When testing, do you typically test specific elements, one at a time…or test innovation (big/lots of changes)? – Ion Interactive (@ioninteractive)
Usually start w/radical redesigns (as Flint would say) & then specific elements for incremental improvement.
Do you remember your first landing page? How did it turn out?
I honestly can’t think of my first landing page (suppressed perhaps?), but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty.
When you take on a new campaign, where does CRO typically start for you?
I start with a benchmark & a goal. The benchmark will let you know what current efforts are yielding while the goal lets you know where you’re going (and when you’ve arrived.) Any CRO effort is doomed to fail without both.
When working with a client, how do you determine that goal? – Ion Interactive
Work backwards from avg. sale, lifetime value & % they’re committing to acquisition. Set realistic goal for improv.
What timeframe or history do you like to use when setting a benchmark?
It will depend on the situation, but it should be enough to be valid (not chance).
Have you ever run a test where the results completely surprised you? If so, how?
I ran a test where we eliminated half the fields on a form for registration. It didn’t budge conversion rate because these people were highly motivated. I’m pretty sure they would have run with the bulls in Pamplona if we’d asked them to.
Does that mean that the “Offer” was incredibly powerful and what you attributed conversions to?
The offer was a software package (worth ~$250) for free. I honestly think we could have gotten a SSN from half of them is we asked
What conversion missteps do you see regularly being made?
Not launching because the test or software isn’t absolutely perfect. A close 2nd would be testing irrelevant stuff. Oh, and missing outside factors that influence the test (holidays, major events, promotions, press mentions).
Most of the time we talk about CRO as a post-click process. What’s your approach pre-click CRO?
In the PPC world, my job is to deliver qualified clicks so I spend a lot of effort pre-click making sure I’ve used keywords that represent the right intent & copy that sets correct expectations. If the pre-click messaging doesn’t align with the post-click messaging you’ll kill your conversion rates.
Absolutely! And what are your thoughts on Microsites and smaller CRO-focused landing environments?
They’re great…if used appropriately. Remember that you have a conversion in mind & all that other “stuff” may be nice but ask yourself “Is it REALLY necessary?” +
Do you have a favorite testing solution and are there any insights you care share about it?
I don’t endorse one solution over the other but I’ve used several. Just don’t let tool analysis get in the way of your testing implementation is usually the biggest hurdle I face, so pick the solution you can actually get live (based on your tech).
Does traffic source affect your conversion strategy on a campaign? If so, how?
PPC usually gives you greater direction about intent & you can direct them where you want. I love that. Email is also great SEO traffic is harder because the intent is more nebulous & Google picks where they land the key is to match what you know (intent, demographics, etc.) with the messaging & layout to get the conversion.
More CRO Chats
We’ll be back to the normal Q&A style next week. Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #CROchat on Thursday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.
Also, join us for #PPCchat on Tuesdays 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK for a similar sessions revolving about everything PPC. Those streamcaps can be found on Matt Umbro’s PPCChat Blog
CRO Chat Participants
Check out the CRO Chat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.
- James Svoboda – Interviewer (@Realicity)
- Robert Brady – Interviewee (@robert_brady)
- Paul Kragthorpe – Streamcapist (@PaulKragthorpe)
- Carlos del Rio (@inflatemouse)
- Erik Bortzfield (@ErikBortz)
- Ion Interactive (@ioninteractive)
- Mukul Mehta (@MukulMehta)
- Tamara Fortner (@aramatf)
- Timothy Paskowski (@timpaskowski)
- Unbounce (@unbounce)
About the Host
SEO since 1999. WebRanking CEO. MnSEARCH.org Co-Founder. MarketingLand Contributor. #CROchat Host. #PPCchat Faithful. Husband & Father in Eden Prairie, MN. If you like this post and want to find others related to it, then you can find me on Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter: