Following an evening break on Day 2 of Conversion World 2016, four conversion optimisers kicked off a panel discussion. The panel was made up of Angie Schottmuller (@aschottmuller), Tiffany Da Silva (@bellastone), Joanna Wiebe (@copyhackers) and Talia Wolf (@TaliaGw) who asked each other their burning questions about conversion optimisation.
I loved the format of this segment. It’s great what people can do when they support each other. The speakers live streamed together from the USA, Canada and Israel.
NB: In most cases these aren’t precise quotes, just the highlights of the answers.
Questions from panel members to panel
What’s the biggest challenge in moving the optimisation industry forward?
Angie That people aren’t ready, they’re not changing their culture. My solution to that is to treat the teams in companies like personas that you need to target. Understand their pain points and fears and basically conduct internal user-testing polls. Your first customer as an optimiser is your team.
Joanna Companies are often excited by optimisation but get overwhelmed with the potential. They get dazzled and that’s hard to overcome.
How do you define a thought leader?
Joanna I know that it’s sometimes referred to as an icky term. What does it actually take to be a thought leader or to find a thought leader?
To me though, I suppose, it’s the first person I think of when I’m thinking about a topic e.g. Rand Fishkin is a thought leader for SEO.
“A thought leader is the person who has worked really hard to create the content for that industry.” Click to tweet
Tiffany It is your job to create art. If you have a way of doing things, that’s your art and it makes you a thought leader. It’s easier than people think to become a thought leader. It’s not about celebrity, it’s about having an idea to share.
Joanna Yeah. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, you’ve got plenty more where they came from.
Angie You can’t be a thought leader without sharing your ideas.
What is the most important question you ask the company you are working for?
Tiffany I’m known for asking this, What does success look like to you?
Asking that question doesn’t just yield the answer, it reveals much more your new client e.g. whether they already have an idea of how to measure success or are they making one up on the spot. Are they driven by money and is that how you need to present everything in terms of?
It’s important because if you’re not speaking the same language they won’t care about the things you think are successes. They only care about they thing they identify as success.
One thing though, it’s important, if you’re asking a group, to write their answer down privately so that they don’t all copy the main stakeholder.
Angie You could ask that question for the internal clients too.
Talia I always ask, What pain do you solve?
I find that a lot of businesses answer by speaking about the features of their product. That’s when I need to remind them that isn’t the original reason you created a product or service.
Joanna I start by saying, I don’t use your product. Can you explain why I don’t?
It often reveals the client’s biggest anxiety about their product or their marketing.
When did you first know that you were an optimiser?
Talia I didn’t know. I started working in a social media company, running social campaigns. I found that clients always wanted ‘a lot of likes’ on their pages and posts and I was asking them how successful are the pages that social posts point to? They didn’t know and I couldn’t understand that. I was thinking, “well, we could be making those better.”
I continued working in digital marketing for a while but it wasn’t until I met mu business partners at Conversioner that they told me what I was doing was conversion optimisation.
Tiffany I’m the most curious person. I think that’s typical of optimisers. I always want to know ‘What if?’ and ‘Why?’
Joanna I had been writing copy for a long time and one day I realised that the words I wrote could directly get a consumer to get their credit card out. I suddenly started thinking about what else I could do to influence the reader.
Angie I really changed while I was at VWO. Perfection is my enemy but mediocrity is my kryptonite so I found it very freeing. I realised it was about incremental changes rather than spending too much time making it perfect, aiming for the biggest improvement (which has just a big a risk of failing).
If you had to rate the importance of your craft (copy, psychology, data, growth) which would be most important?
All We’re a team!
Joanna Psychology is the base of insights for optimisations, so I’d say that.
All However, growth can’t be achieved without all parts. You should form a mini team (like us) to bounce ideas off so that you’re not missing advice on one perspective.
Is there a client or campaign that you’d like to work on?
Angie Star Wars, Jeep, Monster! But from experience, I enjoy working with educational clients. They already love learning so they’re very open to the test and learn process.
Tiffany I love working with physicians and manufacturing companies that are new to conversion optimisation but know so much about psychology or engineering.
Talia The fun stuff would be Disney, Marvel etc. I started working with non-profits. Enjoyed changing the donation sites from depressing, guilty motivators to driving conversions with happiness.
Joanna Anybody that has a good solution (to their potential customers’ problem) but isn’t using email marketing effectively yet. – @copyhackers Click to tweet
What are the top 3 things for launching a successful customer-facing newsletter?
Joanna Why a newsletter? There should be a value proposition for the newsletter itself. They’re hard to write if you don’t know what it’s for. What’s it for, why would someone open it?
Tiffany Make sure it’s simple, with a focussed message. There should be a unifying theme.
Angie Think about the needs of the audience persona. What might help to educate them or inspire them? The value isn’t buying your product, it should show that you understand their interests and problems they’re trying to solve.
At what point will internal CRO teams surpass consultants or agencies?
Talia I always tell the teams that I help that they know a lot more than I do. They know about their customers already. They have the power and the knowledge but they need help with their strategy.
Angie The in-house team is the strongest on the business side, The consultant is strongest on the technical side and the methodology (as it’s so new).
Thanks ladies for challenging each other with these questions and sharing the answers with us.