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Rethinking CRO Entirely – Joanna Lord – @joannalord

On the final day of Mozcon 2012 the great presentations continued. Joanna Lord from SEOMoz shared some great insights about how CRO is changing and how we need to adapt as marketers. Here are some of my notes from her presentation:

  • Testing can take a lot of time and a lot of resources, which we don’t have a lot of time for.
  • Historical definition: “CRO was born out of the need for lead generation and ecommerce internet marketers t improve their website’s results”
  • It doesn’t really exist anymore that your only focus is lead forms and what happens on your website.
  • We want social sharing, bundling, buying related products, spend more time on the site. We care about things off site like mobile, Facebook, tablets, media, etc.
  • We care about people engaging with our brands on social networks like Pinterest, YouTube and others.
  • We don’t just need website results – sales, conversion rate, etc. Sites have evolved to bigger experiences, training, information, and philanthropy.
  • Marketers today need to improve in a lot of areas. The definition of CRO is changing.

What should we be spending our time on? Here are 10 things to start improving and testing.

#10. Your Story

Improve the way you tell and share your story. How do you want the world to see you?

The Golden Circle Theoryhttp://bit.ly/dcDsbx, Simon Sinek Ted Talk.

  • What? Product/Services
  • How? Value Prop
  • Why? The Cause
    • “Empower people to change the way the global economy works” – Etsy
    • “Empower people around the world with a $25 loan” – Kiva

#9. Your Pillars

Elements on your site that never change. You need to ask about them and push to test changes. Tweaking small things here and there may never have as big of an impact as making a major change.

It can feel dangerous or risky but can change your business. It’s hard to get buy off but when you do, people get excited.

#8. Your Relationships

Test your relationships. Ex. SEOmoz PRO Perks. It creates opportunities to evaluate partnerships, showcase partners, get new partners.


  • who you partner with
  • the words you publish about it
  • the placement of your partners page
  • the photos of partners
  • try videos to better convey the partnership

#7. Triggers, Calls to Action

We have 3 brains. Test for all 3

Your full story needs to hit all 3 of these. Squarespace is a good example.

#6. Your Unique Value Proposition

It doesn’t just mean making it bigger or more prominent. Change your UVP by category/product to match that demographic.

Good examples: Zappos, Pottery Barn.

UVP communicates the unique contribution your company, products, and/or services are able provide to the market – in a way that is different from your competitors.

#5. Optimize Your Schedule

  • Test your response time on social channels on different days
  • When you schedule your social updates
  • Your email frequency
  • Email delivery days
  • Test your outreach – how and when you follow-up
  • When you put out your content on your blog
  • Test your schedule for revamping different channels

#4. Optimize Your Tools

Are the tools you use still the best tools available? Get out of your comfort zone. Stop using crappy tools.

What makes good CRO Tools:

  • affordable
  • feedback
  • analytics
  • usability
  • built-in logic
  • contact team
  • resources
  • easy-to-use

Great tools:

  • usertesting.com
  • fivesecondtest
  • usabilla
  • umbounce
  • visual website optimizer
  • optimizely
  • reinvigorate
  • luckyorange
  • crazyegg

#3. Your Thank You

Test the way you say “thank you” to customers. Make sure your thank you is helpful and provides more information to the user. Don’t bore your customers to death.

#2 – Test Your Feedback Avenues

Work with other departments to get feedback. You can’t succeed as a marketer without getting feedback from customers.

Make it easy for customers to contact you. Don’t bury your contact info in the footer or behind logins.

Places to get feedback:

  • Analytics
  • Survey tools
  • Live chat
  • Cancel forms
  • Help tickets
  • Listening tools

#1 – Test Your Biggest Success

Dare to change your best performers for more win in less time. We tend to focus on low hanging fruit as scrappy marketers but testing winners on your most trafficked pages can have big results.

Tip: Stop saying “setting up tests”.

Tip: Stop waiting for the resources. Outsource, build in to the roadmap

Tip: Stop owning it. It’s a team effort.

Tip: Stop pushing pennies. Go big or go home. Don’t just test rotating the testimonials, try swapping video and text. Bigger things.

Tip: Stop stopping. Part of determining your value is how determined you are to being valuable and giving value.

So what is the new conversion rate optimization?

  • Engagement optimization
  • Story optimization
  • Relationship optimization
  • Process optimization
  • Value optimization
  • Loyalty optimization

It’s more than running tests and it demands that we think bigger.

Thank you Joanna! It was a great presentation which got a lot of us thinking about we can also make the web a better place.