Roles that focus specifically on conversion rate optimization (which, according to Qualaroo, is the “method of using analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of your website,” as well as improving other metrics as identified as KPIs), have become more popular in the last few years.
One person who is excelling in this area is Tiffany daSilva, a consultant and former head of Head of Conversion Rate Optimization at Shopify, an e-commerce website builder and platform.
Tiffany was gracious enough to answer a few questions covering CRO, e-commerce, and more.
Do you think CRO should be part of a marketing strategy, or something that should be focused on separately?
I think it’s hard to focus on your daily marketing activities AND your conversion rate at the same time. While you should constantly optimize in your own areas (SEO, SEM, etc.), it’s great to have someone to look at the bigger picture to spot opportunities throughout the whole funnel and focus on the test creation.
How does e-commerce strategy differ from a traditional website’s strategy to gain sales?
I think every webpage has a main reason for its existence – if it’s a business, it’s growth. However, growing can mean different things. In a traditional website, the key is to get someone to make the first step, you are giving them just enough information to get them to sign up for your service and usually you’ll be able to speak or meet with them to make a sale. E-commerce is different; the whole experience is happening online right to the checkout point. There’s more reasons for someone to leave you or get distracted.
For both however, I would focus on this:
Have a clear value proposition: Why should they buy with you versus your competitor? Do you offer free shipping, cheaper prices, are you higher quality or better known?
Be Relevant: If you’re using Adwords to drive traffic, make sure you’re bringing them exactly where they want to go. (If they are looking for Air Jordans, for the love of God don’t bring them to a Vans page.)
Be Clear: Using simple language, letting people know exactly what they are going to get, and having photos that show your product are great ways to increase the clarity of your user’s experience.
Remove Anxiety: Let people know in subtle ways that you are trusted source, have you been in the press? Do you have reviews? Show them!
Remove Distractions: Go through the whole checkout process, watch OTHER people do it – look for things that are causing them to slow down and try to fix them.
Show Urgency: It’s great if you’ve fixed all these things but if you don’t give the impression to buy now, then you might lose the sale to your competitor!
To know more about this process, you can read “You Should Test That!” by Chris Goward from Wider Funnel. It’s a great read and goes deeper on each of these points.
One of the big things you have to learn in marketing is you are going to fail, and you’re going to fail hard sometimes. The fails that give the ego a bruising are the best ones to have because you are so determined to learn and dig deep. There are so many best practices out there for CRO like removing the nav, or not using the slider/carousels on your homepage, but in each of these examples there are certain situations where they work. If you find yourself saying, “I’m not going to test that because it always wins for everyone else” you need to stop everything and test it immediately. You don’t want to find out months later from someone else that it wasn’t the case.
In your LinkedIn bio, you mentioned that you are an “aspiring growth hacker”. What do you think are the main differences between growth hacking and marketing?
Ahh, this is my favorite question. Marketing and growth hacking are two completely different things in my mind. Marketing is a bunch of activities whereas growth hacking is a mindset. Growth hacking requires you to understand your product, your market, and your funnel with such laser focus that you can look at something seemingly unrelated and find a way to use it to help grow your company using it. (See how Airbnb used Craigslist at first to grow their company.)
I think for some growth hacking is innate, and for some its learned. The reason why I keep “aspiring” on my linked in profile because it’s so different from my approach (looking within the company for small tweaks, small optimizations that create big improvements over time) that I spend a lot of time reading, learning, and trying to think in that way. The growth hackers I’ve met on growthhackers.com or at conferences have always impressed me with their ability to generate seemingly wild ideas that are based on data driven research with just the right mix of gut/ intuition.
Which, if any, personal experiences or hobbies have you had that have helped you be a better marketer?
I love learning about psychology and the way people think, and I love watching movies and tv. The biggest thing that’s helped me is the ability to watch programs I love while in the back of my mind be very aware of what’s happening to me while I watch it. Deconstructing shows to try to understand why did that make me laugh, why am I so glued to this character, what made me start hating another are amazing persuasive and psychological techniques that I use on landing pages everyday.
Bonus Question: What was the last really great book you read?
I read so much and I’m a little obsessed with my annual Goodreads challenge so this is hard a question! I think The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman is a must-read for any woman, and Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman were probably the last great books I’ve read. Right now, I’m currently reading The Innovator’s Solution by Michael E. Raynor and Clayton M. Christensen. It’s taken me forever because I keep coming up with a million ideas that I have to jot down while I read!