Managing ideas – A CRO expert’s perspective

Data is the new oil, how often have you heard this Clive Humby’s quote? However, there is another quote by Ronald H. Coase that is not so famous “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess.”

As a beginner in the conversion optimization journey with CXL’s coveted conversion optimization Minidegree, I am learning the importance of managing ideas.

When you start optimizing a website, an app, or an email marketing campaign there are thousands of ideas that you can implement. And then there are best practices, conventions traditions, Standard practices, etc. Almost everyone has an idea or suggestions for improvement, there are so many things you can improve.
To illustrate with an example, when you start optimizing a website you can start with the home page, the product page, the pricing page, the landing pages, or category pages, this is just an example. And within a page, you can optimize a headline, layout, page copy, images, call to action, form, content, and so many other elements.

This is where it starts getting complicated. As a conversion optimization professional, your biggest problem is not the lack of ideas to implement. Your focus needs to shift to the quickest win.

The problem and the solution

To manage the ideas better, the first thing you should do is to float a spreadsheet in your team. This should act as a central repository for managing ideas. Remember this is your rough workbook, not a complicated template with so many fields.

Here is a simple Airtable template you can use to start with. The minimum information it should contain is the name of the contributor, a description of the idea, how is it useful, and why the person thinks it’s important. If you want to add more information, you can ask the person if they have an example of a similar implementation but it’s not necessary. This list should act as your go-to template every time you discuss ideas or decide on your next conversion project.

Prioritizing Where to focus

If you know where to go, you will find the way. Lost are those who don’t know where to go.
Creating a list of ideas solves your first problem. you don’t lack ideas to implement but it becomes overwhelming. Remember your focus is to find the smallest win which has maximum impact on your conversion.
In order to prioritize the ideas, you need additional information. If it’s a known convention or something that has already been implemented elsewhere, you can research to understand what results did they achieve. Keep adding this information to your sheet.

Forming the hypothesis and why it’s important?

What is the hypothesis? ” A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. This is how Wikipedia explains it.

Are we getting into science? Not really! Our goal is to make things simple, not to complicate it. Now pick up an idea from the repository you created in the earlier step and form a hypothesis.

To illustrate with an example, suppose your boss gave you an idea to improve a landing page form on your webinar registration page. How do you decide whether your optimization efforts had a positive impact?
If you want to get into details of what is a hypothesis and how to form one, this scribber article is the simplest example I could find.

A sample hypothesis for this example would be – Reducing the number of Fields in a webinar form will have a positive effect on conversion rate.

How much positive impact is worth the effort? Do you want to increase your conversion rate by X percent What is that X?

Once the definition is clear the next thing you should do is to start implementing it. There can be multiple approaches to it. You can run an A/B test on the original form vs the new variant. Or you can just make changes in the form and see how did it impact the conversion rate over a period of time.

To measure the results correctly, you need to keep in mind a few things. The sample size should be significant enough – you can not declare something a winner if only 5 people have seen it and two converted. The size of your sample will be big enough to reduce the margin of error. The bigger your sample, the more accurate your findings will be.

There should be no other variable that had an impact – For example during the period of your test, if you have sent a bulk email to your database, it might be possible that the target audiences of that email campaign were interested in the webinar topic and that had a positive impact on your conversion. Similarly, a dip in the traffic during that period might also have a positive or negative impact on the conversion rate.

You need to understand and factor in all possible conditions that could have had an impact on the results of your test.

Once you have neutralized all possible impacts, and the sample size if big enough, note down the impact of your test. If it was not in line with the hypothesis you may want to run another experiment on the same object of your test or move on to the next idea.

Follow this process to manage your ideas and experiments and document your results. Did you run a conversion optimization project recently? What impact did it have? What process did you follow to document the results of your campaign? Do share your thoughts.

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