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How many goals do you set when you’re designing a split test for your website?

We’re goal-crazy here in the lab at Conversion Sciences. It is not unusual for our tests have dozens of goals. Why is that?

We see split testing as a data collection activity, not a tool that gives us answers. It’s not like wikipedia. The split-testing software on the market to day is amazingly agile when it comes to tracking, targeting and snooping on visitor behavior. We certainly want to track transactions, revenue and leads. But we learn so much more from our tests.

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In my new Marketing Land column The Multi-Goal Magic Of Split Testing Software, I describe how we use some of these goals to find sweet spots in a website.

  • Find out how to “light up” a funnel that is invisible to analytics.
  • Discover the pages are most influential in converting.
  • Segment your audience based on their behaviors.

You can listen to the column or read it for yourself.

Brian the Conversion Scientist is always excited to share his knowledge about website optimization. He’s also an entrepreneur just like his clients. Dr. Jeremy Weisz from INspired INsider interviewed Brian about his highest and lowest points leading his business.

Brian talks about client negotiations, how he feels about his employees (hint: nothing but good feelings!), and advice for making a better website.

Listen to the full podcast or read the transcript: it’s educational and unexpectedly touching.

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Transcript

Jeremy:

Brian, since it’s INspired INsider, I wanted to hear about what’s been a really low moment and how you pushed forward through it, and then on the flip side a proud moment.

Brian:

I think our lowest moment would have to have been when we signed up a do a pay for performance.  We had a deal where we were being paid a retainer, and we also got a bonus based on how much we increased their conversion rate.

And as you can imagine on a complex site, it’s really hard to determine how much of a conversion rate increase is due to the market, how much is due to promotions the company was going to do anyway, and how much of it is due to us. But we came up with the formula that would take several different measurements and average them, and if it went to this certain point then we got a certain percentage of revenue.

We had a month go by, and there was a huge increase; it looked like our bonus was going to go through the roof. We had just started, and we know we didn’t make any changes. So we started working vigorously and the next month, they had some specials, and again we had a bonus that was just through the roof.

We felt like we had to stick by our guns because that was the agreement.  I mean if every time the bonus coincidentally was in our favor was early on – rather than being lower early on – then we wouldn’t have much of a leg to stand on for future agreements like this one, which by the way we don’t do anymore.

It ended up being a very confrontational negotiation. It came to a good settlement, and we lost a customer. We lost a very interesting customer at that. So that was kind of the low point.

Jeremy:

You mean that they said it wasn’t due to you, so they didn’t want to pay you the bonus?

Brian:

That’s right.

Jeremy:

That’s painful.

Brian:

We said “You might be right it: it may not be due to us or not all of it, but the agreement says this is how we calculate the bonus.” That was the agreement: we’re going to calculate it using this formula. We had offered to cap it, and they said “No, we want you guys to be motivated to really make us rich.” And I think we could’ve, and I wish we had been able to keep going with them.

Jeremy:

How do you navigate that type of negotiation because it is a client relationship, but then also you deserve to be paid a certain amount. I’m sure this happens all the time in a lot of business type of situations. How did you come to the table, and how did you handle the negotiation? Is that an easy process?

Brian:

I think probably the most important thing we did is we got on a plane and flew out there. Being face-to-face made it more confrontational but realistically confrontational. There’s an amazing ability of the human mind to read somebody’s face, so that’s what we decided to do rather than trying to read their voices and faces over the phone. I think that was probably the most important thing.

We never wavered, but we did compromise. We didn’t get the full bonus, but we told them what we were willing to take. We did a good job making our case for it. And you know I think that’s all you can do.

Jeremy:

What would you tell someone if they experience the same situation – someone backs out of an agreement? What advice do you have for them?

Brian:

We talked about litigation, but we didn’t see that as a tactic, and we didn’t use it. I think holding the other side to their highest – even when they get heated and when they sound irrational to you – assume that they’re working for the best, and they’re working for the fairest.

There’s a fundamental difference in the way people will behave if you expect a certain thing from them.

Even in a business situation sometimes somebody’s job is on the line, and they negotiated a bad deal with you. We had one other situation where they said “We didn’t know you were going to charge so much. We didn’t quite understand the agreement.” It was a much smaller amount of money, but hold them to their highest and plan ahead of time where your concession points are. Tell them how much you’re willing to concede and concede slowly. So if you’re talking about $100,000 deal, your concession points are going to be in the $99,000 or $98,000 range.

And don’t worry about seeming unreasonable. You can keep going, but that’s where really where you find out where their concession point is. Find a compromise that you both feel like “I can take that.”

Jeremy:

Lesson learned. Now you don’t do pay for performance.

Brian:

Pay for performance has potentially two outcomes with the wrong organization. I wouldn’t rule it out categorically, but number one, you are wildly successful with them, and you become too expensive to be kept on.

Or number two, you don’t you have inclusive tests for a long period of time, so you’re not making any money with them.  Your employees begin to think “Well I’m making money over here with this other client, so I’m going to spend more time on that.” So it never actually gets its fair shake past some of those early failures.

So no it doesn’t work. We do flat rate, fixed price consulting. We don’t even do hourly. It’s a flat rate. It gives us the freedom to do as much as we need to do to delight the customer. And so that’s what you want. You want someone who has the resources to really put a lot of money in your pocket.

Jeremy:

I can see with the first deal the guy made with you that they want you to be motivated, so they didn’t want to cap it which I would think makes perfect sense.

So what about the proudest moment?

Brian:

I think that there have been a number of proudest, but for me the proudest has been really over the last six months. We’ve brought on a new Conversion Scientist, and we’ve had one who has been with us for longer, but the two of them really have delighted clients. They’ve been able to come in, get up the learning curve on reading the tealeaves that are the analytics and all the other research that we do, then consistently deliver wins.

In one case, we started off very rough. We had a couple of inconclusive tests.  These were language tests, and we were changing the language on buttons for a barcode company. The control beat everything. We were struggling to get statistical significance because there was also a little bit of “Should we go with this conclusion or not go with this conclusion?” It just felt very rough, so to be able to turn that around and turn it into tripling the conversion rate, it just feels great. We were running on kind of a high.

We’re in demand, and our process is really working. We do have tough clients in other sectors, but it just feels great to see other people catch the disease that I got back in 2006 of “Oh my gosh! This brings everything together!” The data, the technology, the development, and the entrepreneurial side. We’re really scrambling to make more money for our clients, so to see that excitement pop up in your employees feels really good.

Jeremy:

Is it hard to get clients to listen? When you triple conversions they probably say “I’m all ears” but before that in the initial tests, I would think it’s hard to convince them you should do things a certain way for a long time if you have these inconclusive paths.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

Brian:

There is a lot of back and forth. Some clients begin to get excited and they come up with their hypotheses, and then we say “We have some of this data from a previous test” or “We saw this over here that says it’s probably not a good hypothesis”. But then other times a client will come to us with a great hypothesis, and we’ll think “Oh my gosh why isn’t that on our list?”

That conversation usually works out well, but what is harder are situations like when we had a client that sold sports memorabilia online. Customers were going to the purchase page and adding something to cart.  They’re buying; they are going through the process. Then customers change the state that they live in, so the terms of the shopping cart change, and one of those little twirling rings goes off while it’s going to the database and grabbing the new tax information.

In Internet Explorer, that twirling ring didn’t go away, and it was spinning right next to the credit card number field. Imagine this: you’re about to enter your credit card number, but you’re not about to enter it until the browser says it’s ok. It’s spinning about 30 seconds then another twirling ring pops up, and now you’re thinking “I’m not going to give my credit card to these bozos”. Thirty seconds later, another twirling ring. So you have three of these spinning things.

We decided to design some java script, and we fixed it. We actually ran a test because we wanted to see how big of an impact this was having because this problem was at the buy point.

It was costing them over $1,000,000 a year in revenue!

Jeremy:

Wow that’s amazing.

Brian:

We presented this to them, and they were like “ok”.

So then we were thinking, “Wait a minute, what’s going on here?  Why aren’t they more excited?” When we see a test that delivers a 25% increase, when we put it on the site it’s generally going to see a 10-12% increase in actual. There are a lot of other things come into effect and change the results, and you know 25%? That seems ok.

So with the sports memorabilia company, we were thinking, we just made you a million and a half dollars, worst case, and you’re not really reacting. That’s more perplexing to us, when they have no reaction.

Sometimes the person you’re dealing with within an organization is more worried about their job instead of what we’re doing.  In enterprise organizations it really is about career advancement, and you can tell that this is not something that they think is going to help get them ahead. They’re just not as excited.

Jeremy:

It’s not their business.

Brian:

It’s an individual or someone who reports directly to the CEO or something. So that’s more frustrating. We’re rah rah’ing, and it’s silence on the other end, and you’re wondering what’s going on. They should be hiring a marching band and marching through our office.

Jeremy:

They’re covering the phone and just screaming or something.

Brian this has been an absolute pleasure. Where can we point people towards? Where should people go to check out more?

Brian:

You know everything we learn, we write about. We’re really a teaching organization because that’s what it’s going to take to get more of these websites up and optimizing. So come to Conversion Sciences.

We post several times a week there: case studies, head-scratchers, things we’ve learned, audio, there’s a lot of video, we’ve got a podcast if you like to listen to things on the commute. And you know we’ve got the data that answers some of the questions that I know are burning in your little brains.

Jeremy:

Conversion Scientist.  Yeah, I was reading one this morning: why no one is reading your emails.  That was a good  one.

Brian:

Everything is fair game. Also, go download our report if you’re in the university world. We’re going to be doing those reports at least once a month for different industries, so absolutely go to the contact page and send me an email if you want us to do your industry.

Jeremy:

So any final thoughts?

Brian:

Entrepreneurs: those of you who are embarking on any business right now are going to have a website to support it. I can’t think of an exception. And you’re going to go hire a web developer or maybe do that yourself. And a designer to tell you what to do. A marketer today is not going to be able to go off and do that anymore but the good news is that the data is readily available.

Even if you’re a little afraid to get a little math-y and maybe understand a little statistics, I strongly recommend that you go and poke around in analytics. Make sure that you’ve got Google Analytics – which is a free tool – installed and start building this database so you can test yourself. That’s where it all starts. Start poking around; I know us entrepreneurs are pokers. We’re going to get to know just enough about a space that we feel confident either winging it or competently hiring someone who can do it for us. You need to be doing that on the site because it will accelerate your growth, especially out of the gate when those few precious leads, few precious sales, few precious users will make or break your business.

Jeremy:

Awesome Brian, thank you so much I really appreciate it.

Brian:

Thanks for having me man. Glad I could come.

The knockout punch came near the end of the webinar. Who won, UX or CRO?

Watch the Webinar Replay

Listen to the Podcast

We shot this webinar because I had two things happen in the past year that made me wonder if we shouldn’t be doing more UX as a part of our CRO efforts.

First, we helped redesign a client site using conversion optimization. During the redesign, the client experienced significant increases in demos and sales of its software. To date we’ve almost tripled their demo requests.

Then, I happened across a landing page that I felt was very well done. When I asked the designer of that page how they had arrived at that design, Adam Treister told me they had done a UX process on it. And he had documented the process in a Udemy course. The page increased enrollment clicks by 246%.

Two different approaches. Two great results. I invited my UX friend Sarah Jabeen of DiscoverSTEAM to debate this with me. How are these two process different? How are they the same?

There is only one way for you to find out.

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21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

The fight for online leads and sales has traditionally been fought at the search engine. That is changing.

Web analytics, bid management, competitive intelligence, ad testing and ad management tools are all common staples of any serious paid search effort. Return on ad spend (ROAS) is being tracked all the way through the sign up or purchase process and ad strategies are being adjusted accordingly.

Quietly, the battle for online leads is moving to a new front. This new front is measured by revenue per visit, and it’s kissing cousin, conversion rate. Like the tide that floats all boats, website optimization is being seen as the way to reduce all marketing costs by dropping the acquisition cost of new prospects and customers.

Why do we say this is happening quietly? That is the conclusion we came to when examining an unusual data set from SpyFu.com. We were able to determine which businesses had conversion optimization tools installed on their website. This, we reasoned, gave us a pretty good idea of which businesses would dominate in the world of online marketing — assuming they were actually using the tools.

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In this month’s podcast, based on the Marketing Land column Data Exposes Scandalously Low Adoption Of Conversion Optimization Tools, Brian the Conversion Scientist explores the usage of conversion optimization tools for two industry segments: Higher Education and B2B Software.

In one report, 73% of businesses are spending between $500 and $5000 per month on paid search ads. Almost a quarter are spending between $5000 and $50,000 per month. Yet, only 14% of businesses have at least one website optimization tool installed.

Who are going to be the winners in this new front? Where does your business fit in this statistic?

To get the most out of his column, download one of the free reports that share all of the data he uses.

In these reports you will learn:

  • Why your team needs time to review analytics.
  • Why businesses with smaller ad budgets should focus more on acquisition costs.
  • How to decrease your Search Ad costs.
  • Why you shouldn’t invest in social media sharing.

The little yellow message in the upper right corner of your Google Analytics report can be somewhat unsettling. It appears when you use custom segments on a website has grown to hundreds of thousands of hits. The message is a warning you that the report you’re looking at is based on sampled data.

Does this mean the data is wrong? Can you use it to make decisions about your site? Can you share it with your boss?

The answer is, “Sometimes.”

In my article Everything’s Bigger In Texas: Sampling & Google Analytics Reports, I’ve drawn three conclusions that, if kept in mind, will make sure your reports are telling you the truth about your website — or something close to it.

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1: The Amount of Data Affects Sample Size

The percentage of pageviews that Google Analytics reports in the yellow box can tell you how accurate your report may be. The more data that Google has to analyze, the longer it takes.  So, if your report covers a larger the time, the sample size Google Analytics uses will be smaller. For certain types of reports, you’ll be limited to 90 days.

2: Use Sampled Reports for Large Datasets Only

If the number of datapoints in your segment is low, you will find the data in your reports to be less accurate. A report with on a segment with 50,000 sessions that is sampled may produce nothing but noise. I show you how to determine this in the column.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

3: Dialing Up the Sample Size Helps

“Moving your sample rate from 5% to 10% feels pretty insignificant.  It’s not, especially for segments that return smaller datasets.”

The larger your sample size, the more you can rely on Google’s reporting because the bigger the sample, the clearer the picture that analytics will be able to make using the data.

When your website grows beyond a certain point, Google Analytics is going to start taking shortcuts.  [pullquote]Don’t be the victim of a big Google Analytics lie[/pullquote]. Know what those shortcuts are and know how to get around them so that you are relying on data that tells the true story.

There are special visitors on your site right now. They blend in with all of the others in your analytics, but they behave differently from the others.

They visit more pages, spend more time, share more often and are more likely to buy from you.

Would you like to know them better?

Would you like to know how to treat them better?

Would you like to have more of them?

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Transcript

These visitors are your account holders. Some have bought from you. Some have not.

Account holders should walk around your site in their socks on the plush red carpet you’ve laid out for them.

  They’ve put forth more effort interacting with your site than your other non-buying site visitors because they’ve shown you buying intent.  And that’s a big deal for you.

In my Marketing Land column Use Google Analytics To Treat Your Account Holders Like Royalty I show you how to isolate these wonderful visitors and see how they behave.

What is tripping them up?

Where do they come from when they visit?

Do they respond to email?


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

Why does the “online” marketer have to do anything different from the “other” marketer at the beginning of a new year?

There are many reasons.

The online marketer is blind without accurate data.

The online marketer has wrested control from the grubby hands of IT.

The online marketer knows that

the seeds of holiday regret are planted in February procrastination.

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Don’t worry. We’ve prepared a list of seven things you should do now at the beginning of 2015.

Resolve to optimize the website before the next holidays

“If only” are the saddest two words in the English language.

If only we had a little higher conversion rate from all of that juicy holiday traffic.

If only Black Friday had put us a little more “in the black.”

If only our shopping cart had worked with Internet Explorer.

We know that the holidays are happier when we get more revenue under the Christmas Tree. This year let’s start getting more from the traffic we’re going to get next November and December.

Testing and optimizing does take time. Now is the time to start testing if you want your holidays to be merrier.

Change the passwords on your testing tools

The modern marketer has taken control of much of the website from the grubby hands of IT and the web developers. Today, tag managers give marketers an unparalleled ability to add measurements to a site without IT’s help. Split testing tools allow them to transform a website for a particular group of visitors at will.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Many marketing departments should adopt the best security practices of their IT brethren. If a malicious individual got the password to Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer, they could wreak havoc on the site at will.

Go ahead, change your passwords. And make them good passwords. We use the program PassPack to store and share hard-to-crack passwords with our team.

Check that all your pages still have analytics and testing software

A website is a complex piece of software. New pages are added by different stakeholders. Changes are often undocumented. Not everyone is concerned that your analytics and testing tools need to be added to each page and then checked.

Before diving into a new year, run through the pages on your site and make sure they all have the right tools installed.

There are automated systems for checking your site, but taking some time to explore by hand is very helpful. Get ready to start a punch list.

I recommend installing two browser extensions for Chrome: Tag Assistant by Google and Ghostery. Tag Assistant tells you if your Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager installation is broken on any page, and offers helpful tips. Ghosterytells you every tag that is installed on the page, so you can check for things likeClick Tracking tools, session-recording tools and more.

Consider moving to a tag manager, like Google Tag Manager. This centralizes analytics setup.

Make sure your site still works with all devices and browsers

Your analytics will tell you which browsers and devices your visitors are using on your site.

Your analytics will tell you which browsers and devices to check.

Your analytics will tell you which browsers and devices to check.


Make sure your site works on the top devices and browsers.

Year over year evaluation

The end of a year means another year of data. Woohoo!

This means we have an entire year to compare our progress against. When we compare year-over-year data, we eliminate differences that occurred due to market changes. For an online consumer retailer, comparing October performance to November performance wouldn’t be fair, since the holiday shopping season starts in November. Instead it’s better to compare October of this year to October of last year.

Here are some of the things we like to look at in our year-over-year data.

Depth of Troughs

It’s the off-season that kills us. It’s the winter months for bikini boutiques and the summer months for mitten makers. However, if we are making progress on our site, we should see less of a drop revenue during the off-peak weeks.

And with shallow troughs we often see higher spikes during prime selling or lead-gen seasons.

Increasing Revenue Per Visit or Conversion Rate

Even it you got more traffic to your website in 2014, you may not see the increase in revenue. By measuring the Revenue per Visit (RPV) and Conversion Rate (for lead generation) you can see how your efforts in 2014 added to the bottom line independent of traffic volume.

Average Order Value

When people buy from you, are they buying more or less? This is what average order value tells us. Even if your traffic was flat and your conversion rate didn’t move, you may be getting more from each customer.

Bounce Rate

If you saw an increase in traffic to the site, did you see an increase in bounce rate? The Bounce Rate measures visitors who came and didn’t stay long. They saw only one page or left before 15 seconds had passed.

Bounce rate is an indicator of traffic quality. If lots of visitors are bouncing, then you may not be bringing the right visitor to the site.

Review your idea list

Where do you keep your punch list of things to try on the site? Go find it and give it a look. You’ll find some great ideas you forgot about.

Where do you keep your ideas for a better website

Where do you keep your ideas for a better website?


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

In this episode of The Conversion Scientist Podcast, Brian Massey tells you how to gain insights from third-party tools in Google Analytics. He uses several video hosts as an example.

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Transcript and Images on Marketing Land

Watch the free eight-part bit-sized video mini-course

Since you are a student of our Conversion Course, you get the entire mini-course Video that Converts.

An important eight-part series on creating marketing videos that convert visitors to leads and sales from Conversion Sciences.

  1. How Faces Influence Video Marketing
  2. Using Video to Solve the Subject Matter Expert Problem
  3. How Marketing Videos Chase Viewers Away in the First Seconds
  4. Video Hosting-Why Youtube is the Wrong Choice
  5. How the Brain Processes Video
  6. Headlines that Get Visitors to Click Play
  7. How Motion in Marketing Videos Affects Viewer Attention
  8. Video Marketing Using Animation

Special thanks to Vidpow for producing the videos in our Video that Converts Mini-course.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

We have a recipe for setting up Google Analytics when we take on a new client. A few simple things can make all the difference.

Like naming your Views so that you can find the right one easily.

Or adding a RAW data view so that you can effectively “backup” your Google Analytics information.

I address these and a few more setup issues in my most recent Marketing Land Column, A Google Analytics Setup Checklist.

Listen on The Conversion Scientist Podcast

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The other lower-case filters are defined as follows:

Lower case campaign

The lower case campaign filter in Google Analytics

The lower case campaign filter in Google Analytics.

Lower case Referrals

The Google Analytics filter to make the referral field lowercase.

The Google Analytics filter to make the referral field lowercase.

Related Marketing Land Columns by Brian Massey


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three

People sometimes confuse us with robot-like scientists, being lead by data and caring little for the creative side of marketing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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I like to think that we can be more creative because we add a rigor to our creativity that allows us to try riskier things. If we have some data that says risky might work, we have a methodology through which we can confirm it’s effectiveness with a high level of confidence.

We backstop our creative with data, and this gives us a freedom that few designers and writers have.

In my new column Enhance Your Creativity Through Analytics I show you how we find data to backup or disavow our creative efforts.

Listen here or read it online.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The power of Three