Laura Phillips

Over 100 Tips From Conversion Conference London 2012 Day 1 #convconf

27th Nov 2012 Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimisation 16 minutes to read

Conversion ConferenceToday we attended the Conversion Conference conference which is dedicated to anyone wanting to achieve maximum ROI from their online campaigns. Internationally renowned experts help us learn how to improve sales and increase site conversion rates. Here’s a quick overview of the main points from Day One.

Testing & Analytics with Vicky Brock

Take measures to check the quality, performance or reliability of something especially before putting it to widespread use or practice

Reveal strengths or capabilities by putting them under strain

At the core of all analytics & optimisation we are validating business:

There are seven steps: Creative & Content/ Campaign & Placement/ User Experience/ Message & Proposition/ Pricing & Business Model/ Tech Performance/ Customer Segment

Customer Segmentation – Why are we looking at these particular people?

Hypothesis – Why should I test? Create meaningful test case & expected positive & outcome

Intervention – A/B, user, MVP (minimal viable product), stress, market, multivariate, penetration etc

Validation – Statistical significance, unintended consequences, control (something with which to compare as digital is so complex, careful clean control grouping is a way for you to validate results yourself)

Extrapolation – Simulation, next best & what if models. Just how valuable is this? How do we make sure you have internal backing & resources to roll it out. Validation & extrapolation is the best way to get this done. Profit, margin impact – what will it mean to the business?

Theory > Test > Measure…in an ideal world. Analytics data does not give the answers directly, just a starting point. If trying to focus on data remember your tools are just that. You need decent validation, models & what if scenarios. It’s a starting place, not the whole package

It’s not about traffic & noise, it’s about relevant KPIs. If presenting, many businesses will look at the biggest number on the page so control it; make the biggest number on the page meaningful

What is a good goal? Goals are the ‘doing’ words of optimisation & validation. Easy to fall into passive goals which do not translate into action. This can make it hard to achieve, and you enter a  ‘cul de sac of irrelevance’. The measurement component of optimisation is to find the most fundamental significant actions of the most important people; those you are trying to influence to a specified time period (hard to quantify without valid time period)

Passive metrics damage your health – measure the people you are interested in, taking the actions that matter to your key goals, over a period of time, it’s either love or money. Make sure you are focusing on genuine impact

Mix & triangulate for results. Think about wider impacts. Segment, validate, simulate

“Users are not created equal” – Segmentation is critical – identifying the niches makes resources go further & maximises revenue

Statistical Significance – Loads of Excel plug-ins etc for this. Informs you of necessary sample size. Find acceptable confidence (eg 95%) to determine SIGNAL to NOISE, doesn’t mean it has passed the SO WHAT test – it is reliable but not necessarily relevant.

Beyond Conversion – Lifetime customer value, – most important information. Also Regency & frequency modelling, shift from browser to customer analysis. Yet actionability is STILL elusive.

It’s about profitability, not the metrics. Extrapolate information to serve this goal


The Art of Persuasion: Copywriting for Conversion with Dr Karl Blanks (actually a rocket scientist!)

Step 1: Become able to sell the product face to face

Your robot salesperson (aka website) will be no better than its creator

Speak with people who can sell your product face to face & learn from them

Become a customer yourself- do the research. Shop around, record yourself (ScreenFlow recording, Skype etc), then use client’s site & actually become a customer following the whole process through

Use Qualaroo survey (used to be KISS Insights). Pop up comes out at end of page where you can ask any question you like and customers will volunteer the answers

Prospect’s Mental Shopping List:

  • This site LOOKS relevant & will provide what I am looking for
  • I believe this is the best site of its type so I will not be considering its competitors
  • I can easily find what I am looking for
  • I understand which product is relevant to me
  • I believe this is the TYPE of product I need
  • I believe this PARTICULAR product is what I need
  • I BELIEVE  the claims the site is making
  • All of my OBJECTIONS have been overcome
  • I found the whole experience pleasurable and would happily do it again

Don’t start writing until you:

  • Know everything about the product
  • Have bought and used the product with your own money
  • You can sell it to your friends
  • Know all objections & have great counter objections
  • Have gathered proof to support your claims

Step 2: Writing It Down

“The act of writing turns many a genius in to a moron”

People write things down that would sound ridiculous in real life – would you say what is written on your site? Record yourself saying what you would actually say as opposed to what is written on the site, this will probably be more effective

  • Use at least as many words as you’d use when selling face to face; if you would take 10 hours face to face to sell a CRM package you need 10 hours of content.
  • However, be concise – do not use waffle
  • Try using the Plain English Campaign PDFs available on their website to unpick bad copywriting habits
  • Professional Writing Style – is a useful site for professionals & semi professionals
  • Get someone to read out your copy and see where they trip & stall. These areas may need editing, do it there and then

Step 3: Template for Highly Converting Landing Page

  • Open with a sentence that makes them say “That’s Me!” –
  • Headline that makes them want to read more
  • A series of bullet points. These should summarise the main benefits of the product/service. Make sure they’re not too small. Font size should step down, like they’re climbing into a ‘Jacuzzi of text”
  • Graphical appearance should match the site’s feel
  • A Johnson box, saying what you’ll get on this page (e.g.Fascinating link to …)
  • Make first full sentence short & put in bold
  • Then use inverted pyramid principle so first paragraph contains over view of major pints, then reveal best bits now before user loses interest
  • Next is to use a normal body size as user is more committed to reading now. Make every word work for you, edit ruthlessly
  • Use subheadings to announce & sell what’s in each section
  • Have sections that tick off
  • Support all claims with evidence
  • Write bullet pints the way you would a headline
  • Finally, offer & call to action. Summarise benefits, present offer, justify price
  • Offer incentive for prompt action


The Anatomy of a Conversion Optimization Program with Mary D Alatri & Colin McFarland


Landing Pages are essential to online marketing. Every click lands somewhere, and has the possibility of converting; be thoughtful about where they land.

  • What experience is right for your program?
  • What are your goals & objectives? Education? Conversion?
  • What do you want the end result to be? Form completion/ purchase/ watch video/ download

Not all types of experience are suitable for all programs and objectives. For example a conversion focused objective is likely to be best off with a dedicated landing page as opposed to a microsite, however if you are trying to educate your user about your product a microsite may be better as can offer lots more information

  • When is the best time to test?
  • Driving non-organic campaign traffic
  • High bounce rates
  • Not meeting conversions or ROAS goals
  • Inconsistent campaign results
  • Increasing media costs, stagnant or decreased results
  • Performance focused company culture
  • Need for transparency



  • Set the course
  • Create technical stewardship
  • Align go-to-market strategy
  • Identify objectives & success criteria
  • Understand key metrics


  • Content & design
  • Layout
  • Design elements
  • Content/offer
  • Call to action


  • Coding, integration


  • Integration & planning

Quality Assurance


  • Listen
  • Evaluate
  • Analyse
  • Communicate

May have to blend roles & responsibilities, every one of these must be met.

Landing pages are like mini web development projects. They start simple, but the devil is in the detail. Sometimes they get more complex because specialised functionality & rules are in place for logic and page behaviour.


Context for Testing Technique

  • Less marketer control over visitor behaviour
  • Used for natural search result traffic
  • Test content on the page, links to the page, page layout, CTA
  • Campaign Landing Pages
  • More control
  • Hyper-targeted experiences
  • Test layout, messaging, flow, experience, CTA, imagery, form fields, multi-step forms, copy, offer

Testing What’s On The Page –

  • Organic Landing Pages
  • Headlines & subs
  • Imagery
  • CTA
  • Form fields
  • Interactive content
  • Body copy
  • Social content

Beyond The Page –

  • Testing opportunities includes presentation of content, type of experience, flow, in addition to content


  • Test duration depends on timing & variations
  • Determine how confident you want to be
  • More traffic = faster speed to significance
  • Traffic volume moderates the type of test you choose
  • Testing many different layout or elements requires more volume

It’s not always about the conversion win. Landing page testing provides you with much more data than just increased conversions.

You can learn:

  • Which  visitors behaviours drive conversions
  • Which source of traffic drive conversion
  • Audience segmentation data
  • Which offers work best and for whom
  • What works and what doesn’t


Technical Options –

Code based – add code to existing pages. Used when:

  • Number of pages to test is low
  • Overall traffic is low
  • Fixed areas can’t be changed
  • Organic pages
  • Fixed elements to test

Platform-based – create, launch and test landing pages in a system. Used when:

  • Number of pages needed is high
  • Business requirements are sophisticated
  • Personalisation, segmentation, targeting is needed
  • Flexibility in experimentation is needed (layout, flow etc)
  • Marketing-managing is preferred

Solution-based – create, launch and test, plus use professional support to create a complete solution

  • Disorganised pages
  • Various owners
  • Lack of consistent visibility
  • Changes take too long
  • Untested pages
  • Want to implement advanced functionality
  • Wide variety of products, audiences etc

Types of landing page software available includes marketing automation platforms, starter tools, and enterprise level solutions


Don’t Make Your Audience Think: Simplicity = Conversions with Nick Holzherr

Nick thinks had he described the product more simply he may not have been fired from The Apprentice.

Focus on user experience. US investors focus on users too, how many users you can get in a set period of time whereas here we focus more on the money the business will make.

‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ – Di Vinci

‘Make product choice available for everyone’ – Howard Moskowitz

In the supermarket the shelves are full of the same product with differences for different niches. For example if you were to buy pasta sauce for a friend, though it may sound simple, you will probably get the wrong one:

  • High or low price?
  • Branded or unbranded?
  • Organic or fast cooking?

On the other hand if you give people too much choice they may develop ‘choice paralysis’ and not choose or buy at all.

How do you get the balance right?

Increase decision simplicity by 20% = user is 86% more likely to purchase and 115% more likely to recommend. Landing pages are getting more simplified to this end.

Looking at big companies with loads of data such as Google, we do not use them because they make it very simple to find the information we are looking for. They take all the data they have about us to give us the most relevant results according to their algorithm. Facebook use similar methods. Alter the information you show users tailored to them.

Whisk try to make it really easy for people to buy ingredients online. Increase simplicity and reduce hassle should mean people cook more and use the system more often.

Their problem is that each network has hundreds of thousands of recipes and even more ingredients. Each supermarket has a similarly high number of products if not more, so Whisk use information about the user (eg if they prefer organic, price point etc) and pulls the most relevant information to show.

Recommends a default to the user for each recipe they choose, with alternatives, eg difference between users coming from Delia vs Student Cooking. Also recommend wine to go with the meal, how much of each ingredient is left over and suggest what you can make from them.

When the user switches the system applies learning and changes the way it works. Machine learning can be a very useful tool as long as you get as much information as possible and use mind map tools to offer simple choices that are personal and learn as much about users as possible.

Use complex tools to use simple interfaces for users.


The Art of Persuasion: Part 2 Design with Paul Rouke

The Most Influential Persuasive Design Techniques.

Combine different techniques to enhance influence.

Develop buyer personas – showing key triggers for action clients need to be targeting for conversion.

Scarcity – we infer value in something that has limited availability or is proffered as such.

Example:  ‘this hotel is likely to sell out soon’, ‘2 rooms left’, ‘free cancellation’, ‘just booked’, social proof & trust through ‘review of 8.2/10 from 594 reviews’ and stars, visibility, recency & transparency through ‘latest booking 59 seconds ago’ – all persuasive techniques combined into one page.


Limited Duration – Given a choice between action & inaction a limited time to respond increases likelihood of participation.

Example: ASOS Shopping Bag ‘stock reserved for 60 minutes only’. Oxfam reserve 2nd hand item for one hour with prominent countdown and friendly text reminder.

“Never pressure people to push them into purchasing. Instead use pressure to prevent them from procrastinating. There is a fundamental difference between the two.” – Michael Fortin

Social Proof – We tend to follow the patterns of similar people in new or unfamiliar situations.

Example: Vancouver Convention Centre; navigation very simple but lots of examples of those who have used the conference, calendar, video of event highlights, then a ‘book an event’ button available to the left. Video testimonials can be more convincing than written testimonials. How important is it to see snapshots of past events & conferences? Research example indicates ‘important’ to ‘very important’. Speedo ask users to fill in ‘what kind of swimmer’ they are when reviewing, popular as helps other find those in the same mind set as they are.

Commitment & Consistency – We desire to act in a manner consistent with our stated beliefs and prior actions.

Example: ASOS renamed their wish list to ‘saved items’ which may change it from a wish-y (!) washy list to something with more commitment. Relies on cookies so don’t have to log in. Subtle tab to get feedback on this feature on page. eCommerce Director of ASOS says the site has hundreds of thousands of saves a day. This gives richer email to ASOS for email campaigns etc as well as potentially increasing conversion rate.

  • You need to bring people & emotion to the front
  • Persuasive design is everywhere
  • Instilling trust is fundamental
  • Avoid dark arts to remain credible & trustworthy
  • Combine usability & persuasion for biggest commercial impact & user experience

Limited Choice – We’re more likely to make a choice if there are fewer options.

Make pages such as sign up and check out as simple as possible. Emphasise the benefits of signing up and consider not using terms such as ‘create account’. Simplifying the process can have dramatic impacts on performance. The Stella McCartney site was used as an example which saw a 12% uplift. Another example was ASOS. They originally had the term ‘create account’ on the page twice and three CTAs on the page. By reducing the page to a simple one bar sign up, they have decreased abandonment rate by 50%.

Delighters – We remember and respond favourably to small, unexpected, and playful pleasures.

“Assuming you can fulfil the goods supply or services you offer, the biggest thing to get right is simply to emotionalise your offerings.”

“It is about gaining trust and then providing a way to deliver a 100% digital service, while remaining personal” – Both quotes from Ling Valentine of Lings Cars (crazy website but full of persuasive techniques and a very successful business. Have a look:

“You need to bring people and emotions to the front. We do business with people, the human touch is the way to move things forward.” – a user with a budget looking for a service provider

Web Psychology: The future of online influence with Paul Postance & Rich Page

Paul Postance –

Conversion in an organisation, embedding it and making it work.

‘It could be done better’ is not an insult, should always strive to improve

Experience management through persuasion & design architecture & influencing that through:


  • Text
  • Images
  • Rich media
  • UGC


  • Features
  • Function
  • Journey
  • Analytics

Create a coherent identity for a team, focused responsibility:

  • Head of Conversion
  • AB MVT Manager
  • AB MVT Producer
  • Customer Journey Manager
  • Data Analyser
  • Searchandiser
  • UGC/Reviews Manager

Get rid of SPOF factor – Single Point of Failure eg if one person is on holiday whole process grinds to a halt.

Initiate > Research > Design > Implement > Monitor > Test/Improve

Rich Page –

What is a conversion optimiser?

  • Dedicated to testing & improving websites
  • Highly skilled web analyst
  • Liaise with other web analysts to create test insights & hypotheses
  • Responsible for creation & implementation of test
  • Evangelising testing & optimisation
  • They are not SEO or paid search people

Where are they hiding?

  • Hard to find as new field
  • Many are SEO, analysts or online marketers at the moment
  • May already have the perfect candidate within your organisation

How do you find/hire them?

  • Tempt current web analysts or SEOs with conversion role
  • LinkedIn etc
  • Use online marketing conferences & meet ups
  • Outsource role to a conversion agency until right person is found. Collaboration helps you learn from experts

Who other testing roles work best with them?

Greatest success with conversion efforts = dedicated key resources

  • Executive Sponsor – Senior exec champion essential to obtain budget, resources & prioritisation
  • Testing Team (Optimisation Manager & Conversion Manager) – Optimisation manager helps run testing program and determines test strategy. Conversion optimiser is responsible for test execution & analysis
  • Creative Team (marketing lead, design lead & UX designer) – Dedicated marketing lead helps improve test ideas, design & messages. Dedicate design lead create visual test variations (ideally with UX designer help)
  • Technical Team (Develop & QA Expert) – Developer helps determine I.OE, implement code & help QA. QA helps assess every variation & ensure website stability

For small businesses: Conversion optimiser is best in tight-knit collaborating group with web analyst, online marketer, web designer & web developer.

Organising internal processes for them is very hard – so many elements:

Role in web creation & optimisation process:

  1. Meeting to review proposed web changes & success metrics
  2. Gain pre-launch feedback
  3. Review pre-launch feedback
  4. Launch content & gather insights
  5. Review to refine test plans
  6. Prioritise tests, create & launch them
  7. Analyse test results, propose iterations to lift success metrics
  8. Go back to number 1 & start the process again

 Essential Characteristics of a successful long term Conversion optimisation plan:

  • Key dedicated roles
  • Greater process
  • More buy-in & budget
  • Improved communication & learning

Conversion Optimiser Tips:

  • Expand you skill set to drive up conversion
  • Likely to be greater focus on more than just main website, social media, email, mobile playing a bigger and bigger role
  • In the future there may well be more than just one CO per business – divided up by initiative or site section especially for larger ones with multiple departments/offerings
  • Conversion optimisers are likely to have a growing influence over organisations (particularly as revenue driving team) – by increasing communication & education at all levels

We’ll be back tomorrow with a review of the 2nd day.

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