Speaker interview

CRO: An Interview With Jeffrey Eisenberg, Buyer Legends

As an extra goody, we have gathered just a few of the many influential speakers in the run up to our online conference: Conversion World 2016, to bring you deeper insights into their minds and outlook on the industry of Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Sam Hurley; Digital Marketing influencer and Founder of OPTIM-EYEZ, asked some searching questions to our panel of experts.

In this interview, Jeffrey Eisenberg, hardened conversion guru and CEO of Buyer Legends discusses why board members need to ‘get out of the way’ and how CRO practitioners are the dirt under the fingernails of the digital industry.

#1. Jeffrey, why do you think CRO has become relegated to junior managers as a side project? Has it always been this way?

Companies that provide a superior experience are rewarded with higher conversion rates.

Why optimize a conversion rate? Conversion rate, as a metric, is an output. CR is a result of the many inputs that make up the customer an experience. That experience has the chance to annoy, satisfy or delight them. We need to optimize the inputs.

When a junior level person is tasked with improving conversion rates they never have the authority to optimize product, logistics, sales or customer service. They often lack the authority to optimize messaging, product images and categorization. They almost never have the authority to prioritize development projects.

Let me say that there are some companies that get it. There are some that are somewhat more flexible. There are also those companies that are lucky enough that they have junior people who can make things happen. It’s not all so dark.

Take a look at what CRO vendors are selling. The tools and advice are available to make amazing changes. However, they’re in the hands of junior people. Expectations of what can be done don’t match reality.  They won’t until people with authority to conduct the experiments that lead to superior customer experience take responsibility for the efforts.

#2. How can those with knowledge of CRO get board members on side to invest in the practice?

They need to get out of the way. Executives and board members have a lot clamoring for their attention. Their views are broad on purpose. CRO could be a strategic initiative to grow revenues but the way it’s presented makes it too tactical and narrow for them to focus on.

#3. Can you give us 3 tactics you’ve found to be effective which actually go against the grain of ‘standard’ CRO?

No! Successful tests can be explained by the conversion trinity.

Persuasive momentum is what entices customers to take action. There are two types of actions you want customers to take. Typically your conversion/ sales goals are the macro-actions: capturing a newsletter subscriber, closing a sale, becoming a member. These are usually the actions that take up the most time and effort in terms of optimization and planning.

Still, it is dangerous to ignore the micro-actions. Micro-actions are all the required smaller actions customers need to take to before they can take a macro-action. Micro-actions can be as simple as clicking a link, watching a video, reading content, clicking an ad, taking a note, and more. Without persuasive momentum, customers do not move forward in their buying journey.

There are 3 elements of Persuasive Momentum. No matter if the action is micro or macro, there is a simple formula that will help you identify persuasive momentum or the lack thereof.

1.    Relevance. Are you relevant to my wants/needs/desires (search query)?
2.    Value. Do I know why you are the right solution for me? Have you explained your value proposition/offer well?
3.    Call to action. Is it obvious what I need to do next? Have you given me the confidence to take that action?

Ask these questions of every touchpoint, and you will quickly find if your touch points are missing one, two, or all three of these components. We call this “The Conversion Trinity.”

CRO = Relevance, Value & CTA

#4. Is there a benchmark conversion rate, or is it all a myth?

You can make money being average. We hope you aspire to be more than average.

Let’s consider the ecommerce vertical, because it’s so mature. In 2015 average conversion rate of the nation’s top online retailers is  3.32%.

In 2001 we wrote that:

Conversion rates are a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take. They’re also a reflection of your effectiveness at satisfying customers, because for you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.

The top 25% of online retailers convert at 5.31% and the top 10% of online retailers convert at 11.45%. Amazon Prime members convert 74% of the time on Amazon.com, according to a 2015 study from Millward Brown Digital, compared to 13% for non-prime members.

The online retailers that have higher conversion rates are better at helping customers achieve their goals. They provide a superior experience and they are rewarded with higher conversion rates.

#5. Which component of CRO do you believe to be the most important and why?

Without a doubt, copy! There are other ways you can convey the value of your offering but few succeed without good copy.

#6. What are your favourite tools of the trade?

Openness, empathy, curiosity & eloquence.

#7. If there was one thing you could change in the industry, what would it be?

Charlatans are endemic to all forms of marketing but are especially attracted to digital. I’d like them to go away but there is always somebody willing to buy what they are selling.

#8. How do you envisage the future of CRO?

It will continue to grow but it will only become a strategic advantage for a few companies.  André Morys, CEO of Web Arts wrote in the foreword of a recent ebook by Conversion agency PRWD featuring seventeen well known CRO professionals:

“We [CRO practitioners] are the dirt under the fingernails of the digital industry.”

For now, he’s correct. I hope it changes.

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