Eric: If we think about what modern marketing truly looks like today, it’s a blend of art and science. It’s the juxtaposition of creative visuals and copy with marketing research and analytics. That vision of today’s marketer almost looks like these wild creative creators dressed in lab coats. Well, these two forces often converge in marketing. A perfect example of this is our topic for today’s podcast–conversion rate optimization.
As a refresher, of course, this is the system for increasing the percentage of visitors for websites that convert into customers. Or even more generally speaking, this take any […] or action we’d like on a web page or a landing page within an email. Of course, we’ve seen the case studies and the claims guaranteeing you 400% more conversions. But if you’re like so many of us out there, we spend all these time and resource and money in optimizing these things, the results almost never yield those amazing results that we read about, and of course if they do, they never hold for long.
My guest for this week’s Actionable Marketing Podcast is Talia Wolf with GetUplift. She drops some major truth bombs and dispels a lot of the CRO fodder that is out there right now. Changing the color of a button or tweaking the number of fields you have on a form. But technical components of the conversion optimization are just one piece of the puzzle. She shares why a CRO needs to be much more customer-centric and how, when done right, is a blend of art and science.
I’m Eric, the Brand & Buzz manager at CoSchedule and I can’t wait to nerd out on all of this with Talia. Alright, let’s get amped.
Alright. Talia, thank you so much for joining the Actionable Marketing podcast. It’s great to have you.
Talia: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited about this.
Eric: I’m excited as well. You’re definitely someone that I’ve been keeping my eye on. I know that we’re going to work with each other for a webinar and then I kind of flaked out or we did some stuff with some of our webinar practices, but I am so happy that I was able to have you come on the show and just share, I know what is a wealth of knowledge around this conversion optimization, and really just introduce you to the Actionable Marketing podcast audience. Thank you again.
Talia: Yeah, thank you. I’m excited. As I said, this is going to be fun.
Eric: Yeah, absolutely. I know it’s mid-morning here but it’s late for you where you’re at. Is that correct?
Talia: Yeah, it’s evening.
Eric: Well, I’m picturing you with your feet up with a glass of wine, but I’m sure that’s probably not real.
Talia: You’re actually not too far from the truth, I have to say. I’m still working but I can work with a good glass of wine.
Eric: I love it. Why don’t we start by, if you could just tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and GetUplift as well, if you could please.
Talia: Sure. I’m Talia. I specialize in something called conversion optimization which means I help businesses optimize their websites, their funnels–yeah, the entire customer journeys to essentially increase revenues but more importantly, create experiences that people love to convert to. My entire goal is driven towards understanding my client’s customers, getting into their heads, and then creating a better funnel for them so that they enjoy converting and you make more money.
Eric: Alright. Who doesn’t love that?
Talia: I know, right? That’s basically what I do. I’ve been doing it for over a decade now which is insane. I feel so old. I run GetUplift which is kind of divided into two sections. One is, basically, the client work that we do, so we have a consultancy and we help businesses. The other part is training, so we have online course and all sorts of stuff that we teach. Helping entrepreneurs, business managers, marketing managers, and basically, anyone who wants to learn how to increase conversions better. That’s what I do.
Eric: Not only do you do it, but you are one of the best in the business at it. That’s why it’s so great to have you on the show. I love to ask these questions, especially because as a, I would say, your standard marketer, we all have those marketers we look up to. I love asking some of these elite marketers, do you have a marketing brain crush that you follow or as you’ve grown your own career that you’ve kept your eye on as well?
Talia: Thank you for calling me that. I do not see myself that way. I have, yeah, loads of those. Joanna Wiebe is my number one work crush. She is just killing it, number one conversion copywriter, amazing. There’s Claire Claire Suellentrop, there’s Gia Laudi, there’s Tiffany da Silva. I can go on and on, I mean, just fabulous women who I follow all the time and love everything that they’re doing.
Eric: Let’s focus on conversion optimization. You kind of give a quick little bit of a brief overview of what kind of conversion optimization is but I’ve noticed—just looking through your resources—you take a bit of a different spin and you shared us this customer-centric conversion optimization, what’s the difference there? Could you help our audience understand your take on conversion?
Talia: Essentially, when you hear about conversion optimization, one of the tough things that come up to people in their mind is changing elements on a page, and that’s how I was introduced to conversion optimization many years ago. If you want to get more revenue, if you want to get more leads, you want to get more sales, you look at a page and you change things about it; so different elements. Maybe you change the call to action
, but maybe you change the headline, maybe you change the image but you’re changing elements on the page and you’re hoping for the best, it’s kind of tactical.
My take on conversion optimization is it’s not about changing elements on a page, it’s about solving people’s problems. If I can understand who the customer is behind the screen, it is easier for me to create high converting experiences. I guess, when you test random call to action buttons, for example, you end up with some sort of result. Maybe the red button won over the blue which is fantastic but there’s not much you can do with it to scale that or to use that in any other place.
I really look at conversion optimization as a way of improving the entire funnel, improving the entire customer journey. For me, I spend a lot of time on customer research. I spend a lot of time in getting into people’s heads. The reason I do that is because people, we buy on emotions. We buy as a psychological thing. I know that we’d love to think of ourselves as rational people that make rational decisions, but that’s actually very incorrect. We buy on emotion and then we rationalize it with different reasons. Well, we’re all like, and most people do not like to admit it but when you think about it–and this is true for B2C, B2B, B2D. I always get this question at the end, “Well, you can know. I can get it with B2C but with B2B? Heck, yeah.” B2B purchases are very emotional because you’re not just buying for yourself. You have the pressure of your manager, your co-workers, “What is everyone going to think? How much is it going to cost? Is it going to get approved? Are people going to use this?” there’s just so many emotions and things going on in the background that we’re not really aware of.
When I go about optimizing a website or a landing page or an email sequence, my goal is to first understand, who are the people behind the screens, because most of us focus on data. If I ask someone, “Who is your customer? I’d probably get a list of, “Well, this is the browser that they use, this is their gender, their age, their geographical location.” But it’s not really the person who is behind the screen; their emotions, what they’re feeling, the pains they’re going through, the hesitations, their concerns, so that’s my job. I go in, I figure those out. Once I know that and I understand those emotional triggers, then I can choose the right copy, the right images, the right font even, everything that will go on the page that will increase conversions.
It’s a different, sorry, very long explanation but a very different take on conversion optimization than what you usually look at.
Eric: You’re probably heard it before. I think there’s a lot of companies and people out there that are spending time and resources and money on this optimization practices that you talked about or the customer journey. When they read these case studies about, “You do this and you’ll get these amazing results.” And sometimes they don’t or if they do, it’s a quick uptick. I think it’s about taking it to the next level. How do we make it more about the customer? What are things that we can do?
Talia: By the way, you can’t see me right now but I’m rolling my eyes, just by those articles that promise like, “3000% increase in conversions if you just do this one thing.” The terrible—and I feel this way because when I started out that’s what I used to do. I Google for things, I ask colleagues, I’d look at competitors—we’re all guilty of that. We copy things. We think we look at “best practices” which are just general stuff that have nothing to do with your target audience. Once I was kind of sick of that, of just testing and getting nowhere and not getting the results that I wanted, I created this process.
The process is the emotional targeting process and the whole essence of it is identifying emotions and getting to know customers better. There are many, many ways you can do that. But just off the top of my head, some of the ways would be; doing customer surveys, doing interviews, doing your real swat and emotional swat, maybe doing competitor analysis which isn’t based on products or features but based on the emotions and how people feel towards your industry, they feel towards your product. There’s a lot of talking to people, analyzing the answers and using that in everything that we do later.
Eric: I think, yeah, I know even some of our team here at CoSchedule, we really spend time to talk with our customers and understand what went into their decision-making process and leveraging your existing customer base. Just to ask those questions, you are always surprised at how willing they are to share with that. I think sometimes, as marketers, we forget about just to leverage those resource we have to really understand those decision-making processes. I love that. I love that feedback.
Talia: It’s also about asking the right questions when you’re interviewing people and surveying people because as we’ve said before, people think that they are rational, so they’ll focus on features and pricing and stuff like that than the product itself. But if you really want to dig deep, you have to ask the deeper questions, you have to get into people’s minds, and really understand how to look at those answers and dig for more.
Eric: Well, we get the mid-point in our riveting interview with Talia and we’ll okay continue our chat about conversion rate optimization in just a moment. I do have some fun news to announce. You can now catch the Actionable Marketing Podcast on Spotify. Woo-hoo! So excited to bring this option to you. I know personally my whole life soundtrack has been curated on Spotify and now I get to add AMP.
If you’re an iTunes listener, man, if you have a free moment I would so appreciate a review and a rating from you for this podcast. If you’ve done so, just send me a screenshot. Send it to email@example.com and I’m going to hook you up with a CoSchedule care package. It’s going to be great. Alright, it’s all I’ve got. Let’s get back to the show.
That’s for this turn this idea of conversing psychology. If you Google it, you won’t find much about it, but I’ve definitely heard it mentioned before. There’s really a way in which our brain makes decisions and your kind of alluded to that but are you able to share sort of how we do that as an individual? I love the blend of marketing art and marketing science here.
Talia: One of the important things to remember is we’re all human beings at the end of the day. When we buy something, we’re not buying products, we’re not buying those features, we’re buying better versions of ourselves.
Now, this isn’t something that I have said; it was something I have heard many times before. People love to talk about psychology but when you really think about it, when you’re buying clothes, you’re not buying a t-shirt, you’re buying higher self-esteem. When you’re buying an insurance policy, you’re not buying pieces of paper, you’re buying a sense of security. It’s all with that when you’re buying a product that helps you manage teamwork and collaborate with people all over the world–that’s not what you’re buying. You’re not buying the task management system, you’re buying peace of mind, feeling that you own everything, being able to work in the stuff that you really care about, not going crazy every day.
There’s all sorts of things that are behind the purchases. There’s also cognitive biases, all sorts of psychological triggers that affect our thinking that we’re not even aware of. There’s just so many different things. It’s the science within it, it’s the emotions that come with them. Of course, I’m not saying that pricing doesn’t matter, I’m not saying that features don’t matter, but you asked me about how people make decisions, and maybe we can think for a second about how people browse today, how people search for solutions. I don’t know about you but when I have a problem, Eric, I go on to Google and I google for something. Then you get a huge list of like 10 things on SERP and then what I do is I hit command and I start opening a bunch of tabs. Do you do that?
Eric: I do. I certainly do.
Talia: Right? That’s a thing, that’s what we do now. We have like 10,000 tabs open. Now, what we do is tab jumping. We start jumping from one tab to another and within seconds we decide if we’re going to close the tab or not. It’s just automatically, it happens. That isn’t because we took the time to see, “Oh, how much is this? Do they have this feature? That feature?” When we decide to stare on a tab, it’s because something grabbed our attention, it’s because may just feel, “Woah. This company gets us. This company understands me. They understand my pain. They know what I’ve gone through. They know what I’m going through. They know what I want to feel in the feature.” It’s that three seconds that we have.
We only have three seconds to grab people’s attention before they close that tab and they move onto the competitor. Once you grab their attention with the right messaging, with the right emotions, then they’ll read on, they’ll scroll, they’re taking all the information that they need but you do need those three seconds. They need to be impactful, they need to be about a customer, and they need to show people in the face, so they immediately get it. Does that make sense?
Eric: Yeah, that absolutely does. Again, I’m guilty of that. I think too sometimes, all your thought processes around your pricing and how we’re going to position our product and really skimming over the really most important pieces as putting ourselves as the buyer and thinking about what is the decision process for them, what pains are they feeling, and then really how do you communicate that in a way that’s going to make sense to them? Humanizing the entire experience.
Let’s dive maybe one layer deeper. We’re talking about, for example, we have three seconds to grab them. No pressure, no pressure. Three seconds. Once we got them, there is some AB testing, things that we can do I think to figure out what is going to work better, what’s not going to work better, so I would love your quick take on what should we be testing, Talia, and maybe how often should we be testing?
Talia: The question of what we should we be testing for me is always about running meaningful tests rather than—as I was saying before—testing random elements on the page, you want to be testing a strategy, a concept, of better yet, a hypothesis. For example, if you’ve spoken to customers you better understand, or you think you better understand their motives or their pain, or you figured out what are the different things they’ve tried before landing on your page. Maybe they have tried one or two different tools, maybe they’ve tried doing stuff themselves, maybe they’ve hired someone to do things.
When you feel that you know the person better, that’s when you want to come up with a hypothesis that’s going to say, “okay, how can I show this to people on the page? How can I make people feel that I know them?” Maybe this test will work, maybe it won’t, but when you’re testing a hypothesis, you’re testing many different things. That means that your headline, your call to action, the testimonials on the page, your images, they might all change together as a concept. You’re not changing one thing on the page, you’re changing many things.
You might be changing the headline to represent one emotion. You might be using the images to represent others. The color psychology that you might be using is different. Everything might change on the page, but everything will be working together to make people a certain thing or to answer a certain question.
When I do AB testing, what I want to do is ask myself a question and use a hypothesis to answer it. If I am asking, “Hey, what do people feel before find a solution?” so what is this pain that they’re experiencing? My hypothesis is that maybe they are just tired, they are overworked, they’re feeling unappreciated, and they just want people to appreciate them and see them for who they’re worth, for what they’re worth.
Then, what I do is create a hypothesis around that. How can I make people feel with my copy, with my images, with the call to action button, with the testimonial maybe, that I understand this is how they feel right now and that this is what they want to feel like? That’s a real AB test when you’re essentially testing hypothesis, testing a new strategy, a new concept. You’re either testing your emotional triggers or you’re answering a question. Does that make sense?
Eric: Yeah, it does. I love that the expanding really, the concept of what you’re testing. You typically hear, like you said, “Oh, I’ll switch out a button.” Or, “The call to action copy will be a little different.” Or, “Maybe we will try a different image.” But I love taking a step back and thinking about, “Let’s try a whole different strategy,’ which could include changing a number of facets of the website and testing a hypothesis. That’s great. I don’t know if enough marketers were thinking that way. I really appreciate that perspective.
Talia: I think it’s a lot to do with not knowing what to test. It’s a lot to do with not doing the groundwork. People seem to think that interviewing customers or doing customer surveys or stuff like that is soft skills, “You don’t really need that. That’s nice to have but we don’t really understand that it’s foundational.” Without these steps, without doing the real groundwork, you’re never actually going to achieve those record-breaking results that you’re after because you’re just spinning around in this circle around yourself thinking about your product, your pricing, your brand, your voice–thus is the customers.
Eric: You mentioned this, I think in one of your answers previously, you’ve talked about color psychology. I think that people are guilty of sometimes kind of watering this down like, “Red equals anger,” and I think you maybe even posted about this, yeah, “Blue is trust. Green is health.” There’s all that and it’s not that simple, is it? Are you able to share some of your research on really how color psychology really works?
Talia: That’s the second time you’ve made me rolled my eyes.
Eric: I’m good at that apparently.
Talia: Yeah. That was my last rant on my blog where I was just saying that I’m so sick and tired of all these beautiful infographics appearing everywhere and all these beautiful blog posts telling you that, “Each color equals this specific emotion and that’s what it is,” because it’s not true. People are influenced by colors in various different ways; by culture, by emotion, by experiences. There’s so many different things.
I was saying this the other day, over here in the West, we use white for winnings. A bride will wear a white dress but over in the East, white is actually considered a color of mourning. You would never wear to a wedding, but the bride would wear a red dress. It’s just these little things, you need to know about your audience of their culture and where they’re from, and what experience they’ve had in life, and their emotions that go together.
It’s not that blue just equals trust; it can equal many different things to various different people. Orange doesn’t always fun and exciting; for some countries, orange is a very religious color. It’s not just plain and simple. You always have to remember that too little of a color, too much of a color can send you a different ways in terms of emotions.
Age matters, and font, the size of things. You could maybe have a font in a second color, but it needs to be a certain size too. There’s so many things. Color doesn’t work alone, images doesn’t work along, buttons don’t work alone. It’s just something that we need to remember when we go towards color psychology and not just say, “Well, you know, green means fresh, so let’s do that.”
Eric: Well, I’m laughing because it’s funny you said this because one of the, I think the most popular CoSchedule post ever, is on color psychology. I think people are, they’re fascinated by colors and how it’ll make people feel. I think they get the concept, but I think it’s just that your word of warning is, don’t oversimplify it. It’s not as simple as blank equals blank. They have to think about a lot of the idiosyncrasies that people bring to that.
Folks, if you are listening, definitely, go to GetUplift. It sounds like Talia just had a great, great post on that. We will dig a bit deeper there.
Talia: Yeah, definitely. That’s actually one of my favorite blog posts that you guys have on your blog.
Eric: Well, there are just so much to think about. I just think about, even just our time that we’ve spent here talking through color psychology, emotional targeting, and conversion optimization. It’s no wonder marketers are wanting that glass of red wine at the end of the day. There’s a lot, a lot to thank you. I really appreciate your time, Talia, for coming on the show and just sharing some of your wisdom that you’ve gleaned over the last decade or plus with that. Thank you so much for your time. We welcome you and I hope you have a good rest of the evening.
Talia: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.