How to Raise Conversion Rates 100% Like a Super Hero in a Fast Growth Company (Even when you don’t feel like one)

“Give me an idea that’s going to raise conversion rates AT LEAST 100%”

Well that’s daunting, but not very far from the truth of a conversion rate optimizer in a high growth startup.

When I face a conversation like this, I actually wish I was new to the industry, to not have done so many things, or worked on so many websites.

Then I would be able to confidently look someone in the eye, all rosy faced ready to take on the world and shout,

“I’m on it.”

But unfortunately that’s not me. While I’ve worked on over 300 websites and done everything from SEO, SEM, Social Media & even content writing for a celebrity blog I hear 100% conversion rate increase and one thing happens to me.

I become absolutely paralyzed.

I wish I could say I was like the heroes of the online marketing world who write the blog articles we read everyday who seem to laugh in the face of these obstacles. I wish, especially as a tech women to be able to eat 100% conversion rate increases for breakfast.

But alas, I’m not a super hero. I’m just some girl who really freakin’ loves online marketing and I really love a challenge.

Challenge accepted

So where do I start?

Your instinct after a meeting like this will be to do one or all of the following:

  1. Run to your desk
  2. Start ordering around developers, designers & online marketing to do something NOW..
  3. Realize you have no idea what they should be working on.
  4. Huff and puff about how you’ll never think of anything.
  5. Panic
  6. Flip a table and run


So let’s throw out all of the above and do this instead:

  1. Walk calmly to your desk
  2. Take a couple of breaths
  3. Grab a notebook
  4. Start idea hustling

What’s the idea hustle?

The idea hustle is where you look at everything you have done, everything you thought you should do, and what everyone wishes you would do.

Your goal: Create a list of ideas that you can do today, tomorrow, or later that will: 1) solve problems 2) can be done quickly 3) get the results you need.

What can be done today?

Up until this point you’ve probably done quite a few tests. You’ve probably learned some things like which style of landing page works, what social proof is more effective, what content resonates with your audience. While you haven’t tested EVERY page you’ve probably seen some trends that have worked well for certain keywords.

So what can you do with this information:

  1. Write down everything you’ve learned from this point.
  2. Bring your team together and ask them where these rules can be applied to make the biggest impact. (i.e.: landing pages for adword groups or high trafficked SEO pages)
  3. Ask your team members (hopefully composed of designers & developers) how this can be streamlined, templated, and pushed out efficiently.
  4. Make it happen.
  5. Keep an eye on it.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “But I have to test… EVERYTHING!”

While this is true, you also have to provide value and drive results. Hiding behind tests is the risk adverse way of doing things (and trust me I’m probably as risk adverse as they come) but in order to see the benefits of your work you need to trust what you’ve learned up until this point and test it on a grand scale.

My only advice? Take #5 seriously. While some areas will give you a huge lift, there will be some pages that don’t and you want to revert back quickly.

What can be done tomorrow?

Now, I’m using the term “tomorrow” loosely but the implication is thinking about things that can be tested quickly.

This requires research. While it would be great to be the one person who thinks of that huge 100% conversion rate lift all on their very own  it doesn’t always happen that way. Your job is to get things done and show results.

This happens by asking a lot of questions to a lot of people. Another tip? Don’t get stuck in an endless stream of meetings. Your goal is to do this quickly and efficiently so it may mean hallway chats on the way to the coffee machine.

Who do you talk to?

Grab that notebook and start interviewing. You should probably start with this list:

  • Your customers – They will ultimately be the ones helping you reach your goal right? Read bug tickets, listen in on customer service calls, read work your UX team has done (if you have one), add a qualaroo survey to your site and read what they have to say or send out a survey. Find out what they love about your product, what’s stopping them from using your product and what they need from you.
  • Your Direct manager -  try to understand his or her perspective of what needs to be done, what advice they have to offer, and what areas seem to be in the most trouble. (Don’t have one? See #2)
  • The HIPPO (Highest Paid Person Opinion) – Whether it’s a senior executive, the CEO or an investor. Learn what makes them tick, where they think the problem is and the areas they look at. This will help you get outside of your world and get a broader top down perspective of the areas that affect their day to day most.
  • Talk to your team mates - These are your designers, developers, online marketers, and growth hackers. They ALL have different areas they find problematic and advice to give.

What do you do with all that information?

Chris Goward, founder and CEO of Wider Funnel and author of “You Should Test That” introduced an excellent way to prioritize conversion rate optimization tests called The PIE Framework. It breaks up ideas by Potential, Importance, and Ease.

Organizing your research into PIE

PIE Framework

PIE Framework: Chris Goward, Wider Funnel

Potential: This is where you would take traffic and size of audience into consideration. Does this test affect most of your visitors and prospects? Will a 100% conversion rate make the biggest impact here?

Importance: This is where your interviews become important. Is this an area your customers or HIPPOS found important? Rank these higher than the others.

Ease: Your designers, developers, and online marketers will give you the answer to these. How easy are these changes? How long will it take? If it can’t be done in 1 day – 1 week, then it should be low on your list. You’re in a high growth fast moving company remember?

Now you have a list of things that can be done “tomorrow” and things that can be done later.

With that we go back to what can be done today:

  1. Take your PIE Framework
  2. Bring your team together and show them what you’ve learned from all your interviewing and research and why you chose these high priority items.
  3. Ask your team members how this can be streamlined, templated, and pushed out efficiently.
  4. Make it happen.
  5. Keep an eye on it.

What can be done later?

Who cares? You’re in a fast growth company. Later doesn’t matter.

“Give me an idea that’s going to raise conversion rates AT LEAST 100%”

Your new answer: “How about I show you?”

A statement like this doesn’t have to be a paralyzing event if you take a breath, speak to the right people, reiterate fast and efficiently and show some results.

Questions? Comments?