Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is truly both an art and a science.
To do CRO right you need to use your whole brain.
Both the right side and the left.
Normally people are more dominant on one side or the other.
You’re either totally creative or totally analytical.
Conversion optimization is one of those rare fields that walks the line in the middle.
If you don’t have certain characteristics you likely aren’t cut out to do great CRO.
You may get some gains, by getting lucky or copying other case studies.
To make a meaningful impact today’s conversion rate optimizer must have these 10 traits to be truly GREAT:
1. Be Empathetic
This is probably the most important trait.
Too often we think everyone uses the web the say way we do, or is motivated by the same things we are, thinking this way is detrimental to optimization.
Empathy is the ability to truly experience and understand the emotions, fears and dreams of your site visitors.
This allows a great CRO optimizer to see things others cannot so that they can align emotion, motivation and intent with conversion goals.
2. Have Insatiable Curiosity
Conversion rate optimization is a continuous process which is fueled by a passion to know what works and why.
Without an insatiable curiosity that demands more, you won’t get to the root.
It’s usually the root of the problem that allows you to see things in different ways and gets you to the “Ah” moment.
The moment that connects all the dots across the entire customer experience.
The great conversion rate optimizer should never stop asking “why“.
3. Have An Understanding Of Buying Psychology
Technology will constantly change but human nature will always stay the same.
The reasons why we buy are universally coded into our DNA.
Tapping into those reasons are key to optimizing for people not webpages.
A basic understanding of buying psychology is essential to great optimization.
If you don’t understand people, you can’t help them buy.
4. Understand Usability
It’s not only important to understand how to properly set up a usability test so so you don’t bias the results.
But also to step outside of yourself and use a website as if you were someone from another planet.
This lets you eliminate friction and unnecessary steps, and gives you a place to start asking questions.
5. Have A Different Sense of Design
I see design from two different perspectives.
Look and feel.
The optimization key here is how design relates to eye flow.
Designing the experience.
That is how all the elements fit together across several steps.
Both are critical to conversion optimization.
6. Have An Understanding of Good Classic Copy Writing
This is where empathy, psychology and an understanding of your visitors all come together in a compelling way that allows your web page to have a conversation with your prospect.
Any good conversion rate optimizer should be studying the classic writers like Eugene Schwartz, Gary Halbert and others.
These were the guys doing optimization before the web.
To be a great conversion rate optimizer you don’t necessarily need to be a great copywriter yourself buy you do need to be able to understand and identify good converting copy.
7. Be A Critical Thinker
Deep thinking gets us closer to understanding the “Why” of both what worked and what didn’t…
So that even failed tests become opportunities for learning.
It’s vitally important to think about the outcome and analyze your split-tests across many dimensions and think through all aspects of your hypothesis and test results.
8. Be Humble
The quality of being modest and honestly admitting, if even to yourself, that you don’t really know what will work is why we test.
Every test won’t be a winner.
And thats Okay…
But what’s more important is the ability to be Okay with that.
So often our ego gets in the way of a test idea that kills it on the vine.
A good sense of humility allows us to be wrong, that’s the only way we’ll really learn and grow.
And that’s what optimization is really all about.
9. You Gotta Love of Data
This is where the left side of your Brian comes in big time.
Not only in finding trends, but…
The ability to look at the data, both qualitative and quantitative, and hear what they are saying, is an important trait that the Great conversion optimizer has.
Cross referenceing what people do with what they say.
This will lead you on paths you never knew existed to test hypothesizes that the average optimizer would over look.
10. Have An Open Mind
Being open to test ideas from everywhere even wild card ideas, that are totally out of left field, with the rigor of structure around a solid hypothesis for learning will allow you to capture tests others fail to see.
Some times even the best conversion optimizer is too close to the problem.
Having an open mind, democratizes ideas and allows them to come from anywhere or anyone.
In the end it all comes down to testing it.
Conversion rate optimization is a skill that the truly great among us are constantly perfecting and improving.
If you inherently possess these 10 traits, you probalby have naturally gravitated to conversion rate optimization as your profession.
If you don’t possess them, you can work to develop them.
But some may be harder for you to embody than others.
In either case consciously developing these traits will make you a better conversion rate optimizer.