Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a strategy as well as a science, so what are some of the practices that make a CRO strategist highly effective?Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People pioneered a wave of self-help and management books that went from an era of 'changing your personality to achieve success', to 'changing your actions to be effective'. The book was a bestseller in its time and a touchstone for many leaders.I started to think about CRO strategists in the same way Covey must have thought about people. Here at New Republique we have spent a few years experimenting, homing in on the things that make a great CRO strategist. What makes a CRO strategist highly effective? What do they do? Are there practices that others could adopt to be highly effective too?
At New Republique we believe a good CRO strategist has a strong background that combines UX, psychology and data science with an inquisitive nature. The role is singular: identify a problem that stops users from completing their desired journey. This requires a strategist to not only focus on identifying where and what to test, but also to focus the team and orchestrate what needs to be done. Layered over that is a deep understanding of the client's business and how users engage with the site.
With that in mind, I set out to define the habits that make CRO strategists highly effective.1. They remain objectiveA good CRO strategist understands the importance of moving out of the way and letting the data guide them to define the problem properly and illustrate possible solutions. They don't let their ego, 'a hunch' or subjectivity drive their actions and decisions.2. They remain inquisitiveThe continual drive to ask 'why?' is one of the most important habits of a good CRO strategist. And an effective one won't stop after they receive an answer to one question: Why do people do what they do? Why would they choose this product over that product? Why does this tactic work? The infinite 'why' is what motivates them.3. They remain humbleEgo can blindside an otherwise skilled CRO strategist. These arrogant strategists think only they can come up with great experiments. A highly effective strategist, however, knows a great test idea can come from everywhere: they embrace all parts of the business to share ideas and see themselves as a component of the process, not above it.4. They go deepMany strategists take a wide view and will jump around looking for things to test. A highly effective strategist is focused on a few key areas of the site. They will drill in deep to make sure they have tested all possible combinations to create the best possible experience for customers in the understanding that going deep in testing is as important as going wide.5. They persevereIt takes a certain kind of person to 'lose' tests again and again but then continue to take a positive approach into the next test. A good strategist has iron grit and knows that every great experiment needs time to mature. They practise patience; they are great at watching and waiting. Most importantly, however, a highly effective strategist shows perseverance because they understand the importance of testing and know that a losing test helps them ask better questions to create better winning tests.6. They are constantly learningOn that note, it's fair to say good strategists know that a test is not a win/lose situation but a learning opportunity. A highly effective strategist looks at experiments not as conversions but as lessons that clarify what their customers want. They therefore use experimentation as a method of learning—conversions to them are just one of many measures of success.7. They evangelise the journeyFinally, CRO strategists understand that experimentation is a journey, not a destination. Highly effective ones can invigorate, excite and engage the business in this new way of thinking. When you see a business come along on this journey, you know there's a highly effective CRO strategist behind it.At New Republique, we pride ourselves in finding skilled CRO practitioners and instilling in them the very best habits so they become highly effective CRO strategists. Our strategists work within each client's team as part of the business to ensure they understand the customer pressure from the inside.Along the way, they will transform the way you think about CRO and how it can change your business from its website and beyond. You see, our job is not only about experimentation, but also instilling the cultural change that experimentation brings to a business.