The Conversion Rate Optimisation No One Is Doing

You and I have one common goal.

We want our website to convert at its very best.

Or as most of us like to call it:

“Get the most out of it.”

One early morning, the CMO of a company said to me:

“We’re always looking for ways to improve conversion.”

“You know, we’re spending quite a bite on ads and we’ve tried everything but there’s just no major improvement.”

Yup, I know.

After optimising over 1000 eCommerce and lead gen pages, I can assure you that the ‘Marketing Blind Spot’ is real.

Because I have it too.

This is the double-edged sword we own.

We know so much about marketing and strategies that we struggle to know what to prioritise and optimise for our own business.

We are so close to the market, yet somewhat disconnected from it.

Today, most marketers are obsessed with studying marketing rather than studying the market.

We come up with new ideas and changes, one after the other.

  • Trying new themes and designs
  • Testing different copy
  • Learning new Facebook ad tactics
  • Adding new tools here and there

All the new changes and ideas sound good but…

We are just trying to paint a broken pipe.

It seems like we’re doing a good job improving the user experience and optimising every funnel step.

Is that what CRO is?

Is there a more meaningful and profitable way to really maximise our conversion?

Last night, I revisited one of the greatest and the most complex movies of all time – Inception.

Surprisingly, we got the answer from it.

The movie started off with Leonardo saying the famous line:

“An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.”

I was immediately captured.

Dom Cobb, starred by Leonardo DiCaprio then followed:

“Once an idea has taken hold of the brain, it’s almost impossible to eradicate.”

I paused the movie and actually meditated on it.

Isn’t that what we’re doing as Marketers every day?

Planting ideas.

We’re influencing people to engage with our product and service.

Every interaction we have with people, we’re seeding an idea.

When that idea grows, they take action.

Conversions aren’t numbers on your dashboard – they’re the byproduct of what you’ve been seeding with your marketing.

To fully maximise our conversion rate, we have to stop thinking about conversion rate.

Rather, we need to focus on seeding the right idea.

CRO is Inception.

Selling is Inception.

Marketing is Inception.

We’re seeding an idea in people’s head.

The second we realise, accept and respect our role and the responsibility as a Marketer, we turn the table upside down.

We’re no longer that advertiser who is just blasting emails and ads at people.

Now, we’re the one who helps them shape their decisions.

Now, we’re the one who is responsible for seeding.

More important, deciding what ideas to seed.

With each interaction, whether they see your Facebook ad or look at your website, you’re influencing them.

You’re planting a seed.

The question is – do you know what exactly you are seeding?

What is the idea you’re trying to grow?

In the movie, the Inception Team emphasises one point.

For the person to truly believe in your idea, there are two rules:

  1. The idea must be crystal clear and simple
  2. We don’t tell the idea, we SUGGEST it

The Inception Team has to find a way to plant an idea in their target’s mind that he shouldn’t continue his father’s business.

So what is the very first thing they do?

They write down, “I will split up my father’s empire.”

They clarify and verbalise the exact idea they need to seed.

Why? Because everything else they’re about to plan and execute must suggest this idea.

Everyone has to be on the same page.

What is the exact message you need to get across?

What is that one thing people must know about your offer?

Have you written it down?

Can the CEO, the marketer and everyone on the team repeat it, verbatim?

Rule #1Be crystal clear with what idea you need to seed

But what about Rule #2?

Why can’t we tell them the idea?

Why do we have to ‘suggest’ it instead?

Why can’t we tell people we have the best product?

Why can’t we tell people service is the best out there?

Imagine I dig a big hole and plant a 5-meter tall lemon tree in the middle of your garden today.

Will you notice it?

More importantly, will you accept it, feel an ownership of it and protect it?

Human brains are programmed to defend new ideas.

(Thanks to hundreds of years of sneak-oil advertisements)

This is the difference between ‘Someone telling us what to do’ and ‘Us realising what to do’.

Telling someone we have “the best product” doesn’t make us “the best product” in their mind.

It just makes us a bragger with nothing meaningful to say.

How many times have you seen companies claiming something without clearly explaining why?

How many times have you done that?

How many claims are on your website with no explanations?

Are you Telling or Suggesting?

A large portion of my work is to help companies audit their messaging.

To put it plainly, I need to point out the complication, confusion and BS in their marketing message.

I needed to create a methodology that can help me and my clients to clarify exactly what to say.

This is why I created Decision Seeding.

Decision Seeding is part of our CRO process for Conversion Clinic.

I created it about 2 years ago and have been learning, using and refining it every day since then.

It has been (and still is) the most effective way I know to do meaningful CRO.

First, we need to clarify and verbalise exactly what messages we need to get across when people are on the website.

Here’s what it looks like:

As you can see, there are two main messages.

The first layer is the big idea and conclusion we want people to have.

The second and the third layer are the seeds we must plant to SUGGEST the big idea.

For example, we want website visitors to draw the conclusion:

“This is the best place to buy products to teach my kid about Emotional Intelligence”

Should we just tell them ‘The is the best place to buy’?

What should we do instead?

We suggest.

What information do people need to draw this conclusion?

What are the seeds we need to plant?

  1. Every product on this store is hand-selected by a Child Psychologist
  2. It has the largest range of products in Australia with over 100 games and toys

Do you see how clear and specific the seeds are?

How can we know what to say if we aren’t sure what message we need to get across?

How can we know what to change and test if we aren’t sure what message we need to get across?

Without this level of clarity, are we all just optimising for the sake of optimising?

Effective execution requires absolute clarity.

If you can put one idea in your ideal customer’s mind, what would that be?

What must they know about your offer?

To give you a hint, our optimisations always focus on seeding the second and third layer.

Don’t try to plant an idea that people will defend.

Spread the seeds.

Let the customers grow that tree, own it and protect it.

So now, perhaps the question isn’t “What should we optimise next?”

Perhaps the question is “What are we actually optimising for?”

What seeds do you need to plant?

If you want to see how you can maximise your conversion rate, click the button to see if we can help.


“I’ve had my best month ever for the last four months in a row and now turn over 4x what I did”

Amy White, CleanClothNappyHire.com.au

“Now that I have the messaging right, the people that come to me are the right people who really need my service”

Michael Paterson, HigherTruth.com.au

“I’ve gone from depending on word of mouth clients to now having lots of new clients coming through from my website.”

Emma O’Callaghan, BabySleepExpert.com.au

See how this can apply to your business:

Thinking Time:

What message is not getting across?

What is the idea I have to plant to trigger my customers to take action?

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