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Using psychology to come up with CRO ideas
My favourite method for coming up with landing page or website conversion tests.
Coming up with growth ideas constantly is hard.
I’ve coached or advised dozens of startups from pre-PMF through to late-stage, and the vast majority have an idea gap.
When I saw Sean Ellis talk a few years ago, he said one of the first things he did at Twitter was set a requirement of three growth experiments per week.
Naysayers immediately jump to “quality over quantity” arguments, but I disagree. Volume is vitally important.
A lot of growth comes from small, incremental, compounding gains. Yes there are 0 to 1 moments. Finding product market fit is one. Introducing new product lines is another. Going international is another. Maybe introducing a multiplayer mode to your product is another. But these are rare.
Most growth happens through a very large number of small incremental experiments.
And you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. We always talk about user experience metrics like active subscribers as vital, but perhaps volume of experiments should be the true north star metric.
In terms of what that looks like. Say the average experimented netted you a 3% improvement in your conversion. Not three percentage points, but three percent.
Doubling the number of experiments per week means:
2.2x bigger after 26 weeks
4.7x bigger after one year
21.7x bigger after two years, and
100x bigger after three years
Obviously at 3% average gain won’t be sustainable forever, but side by side, it shows: volume is important.
Cognitive biases and other psychology principles to develop experiment ideas
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I’ve tried and tested a variety of methods of ‘coming up with ideas’. I’ve been in a hundreds of brainstorms. I’ve looked at competitors for inspo. I’ve studied best practice. Ideas do come from everywhere.
Talking to customers is the go-to best way to come up with experiment ideas.
But specifically thinking for CRO, then I find the Growth Design’s 106 list, a very close second for growth ideas.
Why does this work so well?
Psychology is one of the three pillars of growth (process & engine being the other two). It’s not something you can ignore to become a brilliant growth operator.
But it’s also a huge field. The very best marketers have good working examples of things that happen to work. Psychology is often the reason why they do.
Open up Growth Design’s 106 List.
Scroll down and choose a bias at random
Read through it.
Open up your website on your phone and go through the entire buying process with this bias or principle in mind
Write down everywhere where there’s a problem
Three of my favourites which always produce good results
STOP MAKING YOUR USERS THINK. Make it easy for them.
Framing always produces interesting results. Allow yourself to come up with radically different ideas to usual. A lot of startups sit in new product category areas. That means it’s up to you to frame the benefit to them.
When you open a website and see a wall of text, what do you do? You stop reading. I’m a huge advocate of the smallest number of words needed to answer a problem. But sometimes a large number are needed, and when they are chunking is vital.
Bitesize of the week
While I’m a big fan of using this approach for CRO experiments, I’m also a huge advocate of customer interviewing.
There was a great First Round piece recently on how Kubecost validated an idea with 100 customer conversations. Well worth a read, especially for those at the start of their journeys.
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