My fifth week in the CXL Institute Mini Degree of Conversion Rate Optimization CRO — A Review

When I started the “Product Messaging” course of this conversion optimization mini degree, I had no idea what I would learn but I was really excited.

So much so that I didn’t take it up for the study at all through the week and struggled to decide whether I should just pull, but ultimately decided against, an all-nighter before I started writing this article :D

You see Momoko’s super-organized lesson plan right in the intro video. She goes through it very thoroughly and you get a sense of what you will learn in each step.

Lesson 1: “Teardowns”

She also gives us a sneak peek into her conversion techniques and philosophy that she follows.

So, in short, this lesson is all about:

  • Understanding why unstructured, opinion-based teardowns can cause confusion and discord
  • A core set of established persuasion, conversion, and CRO principles with which to assess sales page copy
  • A standardized, shareable checklist for conducting copy teardowns based on these persuasion, conversion, and CRO principles

What are “teardowns”

This means teardowns cannot tell you what will work. For that, you have to talk to your customers and prospects.

Also, teardowns can be extremely subjective based on what the copywriter or expert conducting the teardown likes or dislikes. So teardowns of the same page can bring up different insights if done by different people.

Teardown Element #1: Conversion Formula by MECLab

It tells us broadly what decides your sales page’s conversion potential. According to this formula, the conversion potential is based on important factors:

  • The motivation behind why the customer wants to buy something and when they want to buy. It’s the most important element
  • The value of what you are offering to the buyer. Even if the value is not exactly as they want/expect, chances of conversion are high if they really need that product urgently.
  • You also have to increase incentives for conversion and minimize the friction.
  • The prospect’s anxiety is an important factor that influences the chances of conversion.

Teardown Element #2: Robert Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Persuasion

His 6 persuasion principles are very common:

  • Social Proof
  • Authority
  • Scarcity/Urgency
  • Likeability
  • Reciprocity
  • Consistent Commitment

You might have heard about one or more of these terms even if you have spent a minimal amount in marketing. After you satisfy the basic conversion requirements, you are still left with a sales page that has sound conversion elements built into it but it doesn’t much to get people to buy. It merely addresses those requirements through copy text.

Compared to the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) tips mentioned in the above section, these persuasion principles provide tangible elements that help persuade the customer/prospect.

The seventh one is Unity (Us vs Them) which is relevant in these hyper-political modern times.

Teardown Element #3: Claude Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising (Copywriting) Principles

If the CRO elements (element #1) tell you what to communicate on the sales page, these copywriting principles tell you how to communicate them.

Claude Hopkins was born in the 1860s and is widely considered the world’s first copywriter who created print-based ads and used unique ways to attribute sales to those printed ads (through coupons).

While his copywriting skills were applied before computers were ever a thing, his copywriting principles have seen enduring success and glowing endorsements from everyone in the copywriting industry.

These 4 basic principles that everyone basically learned from Claude Hopkins are:

  • Be specific
  • Talk like a salesman speaks in a real face-to-face meeting
  • Write from a service perspective, don’t try to sell
  • Tell the full story.

What elements to consider when conducting a “copy teardown”

  • Attention-capturing Copy
  • Persuasive Copy
  • Transactional Copy
  • Post-purchase copy

At this point, Momoko presents her old sheet of questions that she used in the past for her copy teardowns.

This sheet addressed only persuasive copy (only landing pages copy — text on the page, visuals, CTA, etc)

Also, according to her, the questions were quite open-ended and so were difficult to mark with an absolute grade.

Then she shares her new teardown sheet which covers all funnel stages and marks various elements with a short range of specific numerical scores.

Then she begins demonstrating the whole procedure of teardown on the old homepage of petdoors.com

Teardown of petdoors.com

This is followed by the actual teardown — the question-by-question analysis of the webpage (in this case the original homepage of petdoors.com). However, she doesn’t do this for the complete page. She only demonstrates it for a single conversion requirement and then she encouraged us to go out and try it on our own homepage/service page/sales page.

Finally, she ends the lesson with an example of when she used this framework to help a client.

She made minor tweaks and it shot up their count of incoming qualified leads by a whopping 39% almost overnight.

Navin is a Senior Content Marketer and Copywriter with a firm belief in the power of Growth Marketing.