CXL Minidegree: Conversion Optimization Part [2/12]

Aaron Baker
5 min readNov 8, 2020
Photo by Photos Hobby on Unsplash

When structuring your marketing machine, it’s essential to use ‘best practices’ as the foundation. Best practices will not build the frame of your building. Strong marketing departments are constructed similarly to lego, with each piece representing a new finding. The more parts, the more detailed your marketing can be.

The key to great tests has great designers. If you don’t have great designers executing the tests, you may not get the best learnings.

As optimizers, our goal is to make the next step for the customer as clear and easy to understand as possible.

People are more likely to take action depending on whether:

  1. They notice the CTA begin with
  2. the next step is obvious and makes sense and,
  3. they see the value in the next step

Making the CTA noticeable

There should only be one primary call to action.

For every page on your site you need to define a single call to action.

You can have secondary calls to action, but they need to look secondary.

A Button is usually better than a link. The Bigger the better. You have to make them stand out. Use varying colours, background and other visually contrasting elements to assist you with this.

The 3 pillars of a CTA

There are 3 pillars of a great Call to Action.

  1. It’s specific: What happens when you click the button is absolutely clear. Examples: Add to Cart, Get a Quote, Proceed to Payment, Subscribe to Newsletter, Start Your Free Trial.
  2. It conveys a benefit: Get Conversion Tips, Start Making Money, Clear My Skin.
  3. It contains a trigger word: Trigger words are that will get users to click. For instance, if you know/think that users are going to be looking for pricing — than use pricing as the trigger word.


The whole goal of your website is to get users to take action. Humans are particular creatures, and the simplest way to get them to take action is to remove as many barriers as possible.

This is why you should always take this into consideration when;

  1. They can clearly see your call to action.
  2. It’s obvious the next step they need to take.
  3. They see the value in the next step.


Executing on web forms is an essential factor in improving your conversion rates. Most sites have their forms closely tied to their final conversions.

**Higher Completion Rates = higher profits**

Forms facilitate a conversation between you, the company and “them,” the customer. Consider ditching the formal speech, and start thinking of forms in the structure of a conversation.

As optimizers, our number one goal is to reduce friction.

You have to set clear expectations.

When you tell the user what to expect on the form, they will feel safer and, therefore, more likely to hand over their personal information.

By clearly explaining how long the process will take, you can manage the user’s expected commitment.

For instance

“Takes only 20 seconds”

There are expectations for how long it takes to fill out a form.

“Fill out this form and get instant access to X.”

Using the carrot and stick method, you can entice people to fill out the form and proceed.

You need to try and minimize the number of form fields. I say this because it’s one of the easiest things that you can do to reduce friction.

CXL did a comparison study where they took two standard “Contact Us” forms, one had 11 fields, and the other only had 4.

Which form do you think performed better?

Well, if you guessed the 11 field form, then you are dead wrong.

The form with only four fields outperformed the longer form by 160%. Crazy eh?

This is why you only ask for the information that you really need.

CXL says to avoid optional fields. If you don’t need the information, don’t ask for it.

There is a difference between removing requirements (decreasing the amount of time or effort to fill out the form) and clarifying needs (helping people understand how to complete the form)

Sometimes, having a more extended form is better if the required information is relevant.

3 things that longer forms do

1. People who are more motivated fill out more extended forms. You’ll get higher quality leads.

2. Longer forms help people self-qualify — and unqualified people will go away.

3. If you have more information on the lead, you can do better lead scoring.

Multi-step forms work great if you require a lot of information.

An excellent strategy to use for multi-step forms is to get the most important info (like name, email, phone) in the first step and store that information even if they don’t end up completing all the steps. This way, you get the lead-in and can manually follow up if needed.

When to use radio buttons vs drop-downs

Use radio buttons when people have less than five choices. Like male/female:

Use dropdown boxes for when you have more than five choices. When there are over 15 options, autocomplete is the best.

Try to autofill as much info as you can.

Error validation and instant feedback are huge. You can score huge gains by getting this right.

Pro tip:

With every error message, your website can display an event with the same error message recorded in Google Analytics (via event tracking). This helps you understand the volume and frequency of error messages, as well as what are the most common error messages. When you know the issues, you can go ahead and fix them! If you don’t record error messages, you’re blind.*

Which of your form fields is causing the most amount of friction?

There are three ways to assess this:

1. through user testing and paying attention to which form field makes them think twice,

2. by watching user session replay videos (the ones provided by tools like Hotjar or Clicktale),

3. by using form analytics that gives you quantifiable data.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the material this week. I found it to be thoughtfully l laid out. The Lecture structure has contributed to my comprehension of the topics. There is lots of information that is excluded in my above post. This session of the mini-degree, but the content in these courses are comprehensive, and after I finish, I know that I’ll be able to apply these concepts in real life. I give this section a 4.7/5.

See you next week!