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Your Baby is Ugly, and the Customer is Always, ALWAYS Right


Tim Ash’s 2nd Edition of Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions covers a wide variety of testing and optimization techniques, data-gathering tools and must-follow rules for increasing your conversion rates. Although this book discusses most topics that conversion marketers should know, two points made a lasting impression on this reader.


1. Your baby is ugly

Think of Seinfeld’s “Ugly Baby” episode, and how friends, family and strangers can see what parents can’t. And if you thought Jerry or Kramer were harsh toward an innocent baby… you won’t want to know what your users are thinking.

Before you start optimizing your site or tackling strategy, acknowledge that you might be treating your website the way a parent would treat their child. You might be the parent of an ugly baby.

When creating an effective optimization strategy, you have to be honest. Take a step back and see your site for what it is—because you can’t fix a problem you don’t see.

2. The customer is always right

A second major theme of Landing Page Optimization is that no matter how much expertise you have, you can throw it out the window if your conversion funnel isn’t easy for your users to follow.

A great design doesn’t always mean one that’s aesthetically pleasing. If it takes an obnoxious orange button and really boring design to get your visitors to click and convert, so be it. Because in the end, they’ll be the ones to judge how effective your page is.

Start with some common sense content and design, then test it, test it, and test it some more. Learn what resonates with your consumers and use that to create hypotheses worth testing.

When discussing user-friendly design for your conversion funnel or website, Ash introduces what he calls “The Matrix,” to ensure that no vital elements or steps are missing. In this Matrix, you have three tasks to complete:

1.     Define your visitors’ goals

Are they there to make a purchase, or just to research?

2.     Define critical tasks for each role

What are your users’ intensions at each stage in their visit?

3.     Define content to support each task

Make sure you include information, resources or instructions to help your users along your conversion funnel.

Defining these elements will help you identify what your consumer wants—not what you want. By putting your users first, you can create an experience so enjoyable that they’ll want to return to and recreate in the future. Which means happier users and more conversions.

So remember to take your website off its pedestal and look at it under a very critical lens. Whether you’re trying to enter the optimization field, or you want a refresher course without the tuition, the 2nd Edition of Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions is an easy read that covers all of the conversion optimization basics, plus a good dose more.