CRO, cybermen & sonic screwdrivers

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Doctor Who Tardis/Police BoxIf you know me, you know I’m a Doctor Who fan. I’m not the most dedicated Whovian, but I am an enthusiastic viewer — and a proud owner of a Dalek mug. I even went to the cinema to watch Deep Breath, the first episode of the latest series.

Mulling over my CRO blog post and Doctor Who fandom I’m suddenly struck with the thought: there is a parallel! And it gives me an excuse to discuss two of my favourite things…


The Doctor regenerates but retains his core personality: he’s always a clever, quirky, irreverent, sometimes tortured adventurer. Though his face and clothes change, there are some things that will always remain.

Your site is in a similar position: organic site development and the behaviour of visitors will alter it, but the changes you instigate shouldn’t affect how you want your brand to be perceived. In fact, your site should showcase what you are all about.

The first questions we ask in usability tests are “What do you think the site does?” and “Who are you targeting?”. If you’re not clear in your position, then how do you expect customers to get to grips with it and buy in? All elements — such as design, content and layout — can help visitors understand what you do.

Also, the Doctor is seldom quiet. He’s quick-witted and if a silent moment comes along, it’s for dramatic intent. Modesty isn’t one of his strengths, either. Your site can afford to have a similar personality.

When I start a CRO campaign for clients, I look for the USPs (unique selling points). What are they? Where are they advertised? What makes your site distinct from competitors’? So many times I find a really brilliant USP hidden away or one that isn’t presented in the best way; the worst are those that aren’t explained. These distinctions are important and should be employed as a part of a conversion path. Hiding or misrepresenting them can confuse customers and hinder conversions.

New technology

The tools we employ in CRO aren’t equivalent to alien technology, but they are very versatile and act as detailed diagnostic tools. A bit like the sonic screwdriver, they allow us to get data that can be utilised to assist your objectives.

We often employ usability tests, where we ask your target audience to complete actions onsite to find out what is easy to do, what they like and what presents a challenge. This data is invaluable as it gives us honest feedback from your audience and valuable insight into onsite behaviour, which we use to formulate the basis of our A/B tests. CRO works in response to your customers’ needs, eliminating the need for guesswork.

Judgements (more politely known as testing)

After the first episode featuring Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who fan sites were abuzz with people judging his performance. Human nature I’m afraid! But you shouldn’t be worried about scrutinising your site.

Previously, when you made changes to a web page, that was it. A lack of analytics and a mass of adaptations meant it was near impossible to determine what modifications were having a positive effect, and to what extent.

Now, through A/B testing, we can find out which version of a site works best from a conversion rate perspective. This leads to both short-term impact and a strategic insight into what your customers want and how to cater for their needs.


If you want to learn more about CRO or you simply want to know who my favourite Doctor is then please get in touch


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