In these uncertain times, Conversion Rate Optimisation has never been more important to help your company not just thrive, but survive. Last week's Business as Unusual webinar was a conversation with Ayat Shukairy, CRO expert and Co-founder of Invesp, who shared her tips for improving your conversion rates in order to generate more leads and increase revenue.
You can watch episode 7 of the Business as Unusual webinar from Thursday 21st May, 'CRO: Hope Is Not A Strategy' below...
Jon Payne (00:00):
Welcome to Business as Unusual. The weekly webinar where we discuss how marketers, salespeople, and scale up business owners can stay productive, profitable, and at peace in the pandemic, and whatever comes after. In this episode, we're joined by Ayat Shukairy. She's the queen of conversion rate optimisation. She knows CRO so well she wrote the book on it. Hi.
Ayat Shukairy (00:23):
Hi Jon. I look forward to this!
Jon Payne (00:25):
So do I! You did actually write a book on conversion rate optimisation, right?
Ayat Shukairy (00:30):
Yes. Back in 2010, so it's been awhile.
Jon Payne (00:33):
Wow. And 2010. So would you say that the principles or how well have the principles that you talked about in that book lasted?
Ayat Shukairy (00:42):
So I think that a lot of the principles that are in there, like the conversion framework, some of the concepts are still of course valid, but a lot of things obviously have changed and shifted. As you know, online things change so dramatically within a span of like just a few months. So certainly some of that has to be obviously updated and you know, we update obviously things through our blog and whatnot. But yeah, the core principles do remain kind of consistent and the same, of course.
Jon Payne (01:11):
You know what, I'm so glad to hear that. I get worried that these things, you know, you kind of think of so much of this is common sense, right? And you start thinking... I believe so much of this is common sense, not common sense... it is common sense, and then you need to get into the details and the science of it often. And, but yeah, and then, but these young pups come along sometimes and they say, Oh, this is the new paradigm. And you're like that, wow, that sounds really opposed to everything that I understand and I'm open to accept that kind of stuff. But sometimes those, those hard and fast principles last, right?
Ayat Shukairy (01:49):
Yeah. And I think, I think like with marketing, a lot of things have remained, you know, like the say, the core kind of concepts when it comes to marketing always remain. But you do have to always adapt to like the changing times and like, you know also just considering you know, like the different ways and mediums that people are getting kind of information and how do you adapt to all of that because that's going to end up changing some of the processes in the end. So I think it's just a matter of adapting your processes to make sure. But the core values are always kind of there. And I think even with like in our marketing, when we look back, we still take things from like, you know, the 1920s and 1930s, because like those concepts still have lasted, you know, all that time.
Jon Payne (02:37):
Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Cool. So like I have in my head the image of any author like some big poet typing away on an old school type writer. You know, in a darkened room, you are in a darkened room, with a book case, like a hand rolled cigarette chomped between your teeth and you're just smashing away. That kind of stuff. How does my romantic image of you writing a book?
Ayat Shukairy (03:01):
Oh, I don't know! I can tell you that definitely writing a book is challenging. So I guess that image from that perspective can somewhat work, but yeah, it's, it's not, I actually co-wrote it with my business partner who is actually my husband as well. So you can imagine that dynamic is very interesting. So from, from all those different perspectives of writing the book and, you know, working with my husband and all of what goes along with it. It was, it was a challenging period and I was really glad when we finished.
Jon Payne (03:42):
I feel you, I feel you! Oh man I didn't realise you worked with your husband?
Ayat Shukairy (03:49):
Yes, my business partner is my husband, so I started the company he joined after. But you know, we've made it work. I, I hope so. I mean, we started in 2006 so I hope by now we have some sort of like an arrangement that works for us.
Jon Payne (04:09):
I wanted to kill my business partner and wife. I founded the company, well, we co-founded it, it was her money! I don't know whether you've come across that before, but the guy's normally a failure, right? And the lady is normally relatively successful. So we co-founded it together and I think we probably wanted to kill each other for the first three years while we figured out who was in charge. How did you negotiate that dynamic? Was that a bit easier?
Ayat Shukairy (04:35):
Yeah, I mean it was a little bit challenging, you know, like of course, because the kind of like that power dynamic and who's going to be in charge and who's going to do what. But I think once we figured out, like, you know who... obviously you want to kind of play to your strengths as well. So I have obviously certain strengths, he does, and I think that that's what makes it work. So we just have to, we had to figure that out first. And then, but of course, every once in a while still kind of creeps up and, and you know, we just have to kind of go back and be like, okay, let's reset.
Jon Payne (05:06):
But once you've gone through that cauldron of doing the business and I assume the book together... lock down piece of cake!
Ayat Shukairy (05:12):
Oh yeah. And kids?That's that!
Jon Payne (05:18):
Easy af. Good. Well that's lovely. Tell us how did you get into CRO?
Ayat Shukairy (05:26):
So actually when I, I never and originally when I had gone to school, I didn't go to business school. I originally went to become a teacher and I actually became a teacher for a couple of years, worked for a couple of years. And then I started, I was just kind of like interested in marketing overall. So I started taking some courses in marketing and I'm like, oh, this is like, you know, really interesting. And I started doing some freelance work just updating kind of copy on sites to make it kind of more SEO friendly and to also whenever I would do that, the usually like my clients would tell me, hey, can you also look at our website for some reason people aren't purchasing on the website.
Ayat Shukairy (06:08):
So that's kind of how it started about where, you know, they would just ask if there's anything that I noticed on the site that could be improved. And then I started learning a little bit more about conversion rate optimisation and from there it was just like, oh wow, this is really interesting. Everybody was really into SEO when I first started and, and conversion rate optimisation, everybody be like, oh, do you mean SEO? And I'm like, no, no, no, this is something completely different than SEO. This is post-click. And so, you know, I found that there was like an opportunity because there weren't a lot of agencies at the time that were offering, you know, conversion rate optimisation exclusively. So that's when, you know, I started kind of doing that for clients and then it just kind of grew from there and my husband was like, oh, this is like, you know, this is great. Let me join in. He was actually a software developer. So bringing that experience in was great. You know, because he obviously has, you know, the technical aspect which is extremely important when you're developing experiments and tests. You really need that as well.
Jon Payne (07:14):
Yeah. Oh, that's really cool. That's really cool. So before we go into the stuff about the company you founded, if you've been along on a Business as Unusual before, you know that, and I'm not talking to you, Ayat, you've watched a couple I know, thank you very much. But the rest of the people joining us you know that we talk about the fact that right now, and probably for a little while longer. I think most countries are predicting a recession. We're going to be looking at businesses that... All of our businesses have a lack of money an abundance of uncertainty, and maybe we're all trying to find where the opportunity is now or where it is in the future and that's what we're going to be talking about with relation to conversion rate optimisation. And I nicked the title of the conversation that we're having from Ayat's LinkedIn where I assumed she had coined the phrase, hope is not a strategy. But you, you put me right on that, Ayat. You said it wasn't you. Can you remember who it was?
Ayat Shukairy (08:22):
Oh God, I wish you'd told me this before, I would have looked it up for you!
Jon Payne (08:28):
I'm so sorry. As soon as I came out my mouth, I'm like that, what a vicious bastard! I'm so sorry.
Ayat Shukairy (08:36):
We can add it in the notes afterwards!
Jon Payne (08:37):
I think, I think it was Oscar, Oscar Wilde who said, anybody who can accurately quote, accurately place a quotation is a liar. So I think what we've done, and it wasn't Oscar Wilde who said that, and that's not the quote, but it's basically, if you know it, then you're wrong. You're just pretending you're showing off. Let's, I'm going to go back to, sharing my screen for a sec. And we're gonna... The reason we're here, everybody, is the reason we get someone with the expertise that Ayat has, is that we are talking to you and we get to do a bit of brand awareness and maybe introduce ourselves to some potential clients. So Ayat, why don't you give us a quick five minute rundown of Invesp, what you do and how you do it?
Ayat Shukairy (08:56):
So we started invest in 2006. So it's, it's been a while and we've worked with a lot of really great brands, but obviously we've worked with a lot of smaller businesses and, and small, medium, large. I mean, obviously it just depends on whoever kind of needs the service overall.
Ayat Shukairy (09:48):
A lot of our clients are eCommerce, but we do work with B2B and lead gen as well. And really again, like what I had said before is that we found that at the time when we founded Invesp in general, not a lot of companies were offering conversion rate optimisation and there was a lack of, in general when you'd go to any type of website, you know, you just needed to see kind of better usability you needed to see you know, kind of like that persuasiveness that was just missing in general, that emotional and social connection that websites should have with the visitor. We saw that that was definitely lacking. So there was definitely an opportunity to start this company and offer that particular service to you know, all these different organizations. And of course, part of conversion rate optimisation is also AB testing, which is a, is, you know, once we've kind of kind of come up with a particular concept, then we'll go ahead and test that particular concept to see whether or not that's going to kind of improve conversions overall.
Ayat Shukairy (10:51):
So yeah, it's been a great ride. It's, it's, it's been you know, like, it's just a wonderful experience having, being a part of Invesp in general. But yeah, that's kind of like my, my little spiel about Invesp.
Jon Payne (11:04):
And you are in America and Turkey. Is that right?
Ayat Shukairy (11:10):
So yes, we're based in the U.S but then we ended up opening an office also in Istanbul to service some of our European and you know, like clients that are also based in Asia as well, just because of the time zone difference it's becomes, it becomes a little bit challenging when you're in the U.S to service those clients.
Jon Payne (11:29):
Cool. How often do you get to come over to Istanbul and see the office there?
Ayat Shukairy (11:34):
I mean, I actually lived there when we first established the office. I lived there for a few years, which was a really great experience. Just living abroad and in an international country that, you know, you don't know the language and just trying to kind of figure things out. That was a great experience. But since I moved back to the U.S it's you know, I'll go maybe like a couple times a year.
Ayat Shukairy (11:54):
And now of course, yeah. There's no way that I'm going now. You're not gonna see me flying for awhile.
Jon Payne (12:01):
No, I think that's true of everybody. Yeah, absolutely. That's cool. Man, Istanbul. I'm just, I'm jealous of you being able to go there twice a year even when things open back up. Yasmin tells us that she lives, she'd lived in Istanbul for 10 years and absolutely loved it. And it sounds like you did too. It is. It's a, it's a great city and the people are really nice. Obviously, you know, whenever I tell people that I lived in Istanbul, people are like, oh my God, I'm so jealous. I love Istanbul. And I'm like, I love it too. It's great. But at the same time when you live there, it's different than when you visit, when you're a tourist...
Ayat Shukairy (12:37):
I'm sorry, like things look a lot sparkly and like, you know, nice. When you live there and you're dealing with like the day to day sometimes can be a little bit challenging. But yeah, it was, it was a really great experience. My kids actually loved it as well, so I was, I was glad to also let them have that international experience.
Jon Payne (12:53):
Yeah, that's just, that's such a great eye-opener as well, isn't it? And particularly for like an international city like Istanbul as well. That's cool. I'm going to quickly bring up a slide about Noise Little Monkey. Most people on the call know who we are. So I'm also launching our poll just to, cause I don't know actually who is on the call. If you could, so we're an inbound marketing automation and sales enablement agency background tech SEO, we work with those companies on your screen, yada, yada.
Jon Payne (13:24):
What we really want to know while we're doing this is so Ayat can think about giving you some answers that are going to make, be most useful, getting you guys to fill in that poll and tell us what it is you're doing. So Ayat, I don't know whether you can see the poll? But we've got, it doesn't matter if you can't.
Ayat Shukairy (13:46):
I can see the poll, but I can't see the answers. I don't know if they're coming in or?
Jon Payne (13:51):
Oh cool, yeah, they are coming in, they are coming in. So 45% of people work in businesses with 11 to 50 people. 26% of people are working in a hundred, of a hundred plus people. And there's no one working in businesses of 50 to a hundred people. That's fine. So yeah, quite a few in small businesses and then we've got some sort of bigger enterprises.
Jon Payne (14:15):
My camera's overheating. So I'm going to go in and out focus. We've got a couple of people between jobs. Hey, thanks for coming along. It's a lovely day and you are between jobs right now and you're on this webinar. Well, that is fricking awesome. Thank you guys! 69% of people, nice, are in marketing. And then we've got some people in operations, some in IT, some in other areas, and most people are manager or VP exec, senior exec level, C level. Thank you everybody for filling that in, really useful because it helps us understand where we're going in terms of our conversations. So I've stopped the poll. I'm just going to do a bit of context and then we're going to get on to getting some good stuff out of Yasmin. Yasmin, sorry, I'm looking at the word Yasmin on my screen because everybody's saying hi Yasmin.
Jon Payne (15:12):
I know not everybody just Hannah Dwyatt. We're going to talk to Ayat and get her information. But what I want to share first was, I did a study this week of 210 websites. I'm gonna open that study up and make it a much broader study because I want to drill down into some sector stuff. But I looked at Google analytics for 210 websites in the UK and 77% of them, comparing the first eight weeks of lockdown with the previous eight weeks of the year, so all the way back to January. Can you remember January? We could go out and hug our family and friends. Wow. That was good. Anyway, since lockdown 77% of UK businesses are reporting a web traffic drop. And that was why I was getting so excited about having this conversation with you Ayat, because CRO hopefully can, well in some ways, I would imagine can do great things.
Jon Payne (16:08):
As long as you're not down here on the screen and you've got 90 to a hundred percent traffic drop, we're not going to do much there. But if you're, if you've only seen a little bit of a drop off, in my experience, the way CRO can work, it can be a huge multiplier in the amount of leads enquiries or, or new clients you get on a, on an eCommerce website. Would that be fair to say?
Ayat Shukairy (16:30):
Jon Payne (16:31):
Cool. We are seeing that lockdown winners on average are 64% up. Look at this scale! Some of them are up there in the four or 500%. Now I was looking at this, I can't tell you who exactly these people are because that's not, that's not really on. But the ones right at the top aren't necessarily in medical.
Jon Payne (16:51):
In fact, medical was a bit flat. But we're looking at construction, some construction. We're looking at some e-commerce, but not every, it's really weird. It's not exactly the sort of people you'd think. And just because I know that there's lots of people who want me to break that down between B2B and B2C, I'm going to do that really quickly. 67% of B2Bs report a traffic drop. Actually it's not quite so steep as B2C. It's not steep. But actually, excuse me. What I meant to say is there's more people falling into the loser category on B2C, but the winners are absolutely killing it. And again, so we're going to publish this in the next few days. I'm on holiday tomorrow. And we also have a bank holiday, a public holiday on Monday, so it probably won't be till Tuesday, Wednesday.
Jon Payne (17:44):
But one of the things, again, the other thing I thought was these people who were doing really well, man, imagine the multipliers you can do for people who are getting a poor conversion rate at the moment. Imagine how well you can, one could increase your business's value by doing some CRO and moving it from just an average website to one that really people have fallen in love with, to use your words, Ayat. So that's kind of the setting for this guys. We're gonna start off by saying to Ayat, Hey, Ayat, everybody's running out of money or certainly everybody on the bottom side of that graph has seen discretionary budgets cut. Even some of those on the up side of the graph have seen discretionary budgets cut while people prepare for the worst, I guess, and hope for the best. So how are you seeing your clients deal with that? Or what are your ideas for getting over that?
Ayat Shukairy (18:44):
So yeah, I mean I think in general a lot of times the people will say, you know, like the first thing that gets maybe like, you know, cut from organisations might be that work when it comes to conversion rate optimisation and doing some sort of improvement overall on the website because there's just no budget, there's just no time. So what are we going to cut first? Let's go to marketing, let's see who we can cut from there. Right. So, so, but the problem with that is that, you know, that's where kind of like the money is as well, right? So it's just like kind of like the chicken and the egg kind of thing. Cause you don't want to cut those budgets if for example, that's where you're going to be getting everything. So you know, and it's not something that can't be done with a team that's a lot smaller.
Ayat Shukairy (19:26):
So like, you know, if you've reduced staff, if you have like a much smaller team, it isn't something that you can't do. But the very important thing when it comes to conversion rate optimisation, especially during a time like this is... Number one is you don't want to be tone deaf. So you want to make sure that whatever is going on in the world, you're also kind of incorporating that messaging throughout your website to make sure that you're kind of understanding the visitor's perspective as well. The second really easy thing to do that, you know, a lot of companies just don't simply don't do is just get on the phone with a lot of customers and talk to them. Understanding directly from customers and hearing from them is so, I mean, it's just amazing kind of the amount of insights that you can get. And a lot of our projects actually, when we start any type of a project, we'll start with that, you know, with those interviews and really kind of understanding the visitor's perspective before we even begin anything else because that's so critical to the work that we do. And again, it's, it's often overlooked and it's something that, you know, any type of company or organisation can really like take part in. And especially during this time when things have changed, you can get kind of visitor's perspective, customer's perspective to kind of understand what you can do a little bit better to make sure that you're kind of addressing their needs and concerns.
Jon Payne (20:46):
Can I come back... I really love that. I love the fact that so many people on this call would have gone. Like, what about making my buttons more pink, or whatever. Obviously we'd go for pink, you might go for different colour. And you've got immediate, it's, the second thing we kind of went on to there was talking to people not relying on analytics and all of that kind of stuff, which is so good. The, the, the, so that's, that's really good. So I don't want to, well sav that, we'll come back to that, but I just wanted to go into, when you said don't be tone deaf and think about what's going on around us and all of that kind of stuff, have you got examples of people who've been particularly good at that? I mean often the first thing we remember is particularly bad and you might not want to out anybody for that. But feel free to, because we're, you're among friends. No one's, no one's listening. You're fine. Yeah. If you've got any examples of, of good or bad practice that you've seen for that?
Ayat Shukairy (21:42):
Yeah, I mean, I think when, when the pandemic first hit, you know, even like for example, like a site like Amazon, I don't think they had anticipated that things like this would just, you know, kind of just become the way that they are right now. So, so even like some of the recommendations that they would make, for example, in terms of like, you know, other items that you'd need or whatever it is, they just were so like out of whack. And did it make sense considering the time period? So even if an organization like Amazon, it took them a while to kind of catch on. Good examples. I mean, I think like there's a lot of companies with their messaging talking about like, you know you know, the, for example, if it's an eCommerce company, what type of products work from home, you know, those types of products that would be more appropriate for work from home.
Ayat Shukairy (22:32):
And kind of considering that now that that's the new normal, that that's definitely something there that again, like just shows that this type of company is, it's aware of what's going on. But you know, sometimes they'll just get emails, email marketing, that's kind of continued on automation where the messaging is just completely off. You know, where you're like, what is happening? Why are you talking about, you know, outings and this and that, if this is not even part of what's happening right now, if this is not what people are experiencing right now? So I think that that's kind of the key is just, you know, that balance. You also don't want to overdo it because I think a lot of people also are sensitive to this time period. So you just have to make sure that there's that balance of, of what you say and how you say it, you know, not to kind of impact people negatively and make them feel like, you know, the, you're also overdoing it in terms of the type of information that you're putting out there.
Jon Payne (23:23):
Cool. Thank you. That's it. Yeah. And you're, you're so right, those recommendation engines, particularly were just dying on their arse, like here's some scuba gear!
Ayat Shukairy (23:33):
I mean, it was just a completely different period of time and they're like, what's going on? So, yeah, I thought that that was very, very funny to see that, especially from like a company like Amazon. But you know, the thing is, if you're a smaller business, a lot of times you can be a little bit more agile and quick to respond to changes. Whereas, you know, larger organisations in general, there's a lot of bureaucracy, red tape, you know, it just takes a little bit longer for things to catch up. So that's, that's an advantage of being in a small business sometimes.
Jon Payne (24:02):
Yeah, absolutely. And, and so, so that's really good. And I'm, I'm making notes as we go because, because this is just so valuable. But also when we put the, the the video up, we'll put some links to stuff that you've said. So moving on then to your getting people on the phone. I love that. So I'm a salesman. I used to do tele sales. In fact I've done nearly every job, but telesales was the only one I was really any good at. And until telesales became really difficult. And then I got into search engine optimisation.
Ayat Shukairy (24:39):
You were like, I have to find something else!
Jon Payne (24:42):
Yeah exactly! Like wow, these website thingys that can really get some people to make some enquiries. Which is why my conversion rate optimisation is always, so I've, I've always, before it was called a thing is like, well, okay, well I used to have to make a hundred phone calls a day to book like five appointments, why don't I make 80 better phone calls a day and book 10. And it's like less, you know, more quality work. So I'm not claiming to have your level of expertise obviously, but so talk about getting customers on the phone. You were saying that you do that with your new clients. One of the first things you would typically do is, is talk to their customers. What, what are you asking them?
Ayat Shukairy (25:23):
So we do something actually very specific when it comes to customer interviews is we follow this methodology called the jobs to be done theory. I don't know if you've heard of it? But essentially what we're trying to understand is that causality for visitors to actually go ahead and make that purchase. We, you know, a lot of times like it doesn't matter the demographics necessarily. But what really matters is what drove them to make that decision. And what's really important for us is to kind of gauge that because that tells us a little bit more about the emotion that was involved, about the social aspects that impacted. And we always say that there's never a purchase that's ever, you know like just a lot of times people will say, are like, I made an impulse purchase and we say there's nothing, no such thing as an impulse purchase because ultimately it always relates to something.
Ayat Shukairy (26:13):
There's always something there that there's that causality that, you know, made you think of that particular, you know, purchase or that decision. So, so that's what we really try to get from customers. So the style is a lot more kind of like what we tell customers a lot of time, it's almost like we're shooting a documentary and we're, of their life and we're going back in time to see like, you know, what, what those events were that led up to the decision that they made, you know, for that purchase. So it's a different style, but it really gives us a lot of insights and it helps us kind of determine, you know, overall what that roadmap is for, what we're going to be doing next for that particular client. Of course, we have to add all the other types of research. It's extremely important to look at, you know, of course, just do a walk through yourself, over the website, make sure you're looking at kind of all the usability issues as well.
Ayat Shukairy (27:06):
Address those cause those are kind of like those smaller tier. They're not going to have necessarily that impact on conversion, but you know, they are going to make the site a lot more user friendly, a lot more engaging, et cetera. And then you want to do you want to take a look at analytics. You don't want to also dismiss that, but a lot of what you're collecting in terms of qualitative research and user research you can find kind of those trends within analytics as well. And it kind of supports some of the different problems that you've already uncovered through the qualitative research that you've conducted.
Jon Payne (27:40):
See that man, that's so good. That's so good and comprehensive. And, and it, oh wow I keep seeing myself go horribly out of focus, which must be a pleasure, pleasure for you, Ayat. You don't have to look at me in too high quality.
Ayat Shukairy (27:53):
I was just wondering. I'm like, is that, that's supposed to happen? I was going to tell you something about that.
Jon Payne (27:58):
It was just, it was just happening. I think there's going to be a lot of focusing on you in the recording. The, but yeah, the the, the, that, I love the documentary of their life on their way to the purchase or on the, on their journey. That's really cool or so exciting and, and quite new to me. And thinking, so, and you're right, we can do that without any money, right? Because we can just make those phone calls. So, I'm a small business owner, both small and my business isn't big. How do, how would I go about trying to remove some of my conscious and unconscious bias, I guess? If I was doing that for myself or for my business, and I wanted to call our clients, cause I'm gonna approach it with a, with some sort of bias, which obviously you guys are professional enough to remove quite easily. How would I go about doing that for myself, do you think?
Ayat Shukairy (28:54):
Yeah. I mean it is sometimes it could be challenging even for me, like for example, once we had a client that sold men's skincare products and you know, I just go into like one of the meetings with our team and I was just making all these assumptions. And so like the men in the room are just like, ah, actually no, that doesn't really apply to us. So, so certainly, you know, like you as an interviewer, you can have those biases, but what you have to do is you have to understand that everybody has kind of like their own unique story. And what I'm trying to do with these interviews is I'm really just trying to get them to talk. So I do a lot less talking and have them and just kind of guide them to hear their kind of story. I'll ask like, those prompting questions, make sure that they're not yes and no questions so you can get actually like a decent type of answer from the, from the the person that you're interviewing.
Ayat Shukairy (29:49):
And then, you know, just make sure that you don't ask any leading questions as much as possible. You know, because again, like that, that's gonna that's where your bias is going to come in. So that's kind of the key there. But then, you know, like you have to conduct those 15 to 20 interviews and what you're going to see from those interviews is again, those trends. That's the key is I'm trying to see what are the trends again, like, you know, leading those, the things that cause the visitors to make this purchase or decide on, you know, hiring my service or whatever it is that you're trying to find out. And then based on that, then you can kind of understand, oh, there's this common thread here and this is something that I can, you know, like build on, on the site, whether it's through my marketing, whether it's through my, you know, like the, the copy on my website to make sure that I'm addressing those specific needs for the visitors.
Jon Payne (30:40):
Yeah, that's okay. So it's almost like you have, you've almost got a blank canvas when you're going in. You've, you kind of, you've got framework of questions obviously that, you know, get people talking in a particular way. I imagine. And as you say, open questions and then, but, but try not to ask leading ones. I love that. And you're telling an old white guy that how, you know, that's impossible for me, obviously. But other people on this call are going to be able to take that and run with it. But man, but only 15, 20, would that, would that number scale if you were doing a much bigger business or actually does that give you the quality of data you need?
Ayat Shukairy (31:18):
It does actually gives you, I mean that 15 to 20 is good. If you increase it a little. I mean, the type and amount of insights that you're going to get, at least from our experience that we found isn't necessarily going to move the needle more. So that's why that sweet number is between that 15 and 20. And it can give you enough. Now the thing is with interviews and with understanding kind of customers' perspectives in general it's not something that you just should do once and to say, okay, I've done it and that's it. And kind of like check that box. And same thing with kind of conversion rate optimization in general. You just, you, it's something constant. It's like not a light switch. You turn on and off. It's something that you have to always go back to and you have to kind of understand that things change, traffic changes, circumstances change, competitor landscape changes. So you have to always be kind of on top of it. So we give ourselves like every like, you know, few months where we'll go back and we'll do another kind of round of interviews.
Jon Payne (32:14):
Right. Wow. Okay. And so how long does your average client employ you for? And this isn't because I'm trying to become a customer, I think the people on the call are, but it's a, it's really about, okay, well if we were to apply that to our own businesses, how would we, how long do we need to run it for? Is it where you said it's never over. How, how long has never, never finished?
Ayat Shukairy (32:36):
Well, you know, and, and I think it depends on the type of organization. Sometimes, you know, for example, we'll have, most of our clients will stay with us for at least a year because in order to see, you know, us kind of conduct the research that we need to conduct, as well as you know, deploy all the different experiments that we've basically collected all of this information. We have like a, a roadmap of, you know, many times at least like, you know, 150 different experiments that we're going to be to deploying on a specific website. Well, you know, that, that takes time. So you want to make sure that you, you know, you have that, that period. So usually it's like, you know, kind of year to year, depending on, on the client. But you know, we've had clients that have stayed for a while, you know, like if they don't have like the in house team to be able to pick up the CRO, then that's, you know, that's why we're kind of there for them, you know? And then there's other clients, for example, that they want the training, so their CRO team that they do have in place, can take those learnings and apply it themselves. So it just depends on what the dynamic is for, for each client that we have. Yeah.
Jon Payne (33:41):
But, but, and, and so if you were thinking about doing this for yourself and I guess, I dunno, so I'm asking leading questions and applying my own bias. God damn it. Right. Let me try not do that. Okay, so. Would you, how does it work? I'm thinking about this and I'm thinking about actual clients who I've seen go through in the chat or on the call if they were to, so if I was to go and do this and my buying cycle is I assume about three months from, from finding us, hearing about us to actually purchasing or signing an order, versus another client who's on the call and one of them's legal services, right? And the other one is, is e-commerce. So this is really, I'm being just horrible again, but, and their, and their buying cycle is probably two or three days tops, I'm guessing. Would you, would you still run the same sort of experiments, still make it last a year?
Ayat Shukairy (34:45):
I mean, I think that of course once we understand like the buying cycle that does play a big role in the type of experiments that you're going to be running. And we've worked with like, you know, some B2B and lead generation clients where again, the buying cycle is a little bit longer. It wouldn't follow the same exact process. We would adapt it to that particular client. Of course, like depending on the type of business that you have, you have to adapt the process to make sure that it makes sense for that particular organization. And the type of experiments that you run and the length of time that you run the experiments. All of that's gonna kind of be taken into consideration when you're, when you're launching anything. So certainly that's, those are all things that we would, we would take into account.
Jon Payne (35:26):
Cool. Okay. Cool. That's good. That's good man. It's good. It's, it's, Noisy Little Monkey operates in such a similar way in terms of how we do inbound tech SEO, you know, all of that kind of stuff. And, and marketing automation and things like that where sometimes, and often you're just doing loads of heavy lifting at the beginning and going, you don't need to learn this stuff cause you're going to do, we're going to do this once every 10 years. There's no point in you scaling up, but actually this ongoing stuff, it would be really good for you to know because it will help you put more value in the business. So that's, it's nice that there's common ground there. And it's also interesting that there's that, well actually, you know, the frameworks haven't changed the way people buy the mechanics of it I guess might change because we're using different, we're using phones, we're using TVs and Alexa and all of that kind of stuff.
Jon Payne (36:14):
But, you know, people are still, you know, they're still taking money from one place and putting it in somewhere else in exchange for something. So knowing that the frameworks that you use and you explain in your book and actually the frameworks that you're using in your interviews and your 150 or so tests that you're running on people's websites, actually the frameworks can be applied across it. So, yeah. Okay. So that's, we're kind of in money, but we're drilling really deep into, into what you do, which is, or how we might do it, which is great. The I'm just gonna, we've talked about understanding, so make sure you're not tone deaf and you're understanding the buyer's context or your customers, visitors context. Think about understanding your customers directly. Get them on the phone.
Jon Payne (37:03):
Absolutely love this. This is the first time I've written a to do list rather than notes, Ayat. Normally on this. I'm chipping away writing notes, now I'm like that, ah got way more fucking stuff to do now cause Ayat was on there. And then, so and the questions are open. Who, what, when, where, why, how, don't ask leading questions. Do 15 to 20 people think about trends really like that. Anything else that we can always, oh he says going out focus? Anything else that we can we can, anything else that we should do before we think about moving on to uncertainty? Is there anything else in that little ball?
Ayat Shukairy (37:42):
Yeah, I mean I think, like I said also one of the things that I had mentioned is that you don't want to not walk through. Also like, you know, especially for an agency for example, you want to make sure you do like all kind of like a walkthrough of the site itself and what we call it as like almost like a heuristic evaluation. So that's kind of like a usability term. So, so think about, you want to kind of walk through and understand what are those factors that are going to impact the visitor in terms of trust and confidence and fears, uncertainties and doubts. So having that walk through can really give you a lot of kind of different insights and help you uncover maybe potential issues that maybe you can also find when you're conducting interviews. Maybe when you're running a poll, when you're checking out Google analytics as well.
Ayat Shukairy (38:30):
Because all of those are, we have kind of like this process that we call the ship process. So it's pronounced, it's spelled S, H, I, P and it stands for scrutinise, hypothesise, implement, propagate. That's a process that we follow. And the scrutinise phase, that's the most important phase because that's the phase where you're doing all of this research. You know, you're doing the user research, you're doing the data analysis, you're doing the heuristic evaluations you're doing competitive analysis and you're really trying to gain a really good understanding of the site overall. And what are the different problems because you want to make sure that you're uncovering different problems and you determine also like where do those problems go? Do I determine this problem as something that just needs to be fixed on the site list and not everything has to be tested, some things just need to be fixed.
Ayat Shukairy (39:17):
If it's broke, fix it, don't test it. There's no need to test some things, for example. No, you need to investigate further. Like I uncovered something, for example, during user research that I needed to validate, for example, in analytics. So that's something that you would label as, you know, investigate further. Other things, for example, we call kind of, we would label them as instrument, which is something that you have to, maybe you're not collecting enough data or you need to tag things on your website so that you can collect some more data and information. And then finally, research opportunities, which are really the experiments. So those are, you know, things that I find on the website through all the research in that scrutinise phase that need to become experiments on the website. And again, like, you know, all of those ideas, if you follow this process, basically they're all data driven and, and that's when you're going to see the impact and the experiments.
Ayat Shukairy (40:07):
And when you look at, like for example, stats from Google or Optimizer or VWO, they always say that experiments for example, only like 10 to 20% actually succeed and provide an uplift. But the reason why is because a lot of those experiments are again, like people are hope is not a strategy, right? You can't just throw things at the wall and expect them to stick. No, you need to really have some sort of like data driven analysis in order to understand, okay, what are these issues and how can we address them? And you have that backup of data that tells you this is why this is a particular issue that we need to test. Yeah, brilliant. Scrutinise, hypothesize, investigate, implement, propagate.
Jon Payne (40:46):
Implement and propagate, implement. I'm loving that. Implement. So guys on the call as you can tell, Ayat, knows all of these things. She knows all of it, and there's nothing she doesn't know. I suspect there is, but I don't think we can uncover it in the next 30 minutes or 15 minutes. But I think we should
Jon Payne (41:11):
Say now, just in case people have to rush off that there is for everybody who's attending this, there is a discount code available for one of your courses on your Academy, Ayat. Is that correct?
Ayat Shukairy (41:21):
Right. So we have a CRO mastery course that would really take you through this process in detail. And so we've provided for the attendees a discount code for you, which will be available I guess on the email or the notes.
Jon Payne (41:40):
I'll send it out by email.
Ayat Shukairy (41:40):
Yup. Yup. So, you know, that'll, that'll give you kind of all of the details that I'm going through right now. We're going through it so quickly, but hopefully it'll, it'll provide some insight.
Jon Payne (41:48):
Brilliant. And apparently we've just spent our money on that. That's good. Thanks Claire. It's almost like we set this whole thing up so I could go, maybe if we get Ayat on, she'll give us a discount on CRO. Brilliant. Okay. So because we are flying through it and I think however comprehensively we follow this up, we're not going to get everything out of your head that we might get on that course. And I suspect on that course we're not going to get everything out of your head. Brilliant. Okay. So that's the thing about money and how are people in your world addressing sort of the uncertainty of the times we're living in now? Have you, have you seen people,
Jon Payne (42:27):
doing clever stuff or is it everybody's just rubbish?
Ayat Shukairy (42:31):
I mean, I think that it's, right now we're kind of like in this time of uncertainty, it's a time to kind of double down as well on you know, for example, we always tell our clients like, let's look at those clients that have been loyal to your specific you know, brand. If you're, you know, eCommerce or even if you're kind of in the service industry, what are those? Who are those clients that are very kind of loyal to what you provide? And let's double down on messaging them and you know, getting them to come back and kind of engaging them overall. Because the, that's kind of that core that we really kind of need to rely on at this time. Cause it is a time of uncertainty. And then, you know, for example, trying to figure out ways to make things work.
Ayat Shukairy (43:19):
And again, I think this works with organizations that are a little bit more agile. Again, you know, we don't know how long this pandemic is going to last. And we don't know if it's the last of the pandemics as well. Like it could be something that we're going to see, you know, like happen multiple times, you know, in our lifetime. So how do we deal with that? That's kind of like the key to understanding. So like a lot of these e-commerce organizations right now need to start thinking, start thinking about, okay, well maybe now it's about making that curbside experience a lot better in order to make that again, you know, like for those visitors, how do I make that experience better in order to accommodate them? Considering kind of the, the current situation, we don't know stores are gonna open and how long they're gonna be open, et cetera.
Ayat Shukairy (44:06):
So I think it's, it's during this time of uncertainties, it gives us all an opportunity to pause and think about ways that, okay, this world can change. How can we as an organisation become a little bit more quick to adapt to the changes that are happening? I think that that's kind of like what I've at least found with a lot of our clients and even ourselves as a company that we just need to adapt and learn to kind of like work with this new normal and, and know that things are kind of going to be unstable like this and uncertain and you never know what's going to happen. So this is an opportunity for us to be prepared for that.
Jon Payne (44:43):
Yeah. Yeah, man. Yeah. I wish you could have just been here yesterday and helped us have that discussion internally. And then maybe just given me a hug. Genuinely that was, I felt moved by you talking about, yeah, this is what we're going for as well. Everybody can, people are running their own businesses or people who are and the people on the call who are in marketing departments who are having to figure out, make some tough, tough, tough decisions right now. That's really true to remember that. Yeah. We're going to go through this again. Something we were saying on another one of these where we go through this every 10 years, 10 years ago it was Lehman brothers and that recession and 10 years before that, it was 9/11 and 10 years before that, I think it was the Afghan-Iraq war.
Jon Payne (45:33):
That was really, and ten years before for that it was Bosnia. And we've got all of this, you know, all of it horrible. Like none of this is like, I wasn't sort of trying to trivialise any of those things by listing them, but actually it's a cycle and as you say, we probably are going to have more pandemics where there's more lockdown. So that's so good to think about it from the point of view of, yeah, yeah. Okay, let's go off to the people who've been loyal to us and let's make sure we love them and we're messaging them in a really good way. Brilliant. Everybody said it, but no one has said yet: plan for the uncertainty. Plan to do this again. Plan to, plan to be more agile. Ayat, that is just lovely. And I don't know how we do that, but I just love the idea of, of course it's going to keep happening.
Jon Payne (46:20):
Let's, let's plan to be more agile until we all become complacent, fat cats, which I would love to become by the way, at some point. That's really cool. And, and if we, let's say we were able to use some of our lockdown time to do some of the experiments that you've talked about and to scrutinise, hypothesise, implement, and propagate, I love that, and take some of the advice that you've given on this call. What does, what might the future look like? And, and given that we've, you've just painted a fairly dark picture of the future, which are wholly in agreement with that normal is not coming back, that normal is going to be change and fluctuation and difficulty. But then there was the great depression and people were okay through that. People suffered, but other people were okay. So what's the opportunity in those times as we move forward?
Ayat Shukairy (47:17):
So I think, you know, it's funny cause like, you know, even for us yes, it's been horrible and of course we've lost certain clients and you know, there's obviously those negative aspects of the lockdown. But it's also given us an opportunity to do things that we haven't done before. So for example, like just like, you know, recording a lot more and doing a lot more, getting our mastery course up finally. That's something that was kind of like on our to do list forever. And we just never had the chance to do it, so we were able to actually do something like that. So I think there are those kind of like windows of opportunity when you can do certain things that you weren't able to do before. So when you get over kind of like all and, and it's not easy.
Ayat Shukairy (47:56):
Like the thing is, I understand also this, and I don't want to dismiss the, the mental kind of aspect of this, the impact that has had on, on people. And I know that a lot of people sometimes say that, oh, you should take advantage and all this stuff and I don't want to be one of those people. I really, I recognise that that's not, you know, and not everybody's in the same boat and not everybody has the same mindset and people are going through a really tough time. And I understand that it's, it varies from one person to the next. But you know, like, I think with a lot of companies, like I said, you know, that there are, you know, those kinds of windows where they can start thinking about, okay, well if this is going to become kind of like that new normal, what is it that we can do for our clients now based on this?
Ayat Shukairy (48:41):
What can we kind of change within the organisation based on this? And then what are, you know, like, like I said, internally, even like, we have this extra time on our hands, let's try to think of, of different ways to kind of make the best of it. So I think from there you can kind of find those opportunities. I think it's hard sometimes for organisations to say, okay, let's pivot and figure out something else. But I, I do think that if you get on the phone with a lot of your customers and you talk to them, that'll give you kind of that insight. And it might give you an opportunity to say, well, maybe we should do it this way or maybe we should do it that way rather than what we've been doing before because of just the current situation. So I think all of those can kind of play a role in kind of helping determine what your, your new path will be and maybe providing an opening those new opportunities up for you.
Jon Payne (49:30):
Yeah, agreed. Yeah, man, this is great. You've just preached to the choir for like 35 minutes.
Jon Payne (49:39):
Thank you. Guys. we're gonna we're coming towards the end. Very close to the end. I'm going to launch a poll and share my screen again so you can see what's going on. I say I'm going to share my screen again. I've entirely forgotten how to do that because I was making so many notes. I now have multiple documents open. Let's make sure that we're sharing the right screen. Yes. Okay. So we're sharing, hopefully you can see sharing, carry on the conversation on your screen, right? If you would like to do so, I am going to launch the poll that says if you would like ideas and want to carry on the conversation let us know. That poll is live. Click yes, if you would like us to get in touch and follow up and we can put you in touch with Ayat, or we can put you in touch with some of the team at Noise Little Monkey.
Jon Payne (50:30):
Or just get in touch and ask about that. And then if you have questions and you can see beyond the poll, if you fill the poll in, you can see it, you can follow Ayat on Twitter, get in touch with her on LinkedIn. I'm sure she'd be happy to answer your questions in those forums or take it offline. That'd be fair to say, Ayat?
Ayat Shukairy (50:49):
Jon Payne (50:50):
Fabulous. And you can see the link for the CRO Academy. It looks like you've definitely got one client, Claire Dibben who is coming along from Noisy Little Monkey.
Ayat Shukairy (51:02):
I'd definitely like to hear from how, how Claire likes the course as well. So Claire, share your input.
Jon Payne (51:09):
And guys, there's a 30% off voucher there that we'll send out in the email so that you can use that. Next week we've got the lovely Jane Cowle.
Jon Payne (51:22):
She's the founder of launch online. They're a PPC, Google Premier partner, one of the really big ones. We're talking about Advertising Strategies in Crisis and Recovery. As you can see, there's a theme to these things. And in a couple of weeks we have the Bristol HubSpot User Group, SEO Tactics to Eliminate your Competition. That sounds, after we've been so kind and lovely on this, that suddenly sounds a bit brutal, but still crush them. Go along to the link there if you would like to learn more about how HubSpot can help you do that or how you can use HubSpot if you already have it. We would love you to come along and see more people like you, so we can have Ayat and people like her. Man, I'd love to have you back. One day Ayat, do you think that's a goer?
Jon Payne (52:13):
Yeah, yeah, I'd love to come back.
Jon Payne (52:14):
Excellent. And I'm still recording so we can use that as some sort of blackmail if you decide against it. But yeah, please like, share and subscribe to these sessions, because the more people we have on, the more times we can get really, really useful people like Ayat on. We're getting some nice comments. Thank you everybody. Thank you, Ayat. I will ping you a quick email and I'll see you soon, I hope.
Ayat Shukairy (52:40):
Yeah, definitely. Thank you. Bye.
Jon Payne (52:42):
Cheers Ayat. Thanks everybody. Bye. Bye.
Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.
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