Episode 140 | Posted on

Getting Conversion Down to a Science: Brian Massey

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Conversion Scientist @bmassey is here to talk about how to motivate, influence, and persuade using the latest data driven techniques. Click To Tweet

This Week’s Guest:

Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO, is the science of getting more of your website visitors to buy your product or click on your submit button. Whatever it is you want your visitors to do, optimizing for conversions is the way to make that happen. In the past, landing page design was set up by guessing or following the latest in trendy design features. Today, you can optimize your website using data that uniquely applies to your customer. Data that was once too difficult or expensive to get is now readily available for anyone willing to find and use it.


Brian Massey is a true Conversion Scientist™. He is the founder of Conversion Sciences and the author of Your Customer Creation Equation. His 20+ years of experience as a computer programmer, entrepreneur, corporate marketer, international speaker, and writer has uniquely qualified him to be a data driven conversion rate expert. This episode is packed full of actionable information like how to start optimizing a page, what tools you can use to see exactly what your customer is doing, and how to implement each step to take your conversions to the next level.

Find Out More About Brian Here:

Conversion Sciences
Brian Massey on LinkedIn
@bmassey on Twitter
Brian Massey on Facebook
Your Customer Creation Equation

In This Episode:

  • [01:29] How Brian began in the conversion world. He is a computer programmer by training, but he was drawn to sales.
  • [02:06] He got involved with semiconductor sales after college. He then moved to coding and started his own business in the 90s.
  • [02:33] This was a time when he worked with Internet graphics with a dial-up connection.
  • [02:47] He then started using his own analytics package to help companies build out their lead generation platforms.
  • [03:06] In 2006, Brian saw the Wizard Academy presentation. For him, this put language to conversion optimization.
  • [03:45] With Brian’s varied background as a computer programmer, corporate salesperson, corporate marketer, and entrepreneur, he knew being a conversion scientist was right for him.
  • [04:07] Why Brian wears the lab coat? He has always been a science geek and loved Bill Nye the Science Guy.
  • [04:40] He wanted to introduce some kitsch and some camp. Introducing science into his work added fun.  
  • [05:27] How we need to stand out and be remarkable in the real world and the online world.work makes it fun.
  • [05:54] The worst mistake happening these days with conversion optimization. Moore’s law of doubling transistors every year. We have amazing tools from the cloud to mobile. It’s easier now than ever to test.
  • [07:50] When data was hard to collect in was expensive. Then assumptions had to be made.
  • [08:20] Now data can be discovered for A/B testing to usability.
  • [08:48] People who are still using the old “Mad Men” design process are in trouble.
  • [09:35] How agencies have the option of creating data based designs based on real user based data and tool sets.
  • [10:11] A well executed strategy for using your data.
  • [10:35] A Landing page example. The page needs to keep the promise that was made and get the visitor to do something.
  • [11:24] At the beginning, we might take a guess. Then we can look at popular email subject lines, PPC ads, and data that has been converting.
  • [12:39] Also check out mobile visitors click to call.
  • [12:50] The copywriter needs to understand the visitors and build the personas and get the message right.
  • [13:08] Run your images and headlines through something like Usabilityhub.
  • [14:23] Use eye tracking studies like Sticky.ai to make sure that your users are actually looking at what you want them to look at.
  • [15:06] You can also use heat map reports and watch session recordings. Also run analytics and implement A/B traffic testing.
  • [16:01] Brian uses these interim tools because they have six months to deliver. They do free unlimited user testing.
  • [16:51] At first, look at other sources of data that aren’t part of the landing page. Then move on to monitoring data on the landing page.
  • [17:02] Usability tools like Helio are great for mockups.
  • [17:14] You can do a five-minute test, a quick test, or a question test. These services provide the panels. It’s not as good as A/B testing, but it will provide data.
  • [18:42] UserTesting.com is also an amazing tool.
  • [19:20] Once you have your first idea then you can turn to Crazy Egg for heat map reports or inspectlet for session recordings or even Hotjar.
  • [19:55] Run Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics underneath the site.
  • [19:58] Then you can pick up Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely or Omniconvert or convert.com or Google Optimize.
  • [20:31] Sticky.ai uses the camera to see how people are interacting with your web pages.
  • [22:29] With modern tools you can see what information spikes when people are watching your video. This gives you cues as to whether you should place the information on the top or not.
  • [23:22] Facebook can also bring people to ads that are very much like your prospects and customers. You can also see which images and words get clicked through the most.
  • [24:08] This data can eliminate poor options.
  • [26:03] Optimizing a website and mobile versus desktop. Get data from a landing page, and if it’s not performing well, check to see if people can see the call to action. You can use something like Hotjar to find out when people are scrolling off of the page.
  • [27:23] You can check the pricing page with a heat map from Crazy Ggg.This tells you where people click and where their mouse is moved. This will show you what features they are interested in and where you should put them on the page.
  • [28:25] Narrowing it down to the ideas that are most likely to move the needle. Real traffic A/B testing is best for this.
  • [28:53] Now put the test on Usabilityhub.
  • [29:30] Once you have an idea of the data then you can have the designer create a page. Once again, it’s time for further testing.
  • [30:01] It’s an iterative process that expands the testing and development cycle.
  • [30:31] Being underwater is the part of the page that is actually not being seen.
  • [32:53] Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely we are the most common tools that Brian uses. He also uses Sentient for AI.
  • [35:44] Creating an A/B test for a submit button on a lead generation page. Testing images, headlines, and buttons. Address the different kinds of visitors that will visit the page. Action oriented or methodical.
  • [37:51] Are any of these words being tested in ads? Narrow it down to four different words. Then open a tool like Visual Optimizer.
  • [38:56] The test needs to run to statistical significance. Turn off loser tests.
  • [40:02] Testing to statistical significance. Configure the tool correctly using a statistical significance calculator. The transactions determine significance.
  • [42:28] Surprising tests that Brian has discovered. Carousels work against conversions. They tested a client requested carousel and it had over a 30% lift.
  • [43:53] Beautiful pages don’t always win against ugly.
  • [44:48] Digital marketers need to use these tools. You can’t guess your way to user data anymore.
  • [47:55] Best takeaways from the course. Setting up the digital lab. Choosing tools and free plugins. How the design process has changed and understanding analytics. User testing. Landing page best practices. Choosing copy, headlines, and images through to A/B testing.
  • [49:34] You can be a scientist and earn your lab coat. It will fundamentally change your success as a digital marketer.

Links and Resources:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ Aim to stand out and be remarkable. Find a branding style that my audience will easily remember me by.

☑ Test and monitor everything. A/B test my campaigns and install Google Analytics to process my viewership data.

☑ Create a web design that resonates with my audience. UsabilityHub is a tool that will help me determine which design brings out the best response out of my viewers.

☑ Use sticky.ai or Crazy Egg to track emotional and visual data. These tools track my viewers’ data when they are consuming my content.

☑ Hire a copywriter to create taglines, email subject lines and ad spiels. A copywriter can help me get higher conversion rates on these items.

☑ Utilize Facebook Ads’ dynamic audience targeting feature to reach highly targeted prospects. Hire a Facebook Ads expert to assist with all my Facebook ads.

☑ Place important information, especially hot leads, at the top of my pages. This way my viewers will see the information instead of scrolling down to see it.

☑ Use a mobile friendly interface on my landing pages. More people consume content via their smartphones than ever before.

☑ Use a statistical significance calculator to make campaign estimates. This can help me identify how long to run tests or how many conversions to make.

☑ Get my exclusive Marketing Speak discount on Brian Massey’s training, Everyday Behavioral Science for Digital Marketing, to learn more about higher conversion tactics.



S: CRO–Conversion Rate Optimization, this is the science of getting more of your website visitor to buy your stuff or at least to do the things that you want them to do on your website such as download a white paper, or fill out an inquiry form, or sign up for your email newsletter. CRO is more definitely a science. It’s based on facts, on data—hard data, experiments are reproducible. In today’s episode number 140, our guest is Brian Massey. He’s a conversion scientist, literally. He founded Conversion Sciences in 2007. Brian is also author of Amazon bestseller, Your Customer Creation Equation. His rare combination of interest, experience, and neurosis were developed over almost 20 years as a computer programmer, entrepreneur, corporate marketer, international speaker, and writer. Brian, it’s great to have you on the show.


B: I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me.


S: Yeah, you bet. Well, let’s talk about conversion since that’s near and dear to your heart.


B: I do love the conversion.


S: How the heck did you get started in this conversion world? Did you start specializing in that in the beginning or did you start in more general web marketing space?


B: I almost had no choice. I’m a computer programmer by training. I’ve had Bachelor of Science in Computer Science that’s why I can call myself a scientist. But when I was co-oping in college, I saw my first IBM sales person with the red power tie, the blue coat, and the tan. I was like, “Maybe that’s what I should do with my technology degree.” After school, I got into sales—not IBM, unfortunately but semiconductor sales. I guess I rose to the highest level of incompetence in that role. It wasn’t a good fit after all. I came back and got back into coding, worked for a small company, started my own business in the 90s with an engineer there. We did internet graphics. We had Google maps working in the late 90s with satellite photos and everything across dial-up. We were still on dial-up in the late 90s.


S: I remember those days.


B: Well, dotcom crashed, took out a couple of our customers which took us out. I spent the beginning of the Ots, wrote my own analytics package because I was helping technology companies, mostly build out their web lead generation platforms—their web marketing platforms. It didn’t have Google Analytics until 2005.


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