CXL Institute Growth Marketing Minidegree review Part 8

11 min readNov 1, 2020


Understanding conversion: Landing page optimization and Product Messaging

Starting with the landing page analysis, it was important to touch upon some basics like:

  1. What is a landing page: A Landing page is an opening page or the first page the user sees after clicking on an ad.
  2. The role of landing page: Landing page helps in reducing the noise and cuts straight to the topic that got the user interested in clicking the ad. It reduces the buying cycle.
  3. Landing page optimisation: The optimisation process should start with a more heuristic approach.

We then moved to understanding fast vs slow thinking which I found very interesting. The work has been inspired from Daniel Kahenman and Brian Cugelman.

There are two systems of thinking:
1. Fast or Intuitive thinking
2. Slow or Analytical thinking

We then looked at the different cognitive biases:

  1. Priming: Exposure to one stimulus influences response to a subsequent stimulus.
  2. Framing: The way you deliver a message has direct impact on how it is perceived.
  3. WYSIATI: When we’re kind of moving along in everyday life in system one, our reality is what we have in front of us.

I didn’t expect to learn about dopamine and cortisol in a growth marketing course but hey, that’s how the top 1% approach marketing. This depth is what I love at CXL Institute.

Dopamine is the happy chemical released by our brain when we achieve a reward or a complete a task. It is supposed to drive you constantly towards new and bigger rewards, well, part of that is the habituation, you quickly get used to that dopamine release and it basically kind of goes back to neutral, so in a sense, you’re always chasing the dragon. The diagram below also explains the various levels where dopamine release is good and is bad. This ties to the landing page experience that advises us not to create disappointment indicating experiences.

Cortisol is not necessarily a chemical but is categorised as one. Cortisol is very powerful and produces that oh, no,I have to do something now feeling. It is like a built in alarm system and helps us to avoid pain.

For marketers, it is important to understand human behaviour in order to align the landing page experience accordingly. Hence it is important to strive for a balance between dopamine and cortisol.

This definitely helped me to empathise with the users and demystified some of the user behaviour.

We then moved on to understanding wireframing and information hierarchy.

Wireframing is just to arrange the ideas of a landing page out. It doesn’t deal with the colours or images but just creating an outside layer.

Information hierarchy is the logical way the information is presented on the landing page. This can be done by:

  1. Start by defining the who, what and where. Who is the audience, what are they looking for, where are they in the awareness journey?
  2. Move on to the questions. What is their motivation? What are their questions? What are the barriers?

We can undertake LPO through the quantitative and qualitative routes. One of the quantitative route that can answer the “what” and “where” of our analysis is through GA. The Aagaard’s custom report has created some of the quick one’s that can be seen to pick such quick wins. The report focusses on Landing page/Device Source, Second page/Exit page, Gender/Age, Device/Browser, Users/page.

Moving on to the qualitative research for LPO, that answers the “why” of the analysis, I learnt about:

  1. Full funnel walkthrough deals with understanding what the user sees at different stages of the funnel in 5 seconds and after completely going through the landing page. The questions asked focus on keeping the personal bias aside and not leading the respondents.
  2. Customer interviews should focus on understanding their perspective on the product, the brand image, the pain points through some short and lofty questions.
  3. Customer success team interviews should focus on understanding the top challenges, elevator pitch and barriers that customers face daily.
  4. Customer review sites can help in understanding the pain points from a larger audience pool. The key here is to read a lot of reviews.
  5. Session recording through tools like Hotjar and CrazyEgg can provide great insight in the way users interact with the landing page. The heatmap, click map and scroll map all help us in understanding the depth and breadth of user engagement with the landing page. We should always look for patterns.
  6. Feedback polls help in capturing the user emotions in real time while they are browsing the landing page. We just need to be sure to keep the questions as short and non-intrusive as possible. A good way is to avoid placing questions right on first entry and exit behaviour. Find weak spots in the funnel and implement polls to better understand the reason behind user drop-offs.
  7. Usability testing focusses on hiring or tapping into users closely linked to the TG and running some tests like the 5 second tests, click tests, preference tests.

The top 5 important elements for copywriting on your page:

  1. Headline: Trigger dopamine and should trigger stay behaviour. There are some basic formulas that one can take reference from:
    a. (Do something difficult) in (short amount of time) without (problem)
    b. (Do something difficult) in (short amount of time) and (get something valuable)
    c. Avoid (something frustrating) by (doing something difficult) in (a short amount of time) with (product X)
  2. Benefits/Features: It’s always a tussle between what to show. I personally consider the headlines after H1 should convey the value and not the features.
  3. Credibility: Through testimonials, keep it short and always use the real photos of the users.
  4. Expectation manager: Who, what, where, when and how much should be used to manage expectations.
  5. Call-to-action: Give a clear idea of what happens when a user clicks. Focus with what you can get not part with.

Design and copy should go hand in hand.

This helps in producing a great landing page experience for the users. The use of contrasting colours, using enough space and allowing the page to breathe is sometime overlooked.

All these ties up the visual hierarchy where I learnt some of the rule of thumbs:

  1. Primary elements to be large in size, secondary to be smaller, tertiary to be even smaller.
  2. Space to be such that every element gets breathing space and leaves whitespace.
  3. Using simple fonts such as sans serif.
  4. Primary headline to be 32–40px, section header to be 20–24px, body copy to be 16px, bullet points to be 16–18px.
  5. Use colours with the CTA’s and other elements to draw visitors attention
  6. Use colour hierarchy while defining primary, secondary, complimentary, accent and font colours.
  7. Direction is also important that can draw visitors towards the important elements.

We then touched upon the form design, this was a good refresher and added some new information.

  1. The form can be considered as landing page within a landing page.
  2. Consider the form fields readability experience too.
  3. Colour and field names with CTA names matter a lot.

I then moved to the much awaited course by Momoko Price focussing on product messaging.

We first deep dived into page teardowns (so excited while writing this). Momoko talks about some of the models upon which the course is set and it seems like I have a lot of side reading to do here :)

  1. MEClab’s conversion heuristic formula
    C = 4M + 3V + 2(I-F) - 2A where,
    C = probability of conversion ; M = Motivation (when) ; V= Clarity of Value prop (why) ; I = Incentive ; F = Friction ; A = Anxiety
  2. Robert Cialdini’s 7 principles of persuasion that includes:
    Social Proof, Authority, Linking, Scarcity/Urgency, Reciprocity, Commitment/Consistency, Unity (us vs. them)
  3. Claude Hopkins Scientific Advertising
    Be specific, Offer service, Tell the full story, Be a sales (wo)man,
Funnel sections covered in the teardown.

For the teardown, Momoko targeted an important point — Make it a process rather than opinion based. For this she shared an excel sheet outlining the teardown components across a multi step funnel.

We then moved to learning about message mining

What is message mining?

The process of scouring the internet for instances of your target customers voicing what they care the most about when it comes to the product/solution. Message-mining brings the customer at the centre of writing copy. We as marketers often get narrow sighted and inward looking while writing copy for our product. Message mining also has two fold benefits:

  1. Identifying key messages: It all comes back to the MECLabs conversion formula. So think about what motivates them to looking for your product, explaining your unique benefits, delightful experiences that are not make or break but make you go aha, reducing the anxiety messages that hinders in any way to buy your product. So look out for these key elements while mining for messages.
  2. Swiping memorable copy: This helps us to nail down the how the user is behaving, talking about your product. Swiping helps in creating relevant, value focused highlights, authentic lead paragraphs and hooks, market-specific terminology that makes user believe that you get them, emotionally engaging purchase prompts that reduces friction and laser-accurate objection handling.

Furthermore, it is necessary to keep message mining into a format and hence Momoko shared her 5 steps message mining process:

  1. List down all the keywords
  2. Google for “[keyword]” reviews or complaints or forums or questions
  3. Also check popular sites like Amazon, FB or yelp
  4. Collect the data into spreadsheets using a google form
  5. Categorise and rank them basis the motivators/pain points and other relevant information.

My wow Moment

Through CXL institute I have learnt the importance and best way to create surveys and polls to get customer insights, with this course I went on to learn how to make sense of all the responses and why different questions need to be targeted to different customers and visitors uniquely.

Ask for thoughts, opinions and not survey and feedback.

This isn’t a survey, said everyone who created a boring survey

Momoko also stressed on the way we should ask for opinions and thoughts. For the visitors focus on gauging their motivation, value and anxiety but not as soon as they land on the page. For customers, be human. Send surveys (without using this word) through a general email from a real person and from a real email id. It pays off keeping things real to attract real results.

Customer interviews also can pay off greatly. Phone interviews are great to reveal emotional hooks that might be missing from surveys while remote user testing is great to reveal clarity issues and friction points.

What is UVP and how to determine headlines?

Momoko also explained what UVP is and why is it so important to understand. As a startup, one needs to understand what the product features are, are they unique, what the related points are then scoring them and getting the desirable outcome from those points. With this model one can first find out the UVP and then combine the headline formulas to these UVP to come up with impactful and catchy headlines. These headlines can then be rated on certain parameters and the best one can be implemented.

The pointers shared by Momoko Price really helped me put a method to the madness of understanding effective copywriting and figuring out UVP. Before this it was all about gut feel and competitor analysis.

Storytelling is an important element in any sales or marketing related activity. For copywriting, Momoko explains the logic behind an effective storytelling. This starts with the why — the motivation and then sets the context with the value and then addresses any challenges to finally provide the offer.

Understanding the audience’s product awareness level ties into the length of the copy that you need to project on the page.

The wow moment here for me was that for the first time I could see clearly the amazing chain that writing copy on the website ties with the marketing campaigns. Low awareness product can segregate the type of campaigns with retargeting etc.

Creating messaging hierarchy

This can easily be developed by following the current rules of optimization and following sales narrative. The objective is to find the UVP, the motivation, the value, the anxiety and the CTA with the help of google sheets. This can be achieved by combining the data collected through surveys and analysing it through pivot tables in excel.

Hacking the first draft

We can now use Momoko’s message mining form to input a bunch of motivation, value and anxiety messages about the product or a well known competitor product, then use Google spreadsheets to create a pivot table to determine the top messages to put in each section, use verbatim swipes from each of the top ranking messages and put them into the sales page template.

Punching your sales page

  1. Be Clear (clarity>persuasion)
  2. Match the reader’s mindset: Look for what are people searching for — console or ads data.
  3. Give them an offer they can’t refuse — blow them away. Answer this —
    So what? Prove it?
  4. Use quantifiable proof
  5. Don’t just talk, paint a picture
  6. Show and tell generously
  7. Kill what doesn’t add value

Design factors that can influence the copy’s effectiveness:

  1. Position: We read in an ‘F’ pattern
  2. Size: The bigger the size the quicker we are drawn towards the action (Fitt’s law).
  3. Order: The order and hierarchy alignment matters to make sense for the ultimate reader.
  4. White space: Hick’s law states that the larger the choices the more difficult it is to make a choice. Keep the number of page goals t a minimum.
  5. Typography: Readability is a major point to make it easier for visitors to be impacted by the copy. You can keep the line height to 1.5, not more than 900px wide, max 3–4 line paragraphs, avoid light fonts.
  6. Images: Pick images to convey and support the copy not work against it
  7. Contrast: Create visual difference to tell our eyes and brain to differentiate.

Thoughts: Both the courses in this module were eye opening and presented a fresher perspective. These topics, generally, come with so much opinionated thoughts rather than data and process driven analysis. These courses provided so many aha and wow moments. I thoroughly enjoyed this module.

If this makes you interested in growth marketing and you wish to learn more, I can definitely recommend CXL Institutes’s Growth Marketing Minidegree or any of their other courses.




Startup Growth | Business Development and Sales | Creative thinker