CXL Conversion Rate Optimization: Product Messaging and Persuasion Review

So, I’m in my Week 2 diving into CXL Institute’s Conversion Rate Optimization Program. Last week, I got into the foundations of CRO and Conversion Copywriting.

This week I got more into the nitty-gritty with Product Messaging and Persuasion. 

And I think these are some of the most exciting copywriting lessons I’ve ever learned in copywriting.

Shall we start?

Product Messaging

Momoko Price, an established conversion copywriter, was my instructor for this course.

As an ecom copywriter, I find her course so informative and super organized.  I mean, she has these detailed spreadsheets that would be a lifesaver when you’re crunching for time.

How to Conduct A Copy “Teardown”

This is when you dissect your sales page copy to see if they follow certain elements. 

In this copy teardown, Momoko uses three (3) teardown elements to help you to increase conversions.

MecLab’s Heuristic Formula

First, we have MecLab’s Conversion Sequence Heuristic Formula which goes:

C = 4M + 3V + 2(I-F) – 2A

This formula shows that the probability of conversion (C) depends on the site visitor’s motivation (M), strength of the value proposition (V), friction (F) and anxiety(A) preventing them from taking action and the incentive(I) to counteract these negative factors.

Motivation, which is the factor you can’t control, focuses on desired outcomes, pain points/ problems, and purchase prompts. 

Next, we have the value proposition which means your product’s unique benefits and attractive features. Then incentives are those things you offer to sweeten the deal like free shipping or bonuses while friction is how hard it is to get where you want to get.

Lastly, anxiety are the visitor’s objections, risks, and uncertainties.


Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Influence

Next, she applies Cialdini’s 7 principles of influence.

  • Social proof

Your reviews and testimonials matter for people to trust your products

  • Authority

When people see your brand as an authority, they will trust you. So make sure to highlight celebrities or specific experts to support your brand

  • Liking

When your brand is likable, people will keep going back.

  • Scarcity

When something is scarce, the more people want it. It’s because they don’t want to lose the chance to change their lives.

  • Reciprocity

When you do something for your customer, they have a tendency to give something back. So if you give something of value, they’re likely to respond when you ask them to take action.

  • Unity

This is the “us against them” where you make the customer feel like you’re rallying against something together. It can be anything from climate change to fast food to stigmas.


Claude Hopkin’s Scientific Advertising

Lastly, we have a pioneer in advertising, Claude Hopkins. He has 4 rules:

  1. Be specific

Persuasive is clear and explicit. You can’t sell products if people don’t understand what it is and what it can do for them. Also, with any claims, you need to tell them the details or else you’d sound like any other product out there.

    2. Offer service

The best-performing ads are those that don’t ask people to buy but offer something like useful information or a sample for users to consume.

      3. Tell the full story

Don’t worry about the length. Tell them what happens after. Counteract risks with guarantees if needed. Don’t leave your customers nurturing their anxieties and doubts about your products.

      4. Be a sales(wo)man

Ask yourself, “Will this ad help me sell more of my products?”


Message Mining

Another important process to nail your product messaging is mining messages from your customers.

Use surveys/poll, one-on-one interviews, and remote user tests to make more compelling and persuasive sales copy.

I think my best takeaway from this lesson is to make sure to make 2 different questions for different audiences.

This means that you need to have a separate set of questions for those who are checking out your site (site visitors) and those who are already paying customers.

Make sure though that the pop-up survey for site visitors appears not immediately as they land on your site but about 5-9 secs.

What are the surveys for?

Well, the site visitor’s survey can show pain points, purchase prompts, and anxieties. On the other hand, the customer poll can show some ‘aha’ moments, desirable outcomes, and unique benefits they got from the product.

Unique Value Proposition

Your product/brand’s UVP answers the question “ Why should I buy from you and not anybody else?” Essentially, it’s giving people a reason to buy from you instead of your competitors.

What makes you different?

Think of your prospective customer as a skeptical person asking, “So what?” and then “Okay prove it.”

To do this you need to understand which specific product features either addresses a pain point or leads to a desirable outcome for your customer.

Message Hierarchies

This lesson emphasizes how stories are vital to selling. Your sales copy needs to have a story-based framework. 

First, there’s the setting or context. You do this by letting the people know who, what, and why (UVP). 

Next, the rising action or intensity. Here you share the features, benefits, proof, and how it works. Let them try.

Also part of this would be to address their uncertainties and perceived objections to buying

Then, we have the call-to-action (CTA) at the peak. Be sure to give the payoff.

Lastly, there’s the falling action. Here the customer completes the transaction and you need to take care of them post-conversion.

Now, another relevant question is “ How does your customer’s level of awareness” impact the length of your story or copy?”

I learned that the more aware your audience is about your product, the shorter the copy needs to be. In short, get out of their way. 

But if your audience is not yet aware of your products, then you need to use a longer story or copy to reel them in and get them to buy. 

Week 2  Final thoughts

What did I love about the lessons this week? I enjoyed Momoko’s practical copywriting insights, templates, and worksheets.

I think this is a must-have course for anybody who wants to go into copywriting. Next week, I’ll probably be sharing about People and Psychology, Social Proof, and Neuromarketing.

Stay tuned!


CXL Conversion Rate Optimization Foundations: Review

I’m so excited that I got into CXL Institute’s Conversion Rate Optimization minidegree program. To be honest, I was at first intimidated because it’s such an extensive topic but I’m so thrilled that I started it.

CXL Institute is a world leader in teaching advanced digital marketing skills. Yes, it’s the only platform where the world’s top marketing experts teach about CRO/UX, marketing, and analytics.

So, I’d be sharing some of my thoughts and best takeaways from this week’s lessons on CRO foundations. By the way, the entire minidegree is about 85 hours of video and online learning material so it’s pretty comprehensive.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

As a direct response copywriter, I’m always excited about conversions. But interestingly, I didn’t realize how other factors such as product messaging, social proof, and UX design affect conversion rates. Turns out, it’s not just having the right offer to the right market.

From what I understand, CRO is essentially improving customer touchpoints so that they do what we want them to do—take action! Whether it’s to take them to our product pages or sign up to our email list, we put an effort to make the process as enjoyable and frictionless as possible. And by doing so, we can help businesses grow and become more profitable.

CRO Basics

Brian Massey delivered a short (compared to the other lessons, at least) but fun talk about what CRO is all about.

It’s focused on ideas not tests

Yes, CRO involves tests but it’s looking at research and analytics to understand customers better. 

Statistics shouldn’t be scary

When it comes to CRO, numbers count. You need to ask relevant questions, get a bigger sample size, and have a good sample quality.

CRO Best Practices 

Peep Laja, the founder of CXL shared the best practices when it comes to conversion rate optimization. I liked that they have a point-by-point summary of these lessons.


E-commerce Conversion Rate Optimization

Since I’m more focused on helping e-commerce businesses, let me share some of my takeaways in this niche.

For e-commerce category pages, make sure to use filters to help customers narrow down their choices and get to the products they want to buy ASAP. And a left-hand filter is the usual way to do this.

When you have promotions, use self-explanatory product badges like Exclusive!, Most Popular, etc.

As for images, large well-presented products are better. Peep even cited a company that lined up 3 products with large images vs 5 products seen in small ones. Amazingly, this small tweak resulted in a whopping 25% increase in sales!

For buttons and call-to-actions, the golden rule is “Don’t make them think”. Moreover, use the sentence, “ I want to…” as a guide. 

Wondering which CTA to use for that web form? Well, anything but submit. People don’t like to submit. You can use “Click here.”

As for the checkout button, it needs to be at the top of the page. Keep reminding your customers about the perks of shopping with you such as trust badges, returns, alternative payment methods, and free shipping.

Persuasive Web Design

This is very important since we trust what we see. Yes, as they say, “Seeing is believing.”

5 Principles of Persuasive Web Design

Be clear and specific

Did you know that it only takes 50 milliseconds for us to make visual judgments? 

This means when somebody lands on your site, he or she needs to be able to instantly answer these 3 questions:

  1. What’s this?
  2. What do I do here? 
  3. What’s in it for me?

Keep visual appeal

You need to consider two things like visual complexity and familiarity. We’re drawn to simple things and those that are familiar to us. Don’t go for something too complicated.

Think of the visual hierarchy

What exactly does this mean? The biggest part is seen as the most important. Also, you need to use contrast to emphasize your call to action.

Always keep their attention

Here’s another fun fact: 80% of our attention is concentrated on the things that are located above the fold. 

That’s why you need to place your unique value proposition and call to action in that area.

One Action Per Page

Ask them to take action when they’re ready. However, when you have a product that’s complicated or like a big buy such as a car or a house, then you might like to use a long-form sales page with the above-the-fold for the value proposition.


Intro to Conversion Copywriting

This is my favorite part so far since as a direct response copywriter,  I use words to get people to take action NOW. But in this section,  I was able to learn more about how to apply CRO into the copy.

You need to optimize for clarity, information, and persuasion.

In order to do this, you need to steer away from bland and jargony (is this a word?) copy. Use simple and clear words that are conversational. We’re not going for a thesis or academic writing here. 

Make the copy about the people who are going to read and eventually buy from you. Use the words and phrases they would use.

Plus, forget the hype and superlatives that nobody would believe anyway.

Instead, be specific about how you can benefit your reader. What does your product do specifically to target his pain point? And then prove it with social proof.

Should you put all the info on one page? Not necessarily. As mentioned, when you have a course or product that’s complicated, you can go for a long-form sales page.

However, you can also put additional information on another page through a link. For example, if you’re selling computer software, you might like to put the technical details on another page.

What about pricing? A good rule of thumb is “Show value before price.”

If it’s affordable, you want everybody to know right? And if it’s expensive, you need qualified buyers to understand the value so they can decide to buy it.

Final Thoughts for Week 1

I thoroughly enjoyed the lessons I’ve had the past week. The lessons are well-organized and comprehensive. 

I’ll continue to share my thoughts in the weeks to come. Do look out for my next post as I share the best product messaging tips I got from conversion copywriter Momoko Price.