Research + Testing for Conversions

Why research is important for conversions?

I’d argue research is the most important part of any conversion or growth work.

Optimizing for conversions is a necessary task for any business. Without conversions, your business will fail. Metrics like traffic, social media likes, follows, etc. are all worthless until they start bringing in revenue. Of course, they are important, but you need to also make money from this attention that you are getting.

Also, if you are getting steady conversions, you need to make sure you are working on increasing that number. Just like the common saying…

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” – I’ve heard this from so many people like Tony Robbins, Marcus Lemonis, and many others, I don’t know who originally said it.

But optimizing for conversions includes a lot of research and data gathering. Having this data allows you to make sure your tests can drive the most impact for your business.

By tests, I mean changing aspects across your site and marketing campaigns. This can be simple changes like color changes to testing what the copy on your website or ad creative says.

For example, if you’re looking to improve conversions through your landing page that you’re running paid traffic to.


You would want to understand how users are interacting with the landing page and what elements you can improve on.

After all, you are already spending money on getting the customer to this point, you need to drive conversions from this channel.

Research Process

The research process can be different depending on who you ask. My research process could be different from the next marketer that you ask. Also, this process is always being refined and tested on my end.

I like to start the research process by setting a goal/objective. This will make sure you are staying on track and actually testing things that will grow your business.

Do you want to increase conversions? Do you want to increase traffic from social media? Do you want to improve your acquisition efforts?

After you’ve set a goal, you need to identify what is most important to your users when it comes to your product or service.

I typically try to prepare a list of questions to answer about the user. Some examples:

  • Is there a specific pain point that you are solving?
  • What is the emotional need that your product is satisfying?
  • What are their main purchasing criteria?
  • How are they making the purchase decision?
  • What are they thinking when they see our offer?
  • How is what sell clearly different?
  • What are they doing or not on the website?
  • Where is the site leaking money?

These are some questions you can be answering about the user to kickstart the research process.

Often times, this helps when you go through the rest of the research process by allowing you to get in the mind of your user and see how they think.

Step 1: Heuristic Analysis

A heuristic analysis is an experience-based analysis of the website through every page and device types. 

This is where I look to gather data on how your users are viewing the website and what elements are causing them to take action or not. Some guidelines I look to answer when going through a site:

  • Relevancy – Is the content and site elements relevant to your target audience?
  • Clarity – Does your content effectively describe your product or service?
  • Motivation – What is being done on the site to motivate the customer to take action?
  • Friction – What is making it tough to take action like long forms?

As I mentioned previously, you are critiquing every single page of the site on both mobile and desktop and see what could be improved on.

Step 2: Technical Analysis

In step 2, this is where you research how your site is working, and if there is anything that needs to be improved.

You want to check:

  • Is anything broken?
  • Where?
  • Which browsers?
  • Which devices?
  • Which pages are slow?

There can be elements on your website that can be working on one web browser, but broken on another.

For example, if your site is working perfectly on Google Chrome, but some formatting or website actions are working on Firefox, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

That’s why it’s important to make sure your site is working properly.

Step 3: Digital Analytics

I’m sure you’ve heard of the marketing funnel. In this step, this is where you get to see where the leaky holes are in your funnel.

For example, if you are seeing an increase in people going to your landing page, but not seeing an improvement in conversions. You know there is something to improve on that landing page.

Questions you should be asking:

  • Where are the leaks?
  • Which segments?
  • What are users doing?
  • What actions correlate with higher conversions?

Step 4: Mouse tracking

Digital analytics can only give you so much information. It doesn’t tell you how the user is actually interacting with the website. This is where mouse tracking can give you a glimpse. To get the full web experience, I’ll cover it in a little.

Mouse tracking allows you to answer:

  • Where do they click?
  • How far down they scroll?
    • If they are not s
  • Differences between devices?
  • Session replays
  • To keep someone on a page for a long page, keep the background color singular
    • This is something to test

Step 5: Qualitative surveys

You can analyze the analytics and review how the user is interacting with the site, but sometimes the best thing to do is simply ask your user base.

Simply asking the user allows you to uncover their motivations and experience with your product. You can ask:

  • Buyer groups
  • Which problem are they solving?
  • How are they deciding?
  • What’s holding them back?
  • What else do they want to know?
  • Always ask open-ended questions
  • A good question is tell me about yourself and see what people voluntarily say about themselves

Step 6: User testing

This step helps you figure out the full experience your users are getting on the site.


Typically this could be done live, so you actually get to see how they are working and what are their thoughts.

You can either give the user a straightforward task or tell them to do something and see how they complete the task. 

Also, you would want the user to say out loud their thoughts and what they’re looking to do to get the most out of the test.

You’ll be able to uncover:

  • What’s difficult to understand?
  • What’s difficult to do?
  • What goes wrong?

6 steps to conversion optimization

The 6 steps to conversion optimization:

  • Step 1: Conduct research – focused on identifying the problems
  • Step 2: Build hypotheses – creating hypotheses around what are some possible solutions to our problems
  • Step 3: Create treatment – What are the actual tests we can run?
  • Step 4: Test Treatment – Execute on the tests
  • Step 5: Analyze Results – This is self-explanatory
  • Step 6: Follow-up experiments – Implement what worked and run new tests.

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