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Website Optimization and the Importance of A/B Testing and Qualitative and Quantitative Data

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Every business needs a website, and every website needs a landing page. These are universal truths. Where things become fuzzy is when you try to understand what makes a landing page good versus just good enough. The difference between having a landing page that is optimized versus one that just works could be huge: we’re talking more conversions, higher LTV, and, ultimately, more money headed toward your bottom line. So then why are brands still neglecting their landing pages? And what can they do to make them better?

I asked those exact questions to Raphel Paulin-Daigle, the founder and CEO of SplitBase, which is helping companies like L’Oreal, Diff Eyewear and more scale their websites in meaningful ways that impact their bottom line. Raphael walked me through some of the biggest mistakes companies are making when it comes to their websites, including the severe lack of patience most brands have for testing and failure. But, as Raphael explains, it’s in the experiments and failures that you learn the most. Tune in for all the insights and get ready to start running A/B tests once this episode is over! 

Main Takeaways:

  • Math in the Real World: Turns out that statistics class you took in school is important in real life. When it comes to testing, you need to understand and adhere to solid statistical models. This means having patience, getting large sample sizes, and running tests for longer than it takes to build up a reliable data set, rather than just get some quick results that could lead to biases in your numbers.   
  • Sweet Simplicity: Asking the basic questions, like “what do you love about this product?” is one of the best, but often-overlooked, ways to get customer feedback that will actually make a difference in marketing copy and product design. Customer feedback is critical, but gathering it has become overly complicated. Break it down to its simplest form and go from there.
  • Don’t Trust Your Gut: The biggest mistake most brands make is believing that they know their customers based solely on anecdotal evidence and internal brainstorming. Your gut instinct about customer personas are usually built on cliches and supposed known factors, which ultimately makes those personas useless. You have to have a more analytical approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative data in order to come up with customer profiles that can be useful to the business objectives.

For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.

Key Quotes:

 

“One of the biggest mistakes I see is that there are some brands that just call it quits when it comes to landing pages, way too early. A lot of ecommerce brands today are scaling fast, in two years $20 million, it’s not rare… But the reality is that when it comes to longer term success, experimentation is necessary. And the bigger you get, the harder it is to make everything work all the time because moving fast and breaking things doesn’t always work as the best strategy when you’re $10 million-plus.”

“At the end of the day it still comes down to experimenting, trying things and accepting that most of the things that you’re going to try are just not going to work. So now take that and use it to generate something even better. And I think that’s kind of where people get stuck often they get discouraged too quickly.”

“Optimization and experimentation is the only insurance policy when it comes to making sure you’re still growing year over year.”

“The mistake here is that you might be building a page based on your own gut feelings instead of what actually resonates with the customers. Now that sounds like some people could say, we know our customers well enough that this is not happening… But then when you really dig deep into it, okay maybe they know the demographics, like where they live, the age range and all of that. But do they really know the voice, the words, the objections, the needs, the wants, the life situations of their customers? Not really. And when they say they do, often it’s just they think they know until you actually start talking with the customers.”

“The thing is analytics are numbers, right? And your customers are human beings, so that means that if you’re only trying to understand your customers through numbers you’re still guessing. Because numbers don’t tell you anything other than volumes or percentages and things like that, not what the customer’s thinking.” 

“At the end of the day, what do you want to know are simple things like, what made people buy your product? That sounds very simple, but when you let people type their answers, instead of you offering them a multiple choice, you might discover things that you never expected. Different use cases for your products that you didn’t think about.” 

“The number one mistake you could make if you’re building a landing page, acquiring new customers, is to not have a strategy to get those customers to buy back. Because getting existing customers to buy from you twice, three times, four times is going to be so much cheaper than acquiring brand new customers.”

“Customer personas can be fantastic or they can be completely useless. And those that I think are completely useless are the ones that brands use the most… the way traditional personas are built really, are built by just getting your team together, chatting about who we think our customers are having some demographic info and then literally just inventing personas based on what we kind of think they are. The issue with that is that it’s all based on gut feelings and it doesn’t really say much about who your actual customers are, what are their actual motivation?” 

“A lot of brands that look at personas as the holy grail of everything, and everything has to be done and fit with the personas. The thing is that there’s always going to be unknowns and the markets change a lot. Your customers change, your demographic changes. And especially if you’re a super fast scaling D2C brand, you can be certain those personas are changing often as well.”

“Optimization is really about patience and knowing how to extract learnings from the campaigns, the landing pages or the tests that also aren’t working. Once you realize that testing and landing pages are not just about the wins and the plus 20% plus 5% and so on, that’s where you start to realize the real value of optimization. And the real value of optimization is about understanding if your assumptions are correct or not about the business, and that helps you make better decisions.”

Bio:

Raphael Paulin-Daigle is the founder and CEO of SplitBase and the host of the Minds of Ecommerce podcast. Raphael has been an entrepreneur since he was a young boy, having started his first business as a magician at the age of 11. He founded SplitBase in 2015 and has helped companies such as L’Oreal + Kiehl’s take their ecommerce businesses to the next level.

Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce

 

Transcript:

Stephanie:

Hey everyone, and welcome back to Up Next In Commerce. I’m your host, Stephanie Postles, CEO of Mission.org. Today on the show, we have Raphael Paulin-Daigle, who currently serves as a founder and CEO of SplitBase. Raphael, welcome.

Raphael:

Thank you, I’m excited to be here.

Stephanie:

I’m excited too, I’m a little nervous podcaster to podcaster, I mean you do your own show. How’s it going to go? I don’t know how I feel about this.

Raphael:

I mean, I hope it turns out well, I’m pretty confident in this.

Stephanie:

Me too, it’ll go great. So before we get into SplitBase, I would love to kind of dive into your background because I was reading a bit about you and I heard at the age of 11, you were a magician. So I was like, how epic of a start is that? Let’s start there.

Raphael:

Yeah, you dug deep. Yes. So, I was magician. I mean it’s kind of funny because even going before 11 years old, one of my favorite pastimes was actually to kind of create a little desk in my parents’ living room and play and just like act as if I had an office. It was kind of ridiculous, I guess it was meant to be. And then at the age of 11 I was passionate about magic and I decided that, that was going to be my job. I did not want to be employed somewhere, like it couldn’t imagine… And I know 11 years old is pretty young even to get a job, but I just really liked the business side of things. I was learning on my own time to build websites, do these type of things.

Raphael:

And honestly, I think I loved the business aspect of it more than the actual magic. I mean, I spent way more time building the website, figuring out my marketing and all of that than I ever spent practicing magic. So looking back, I did that from the age of 11 to almost 17 or something, and it worked out really well for me. I managed to get paid pretty well for my age back then, and that I think it kind of got my first taste at entrepreneurship and running a business. So that was super exciting, but over time obviously I got disinterested in magic. And I was like, oh I want to build a real business, whatever that means. I had a real business, but I just really wanted to get more into marketing and those type of things.

Raphael:

And I even had a dream to own hotels, just a lot of things. That’s kind of what I was daydreaming about when I was a teenager. And eventually what happened is I launched a company called IdealInput back then. I can’t remember how old I was, but I think I was a teenager. And it was like a marketplace for marketing consultants and small businesses could get feedback from consultants. And that was like my first real online business.

Stephanie:

That’s legit.

Raphael:

I had no idea what I was doing. It did not work, but we got a few sales. Well, the company, meaning myself, got a few sales and then I just realized that I didn’t know how to get traffic to a website. But one thing was very interesting about this is that I thought we had a conversion optimization problem on the site and I thought, that’s why the company was not working. I mean, forget about product market fit.

Stephanie:

Start converting.

Raphael:

Exactly. So that’s how I actually got into conversion optimization. I read so much about it, I was so obsessed about it. It was just so intriguing to me and I thought that was going to fix and make the business work. And that’s how I got my certain CRO, when I was still a teenager.

Stephanie:

Oh wow, that’s amazing. So now you’re trying to figure out conversions. Then what happened after that?

Raphael:

Yeah so what happened, I kind of realized after a while that this business is not going to work. I started realizing, I started connecting with accelerators and mentors and other tech entrepreneurs in my city. And I come from a pretty small city, 200,000 people or so. So it’s not like there were tons of people, but it was very fortunate this guy called Dan Martel, who’s actually pretty well known today with a few companies, was pretty much my neighbor. And he became my mentor and kind of made me realize why the business wasn’t working in the first place. And also, what do you have to think about when building an online business?

Raphael:

And that’s when I kind of dabbled into a bunch of different companies, I went into Bitcoin and launched a Bitcoin consultancy, even at one point owned a Bitcoin ATM and looking back, Bitcoin was not something that I really enjoyed that much, but for some reason it started feeling real. I was building a business and I was interested in it while doing it, but I kept coming back to conversion optimization and marketing was really the passion, you know? And at that point, after being in Bitcoin for a while I was like, you know what no, I’m going to go back to digital marketing. And that’s when I… I don’t know if I really launched SplitBase right there and then, I kind of freelanced for a while trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I knew it was going to be in conversion optimization, but it’s around that point in time that I said, you know what, I’m going to be doing CRO and landing pages and probably focus on ecommerce as well.

Stephanie:

I love that, you kept getting pulled back to your roots of what you were interested in the very beginning, that’s amazing. So tell me more about what is SplitBase and then name drop some of your clients. Because I saw some names there and I’m like, I know all of them.

Raphael:

Awesome. Yeah, so SplitBase is a conversion optimization and landing page optimization agency for direct to consumer ecommerce brands. So we’re typically talking brands that are doing between 10 to like $200 million through ecommerce. Some of our clients include, I think some of the best known are probably like Dr. Squatch who was featured in a Superbowl ad. We’ve worked with L’Oreal and all their brands such as Kiehl’s Armani and all of that more on the D2C side, DIFF Eyewear is pretty well-known as well. And many, many more, I could name quite a few. But yeah, really fun lifestyle brands, lots of beauty brands, some fashion brands. I always said, one of our specialties is beauty and skincare for some reason, it’s been such a huge market for us.

Raphael:

And it’s great, because we’ve also been able to develop a specialty and we understand the skincare and the beauty customer in a way that we know a bit more about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to ecommerce for those type of brands.

Stephanie:

Yep, got it. So 2021, how and why are companies struggling with landing pages? Like what do you go in and see is going wrong? Especially with these medium to larger brands.

Raphael:

Yeah, so where to start, right? I think there’s a lot of brands doing a lot of things right, but obviously the opposite is also true. I think one of the biggest mistakes I see is that there are some brands that just call it quit when it comes to landing pages, way too early. Look, I know a lot of ecommerce brands today are scaling fast, in two years $20 million, it’s not rare. And sometimes that also means that what you’ve seen so far are things that work. But the reality is that when it comes to longer term success experimentation is necessary. And the bigger you get, the harder it is to make everything work all the time, because moving fast and breaking things doesn’t always work as the best strategy when you’re 10 million plus.

Raphael:

So one of the biggest mistakes I would say is the lack of patience when it comes to landing pages, a lot of brands send all their paid traffic to the homepage, collection page or product pages. And then, if they decide to do landing pages, very often they’re going to try just a few one. One here, one there, not super research driven pages. And then if it doesn’t work well they often call it quit, or are just going to say, oh it turns out our homepage is working better than the landing page.

Raphael:

Now, generally it doesn’t mean that a homepage that you’re landing page is absolutely going to outperform whatever page you’re sending your traffic to, but we’ve seen in most cases that if you test enough and use the learnings from every test to fuel the next version of your page, you can very often get to a point where you’re outperforming the homepage, a collection page or the product page. And it becomes a fantastic asset for paid acquisition. So I would say yeah, the lack of patience for testing, sometimes people want results very quickly, but unfortunately no one’s got a crystal ball. I used to be a magician, but that was in another life.

Stephanie:

Yeah, you actually probably have one. Come on, whip it back out we need that.

Raphael:

You know, I think we’re pretty kick-ass at what we do when it comes to landing pages, but at the end of the day it still comes down to experimenting, trying things and accepting that most of the things that you’re going to try are just not going to work. So now take that and use it to generate something even better. And I think that’s kind of where people get stuck often they get discouraged too quickly.

Stephanie:

Yeah. So how many landing pages should brands be testing at any one time and how long should that test be running for it to really know if it’s a significant outcome.

Raphael:

Yeah, great question. So how many? I think it all depends, right? You know, we’ve got clients where the first page was a winner and then they’ve used that and slight variations of it for like the past year and it’s still working well. We’ve got some other clients where it took like five, six tries and a few months in order to find what was outperforming everything else. So honestly, I don’t think there’s a stop date when it comes to experimentation. You should always be testing and whatever’s working now may be working now, but nothing guarantees you that it’s going to work next week, next month, next year, or even tomorrow.

Raphael:

So I think continuous optimization and experimentation is the only insurance policy when it comes to making sure you’re still growing year over year. So that’s when it comes to the number of pages, now for how long? Well, this actually goes kind of hand in hand with another mistake brands are doing is, very often brands are going to try to test a page. They’re going to launch it, let’s say in Facebook ads and run an AB test, but they’re going to run it for a day or two. And the page might have a few conversions and control the same. Huge mistake, I mean at the end of the day, the rules of statistics and mathematics still apply to Facebook ads.

Raphael:

Whether you’re doing an onsite AB test or a test in your Facebook ad manager. Meaning that, generally test your landing pages, and I mean, there’s no golden rule so I’m very careful of saying this, but there are exceptions. But generally we’d recommend at least test for two weeks. You release one of your landing page, you want to test it against another one, have it live in your Facebook ads for at least two weeks and don’t stop it if you have like five transactions per variant. We try to get at least a minimum of a hundred before we can make a decision. Now it does cost money, obviously. If you’re sending traffic to those variants you’ll need the proper sample sizes, but that is a cost of experimentation.

Raphael:

And when you look at the opposite, if you don’t experiment and try to release random things, you could be making decisions based on false positives, false negatives and it doesn’t mean it’s going to cost you less. So at the end of the day, proper statistical rigor is still needed when it comes to experimenting landing pages.

Stephanie:

Yep. So when you’re approaching these brands that you’re working with, what are some of the mistakes you’re seeing right off the bat that maybe many companies are making with landing pages? I’m sure there has to be themes where you’re like, oh not again.

Raphael:

Actually The biggest mistake is… I think it always comes down to this and it’s, the pages are built based on the team brainstorming. And okay, that sounds great, right? you’re going to get all your smartest people in the company, they’re going to brainstorm. You’re going to get ideas, maybe you’re going to look at what your competitors are doing. But the mistake here is that you might be building a page based on your own gut feelings instead of what actually resonates with the customers. Now that sounds like some people could say, we know our customers well enough that this is not happening. Look, most of our clients, I don’t know if most but at least a large number of companies that we’ve worked with, when we initially were talking with them they said the same thing. They said, no we really, really know our clients, we know who they are.

Raphael:

But then when you really dig deep into it, okay maybe they know the demographics, like where they live, the age range and all of that. But do they really know the voice, the words, the objections, the needs, the wants, the life situations of their customers? Not really. And when they say they do, often it’s just they think they know until you actually start talking with the customers. So, if we kind of zoom out here, what really needs to be done is that you need to be building pages based on what your customers is telling you, for example, what are the needs or what are the objections when people aren’t buying from you, right? If he can figure out what those are through surveys, polls, even just phone calls to your customers, those should be addressed on the landing pages.

Stephanie:

Like a little FAQ section or somewhere just to highlight, these are probably concerns of the people that you’re thinking about. Check them out before you X-out. Oh, I like that, that’s a good little jingle there.

Raphael:

Exactly, well you know what, not even the FAQ’s. I think the FAQ’s are great, but it should be part of the main copy, like the main landing page, if those are the things people care the most about. So one of the most common example, and I’ll use a simple one that typically impacts, let’s say all fashion brands. So sizing, always a concern. Is it going to fit me? Is it made for this? Blah, blah, blah. Well, when looking at this people want to make sure that they can return. Like, what if it doesn’t fit? Do I lose my money? Do I get my money back? That’s a simple objection that you’d think, well yes, it’s very simple to address, but how many sites are not even making it super obvious? Many.

Raphael:

So same thing with skincare brands, people care more and more and more about the ingredients. If it’s good for their skin type, like oily skin, dry skin, is good for different skin conditions like acne? And I could go on and on. Well, all of those things are just pieces of information that the customer needs to know in order to feel safe and comfortable making the purchase. And if that’s not being addressed well, then you could be talking about 20,000 things. But if those are the main customer’s concerns, the sale is still going to be a hard one, because you need to diffuse and address those objections, those concerns. So, I would say it needs to be in the copy. Lead with it, literally.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I agree. When you’re going through designing web pages for people, I’m sure depending on the brand, you have a different kind of funnel. How do you go about kind of auditing what the company is selling, maybe how hard it is to sell and then figuring out what that funnel should look like. Which may be very different from someone who’s selling a $3 thing versus a $3,000 thing.

Raphael:

Yep, definitely. So the first thing that we do, obviously we look at analytics. We try to understand the traffic sources. So if you’re spending a lot of money on Facebook, a lot of money on Google Ads, a lot of money elsewhere as well, how differently are your users behaving from channel to channel? Are the things they’re buying the same or does your Facebook traffic typically buy more of one product category compared to the other? Which pages are they visiting? How many times do they visit the site before they actually ended up buying? So there’s probably hundreds of things that we look at when doing this and it gets us an idea of like, okay well we know what are the opportunities and maybe where are also the weaknesses of a website.

Raphael:

The thing is, obviously when looking analytics and that’s typically by the way, were companies stop when they do that and they try to understand how to build their funnel. The thing is analytics are numbers, right? And your customers are human beings, so that means that if you’re only trying to understand your customers through numbers you’re still guessing. Because numbers don’t tell you anything other than volumes or percentages and things like that, not what the customer’s thinking. So what we do, and that’s in contrast with a lot of agencies that don’t go that far. And even companies, because it’s just so much work, but it’s the number one thing I recommend. And it’s to one, talk more with customers.

Raphael:

It sounds simple, but what we’re typically going to do is we’re going to send polls and surveys to existing customers. Qualitative, where people have to type their answers, sometimes going to call customers, usability research where we look at people, navigate through a website. All those types of things, or analyze social media, comments on ads and social media channels of the company. And that qualitative aspect of things helps us get a much, much better picture of what those things actually are and what matters to the company and to the customer as well, right? So once we have that, well then we have both quantitative and qualitative data that helps us form that funnel, that landing page, that website experience.

Stephanie:

Yeah. What questions are you asking to be able to even start figuring out that funnel? I’m trying to imagine that the new brands rolling out are like, great. I’m going to survey my audience, I’m going to start doing polls and email them and all this. What should they even be asking? Because I can see a flurry of answers coming back and being like, okay… And now I’m back at the starting point again, because everyone’s telling me different things, and my landing page would be a mess if I went off of everyone’s random musings.

Raphael:

Yeah. I mean, at one point it’s still, I think a bit of an art and science to understand then how to use that and transform it into copy, design, and all of that. But I think to kind of dumb it down at the end of the day, what do you want to know are simple things like, what made people buy your product? That sounds very simple, but when you let people type their answers, instead of you offering them a multiple choice, you might discover things that you never expected. Different use cases for your products that you didn’t think about. So that’s a very simple question. Other questions could be like, how would you describe our product to a friend? I love that question for voice of customer feedback, because it literally tells you how people describe your product and how they see it. So that’s great because those are all people that bought, and if you can understand how they talk and they understand your product, well that can help inform the messaging that you’ll have on your site and landing pages, right?

Stephanie:

Yeah, I love that. That’s great.

Raphael:

And other questions could be things like, and you can’t ask this for every type of product, but it could be something like: “how did our product change your life?” And honestly, we ask that a lot.

Stephanie:

What kind of answers are you getting back? Life-changing, that’s pretty intense.

Raphael:

You get everything, because you let people type. I remember, like there was someone who wrote a kidnapping story for a perfume. The reason why they bought a perfume was because it reminded them of the time they got saved from a kidnap. It was just so crazy. You get all sorts of answers, but obviously that’s maybe 0.05% of the responses.

Stephanie:

That could be great UGC content though. Hi, come on in let’s talk about this.

Raphael:

I mean, you could create a whole marketing campaign around it.

Stephanie:

Yeah, there you go. You’ve got your perfect people now that you can just tap into and get some good content.

Raphael:

Yeah. No, but what you’re going to get when you ask things like, how did this product change your life? The point is I’m not really trying to understand if it really changed their life or not, but I’m trying to understand what is the biggest benefit that they got out of this product that they can fetch in their minds? How did they think about this product? And what’s really the top thing they’ll love about this product?

Raphael:

And look, it doesn’t work with every product, but there are some products you get incredible answers because really, I always say brands don’t sell products, they sell outcomes. Or at least they should, because that’s what customers care about. When you’re selling, for example a skin cream, like a face mask. People aren’t buying it because it’s a mask, they’re either buying it because they want to relax, have better skin, get rid of acne, have more confidence. They’re looking for an outcome, not just a cream to put on their face. So I think once you ask these type of questions and understand how people use your products and why they love your products, you literally get the words from them as to why other people should buy the same product. And you can use that in your marketing copy in your headlines and the designs, everywhere really.

Stephanie:

Yeah, that’s great. So the one thing I’m thinking about now is with all these new brands that are popping up, I’m always thinking about LTV of customers and how all these brands popping up. I mean, I’m thinking about these leggings, they were on TikTok. Everyone wanted them, they made your butt look great, all this kind of stuff. But I’m sure they probably got a huge spike in conversions from their TikTok videos and cool content, but I’m like, do they actually have a… You know, how’s their LTV look? Probably not great, I don’t see people probably reordering that a lot, they don’t have any other products. How do you think about balancing landing pages so that it’s great, it converts and all that, but it doesn’t sell it in a way that’s going to kind of hurt your lifetime value of your customer going forward.

Raphael:

I mean, it’s always tricky, right? But I think the number one mistake you could make if you’re building a landing page, acquiring new customers, is to not have a strategy to get those customers to buy back. Because getting existing customers to buy from you twice, three times, four times is going to be so much cheaper than inquiring brand new customers. So, I think that is super important. Email marketing, super important. Knowing how to remarket. You know, a landing page is not a solution to everything. It might help you get new customers, but then don’t lose those customers, get their email addresses if they’re not buying.

Raphael:

So having a strategy in place is super important. Second, understanding… And look, this is hard for new brands for sure, but when you understand your lifetime value it becomes much easier to make marketing decisions as to where to advertise your products, which products to advertise. One of my favorite things to look at if the data is available is to look at which products that people buy first, that leads to the highest lifetime value. The reason why I love looking at this is because… Look, let’s say you have two different products. One, the conversion rate is very low, but AOV is very high upfront. Whereas the other one is the opposite. AOV is very low, conversion rate is very high. Maybe you make the same amount of money, which one is better?

Raphael:

Well, if you don’t know which one might lead to the top lifetime value, you don’t know. But if you have that data, you could literally build a funnel, knowing which products to promote first to brand new customers that will eventually get them to come back to your brand. So that’s a little strategy that I love to employ, and obviously it’s a little more complicated than what I just said, but I think it’s a good little overview.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I love it, that’s great. So the other thing, we were looking through your Twitter thread, always a great place for research. And I saw that you said that you thought customer personas were a waste of time. So I wanted to hear your thoughts behind that, because we’ve had a lot of people come on the show, talking about how great it is to get customer personas, how important it was. So give us some behind the scenes on your thought for that.

Raphael:

Yeah, so customer personas can be fantastic or they can be completely useless. And those that I think are completely useless are the ones that brands use the most. And it ties back to what I said earlier about the lack of research and building things based on gut feelings and what the team is, and what the team thinks resonate with the customers. The thing is, the way traditional personas are built really, are built by just getting your team together, chatting about who we think our customers are having some demographic info and then literally just inventing personas based on what we kind of think they are. The issue with that is that it’s all based on gut feelings and it doesn’t really say much about who your actual customers are, what are their actual motivation? And you don’t know what you don’t know either.

Raphael:

So if you don’t talk with your customers and you come up with those personas, you can be certain that there are other personas that you completely ignore, that you have no idea even exists. So I think those personas are quite useless, because honestly it’s a guessing game, it’s a gut feeling game and not very useful because it’s all based on assumptions. What I think are valuable and great customer personas are those that are built through research. So for example, what I just said about the polls, the surveys, just picking up the phone and talking with your customers. Once you capture enough data, both quantitative and qualitative about your customers, you’ll see patterns emerge.

Raphael:

And from those patterns, you’ll likely start seeing different types of personas. And those are personas that actually come from your data. So should you ignore everything else? Absolutely not. Should they be used as guides? Yes. I think there’s also a lot of brands that look at personas as the holy grail of everything, and everything has to be done and fit with the personas. The thing is that there’s always going to be unknowns and the markets change a lot. Your customers change, your demographic changes. And especially if you’re a super fast scaling D2C brand, you can be certain those personas are changing often as well. So yeah, use them as guides, but make sure that those are also not based on your own assumptions, but that you actually have data that supports those.

Stephanie:

Yep, makes sense. All right, and then my last question, what is the most important thing you’ve learned about optimization? That every time you meet someone you’re like, this is the best thing I’ve ever learned and if you don’t know about it, you don’t know anything.

Raphael:

Yeah. So, there’s so many things I could say. I’ll say two things, am I allowed to do that?

Stephanie:

You can.

Raphael:

Okay, cool. I think number one, I’m not going to go into it too much because I just talked about it the entire time, but it’s to do research. It sounds slow, it sounds boring, especially if you’re the founder of a fast growing D2C brand, you will find it so slow. You’ll just want to do things that look better. But then, I used to think that way as well, but over the years by looking at the different ways to do conversion optimization, I realized that you’re going to waste so much time in the long run. If you just guess things and think that going faster and implementing things is going to work better than taking the time to do the work upfront, it’s just not useful.You waste a lot of time to sometimes not even get any results.

Raphael:

So doing the proper research takes more time upfront, but it is the best thing you can do for the business because it doesn’t just inform an optimization program, but it also informs the rest of the business. The second thing, I will say this as someone who’s generally pretty impatient with, I just want things to go really, really fast. But it’s also, optimization is really about patience and knowing how to extract learnings from the campaigns, the landing pages or the tests that also aren’t working. Once you realize that testing and landing pages are not just about the wins and the plus 20% plus 5% and so on, that’s where you start to realize the real value of optimization. And the real value of optimization is about understanding if your assumptions are correct or not about the business, and that helps you make better decisions.

Raphael:

And to me, that is what’s valuable about optimization. It’s the ability to make better decisions faster, because you’re not unknowingly making the wrong decisions and only finding out way later down the road. And you’ll have so much more clarity about your customers, what’s working, what’s not working. So then when you need to do some little adjustments on the business, you know what might impact what and what resonates with customers. So patience, but really shifting your attention from just focusing on the wins and getting excited by the wins to trying to understand how those insights inform the business and helps you move forward, no matter the result, is kind of next level.

Raphael:

And I think that’s where brands should focus. And honestly, our clients that have grown the most and that are the most successful and that have the most solid and mature experimentation programs are those that see optimization as that, not just a way to get wins, but a way to avoid losses because they can test things before they deploy and potentially lose. They see this as a way to test out new ideas, but also as a way to learn more about their customers. So anyways, that’s what I think is probably one of the most important things about optimization

Stephanie:

Love it, that’s a good two answers, I’m glad you did two. Well, this has been an awesome interview and now I’m kind of thinking about our website and I need to survey all of our listeners and really figure those things out. But yeah, it’s great having you on, where can people find out more about you and SplitBase?

Raphael:

Yeah, so about SplitBase, honestly splitbase.com you’ll find everything there. The podcast, which right now is on pause, but I’m hopefully going to start a new season real soon. We also have the block there, that’s got some pretty good stuff. And then me, well I’m on Twitter. Also not incredibly active there this summer. I spent a little bit of time away from it, but when I’ve got some great ideas I want to share that’s where it goes. So yeah Twitter: Rpaulindaigle, you’ll probably need to look at the show notes to get that name right, or splitbase.com.

Stephanie:

Amazing, we will link that up. Yeah, thanks so much for joining.

Raphael:

Awesome, thank you so much, Stephanie.

Episode 138