In this episode of "The Conversion Show," Erik Christiansen, CEO of Justuno, interviews Alex Courselle, Founder and CEO of KARL Mission a conversion rate optimization (CRO) agency. With over a decade of experience in CRO, Alex shared some invaluable insights that are relevant as we approach the holiday season. Alex discusses the science behind unlocking successful conversions, the art of building trust with customers, and the rising trend of focusing on SEO due to increasing costs.
Erik and Alex discuss:
Welcome back to the Conversion Show. Today I have a special guest that I think anyone going into this holiday season is going to be very excited about. With me today is Alex Courselle, who has ten-plus years in CRO and is founder CEO of KARL Mission. So if you are in front of a computer, check out karlmission.com You'll get the whole breakdown.
But welcome to the show Alex.
Thank you so much for having me. That's pretty cool.
So for today's show, it is November 6th. And everyone's gearing up. You know they've hit play. Everyone's already started their cyber sales. because you know it's not just one day anymore. We're all getting the emails. But there's still more to be done. Every website can always be optimized. Campaigns can always be updated. So today what we're going to do for our listeners is really hear, you know, with Alex's experience, what's trending, what is top of mind with CRO today. And see if we can't get some insights that maybe you can still apply to your sites for this holiday season. So with that, I'm putting you on the spot right off the bat, Alex. But before we do that, let's set the stage for your background. Ten years in CRO, it's very rare for us to come across talent and experience like yours.
So could you just share with the crowd, what you're doing at KARL Mission and how you got there?
Yeah. For sure. So. Basically, I started in design and I went into SEO. I stayed in that cluster of digital marketing kind of roles, up to that time I was production director. And then our company, I started being bought by a prospect, and then the option was open to do whatever. So I just decided to start into CRO. It was back in Paris and a prospect and very interesting because at the time there were no merch products and people didn't understand it as well. So it needs to be, you know, easy to understand for everyone. So I had to create the packages and everything. So I really started from scratch. My whole experience didn't really have much guidance or anything. So it was really it was a bit the Western at the time. I felt like the field was empty, the street was empty, no building, nothing.
You know, we just had like optimizely as a tool, a bit of a b testing started to show up at that time, but it was like, you know, click their Crazy Egg, Hotjar that was the tools was already there. You know, since that time, and I worked in agencies for like my whole life, my whole career. So it came to a point that I was like, okay, I'm going to I'm going to open my own business. We're going to do many because that's the product that I care the most with SEO, but because both of them clash, and that happens quite a lot in agencies. So it's quite it's quite interesting. We can talk about it a bit later, but it clashed between the two units quite often. And, and then yeah, my emergency and the value that we wanted is to really be genuine and work with people that have genuine products, genuine services, genuine businesses. And we wanted to not be rich, but just, you know, like change a bit the face of the word when it comes to CRM.
I explained to the newbies that you have powers. You can decide to use them for the good or the bad and decide for what you want to use your skills, your craft. You know at the end of your career what will stand out, you know, is it helping some non-profit organization or anything? Yeah. So that's where that's where we went. And since then we've been really meeting the right genuine people that we can work on. In the long run. That's what is good as well. To work with genuine people is we have where longer contracts, where longer commitments. Our Agency has no contracts. So people can actually stop when they want. It's plug-and-play. No, no, no knife under the throat with a two month, 2 or 3 months notice or anything. We just keep it casual and we just make it as genuine as possible.
The you mentioned who you work with is critical. And you know, what is the the DNA of the successful clients you work with that understand the value that CRO is bringing to them.
I think it's, it's to start with, the clients are quite aware of what CRO is. So people that have like that education, the other thing is I feel like there's two things happening on the market. There are some people who just learn about CRO and learn how to use it. Some people think it's just like, tips and tricks around there. Some understand that there's a science behind it. So people that understand the science behind those guys are going to win because they're going to cover all the basics, which is quite important. You know, they're going to have a real tracking plan. They're going to really track that data. They have real numbers that they can improve. That's the first step. And when it comes to the second step I feel like they actually care. They care about making the customer experience better. And you know what was customer service 20 years ago. And now it's user experience. That's a bit how I would do an analogy about it is like if you don't invest in your user experience, you know, you're going to have more to pay on your customer service.
We have airline companies that ask us to do CRO for them to decrease the number of calls on their call center. And that makes sense because we actually, you know, we just look at like the top 20 top 50 queries that we're getting from the call centers, and we put them on the FAQs. Right. Like very simple type of process. But it saves a lot of time to everyone, especially to the users that can find these answers really quickly.
Our belief is that the foundation of great conversion is incredible customer experience. So, you know, it's it's often working with brands that that are customer centric in the end or you're the results are going to fall out from trying to figure out how to create incredible experience. Like you mentioned, it's those little low-hanging fruits.
Yeah. For sure for us as well. Like one of the things that I focus the most on, and some people will find it quite annoying when I say that, but I really focus above the full strategy.
I really focus above the fold strategy. Like what people can see, I can, I can see. So far, attention span on desktop is like 3 to 5 seconds. On mobile, I can even be less if you don't have a strategy above the fold and people don't understand what you're doing, what you're about, you know, you trust. And so how are you going to tell your stories? And you didn't have like a proper thinking about how you're going to roll it out, then you're going to miss out. So if you're lucky and you've been spending some ads at the same time, it's it's really too bad.
So between science and care, the care is the clear obvious. One of you have to be customer-centric and just constantly thinking about how to make the customer experience better. So to make that happen, you have to have a science behind it. Can you share more of like of, you know, your your model with the science side of it?
Yeah for sure.
So when it comes to the science, I'm very old school. So like everyone in the team knows, you know, like I've been training everyone for quite a while. Mike been in the business with me for eight years and she's she's my number two there. And basically what is interesting is I ask them to always cover the basics. So always to go to Google Analytics, you know, to check the data. For me, it's very important that I know the numbers better than my clients know their numbers, because then we can have real conversations, because now we on the same standing point where I understand your product, I understand your problems.
What numbers do you start with? What are your foundational numbers?
it's quite interesting. Yeah, I were really deep in on what type of website. So if it's like an e-commerce, it would be, I don't know, bounce rate I would look at. But now I've been straight disappeared because now we're on GeForce. I will be on government, I guess.
we I would look at, you know, the price like the average basket. I would look at the number of like conversions for sure. So conversion rates I would look at the overall traffic. But what I'm curious about is like, you know, the first thing that I always look at is the linking fruit, as you said. So for me, the bounce rate and people that don't engage, I always try to understand why they don't engage. And if I can solve that issue, if you have an 80% conversion rate, new product page, you reduce it to 40. For sure. You get a massive impact on your sales and you didn't do much. You just make sure that people engage with the page more. Um, so that's that's the first numbers that I would look at. I like to look as well at the demographics and coming back to like the, you know, where is the gap between desktop and mobile. Do I have like a massive gap between people that order on mobile and desktop? That means that maybe the experience on mobile needs to be improved because it's it's like -50% compared to desktop these days.
A lot of things like that can come up. So I like to open Google Analytics and tell the story and go through it. But one of the other things that I do at the back of my head as well, is to make sure that when the client persona is, is unclear or they have none, then I actually come up with a clear picture of like, this is where your persona are right now. This is the edge they have. This is who they are. This is what type of jobs they do. Like. Persona is one of the basics that companies now let go. Sometimes I feel that I'm quite sorry.
Which who do they let go first?
The persona, the persona. Creating the persona. Creating the right audience for your business.
Your conversion journey that you speak of. Exactly.
Exactly like that's the people we talk to. So if we don't know them, how can we talk to them the right way?
1,000%. And that is, you know, that's the type of thing that.
When it comes to audiences, Shopify is launching their visitor API. They're doing a lot with segments like everyone's trying to understand who the actual website visitor is and then speak to them with relevant content. That's what personalization is. And digital marketers have nailed that with off-site, with marketing, with email paid. But we're just now getting into the on-site experience with with users.
It's interesting because, you know, we have we work with very big companies and some of them have no personnel or they have half of it, or they did it like five years ago and they never updated it. Like, I'm not saying you need to spend every day of the week on your personnel. I'm just saying they just need to be solid enough that you know who you talk to. Like, what are they looking for? What will make them stay on the website or click somewhere?
You know, when you're talking about whether it's lead capture, AOF, sales, conversion. I think one of the biggest personas overlooked is new visitors versus repeat visitors.
And that repeat visitor is either a repeat non-customer or customer. Those three buckets, if you focus on those, it'll tell you you can really start digging in and making a big impact.
I wonder if we can still do that now with D4. I wonder because now the new visitors, we don't keep the IP for too long, so they consider new visitors, even if they're not after a while. So that's something that might change now with Dh4. I'm curious to see how it's going to go. We still we still like debating with the team. How are we going to go through those reports with Dh4 now that we have well as data and before.
I'll be an interesting one to track how they change that, because, you know, with CRMs and everything, how we're building our own own profiles and and filling them that. What can you speak further on that?
when it comes to CRM, we we've been working a lot with like the major tools on the market. And it's been it's been very interesting because each its business is different.
So depending on what the catch and where the catch is, we've been able to do some really, really like, you know, I would say good magic on that because like was linking the marketing with the CRM team and making sure that we actually understand who they are. We understand one of the main thing that we figured is when we make sure that the storytelling is at the right time, at the right pace, with the right information, to not overload people. Because when you product is complicated, like CRM, or when your product is complicated like a car, it's really easy to get people lost into like so many choices and so many messages, but it doesn't bring them like anywhere. So it's to like breakdown this information and slice it to the like to basically give it the right time on the right triggers.
Speaking of the right time, right customer, it's definitely we're hearing that a lot in conversations. You mentioned desktop and mobile. I'm I'd love to hear more about how you're approaching that because, you know, we're seeing you know, some you know, some clients with 70% of their traffic's mobile.
Obviously, conversion rates differs between desktop and mobile. But even myself I found I found myself making you know, I made some big purchases this past weekend just while still in bed, you know, a matter of few clicks. And I finally got some things done that I wanted to without ever getting out of bed. 100% mobile. What? What are you seeing with clients? And is there anything that the audience should be looking at when it comes to their mobile specifically?
I would go to Aja and I wouldn't go. I would go on Ojai. I would go on analytics, and I would look at the gap between mobile and desktop. And I would try to understand, like one, where is the average field? And, you know, and where people stop scrolling because on the job would have that, for example, or Java and any other tool. We use the glass box a lot as well. Um, and, and basically, yeah, I would look at what's the customer journey look like, you know, where do they stop and where do they like attention stop as well to understand where they drop off.
And from there, it's interesting to see as well. Like, you know, we have some clients where the messaging again I will come back to that strategy is like we should have strategies that are based on attention span because attention span is the big is the big end break that that we have. You know, it's like it doesn't matter how beautiful your website is, if no one goes past the fold, you're just doing your website for maybe like 20% of the of the users that will land on it. So it's awesome. But it's maybe not what we want to do. So I don't want to overcrowd as well that space. But having a strategy above the fold is is the most important thing that I would recommend.
Attention span I like I like that view on it because everyone is all over the place, and that's where even conversion comes in. It's so critical. I was having a conversation recently with a Shopify team. No, no it was. Um, with Alan Burt from Blue Stout about product recommendation and product upsell and whether or not.
Offering an upsell might distract your visitor to the point where they don't check out. So where is the diminishing returns of trying to increase AOF with a product recommendation or upsell? Because if you say, hey, would you also like this, you then are sending them down a further conversion journey versus getting them to check out. Have you experienced that? Have you looked at that?
Yeah for sure. We experience it all the time for those. And it's quite interesting because I think if you buy wallpaper, you want to buy the glue that goes over there or like you maybe want to buy the table or you want to buy like, you know, the brush that you're going to need to put the glue on the back of the wallpaper. But if you buy a TV, you might not need to buy a chair. And that's where it needs to be a bit smart. And so far, to be honest, you know, there's a lot of things that comes from good feelings, but the