The Intersection Where Email Marketing & Conversion Rate Optimization Meet

The Intersection Where Email Marketing & Conversion Rate Optimization Meet

The best-performing lead magnets are those that solve a specific problem for their audience. Meaning, that when someone signs up for your lead magnet, they walk away with actionable, specific details on how to solve a challenge they’re facing.


At mailfloss we’re focused on helping email marketers get the most from their email marketing campaigns. We do this in a few different ways. First, we help email marketers improve their deliverability through the use of our email list verification service. Secondly, we work hard to educate email marketers on the various topics relating to running a successful email marketing campaign.

Today, mailfloss had the opportunity to chat with Talia Wolf, the founder of GetUplift, a conversion rate optimization agency. In the interview below, we pick Talia’s brain and ask questions about CRO as it relates to strategies within the world of email marketing.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the interview.

The Interview

Hello and thank you for joining us today to talk about your involvement in the CRO space. Today we’re going to ask a lot of questions about the relationship between CRO and email marketing. But before we do that let’s talk about what drew you into the CRO niche in the first place? What is it about this industry that sucked you in and lever let you go?

Before founding my own conversion optimization agency, I worked in a social media agency. I ran paid campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and other social platforms for our clients. I spent a lot of my time trying to figure out how to optimize my campaigns and landing pages we were working with. Endless Googling, reading, and researching would lead to making different changes on these pages and trying out new ideas that would hopefully drive conversions. It was through that research that I discovered the CRO niche. Back then everyone focused on driving traffic to their website, and conversion optimization wasn’t something businesses put any focus on. The more I read, the more I fell in love with it and worked hard on getting better at it. It was in that agency that I met my future biz partners. They were just setting up a new CRO agency, and I wanted all in.

Now, when a lot of people think about CRO they think about increasing the number of people they convert into paying customers. A lot of people have a very two dimensional perspective about CRO. They associate CRO with doing things like changing the color of their add-to-cart button or adding social proof to their checkout pages. While that is part of the CRO process, it’s only one small part of the process. In your experience, what are the three biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make when they first approach CRO?

Through many failed and semi-successful experiences, I learned that conversion optimization isn’t about changing elements on the page.

If I wanted to truly make a difference and create a high-converting experience, I would have to dive deeper and understand how people make decisions. I devoured books about psychology, decision-making, psychological triggers, and emotions. I run hundreds of AB tests and analyzed thousands of high-converting landing pages, emails, and websites. I quickly learned that conversion optimization is about solving people’s problems. When you understand the motivations behind people’s actions, the emotions that drive their decisions, you can create a high-converting experience that focuses on them.

The biggest mistakes I see are:

  1. Not getting to know the people behind the screens – many marketers can breakdown the behavioral aspects of their prospects: their age, geographical location, the browsers they’re using, and the devices. However, the only way to create truly high-converting experiences is to get to know the person behind the screen – their pains, challenges, fears, and dreams.
  2. Testing random elements on the page, instead of hypotheses – Most people change the colour of the call to action button, reduce the fields in their form or “add some social proof” and believe that’s where optimization starts and ends. Thing is, that optimization isn’t about changing elements on a page, it’s about solving your people’s problems. Once you find a leak in Google Analytics, and identify that something needs optimizing, it’s not enough to just make cosmetic changes on a page (changes that come from reading “best practices” or blog posts that promise 1000% increase in conversions by making one change), you need a hypothesis, you need to understand why this problem is happening, what’s causing it, and do research to understand the strategic elements missing. Only then can you move in to fix the leak, by providing a meaningful change on the page.
  3. Being features and product-focused – The most common answer to: “why do people buy from you?” is -“our product / our features/ our pricing/ we have the best tech” etc. Very product-focused. However, with hundreds of competitors out there, all offering similar solutions as your own, you won’t stand out by talking about your product. We live in a world where we get pitched to dozens of times a day, and the only way to stand out in people’s timelines or inbox is to make it about them. When you focus your message around your audience’s desires, the challenges they go through, and their desired outcomes, when you make it about them, people care, they stop, they read and they convert. Brands that make their customer the hero, are the ones that stand out in that sea of sameness and win loyal, lasting customers/clients.

Where do you start when you first look at a website? In your experience, what has generally been the lowest hanging fruit for increasing website CR?

We run an extensive conversion optimization audit that starts at the heart of it all – customer research. After diving into behavioral analysis using Google Analytics, heatmaps, and other tools that tell us what people are doing on the website locates the biggest growth opportunities and show us what needs fixing, we move into the most crucial part: Customer research. Identifying how people make decisions, what drives them to action, surveying, interviewing, profiling, comparing and analyzing who our customer or client is beyond the raw data of age, geographical location, or browser. Our goal is to understand the emotions that drive people’s decisions and then combine all this data to create better websites, funnels, landing pages, or emails that people connect with on an emotional level.

What are your biggest struggles or points of friction as a CRO company when working on client sites?

Sometimes it’s a challenge to convince our clients to move away from being product-led, and helping them become more customer-led. Especially with very big organizations, branding is important, and they have very specific conceptions of what people need to know about them, and the solution they’re providing. However, this is where the research comes in. We’re able to easily show them what we learned, what people are saying, how they’re behaving, and to pair our recommendations with the data that supports it.

Now let’s jump in and talk about the intersection where CRO and email marketing intersect. You have a great post on your blog where you talk about the importance of lead magnets. Now optimizing for opt-ins is important because the more people you have on your list, the more people you can market your services to. How much A/B testing have you done with regards to lead magnets for your own (or clients’) sites? What are some of the best converting lead magnets you’ve seen?

I see lead magnets as one of the best ways to form a strong relationship with your target audience. When you provide high-value content to your readers, you show your readers that you care about them, that you have relevant information for them, and when it comes time to sell something, they’re more open to it because they know you’re genuine.

The best-performing lead magnets are those that solve a specific problem for their audience. Meaning, that when someone signs up for your lead magnet, they walk away with actionable, specific details on how to solve a challenge they’re facing. The specific type of lead magnet doesn’t really matter (a guide, a quiz, a checklist, a worksheet, etc.), what matters is that people can immediately see the value of downloading it and how it will solve a crucial pain in their lives.

Now in terms of lead magnet placement and opt-in CR, what are some of the most important placements and design considerations? (i.e. pop up, exit popups, full-page popup, sidebar, etc). How much testing have you done around this?

We’ve ran extensive AB tests on this, both on our own site and our clients’, and without a doubt, the most high-performing lead magnets are those that are configured to show up according to specific behavior. While an exit pop up may work well on some audiences, on others, a slide-in pop up might work better. The key to success is triggering these pop-ups according to specific behavior on the site or page, the more segmented it is, the more relevant it will be to people. We’ve had pop-ups configured to cover an entire screen after someone had visited the site 4+ times, scrolled more than 70% of a page and viewed at least 3 pages in one session, these kinds of pop-ups appear at the best time to our visitors with the most relevant offer and drive many sign-ups.

After signing up for a lead magnet, users are often sent a series of emails as part of a drip campaign. What’s your advice to entrepreneurs who don’t yet have a drip campaign in place? What are some email sequences you’ve seen work well?

My best tip is to analyze all the emails you’ve ever sent to your audience and find the most high-converting emails you’ve sent. The ones that have the most click-through rate, the ones you’ve gotten the most feedback on and analyze them. What worked? Why did it work? What principles drive this email? Then you can create similar emails or even create a welcome sequence that’s assembled from your most successful emails.

Your end goal is to create an email sequence that connects with your prospects, builds relationships, and reminds people over and over again that you are a person/company worth listening to. Don’t be afraid to write long emails (some of my most successful emails are over 1000 words long), don’t be afraid to be yourself, use your own words, tone, and personality. Remember that it’s all about connecting and creating trust.

When it comes to A/B testing emails, what are some of the most important elements to test?

  • Subject lines – subject lines aren’t just about getting people to open your email, in some cases you’ll get less open rates but more CTR.
  • Content – experiment with the type of content you send: formal, vs. personal, many links in your email vs. just one, long-form email, vs. one paragraph, and so on.
  • Design – our go-to at GetUplift is plain-text emails, the ones that look as close as can be to a regular Gmail email. We strip those emails down to the basics and now and then add a gif… other than that, no design. It’s definitely worth testing!

In another one of your blog posts, you say that the magic behind sending emails that convert is to provide value. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you mean by this and provide some suggestions or examples?

Our inboxes are overflowing with offers. hundreds of emails hit our inbox weekly promoting some sort of offer or another. If you want to stand out in the crowded inbox and grab people’s attention so they open your email, you have to show them, it’s worth their while. Your goal is to provide the value your people subscribed for. When someone joins your email list, they’re doing it for a reason, for a promise you made, they’re doing it to solve a problem that you just convinced them you can help them with. Now you’ve got to prove it.

Sometimes that means offering a paid offer, yes. Your solution may very well be the best one to solve their problem, however in order for them to trust you, believe you and convert, they need to see that every single email you send is about them, their journey, and you keeping that promise.

Thank you greatly for taking the time to chat with the mailfloss email marketing blog readers today Talia. We really appreciate you taking the time. To our audience, if you’d like to learn more about Talia and the work she does, you can follow her on Twitter or head over to her website here.