How to Become a Conversion Optimization Specialist

Marketers who understand more than just strategy and can dig into the tactical details have a clear advantage. And with so much attention being directed at generating traffic these days—both with SEO and paid ads—there has never been a better time to supercharge your skills and become a conversion optimization specialist.

That’s the fancy title for the marketing pros who are dedicated to helping businesses convert more of their website traffic into leads and customers.

It can be a very lucrative career choice, whether you work for a marketing agency, in-house for one brand, or decide to go independent as a freelancer or consultant. The bottom line is that if you’re interested in the intersection of marketing, data, psychology, design, and copywriting, the world of conversion optimization might be the perfect fit for you.

Sounds good? Then keep reading, because below I’ve listed five tips that will help you become a conversion optimization specialist and grow your career.

1. Cultivate a love of learning

The world of digital marketing is constantly shifting in different directions due to new trends that pop up almost weekly. That means that even professional marketers with 10 or more years of experience are seeing new things today they’ve never seen before.

Some professionals curl up in the fetal position when this happens. The new trends get away from what they’re familiar with and they panic.

That panic can lead to some bonehead marketing moves because they didn’t take the time to research crucial information on things such as landing page optimization.

The best conversion optimization specialists are the ones who never stop learning. Even if the decisions they make originally fail, they learn from their mistakes and become better at their jobs because of it.

2. Get obsessed with testing

A significant portion of your career as a conversion optimization specialist is going to revolve around running tests. Most likely these will be A/B tests, but sometimes you’ll run more complex tests or conduct qualitative studies.

As a conversion optimization specialist, a pretty standard engagement would be something like this: A client comes to you with a problem—they’re getting lots of traffic to their landing page, but very few conversions. They want you to help them figure out what’s broken and how to fix it.

To kick things off, you’ll want to gather as much information and data as possible, and then most likely you’ll set up some tests. Maybe one of the first tests would be a simple A/B test to see if a new variant of their landing page can outperform their current champion page that isn’t converting as expected.

There’s obviously a lot more to this process than what I’ve just described, but the basic idea is the same. You’ll need to get very comfortable with all the different types of tests that you could deploy to help solve the client’s problem. That includes A/B tests, multivariate tests, user tests, performance tests, and more.

3. Become a T-shaped marketer

The best conversion optimization specialists are the ones that are well-versed in several critical areas. They might very well specialize in conversion optimization, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t familiar with SEO, paid ads, copywriting, design, analytics, branding, and related areas.

The more knowledge that you have on each aspect of marketing, the better you’ll be able to provide meaningful services to your company or clients.

For that reason, many companies will pay top dollar to hire a conversion optimization specialist who has experience in more than just one core discipline. Sometimes this is referred to as being “T-shaped,” since you would have a wide range of knowledge in several areas with deep expertise in one.

They also look for key skills in web development and programming, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I’m not saying you need to be a world-class developer, but by understanding the basics of how the web works, you’ll put yourself in a class far above other conversion optimizers.

4. Build solid processes

While no two engagements will ever be exactly the same, what you’ll notice over time as you work on multiple conversion optimization projects is that they often follow a very common theme: Someone has a problem with their website or landing page and they want you to fix it.

A variation of this theme is that maybe the website or landing page hasn’t been built or launched yet, and someone wants you to help ensure that when it does, it works as best as it can from the start.

Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to be process-focused as you approach every conversion optimization project. This means getting good at documenting your work. Asking the right questions. Becoming detail-oriented, and following checklists whenever possible.

The best conversion optimization specialists don’t just wing it; they follow a process.

5. Manage your time wisely

Being a person of so many different skill sets (such as coding, copywriting, etc.), the clients or company that you work for are going to demand a lot of you. Because they know that you can handle it.

Therefore, it’s always important for conversion optimization specialists to understand the necessity of time management.

How can you divvy up your work between several different projects that you have going on? What are some ways you can organize your day in order to knock them all out? How long will each project take? Which ones need to be completed before the rest?

When you throw in the complexity of A/B testing, time management becomes even more important, since you can only run a limited number of tests per month. You need to make every test count.

Some of this comes with experience. You won’t have mastered time management your first day on the job. However, as you continue working, you’ll get a better understanding of how to prioritize your time accordingly.

What’s next for conversion optimization specialists?

Now that you have some of my best tips if you decide to become a conversion optimization specialist, it’s important to look to the future and see what’s just over the horizon for this rapidly-evolving profession.

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly taking the marketing world by storm. From AI-driven copywriting bots to AI-driven testing platforms, this is going to affect all of us who are involved with conversion optimization.

But don’t worry, because there will always be a need for a smart, experienced human to guide these programs and work with clients and companies to maximize their usage. So no, we’re not going to be replaced by robots anytime soon.

For now, look at these tools as superpowers that will ultimately help you do your job as a conversion optimization specialist even better.

Good luck on this exciting career journey!

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