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About Talia Wolf. 

Talia Wolf

Talia is a conversion optimization expert that focuses optimizing websites and customer journeys using emotional targeting, consumer psychology and behavioral data to generate more revenues, leads, engagement and sales .

She is the Founder of Conversioner, a conversion optimization agency and Chief of growth at Banana Splash, a platform that helps every online marketer create the best mobile experience for their customers using real time personalized calls to action that convert.

Talia is a frequent speaker at Optimization conferences and was recently listed as one of the most influential voices in Conversion Optimization. You should  and listen to her speak at ConversionXL Live in Austin March 2016.

Alyssa Ruane Asks: 

I’d like to know a little bit about the emotional targeting approach and what’s been found most effective? 

alyssa ruane

Talia Wolf Answers:

My partners and I come from an offline marketing background as well as an online one, so utilizing emotional targeting in optimization was the natural step for us. At its essence, emotional targeting focuses on the customer – not the product. We test strategies that focus on the customer’s decision-making process and try to identify the emotional needs of our customers.

While most AB tests focus on optimizing elements (CTAs or headlines), the emotional targeting approach is about knowledge.  The problem with testing elements is that it’s almost impossible to learn anything. So what if a red button increased CTR or even revenues, do you know WHY?

I believe that AB testing is not about increasing one KPI, it’s about testing to understand your customer better and translating that knowledge into a better customer journey and product.

Our approach focuses on: Why customers buy products. If your answer is: I have great features and pricing you’re doing it wrong. Customers buy products on emotion – or as Belle Beth Cooper said, “We buy better versions of ourselves”. Which is why in order to truly increase revenues and optimize your site you have to run strategic tests and use emotional targeting to understand your customer better and grow your business.

Tia Kelly Asks:

I know what you specialize in CRO-wise, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the story of how you got interested in the first place. What did your career path look like and how did you make those job-change decisions along the way?

tia Kelly Unbounce

Talia Wolf Answers:

How I got started… so, once I finished studying I started working at a social media and PR firm. I worked there for 3.5 years and my job was to communicate with clients, create and run their media campaigns and build in-depth strategies for customers. I had a lot of fun and never stopped learning.

Very soon I noticed that most social media campaigns were measuring “likes” from Facebook. That made no sense to me because I wanted to drive sales. However, I figured I optimize my ads all the time so it was time to start making changes on my landing pages (without really knowing what I was doing) I was running “AB tests” via facebook/linkedin and twitter.

By the time I finished working there I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do, I just had no idea what it was called, so I started working with companies and advising them on “how to make more sales online”, running their campaigns and optimizing their funnels.

It was about a year later that my future partners contacted me and told me about their idea of doing CRO and it was then I decided I needed to do this full time. That was the start of Conversioner. As time went by I realized there was a huge problem with mobile web conversions. Our customers were seeing more and more traffic from mobile and their conversions were dropping, that’s when Banana Splash came to life.

I love my job. The biggest change for me was making the decision to partner up with my teammates. I was worried it wouldn’t work out and I didn’t really know what I was doing. But it was the best decision I ever made.

EJ Lawless Asks:

How did you decide on the emotional targeting approach? Did you try other methods first? What led you to it?

EJ Lawless

Talia Wolf Answers:

Definitely started where everyone did – testing tactics and elements. It was frustrating because even when we saw uplifts we weren’t really able to scale them and learn from them. That’s when we went back to old school methodologies and built our own one.

We still do test behavioral elements but we usually get to them either after running the first strategic test or right at the beginning, to test the waters and make sure everything is aligned with all the teams.

I believe that if you test smart you can change entire processes in the company,  from sales to customer service and even your hiring process. Once you know more about your customers you will know how to sell better and retain them.

Andra Baragan Asks:

I would be interested in knowing what are the steps you take when building the customer persona? I think this is vital to a good optimization process but I’m not sure how deep you can go with surveys and co.

Andra Baragan

Talia Wolf Answers:

In my opinion, building a customer persona is very important but it’s one part of many to create a better optimization process. For us, personas is a way of getting to know customer on a deeper level. Not just browser, age and geographical location but what they do for a living, what TV shows they watch and what their dreams are.

I wrote a detailed post on this and how to build a persona step-by-step: hope it’s helpful! Surveys and polls are definitely a part of it.

JC Cavanaugh Asks:

Do you feel segmenting visitors who have different needs and are at different stages in the buying cycle when they land on a homepage is important? If so, how do you accomplish this?

JC Cavanaugh

Talia Wolf Answers:

I definitely believe we can and must identify the specific needs of our customers and understand where they are in the purchase cycle in order to give them the best experience for their needs.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean just on the homepage. Different buyer intents and customers require different landing pages.

In order to know what flow your customers should go through you must identify their intent and know what step they are in the funnel.You can use Google Analytics to identify the behavior of customers and find the leaks in the funnel. Then. you’ll need to understand your customer better and start testing emotional triggers to identify how you can fix the issues and deliver the right flow.

You can also use personalization tools for addressing your customers with their expectations. Banana Splash (self-promoting here) does this with mobile traffic – helps you identify customer intent and supply them with the right CTA at the right time.

Mike Fiorillo Asks:

What is the optimal way to build a page that targets multiple personality types/information processing styles. E.g., logical and detail oriented decision makers might want a long page with in-depth information whereas others might be overwhelmed by that much detail.

Mike Fiorillo


Talia Wolf Answers:

You can’t really cater to ALL people on the same page and you shouldn’t try to. People who need a lot more information and time to convert will use your entire site to learn and make a decision whether you like it or not. If you have enough traffic you should strive to segment your traffic according to your different personas and supply dedicated landing pages. However, there are ways to address the four main buying modalities in one landing page and supply what most people need to get started.

You should check out Angie Schottmuller’s article to see how it can be done – great stuff!

Claire Vo Asks:

What in your B2B data has shown to be the more powerful emotional motivator—fear or greed?

Claire Vo

Talia Wolf Answers:

There are so many many emotional triggers within B2B purchases and usually, we see a combination of a few. There’s so much more pressure on people buying for a company than buying for themselves. Whether they’re worried about getting the whole team on board with a new tool or how their managers will react there’s a lot of pressure and worry.

I don’t think I can categorize it with just two main motivators but I will say that Trust is one of the most important parts of B2B landing pages and Social Proof. We actually just wrote an extensive blog post on B2B landing pages, you should check it out.

Alexander Richter Asks

What’s your most striking moment in your CRO career so far?

Alexander Richter

Talia Wolf Answers:

I think the thing I love the most about CRO and keeps striking me is that there are NO “rules” and best practices do NOT work at all times, which keeps me on my toes.

Just because it worked 100 times before does not mean it will work the 101th time. I’ve seen this over and over again in tests – “I know I’m right! Just reduce the amount of fields/have one CTA/<insert another well known best practice and you will see a huge uplift>” , nope. You should definitely test that. 🙂

Check out the rest of this great AMA at Test & Tell, a community devoted to Conversion Rate Optimization.

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