A central element of digital marketing is conversion rate optimization (CRO). CRO is the practice of improving customer experiences and journeys, so that visitors are more likely to complete a desired action (“convert”). Depending on what goal a company is focused on, the conversion could be completing a form, downloading a white paper, or making a purchase.
Have you been curious about CRO strategy, but not sure where to start? We’ve prepared a set of key books for getting started in the field of conversion rate optimization. No matter how experienced you are in marketing, it is essential to incorporate ongoing learning (and even rereading the basics with a more practical outlook). The field of CRO is ever changing and multifaceted, so many teams find it challenging to get a new program started.
These books can provide a good place to begin, especially when paired with experienced CRO experts like our team at Experiment Zone.
1. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
One of the first books you should pick up in this space is the Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug book. It’s a common sense approach to web usability, and it is a quick and easy read. This is a great book to start with if you’ve never really thought about usability and how to design a website. The examples are a little bit outdated in the first edition (check revised version here). We believe this book clearly conveys the concepts around don’t make your customers think: tell them what you do and make it obvious.
2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup is a really influential book for our team at Experiment Zone. Eric Ries drives philosophy to approaching a problem not with “I know the answer” but with “I know how to ask the question”. Once you have the question, you know what to do to find the answer. This philosophy makes a huge difference in the ability to think iteratively, get really curious, and experiment with everything you’re doing.
3. Making Websites Win by Dr. Karl Blanks & Ben Jesson
This book offers a comprehensive guide on how to make website design work in favor of the user experience. This book provides layers of information to a wide audience: web designers, user experience researchers, CRO specialists, digital marketers, and business owners who want to make their websites more effective. The book will teach you how to get started with optimizing your website, so that it performs better (and increases your conversion rate). You’ll learn about the importance of conversion rates, what they are and why they matter, as well as the different ways you can boost them.
4. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we’re making smart, rational choices. But are we? Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the hidden forces that shape our decisions. It’s about the human tendency to make irrational decisions and experimentations to explore human behavior in the marketplace, at work, in politics, and in everyday life. People tend to think that they are rational beings, but as you read this book, you will learn otherwise. This book is critical for CRO practitioners to think differently about what they expect visitors to do (and not do) on websites.
5. Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash, Rich Page, and Maura Ginty
Many marketers are looking for ways to increase their conversion rates (that’s why you’re here). Landing page optimization is a proven technique that can help you achieve this goal, and is a natural place for paid advertising driven businesses to focus. Landing pages are the first touchpoint for potential customers, and they need to be optimized for conversions. The book includes a lot of examples of successful landing pages, so you can see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll also get access to the Landing Page Optimization Toolkit, which will help you design, test, and finetune your own landing pages. It’s also an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about conversion optimization and the importance of testing different variations of your website or landing page.
6. Kill Your Conversion Killers by Joris Bryon (Free)
This is a great book we recommend for ecommerce entrepreneurs who want toget started with conversion optimization. After reading Kill your conversion Killers, you will be able to spot conversion killers at a glance, run A/B tests in a smart way, and exploit factors that influence how your customers buy from you. You will also identify certain areas for potential revenue growth by creating important tests.
7. Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy by Phil Barden
This book is an in-depth look at the science behind why we buy. Phil Barden has taken the latest findings in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics to create a compelling and readable account of how we make decisions. It’s a fascinating read if you are interested in understanding how advertising persuades customers to buy things we don’t need and how retail design makes your buyers spend more money.
Barden’s book is full of interesting insights about the human brain and why it is so easy for marketers to persuade people to buy things. He discusses what he calls “consumerism” - the idea that humans are constantly driven by our desire for more stuff - as well as some of the psychological reasons why this happens.
8. You Should Test That by Chris Goward
You Should Test That covers a wide range of topics from the basics of conversion to how to use A/B testing to create the best possible experience for your visitors and customers. The author, Chris Goward, is a conversion optimization expert, who has helped many companies grow their businesses by increasing conversions. He compiled proven strategies and tactics that will help you improve your website’s conversion rates.
9. A/B Testing: The Most Powerful Way To Turn Clicks Into Customers by Dan Siroker
A/B testing is a powerful tool to turn clicks into customers. This technique has been used for decades, and it has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to improve conversion rates.
This book by Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen will show you how A/B testing can be applied in different industries, from ecommerce (where the goal is to increase sales), to education (where the goal may be to increase student engagement or improve retention rates). More interestingly, it will also show you how A/B testing can be applied in your personal life and how it can help you achieve your goals faster and more reliably than any other strategy.
10. Website Optimization: An Hour a Day by Rich Page
Website Optimization: An Hour a Day is an excellent book that provides a step-by-step guide to optimizing your website and making it more search engine-friendly. It starts with the basics of SEO and then moves onto more advanced topics such as Google Analytics, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing, and email marketing. This book will help you understand what optimization is and how it can improve your website’s performance. The book will also show you how to identify and fix problems with page loading speed, site search, web forms, and more.
11. Call To Action by Bryan Eisenberg
The most important thing in marketing is the call to action. A call to action is an instruction that tells your reader what you want them to do next. There are many ways of doing this, but it’s always best when it’s clear and concise.
Creative copywriters use the techniques in this book to get you interested and excited about a product or service. Once you have your reader hooked, you need a good call to action for your readers to take the desired next step.
There are three types of calls-to-action:
- An instructional call-to-action tells you what to do in order to achieve a certain result.
- A persuasive call-to-action tells you why an action should be performed and why it will be worthwhile.
- An emotional call-to-action that appeals to your emotions and tries to bring excitement, happiness, sadness, etc.
12. Web Analytics: An Hour a Day by Arinash Kaushik
Arinash Kaushik, the author of Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, is an evangelist for analytics and data-driven decision making. Kaushik has worked on analytics and data science at Google, Yahoo, and other companies.
This book is written in an easy-to-understand manner that will help you understand how to use the power of web analytics to make better decisions about your business. It starts with the basics of web analytics and gradually moves into more advanced topics, presenting concrete examples and case studies that demonstrate how many companies have used analytics to make different marketing, design, and development decisions.
You will also learn how to use Google Analytics in great detail, including setting up goals, implementing advanced segments with zero coding, leveraging custom reports for deep insights, and much more.
13. Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers by Khalid Saleh
The conversion optimization process is an art and science. It consists of a series of steps that are repeated until the desired result is achieved.
The first step in the conversion optimization process is identifying the goals for your website. These goals should be measurable, so that you know when you have achieved them. The next step is to create a hypothesis, which is a guess about what will happen if you make changes to your website. You then run tests by implementing changes and measuring the results against your hypothesis to see if they work or not.
In this book, you will learn how to use conversion optimization techniques such as A/B testing, multivariate testing, and segmentation in your marketing campaigns. It will also show you how to create persuasive content that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers.
To achieve higher conversion rates (and happier customers), you can hone your skills by reading these books and performing countless experimentations. You also have an option to work with us - CRO experts - and let us do the heavy-lifting and learn from our decades of combined experience in the field. You can get started by scheduling a free consultation call with us today.