There quite a few things that I could say to describe Raphael Paulin-Daigle. “Prodigy child”, “marvelous”, but I won’t; you just have to read his story. The simplest entitlement I can give to him is, “The Youngest Conversion Optimization Expert”
To be honest, I wasn’t really familiar with his work until I stumbled upon his website. Oh, that bio! It really killed me. Obviously, this lad is smart but as you may have noticed in life, being smart is just a push. So, this lad has something that most people lack; Focus!
Raphael is a rising Conversion Rate Optimization expert (not like the other “experts” out there) and was kind enough to discuss with Evie Samouris his thoughts and insights on Conversion Rate Optimization and Drip Marketing.
Here’s What Raphael Had To Share With Us About Conversion Rate Optimization & Drip Marketing
Hi everyone, I am Evie Samouris, a senior Growth Hacker at GrowthRocks. Today we have Raphael Paulin-Daigle as our guest, an expert in drip marketing and conversion optimizations for SaaS companies.
He was previously a digital marketing consultant and also founded multiple startups from a very young age. Hi Raphael and thank you for taking the time to speak to us.
Hi Evi, thank you so much for having me here, super excited!
I want to know, and also from our readers, from a very young age, you have been light years ahead of any child when it comes to ambition and entrepreneurial spirit.
What triggered your passion for digital marketing and entrepreneurship at such a young age.
Yeah! So I can’t say I started digital marketing at five, because I don’t even think it was really a thing back then, but entrepreneurship however, it’s always an interesting question because I never really have the exact answer on where it all started.
But I think I’ve always been very in my own world, in a way where I’ve always wanted to create and invent, to build things for myself. My father is a real estate agent, so there is a little bit of business that comes from there, but I don’t think he was an agent when I was five, but it’s just the passion for creating, for doing things and seeing that I can basically, and I remember when I was five for example, I had like all of these toys in my backyard that I wasn’t using and I woke up at like in 6am one morning and I realised that “oh wow!
If I want to get that new toy I could sell those through maybe like a garage sale and then I will have the money to buy the other thing that I want.’’ That’s one of my earliest entrepreneurial experience that I can remember.
So I just took all those toys put them in front of my yard, went and stapled Garage sale posters, hand written or hard drawn I should say posters around the neighborhood. That pattern has repeated itself over the years you know I started a company.
Wow! About that, could you give us a little bit more about your background story, your first job, the first company that you founded, and what basically sparked your interest in conversion optimization process and practices.
Yeah absolutely. Well when I was building companies, one of my first real company to be honest, I was a magician. Kind out of the box, different, but I was doing birthday parties, festivals, events of all kinds.
And I’ve been that for a while, and now, there wasn’t a lot of, how can I say this, the magic part was very interesting and fascinating, but even more fascinating was the business side of the business and for me what I really liked doing in business side, was the marketing.
Dad, was always the case, you know I remember I was around eight years old and in my free time I would just open a word document and create a fictional marketing campaign for fictional companies that I eventually wanted to create, you know that was what I think I loved doing, creating fictional marketing campaigns and so on.
So I always knew that I wanted to be in the marketing career, but I don’t think that conversion rate optimization existed at the time. I mean it was pretty in the early days, probably like when Bryan Eisenberg invented almost the term of conversion rate optimization, but it always repeated itself where all the businesses, so this one, in the first company I was a magician and then I did a few other things like I launched an online magic store, which after two years I was too young to even think of running that.
How old were you?
I was I believe, eleven.
So at eleven years old, you thought of your own online company, online magic store basically, that is insane.
It was very scrappy, I mean Shopify wasn’t really, I don’t think Shopify existed back then or at least i didn’t know about it. It took me in a whole like nine months, I think it was build with maybe like Html from word, it was like crazy stuff, we were like adding popup buttons, it was really funny.
But it was one of the first things that I’ve done. I can’t say it skyrocketed because it didn’t, but it was still one of my first experiences in the online space, because I was so frustrated that I couldn’t build the business, I literally remember talking my parents all the time about like, “why can’t I like launch a hotel or like a real business’’ and they were like “you know you are still in school”, “yea but there has to be a way” and then I think I read a few articles on like how young people are launching companies on the internet and I was like “wait! I can do that too” and then I would just spent my summer and all my school nights working on that.
Yeah, so that is really how I got started. Now, after I launched my first real startup at a latter time, it was called Idealinput, it was basically a marketplace where small businesses could get just the right amount of feedback for your marketing materials.
So let’s say you were running a restaurant, and wanted one of your flyers reviewed, you could sent it to us and we could get a marketing expert to review it.
Now that started working but it could never actually scale. First it was unscalable, it was my first business so I didn’t know how to scale businesses, or how to even think if a business can scale.
Second it was mostly like little passive income, that took more time than it really should have taken. Now that’s kind through this company that I learned about conversion optimization.
It was a marketing company and you know I started reading and educating myself free on topic, because it was my first real experience in digital marketing and I was working also with these experts. And it just like, I don’t know what in conversion optimization got me so captivated, but I think it is due to the problem that when I launched that I couldn’t get any sign-ups on the website, and I didn’t get any sales and I was just so frustrated.
Now I know that the traffic was so low that it is not very strange that I did not get much sales. But as the traffic built up and my conversion rates were also very low and I was so frustrated and I thought maybe conversion was the problem.
Whereas it was actually a traffic problem. But I thought conversion was a problem so I spent so much time, days and days just reading and soaking all I could read on the topic and at the end of the day that’s what really caught my attention, I spent educating myself and trying to optimize the website and applying some of the learnings from what I’ve read on the website, than any other type of marketing, you know like I didn’t spend that much time on ads or SEO or anything else for that matter.
So that was like my first jump at conversion optimization, and now I did a few other companies than the one that I closed, I started consulting, but mostly general marketing, you know digital marketing.
And once again even though I was doing social media management for some, companies, I was helping build traffics and ads for other companies, conversion optimization was the thing that I had that I had the most interest into.
At the time I know Bryan Eisenberg also had like a course on conversion optimization, so I went through that. Pretty great, well at the time, I know now it would probably be updated and I think it was inevitable, but that was a good course at the time for me, when I was really starting to learn about it.
So now having that information, knowing how the processes work i was like “ok, well if I want to keep going that’s probably the way of doing it” I mean that’s what I realized I was really good at.
Well, you’ve got years of experience helping companies multiply the conversion rates. Can you give us an example of a case study where you implemented these practices and you had really great results and conversion rates and revenue.
Absolutely, and Evie you know I am pretty big on drip marketing too, so one of the cool case studies that kind of ties in with the drip marketing, any for people listening who do not know what drip marketing is, drip marketing is simply the nurturing step, so people sign up for mini course, or to download an ebook and then they get into your email funnel and then they get nurtured.
And one of the main reasons why I focus on the lead nurturing so much, and I talk that like I completely let all my attention on lead nurturing, not at all, it’s that it’s part of my optimization process where instead of just focusing on optimizing the webpage, I really want to look at the whole funnel and see you know there’s maybe a few increased sign-ups or maybe a general increase too, you know what happens up for a sign ups increase, is really all about making micro and macro conversions along the way and then when I identify a need for, ok there is a lack of nurturing which very often happens with SaaS companies, that is where I jump in.
So now back to your question, one of the cool things that I found, and this is because it is my highest conversion rates to date, so I really like sharing that little story, but I had this company, where they would do with your content marketing, guest blogging and so on you would have the landing pages, that would offer free mini course 5 or 7 day mini course and it would eventually nurture them into a trial for a software.
Now that landing page was the same landing page for pretty much all the websites, nothing special about the page to be honest. Not very clear what people were going to actually run through a mini course. And it didn’t have to write context, where people would flick, but when I created a landing page or we optimized websites, there was a huge research face, let’s say it is a full on website optimization, I spent almost a month doing the right research, finding the right words, the right customers, the right buckets you know, nailing down: ‘’Ok how can we really take the context and the real needs the thoughts of our ideal customers into action in our copyright, in our design too.
So by looking, by looking at these landing pages and by looking where the traffic was coming from. Did a few tweaks to the initial landing page but still got the 23% conversion rate on the clicks which was I mean ok, I mean for any website that would be pretty insane, but people knew they were going to the landing page for a mini-course, ok but definitely not what it could have been.
After finding these issues, we were like ok well landing page doesn’t, there is no link between the landing page and the blog post people suggest .
There is no context, there was not the same words, there was a lack of personalization of content.
So re-doing these landing pages by adding all the context and really tying into a bridge between the blog post, the learning the people just read, the traffic where it was coming from and translating that into the landing page for a hyper-personalized relevant experience.
The landing page was clear that boost the conversions from 22% to actually around 70-75%, which is still as I said like the highest converting landing page to date, but just because once people click that link to get to that landing page, they were, the frame of mind that they had, the contacts that they already had you know falls through to the landing page.
So that was, that’s definitely something that had a huge impact of acknowledging where people come from. And it also ties in with one of the things that I always say that is one of the most important things optimization where research is crucial, you know opinion doesn’t matter.
In research, you mean in terms of the product? in terms of your users? In terms of what, search engine optimization keyword so you can optimize a page? What do you mean by research?
So what I mean by research is real, I mean research is a big part of my whole processing and some of the parts were very based on the needs but basically where it starts is when you dive deep into the analytics.
Let’s say you look at full on website optimization, you dive deep into the analytics, you spend like over 24hours on just fur the initial the analysis, just to spot patterns or relations and so on.
But it also means you know running user surveys, running polls, doing customer interviews, really talking with your customers and seeing what they tell you.
Looking also at the user behavior, through mouse tracking, user testing and so on. In-depth …… a research process, and that typically takes like a month, and it gives you the insights, the wars, the real needs.
What needs to really be able to write copy for the person reading it. And also, it gives what are the elements that you should focus on, what are the biggest priorities.
In this case, but it also in what are you trying to optimize in number of sign ups, what are your biggest worries. So finding all the possible assumptions, doubts and so on, that’s a research process.
Evie: So in terms of conversion rate optimization, personally what tip would you give to the listeners, what would it be?
Raphael: I think the same thing here, do your research. You know I see so often people just read a few articles on the internet about conversion optimization, and you know this as well as I do, there are so many, you know hundred ways to increase your conversions. ‘’20 things you should do to boost sign-ups’’.
You know they are all tactics or things that work for others but maybe won’t work for you. So some people just think that “Ok wow! Changing the button colour”.
You know people say “Oh yeah! Change your button colour to green it is going to increase your conversion by 20%”.
It’s like one of the things “every company should try this”, and i actually see this very often like Facebook and so on and i just cringe, you know it’s like “No don’t do this please’’.
Number one is to do the research, first of all, the button colour probably does not matter, unless you are like a big big company and you have tested everything and you are reaching local max.
But I think do you research in terms, you know interviewing customers and surveys, send and use polls you know like Hotjar, is a fantastic and expensive tool.
An expensive tool that has many tools you know that you can use, although it is not my favourite for all the little, for like polls, Qualaroo has been better but for people who doesn’t do any research, just using Hotjar’s polls would be a big big jump.
You know it takes a time to diagnose what are the problems. Because opinions are opinions. One of the very concrete ways of seeing that, what people say and what people do are very, two completely different things.
When you do user testing, with any sort of user testing, you will notice what the person does on their screen recording. Ok, so when you see them struggle at certain places, you see all the issues that they encounter and sometimes it is very painful.
I’ve been in places where it is like people are trying to add information that the form doesn’t say, you know so many issues that could arise and you will notice them, but then at the end of the user testing, at the end of the recording i should say, they ask questions, and the answers to their questions, if we compare that, the answers to your questions that they answered, if you compare that up to actually what they actually did at the user recording, it’s completely absurd, it is really different.
I mean, I’ve seen people struggle like crazy trying to add information to a page or sign up and then after they figured it all out, they go on the questions for the user testing, they say everything was fine.
But it is very cool here and you can see that there was a lot of struggle, and you know that some element of your website could have been a huge point of drop-offs in weeks .
So just to say you know we human beings are extremely biased, and we have to dive deep because we often think that we know our problems or exactly what our customers are trying to do then you do the surveys and find completely different things.
That is actually quite puzzling if there are encountering certain issues, then why would they say everything is fine on the page when in fact it wasn’t. And that would give you bias uses and wouldn’t know what problem to fix.
Absolutely, absolutely, it is crazy you know. You watch these user recordings, those user sessions, the user testing videos and the session recordings and sometimes you really feel like “wow what are people doing?”.
It is indeed very puzzling. Sometimes you really feel like going in hell . But you are like “oh well I am guessing maybe i behave that way on the internet” you know when on some websites and think everything was fine just maybe because I was happy that at the end of the day I’ve been successful at achieving the action, if they didn’t achieve their action most of the time they will say it.
Let’s say they end up, they are able to sign up even though they had a few problems, no what is the reason for the difference in the answer and in behaviour, well human bias probably meeting the satisfaction with all the troubles they’ve been able endure and they achieved that. But you know it is a pretty interesting thing.
It’s quite interesting because, they would go through the struggle to sign up and they’ll tell you that it was fine, the experience is ok. But what would make them come back to the page again since they went through all the struggle? Why would they want to go back? It’s quite interesting.
I agree which actually shows, once again here the importance of like don’t just sent surveys, like surveys are important, and I mean surveys are very tricky. Most surveys that I encountered when I started working with clients, many of them were like “oh yeah! we run surveys” and i look at they surveys but it doesn’t provide any insights.
So one little tip when you actually create surveys. Always ask, when you create your questions, “how am i going to use this answer?” “what is it going to change?” ‘’What is it going to enable me to do’’ another little trait to use over thinking is that instead of asking why in your survey questions ask what.
Instead of asking like ‘’Why did you sign up?’’ it would be much better to go from a different angle and say “what made you sign up”. So just little tweaks like this make simple, makes a big difference in the quality of the answers, you are going to get in your surveys.
These surveys are important but it shows that it is very important to also watch people go through your websites. So use session recordings, use your casting, what people do and what people say, are two very different and distinct things.
This is really great. Thank you so much, Raphael! I want to ask one last thing. What are your insights for conversion rate optimization for 2016. Do you think there will be any additions in the existing processes or will there be some change?
Great, good question. So I think in terms of processes, most optimizers each have their own processes, i don’t think there like one general in some sort of way to research your prioritization, then you do your testing and so on.
But i think where the big change is going to be and where it’ll probably be started is where it will feel like and SEO and a pay per click, you know other parts of the digital marketing world. Everybody starts to become “experts” in those things.
One day they wake up and they decide “Ok this is what I do, I am a pay per click expert or a SEO expert”. And Search engine optimization is probably, you know everyone does search engine optimization, I see it that way.
If you look conversion optimization in the proper way, you know you think of the whole process and don’t just think of testing.
Now I think the major difference is that we’re going to see a rise in demand for conversion rate optimization which we’ve already seen. Companies are starting to notice and realise the need for conversion rate optimization, but we are also going to see a rise in supply.
But right now there is not tons of people compared to like Seo, but it is going to start to rise and i think the change here is that those “experts” aren’t really very versatile. We have our ways to stand out but i think, so for people who want to jump into conversion as an expert or as a consultant i think it would be important, more than ever before to showcase that you know what you are talking about. I think it going to be hard to just stand out for those who want to jump into conversion rate optimization.
Suits really being more bullish in terms of how you earn your processes because there is A/B testing, you know that is one thing but AB testing is not conversion rate optimization, it is just a little part of conversion rate optimization.
I think as companies are starting to educate themselves on what is the proper optimization, they see like all the right steps within the research process and they see what you need to do to properly increase your revenues, sign-ups, and conversion .
You know, just AB testing won’t cut it and they will start to realize that. So I think, now it’s clear what I want to say, I think the processes will become more important, are becoming more important,Those you warp the depth of processes, I think that’s where the results will show and probably would be close as good as those using processes, but I think companies really have to really focus on that and I think that is what companies are also starting to understand, so I hope that makes sense.
It makes sense.
Sometimes I feel like I’m into my own world!
Thank you so much, it’s really really great and everyone who is listening to us right now, Raphael has given us his expert advice on best practices.
If you want to increase your revenue or turn your website visitors to customers, this is great insight, Good luck to anyone out there and thank you, Raphael, so much, and have a nice day.
Apostle is a pure-blood Marketer. His job is to find a way when ostensibly there is none. Planning and executing A/B Tests, Email & Content Marketing along with alternative marketing techniques based on human psychology, all for the sake of customer success.