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  • Writer's pictureLairs Johnston

Analytical Infused Marketing and Optimization

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

When it comes to funnels there's always two questions in my mind:

What do they already know about my company?

What do they need to know in order to convert?

These questions can be answered through intentional testing and accurate data which can then be applied to any funnel meaning ads, landing pages, commercial, CTA, all of it. When these questions are answered your conversion costs go down and your conversions go up.

Landing Page

When COVID hit, I was tasked with redoing the UX/UI for Compassion International's homepage. Now historically I've done quite a few home pages and you rarely see a bump in conversion, traffic is too scattered to be able to be targeted and it's usually a catch all of all intentions.

Still, I was given a task and took a shot at it.

Here's the homepage before I edited it.

You'll notice right away there's an ask to sponsor. Right below that you'll notice another ask for sponsorship. To me, if someone is scrolling that means they're not ready to act and need new information (see two questions at the top). This to me is like asking someone to donate, they say no by scrolling, then immediately you ask them to donate again. Right below that CTA is yet another ask to sponsor. Three CTA's to sponsor in a row now followed by an ask to donate. No new information offered, no emotional stories, just straight ask after ask after ask. The homepage had 7 CTA's to donate/sponsor and one section that really gave a piece of the funnel.

Here's the homepage after working with a designer to update UX/UI.

You'll notice that it starts off with a CTA like the other one, but I did a lot of research to be able to make that amount tangible. Asking for a straight dollar amount will never convert as well as asking people to buy X number of food kits. I wanted to attach a purpose to their donation.

If they scrolled past that I moved them into the "Inform" part of the funnel. Giving them information about where their money goes and show a picture of a kid literally holding a food kit. Providing information and trust.

Once they scroll past this I'm ready to ask them to donate/sponsor again. When they scroll past this I move to another part of the funnel, the emotional piece. I share a "Brand" story, showing the emotion behind what Compassion does. It's important to note that I wrote up about a dozen social posts using compelling pictures and we used the most engaged one on the website. Using proven content in one space to create conversion in another.


Donations increased by 27% and sponsorships went up 91%.

These numbers were checked, double checked, and triple checked by the analytics team. At the end of the day simply applying the two questions above and analyzing a users experience changed the conversions by that much.

Take Over

Consumer websites (blogs) make their money off ad sales and traffic. This was the case for multiple websites that I was managing. The traffic becomes more valuable when it can generate leads as well as get more targeted.

For example having a targeted list of "women" only gets you so far. There's a TON of variables, you wouldn't target all women with an ad for diapers because only a percentage of them are moms. You wouldn't target them all with Louis Voutton because only a small percentage of them probably would be interested. The more specific you can get your lists the more valuable they are.

Enter in a take over.

It was the holiday season, we had multiple websites with female demographics but we needed to build up our email lists. Even more importantly, we needed some information on the leads in order to better inform us of how to target.

So I built a take over that asked two questions:

Should kids believe in Santa Clause?

A. Yes, an imagination is important

B. No, Jesus is the reason for the season

Second question was, "What's the greatest Christmas movie of all time?"

A. Elf, duh

B. White Christmas is a classic!

The final page of the pop up said, "Awesome! Now we know your taste and I think we have some content you're not going to want to miss! Make sure you enter your email below so you get all of our content made just for you."

These options were not only engaging but gave me information on the lead. If you're pro Santa Clause you're probably more progressive vs if you're more on the conservative side and answered Jesus is the reason for the season. Second question if you answered Elf you're probably 20's and 30's vs if you answered White Christmas you're probably more of an old soul.

Not only did this take over give us detailed information on the lead it brought in over 50,000 emails in one month.

This is an example of, here's a challenge, here's what we need and let's use our organic opportunities to retain people while learning something about them we can use later.

Organic Donations

Before jumping to paid ads, I like to maximize low hanging fruit and organic opportunities to learn, convert, and grow. At Compassion, the blog reached roughly a million page views a year but was never used as an opportunity for donations.

After some research I found a plug-in that would auto-populate on a dictated spot on every blog. This meant you didn't have to go to each blog to edit or change it, you changed one location and it populated across the site.

When COVID hit there was a massive need for donations to the food fund at Compassion International. I used the plug-in to create an ad the populated after every 7th paragraph across the blog. This ad, using organic traffic, brought in over $50,000 in donations and took me less than 10 minutes to make.

I even set it up so that you could change the ad depending on the contents of the article. If the article was about water you could make the ask a donation to the water fund. If it was an article on moms the ad would change to a donation request for the mother's fund. Tailoring the ask to match the content increases the conversion all while using literally free traffic to grow revenue.

I love marketing for two reasons, the first is that it changes every month forcing you to stay humble and be a learner. The second reason is that it's a world where analytical and creative thinking leads to outside the box answers that can change the market space.

Study. Create. Convert.


This is probably one of my favorite parts, the psychology of the demographic you're targeting. I love doing this from landing pages to ads to email marketing and then applying the results across the board to improve all numbers.

One particular situation that sticks out that really lights me up is a test I did on email marketing. This is a basic obvious test but the results taught me to always dig to understand the data and not just to jump to conclusions with the first numbers.

The Test

I wanted to see what name increased open rates at a pro-woman non profit.

The list was 100k emails. First I went for gender and did multiple tests, testing girls names vs guys. It might be easy to assume that a pro-woman company would obviously get a better open rate from a woman but assumptions are the enemy of results in marketing.

Woman names constantly won out after 3 tests (I did the test to the entire list to get the best results).

Okay now I wanted to see which female name performed the best. There were 3 girls on the team so we decided to use their names:




The open rate, which can be an important KPI, went as follows:

Abby 27%

Marcie 17%

Brenna 26%

It would easy to assume, and most organizations would, that Abby is the winner and that you should use her name from here until eternity. But then I dug into the secondary numbers, the click through rate.

Now keep in mind in order for the test to be accurate EVERY email has to be exactly the same except for the from name. Same content, same subject lines, everything. Too many variables and you won't know what to credit. Now, knowing the open rates most people would have stopped there but I dug into the click through rates and found the following:

Abby 4%

Marcie 3%

Brenna 7%

For the exact same content for whatever reason twice as many people clicked in the email when they saw the name Brenna vs when they say the name Abby. This means:

33k emails were sent from Abby, 9k people opened it, and 360 people clicked on a CTA.

33k emails were sent from Brenna, 8,666 people opened it, and 606 people clicked on a CTA.

If I had simply gone with open rate I would have cut my click throughs in half.

This is why I absolutely love marketing. It takes humility, psychology, and a creative analytical mind to translate the data to build out funnels that convert. Reading marketing books is great, following blogs is great, but nothing replaces doing your own work and creating your own statistics!

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