What is Conversion Rate Optimisation and why does your attraction need to know about it with Matt Scaysbrook

In this Skip the Queue podcast episode I speak with Matt Scaysbrook, Founder of  WeTeachCRO.

Matt Scaysbrook, Founder & Director of Optimisation at WeTeachCRO, a specialist Conversion Rate Optimisation agency working with enterprise-level clients such as GoDaddy, Nando’s & Sage.

“If you’re going to solve some of those challenges that you’ve got, it is the ‘why’ that will help you to solve them. So my recommendation on this stuff is, use your quantitative, use your numbers to identify those areas. Then once those areas have been identified, then go to your qualitative tools and investigate those more closely.”

What will you learn from this podcast?

  • What Conversion Rate Optimisation is
  • Why it’s so very important for your attraction’s website
  •  The 3 most important metrics to track

To listen to the full podcast, search Skip The Queue on iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify to subscribe. You can find links to every episode and more at www.rubbercheese.com/podcast.

You can also read the full transcript below.

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The interview

Your host, Kelly Molson

Our guest, Matt Scaysbrook



Kelly Molson: Matt, it’s so nice to have you on the podcast today. Thanks for joining me. We start off with our little icebreaker question. So I want to know, what are your hobbies outside of work?

Matt Scaysbrook: Not as many as I had back when I was a salaried employee. Rugby is the main one.

Kelly Molson: You play?

Matt Scaysbrook: Yes. Yeah, I still play. There will come a point where physically, I can’t do it anymore, but I haven’t reached that point yet. So my wife has reconciled to the fact that I will continue to play until such time come.

Kelly Molson: Until there is a broken bone that you decide is taking too long to heal and that’s it.

Matt Scaysbrook: Well, yeah. I mean, you can come back from broken bones. It’s more of, that I physically can’t get out of bed on a Sunday morning. I’ve noticed post-30, it does… Like the recovery speed is definitely not what it used to be.

Kelly Molson: Mate, wait until you’re post-40 and then you’ll [inaudible 00:01:25]. All right. What’s your favourite all time movie?

Matt Scaysbrook: Oh, that’s a difficult one. I’ll probably go, Gladiator.

Kelly Molson: Oh, good choice. Good choice.

Matt Scaysbrook: There a lot that are at that level, but probably Gladiator. I’ve seen it God knows how many times. Maybe 25, 30.

Kelly Molson: I bet you know the words as well.

Matt Scaysbrook: I know quite a lot of them. Yeah, which is one of the reasons why I always have to watch it on my own if I’m going to watch it, because otherwise, I annoy everyone else in the room because I do know what’s coming.

Kelly Molson: All right. If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Matt Scaysbrook: Probably… It’s really sad.

Kelly Molson: It’s a tough choice.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. I’d probably just have burger and chips. Well, when I say chips, sweet potato fries.

Kelly Molson: It’s quite specific.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. It’s quite specific and there would have to be cheese and bacon in the burger with a bit of barbecue sauce. I don’t think it would be good for me to eat that every day of my life.

Kelly Molson: Well, that’d end your rugby career.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. Pretty rapidly, I imagine. Yeah.

Kelly Molson: All right. And what is your unpopular opinion?

Matt Scaysbrook: Oh God, I’ve got loads of… I got thousands of unpopular opinions.

Kelly Molson: I love loads.

Matt Scaysbrook: I guess I’ll use one from agency world. So from my experience, and I coach a number of other agency owners as well, and what I have found is that the principal problem in most agencies is the person who runs it.

Kelly Molson: Oh, well, I have to agree with that. Being an agency owner who runs an agency, I’ll definitely say yes, tick.

Matt Scaysbrook: 95% probably of the problems, the things that we’re dealing with in our businesses, we caused either consciously or unconsciously. Unfortunately, generally speaking, we are the problem.

Kelly Molson: Yeah. I mean, there will be other agency owners listening to this and I’m pretty sure they’ll agree with you. So I’m not sure how unpopular that opinion is going to be, but thank you for sharing.

Matt Scaysbrook: Well, I’ve told people in the past and it’s been great. Oh, well, I’m doing my best for those. I’m not having to go. I’m just stating a fact that [crosstalk 00:03:20].

Kelly Molson: We’re all doing our best, but it’s still us.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: All right. Okay. So before Christmas, the lovely team at Kallaway, who we’ve had on as a guest previously, invited me to present a webinar. And the webinar was titled, “Why your website isn’t selling enough tickets and how to fix it“. And I will pop the link to this in the show notes, if you haven’t been able to catch up on that recording, and then you can watch it for yourselves.

But the main focus of the webinar was around cart abandonment and why it happens and what can be done to avoid it. And I touched on a process that we use internally called Conversion Rate Optimisation, or CRO for short. And I thought it’d be really great to have a dedicated CRO expert on the show to discuss this in a bit more depth, because although it’s a process that we use, it’s not what we specialise in as an agency. And this is what Matt’s agency, WeTeachCRO, specialises in, that’s what you do, isn’t it?

Matt Scaysbrook: It’s the only thing we do. Yeah.

Kelly Molson: So Matt is a great person to come on and talk to us about it. And the relevancy of this to the attraction sector is, there’s lots of things that you can do to improve your booking process. And CRO is a process that we would use to go through and make those improvements. So they’re some of the things that we want to talk about today. But Matt, big question, what is CRO? What is conversion rate optimisation?

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. So one of the things that just about everyone in the CRO industry agrees is that CRO is a terrible description of what it actually is. Obviously, the words conversion rate optimisation suggests that it’s all about that. How do you get the most number of people through that process?

For the vast majority of businesses, there is a balance that needs to be struck there between effectively the revenue that’s generated through that process and the number of people who do it. So it’s always a balance between what the conversion rate is of a process and the average order value or average booking value. Are people adding extras, q-jumps, et cetera, into that?

We always liken it to a bell curve, I guess. At one end, you’ve got an absolute total conversion rate, 100%. The only way you will ever achieve that is if you gave everything away for free. And even then, you’d probably have some people who are suspicious of it. But if you assume at one end, you’d have to give everything away free to have a perfect conversion rate, that makes you no money whatsoever.

At the complete opposite end of that bell curve, there is absolute perfect order value or booking value, that is obviously an infinite number and therefore impossible. What you are trying to get to is the point in that bell curve in the middle, where you’ve got a balance between the number of visitors coming through and booking and the average value of that booking. So you’re just trying to move that needle left and right to get the right balance between the two.

Kelly Molson: Talk us through a little bit about what you do at your agency then, what you do for your clients.

Matt Scaysbrook: I guess where you start always has to be about the people that you are trying to influence. One of the most common mistakes in our industry is that people spend too much time looking at numbers and go, “Oh, we need to move that rate.” Or, “We need to move this rate.” It’s like, no, you don’t. What you need to do is change how people act and what decisions that they will make.

So the sooner you start thinking about those people, their concerns, especially the objections that they’re going to have to following something through, the sooner you can do that, the more effective any of your optimisations will be. For us, the vast majority of those optimisations are done in the form of a test, usually in AB tests.

So where you have the current version of the page tested against a new version of the page. If you’ve ever done any sort of user testing with new elements for the site, similar principle, the difference being that number one, these people don’t know they’re being tested against.

Number two is scale. Obviously, user testing is hugely valuable, but the total number of people you can talk to is limited because per person is expensive. So if you can run that onsite, you can do it a much greater scale.

And the last part is that rather than someone in user testing, who’s usually being paid for their opinion, visitors that you are testing in this way, they’re voting with their own money. I have seen too many times over the years, user testing that presents a certain picture and says, “Oh, okay, this is what our visitors want.”

When you put it at a grander scale where people don’t know that they’re being tested against, they do something different. So it’s getting a balance between those two things, user testings, brilliant for a depth of insight. But if you want to look at, can that be applied more broadly running something at scale on the site itself is a great way to work that out.

Kelly Molson: So I’m going to get you in a minute to talk through a case study that you’ve worked on for Nando’s, which I think is really… Although it’s hospitality, food and drink, it’s really relevant to what we talk about a lot from the attraction sector. So some of the things that we at Rubber Cheese talk about all the time is, can visitors find what they’re looking for?

So essentially, what we are trying to do is funnel users through the right places on a website. So can they find what they’re looking for? So essentially, if you are an attraction, your number one objective is to sell tickets. So can they actually find the area to sell the tickets? Is that simple enough to see? Can they follow a simple journey from entering your site to actually purchasing the ticket? Do they understand what the next step is to take? Are you confusing them with multiple calls to action?

So all of these questions and what we are asking our users over and over and over again. Can they find their opening times? The prices, how is it big? Is your booking system integrated? Does it pop them off somewhere else, which is again, causing them a distraction.

And the process that you’ve been through for the Nando’s case study is very, very similar to the things that we talk about. So I wondered if you could talk us through what you did for them and the improvements that you made and how that affected that booking journey.

Matt Scaysbrook: So we’ve worked with Nando’s for almost three and a half years now, when we first started working with them, they didn’t have an online ordering process at all. And we came on board because they knew they were working towards that launch and we came on board so that once it was live, they would have a means of constant improvement and iteration to it.

And there’s been a huge number of changes, obviously in that industry, over the course of the last few years and online ordering has become… It’s no longer like the poor cousin, I guess, to bricks and mortar. So with Nando’s, this is one that did start with some user testing that they did. They sat down with a group of users and found that the order process, particularly on mobile, was… The word cumbersome came up quite frequently.

 And it wasn’t something that the guys in Nando’s didn’t know. They knew that bit already, but it’s one of those challenges of getting what is effectively a large offline menu, which is, I guess A3, folded out double-sided A3. You’ve then got to get that on a screen that’s seven or eight inches. It’s a challenge in itself.

What that user research flagged up was that it was just moving through the different sections of that menu. You constantly had to go backwards and forwards. So if you clicked into Peri-Peri Chicken, for example, you couldn’t then immediately jump to say burgers, pizzas and wraps. This is where you realise how sad I am, how much the Nando’s menu I know, but we won’t talk about that. But it’s constant back and forward.

As you mentioned a moment ago, about a process that can be followed, virtually, no one wants to go back and forward. People do not like going backwards or do not like feeling like they’re going backwards. So we knew that the current navigation and the menu selection was not as good as it could be.

The bigger question was, how do we improve it? Because it is to some extent, like I said, a menu of that size being dealt with on a screen that small, it is going to be reasonably cumbersome to some extent, but we were adamant that there had to be a better way of doing this.

So the first time around, the first test that we ran on this, rather than making a visit, jump backwards and forwards, we put a menu across the top of the screen, which was scrollable. So instead of scrolling up and down, you could scroll left and right across this menu. There were a couple of challenges with that.

Matt Scaysbrook: Firstly, the width of the element that you would have to tap on to get there was dictated by the length of the title of that section of the menu. So it is inherently inconsistent with itself. It’s not particularly visually appealing and also it isn’t something that’s all that commonly used. And what we found, having run that as a test, is that more people use the navigation in that format, in that side scroll, the problem was that fewer people actually went on to buy.

So as with a lot of tests, there are two core things that most clients are trying to get out of it. The first one is I guess, some sort of commercial benefit, but the other one, which should be viewed at least, at least as important, if not more important, is why. Why have we got the results that we have?

So what we found from this one has said, more people would use the menu now than they did before is their means of navigating through, but they actually viewed fewer sections of the menu in total. So that tells us two things. One from a data perspective, they absolutely must have been clicking on the same things multiple times. So again, that behaviour that we were trying to avoid with people having to go backwards and forwards, we hadn’t solved it at all.

And the reason that that impacted on revenue was that what we found is that visitors do a fair amount of impulse purchasing. So if you led them through a process, they would be like… They wouldn’t consider an item until they saw it. And then they saw it and like, “Yeah, you know what? Yeah, I am going to get some ice cream. Why not?”

Matt Scaysbrook: I guess similar in a booking journey, if somebody doesn’t know that you could buy a season pass for 50% more than the one-day ticket, well, they aren’t going to buy it, are they? Because they don’t know they exist. They’re not against the idea. They just didn’t realise the idea was even an option.

So it seems odd to use a case study where a test that we ran that results in effectively a negative outcome, but what you will find if you run tests frequently is, that is often the case. If we knew all of the answers, we just make changes. I wouldn’t run a business that prizes itself on testing. I’d also be a billionaire by now if I was always right about stuff.

So the key thing is what do you do when the test doesn’t win? And that’s where the learning element comes in because saying, “Yes, this is better because it makes more money,” is great when it wins. When it doesn’t, you need to understand why, so that you can look at, okay, well, what do we do next? So we sat down with this one, and I’ll be honest, myself, the team here, the client as well, we all thought this would win. And it didn’t. So we sat down to understand, okay, why do we think that is?

Effectively, what we came to is that we’re over-engineering this entirely. One of the problems with the existing menu is that it was not the way that most other menus work. So we invented another menu that was different to the way that most menus work. It was technically more complicated, but it wasn’t easier to use. So the next iteration of that test introduced effectively a burger menu. You just tapped on it and it opened with all of the elements that you need.

Kelly Molson: So for anyone listening that doesn’t understand why we’re talking about burgers, a burger menu is a little icon that’s used on websites or apps. And when you click it, it opens the navigation or like a little side menu. It kind of looks like a burger, so we call it a burger menu.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. And is it as visually appealing as the side scroll? No. And there were some members of the wider organisation at Nando’s who weren’t entirely happy with it visually, and understandably, it’s a bit dull. And Nando’s as a brand is anything but dull. But they allowed us to test it.

So instead of this big side scroll, just had a burger menu, three lines, the word menu, and there you could go. So we ran that and navigation usage increased again, but this time the conversion and the revenue uplift came with it too. And I think therein lies, I guess the value of testing is that as good an idea as you think you’ve got, there is at least a 50% chance you’re wrong. It’ll make a positive improvement.

Whenever you make those changes without testing them, you are effectively assuming the risk there for yourself straight away. If it tanks, and it might, how are you going to back it out? How quickly can you back it out?

If you are running a test, I tell you how quick it is to stop. About five seconds. You open whatever platform you’re on the test and you hit stop. And that is, I guess, the side of CRO that people don’t necessarily… And it doesn’t necessarily come to mind first and foremost, they think of it as a way of helping their site to make more money.

The bit they overlook is its ability to help them manage risk. And the bigger a business is, the more you have to lose if you get things wrong. There is a phrase that I’ve used repeatedly over the last almost two years, I think after coining it in, it was in the middle of a webinar that I was doing.

And it was DAB, DAP, which is design and build, deploy and pray. Because for the vast majority of changes two-way website, that is how it’s done. There is a design phase. There is a build phase. It goes live and everyone crosses their fingers and hopes it works. That introduces a certain level of risk.

Kelly Molson: I mean, Matt, I’m not going to agree with you there. There’s still the testing that goes through on our part before we launch. But no, I hear what you’re saying. So all the will in the world, we can do all the testing internally. We can do all the testing externally, but essentially, when you release something to the world and you have thousands of people using it, problems are going to come up that you just haven’t been able to come across throughout that testing process.

It’s really interesting what you were saying about the solution that looked beautiful but didn’t work that well. And I think that’s something that we are always really acutely aware of when we were designing things because let’s face it, everybody wants their site to look great. We work with attractions. The sites have to encompass the feeling that you’re going to get at that attraction before you’ve got there.

We always say “The fun starts from the first click” and they have to give the perception of what it’s going to be like, if your attraction’s really exciting, your website has to be really exciting. And sometimes attraction websites can look really fun, but work really badly.

So that’s something that we are really aware of all the time when we are designing, is that you have to go sometimes from like a desktop solution that does look really beautiful down to how does that translate to mobile? How is that actually going to work at, like you say, like six or seven inches screen width? Can we still make it functional and beautiful? Or are we going to have to make some compromises there? And testing is the only way to know whether you’ve got that right or not.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. I think one of the things that comes up a lot with that is basic common UI elements. I have seen so many sites over the years that have gone, “You know what? We’re not going to make a button a button because we want to be edgy.” And it’s like, yeah, but people understand buttons, they are drawn to them because they understand that it is usually a step forwards.

Same as the example of the burger menu for Nando’s is that, it isn’t flash and you’re not going to win any design awards for it, but you will sell more stuff. Therefore, we can iterate from there on and go, “Okay, is there a way that we can make that same function, but in a prettier and more visually appealing way?

But if for overall that time you are benefiting from the extra conversion value of something that just works that people understand, you’re effectively then helping to pay for the extra iterations that you want to do again in future.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, absolutely. Matt, I am going to try and pronounce some words here that I always get a bit tongue-tied with. So forgive me, but quantitative and qualitative, did I get that right?

Matt Scaysbrook: You did.

Kelly Molson: Well done me.

Matt Scaysbrook: I have to say them the exact same way you do. Very slowly, syllable by syllable.

Kelly Molson: I’m glad this is being recorded for prosperity. Look, I know that when you are going through your processes, you are looking at both of those options. Explain what the difference is and why they’re both equally important.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. So quantitative, that is numbers-based stuff. So for the vast majority of sites that comes through Google Analytics, that is those what most people use, what it is presenting to you is effectively a count. A count of X number of people did this, these things or X number of sessions or this action take place, but that’s all it is. It’s just numbers. And obviously, it’s always backwards-looking as well. It’s what they did do. It isn’t what they’re going to do.

On the qualitative side, this is basically data that isn’t just numbers. And it comes in a lot of different forms. So heat maps, so for where people click, where their mouse is, how long, certain elements of the screen are in view on a particular page, how far down a page they scroll, that’s one element of it. Session recordings, where you can watch how a visitor interacted with a particular site or a particular page.

And then you’ve got the other, I guess the complete opposite end from the numbers, where you’ve got feedback. So verbatim feedback from surveys that run onsite and offsite, your user research as well comes into that. So there’s a lot of things that qualitative covers and the best description of it is it isn’t just numbers.

Kelly Molson: It’s description.

Matt Scaysbrook: It’s description, it’s not the other one, basically. Why does it matter? So if you’re looking to identify areas of improvement, it is easiest to do that from a numerical base. Comparing numbers is a lot faster than comparing 100 survey responses. Numbers are simpler to do that with. The problem with them is that they only really tell you what occurred. They give you a very limited view on why, and if you’re going to solve some of those challenges that you’ve got, it is the why that will help you to solve them.

And that’s where the qualitative side comes in. So my recommendation on this stuff is that, use your quantitative, use your numbers to identify those areas. Then once those areas have been identified, then go to your qualitative tools and investigate those more closely.

If you go into Hotjar, as an example, as a qualitative tool, if you go into that, searching for problems to identify, you will lose days, weeks, months of your life, because it is not designed to do that at scale. It is great if you have a specific question or set of questions that you’re trying to ask. It is not really there for, call it high volume discovery.

So one is good for telling you what happened and identifying areas where improvements could be made. The other one is a lot better at understanding, okay, well, why aren’t people getting from point A to point B? And therefore, is a key part informing, okay, well, how are we going to execute that page or that process differently in order to see a change in the quantitative?

Kelly Molson: Yeah. So to be able to make real improvements, you have to take a holistic approach. You can’t just rely on one or the other. And obviously, there’s nothing better than getting people in a room and actually watching what they’re doing as well while they’re using the site too. This might be a difficult question to ask because I’m sure there are different answers to this question depending on when you ask them. But what do you think are some of the most important metrics that attractions should be tracking?

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. So what you tend to find is that if you ask someone about their key metrics, they’ll tell you what their conversion rate is globally across the site. And they will tell you what their average booking value is. Those are great as a report to the board, but they’re borderline useless in helping you to advance the site yourself. I have worked with clients who have a conversion rate of 0.5% who are very happy with it.

And I’ve worked with some who’ve got a conversion rate of 8 or 9% and are disappointed. There is not a rate that is good or a rate that is bad. Also, there are so many different types of people, different types of visits in those global metrics. They’re basically a mess. You’re not going to get actionable stuff out of going, “Well, our site conversion rate is 3%.”

So whenever we look at a site, and this applies to eCommerce the same that it applies to attractions or to ordering of food, is that you break the site down into effectively three blocks. Out of every visitor who comes to the site, how many of them bounce? How many of them see one page and nothing else? There are two types of bounce, but basically, there’s hard bounce and soft. Hard is hits page, does nothing and leaves.

Soft is, comes to the page, reads 50%, 75% of that page, and then leaves. By default, they’ll track the same, unless you do some additions, but obviously, that experience is entirely different. Hence why you want to know the difference. So first one is bounce rate. If that is super high, you are losing your opportunity right there and then to ever sell to those people.

Matt Scaysbrook: Landing page, job number one, keep people on site. So if you’ve got a rate there that is particularly high, that’s probably the first place you’re going to look. A lot of the time is, what’s happening offsite? How are you linking people to that site? Is it advertising that you’re doing? If so, the two need to marry up. What someone’s being advertised and what is on the landing page?

So it’s bounce rate is the first one. Then we look at, of everyone who does not bounce, what percentage then add to basket? And again, that applies the same way, regardless of whether you’re talking about physical items or digital items, or even the ordering of food, is how many people actually add something into the basket?

The reason for that is, basically, is it the process for the checkout, that is part of your challenge or not? How are you explaining effectively the product value and at least enough that somebody is confident to make one of the first decisions they need to make, which is “Yes, that’s the one I’m interested in”. So non-bouncing people to add to basket, that’s the next rate that we look at. And then it’s, of everyone who adds to basket, what percentage then go on to buy? So that obviously is looking at how your checkout process works out.

So we split those three up, identify which of those we believe to be the biggest challenge. And then you want to take whichever one you’ve picked and split that down again. So I’ll give you an example from one we did recently, eCommerce client, their belief was that their checkout process was too long and that was what was negatively impacting their conversion rate. And now, okay, their checkout process was quite long.

I think it was seven steps, which is probably a little excessive. But what we found once we broke that process down is that actually, they lost over 50% of people in the first step to the second, the rest from there on it was pretty good. It was actually really good.

Kelly Molson: And this is at the checkout process, the first step of-

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: Alright. Okay.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. So from the basket page itself to the next step was a log in step. They lost most people in that block.

Kelly Molson: Was that because they made people log in?

Matt Scaysbrook: No. The problem was people weren’t even getting to that log in step. So that tells you a lot. What we then did, as I mentioned earlier, we then went to look at the qualitative stuff. What are people on that page doing? And what we found was that you saw video after video, after video, of people going back to the main site from the basket page and looking at either alternatives for the product that was in their basket, or at the product that was in their basket, to read more information about it.

It’s like, okay, these people have zero confidence in what they’ve put in that basket. They thought, “Oh, I’m going to add it”. But then when it came to the next point of, “Yeah, okay. I’m going to move through this process,” they weren’t sure.

It’s like, okay, how do we reassure people that this brand is one that they can trust, that this process is one that they can trust? What are the things they’re going to be thinking about? When am I going to get it? What if I don’t like it? All of those objections that you need to handle.

I think you mentioned earlier, Kelly, about how people got all the information they need. And it’s like, we all buy stuff online, we all book events and attractions and the such like online, so what questions do we ask ourselves? What if I can’t go that day? What if I want to move my ticket to another day because it’s hammering it down with rain and I don’t want to get wet?

All of the things that you would ask, that’s what thousands of other people are asking. And you need to, I guess, to think about, when are those questions going to get raised? The basket step is quite a common one because it’s the move from… The brain has moved on from product selection and it’s now on effectively the buying element of it. So the kinds of questions that you need to ask are then different. It was a really long explanation, wasn’t it?

Kelly Molson: Yeah. But it was a really perfect explanation of why it’s so important to do the qualitative and the quantitative testing. It’s a really very clear example because obviously, that client had made a massive assumption about what they thought the problem was. But actually, without doing those two testing processes, you would never have found the actual correct answer as well. I love that, it’s such a good example. Thank you.

Okay. So being a CROer, you need a lot of different skills, don’t you? So I’m guessing that in your team, you’ve got strategists, you’ve got data people, you’ve got designers as well. What skills do you need to be a CROer?

Matt Scaysbrook: So we actually have a model for this, which probably tells you how sad I am. But we have a model called CATSPA. So it’s split into two halves, CAT and SPA. So CAT is skill areas that you have to have, so it’s creative, analytical, technical. I guess every single person who does this work is better at one of those three than the others, and they’re weaker at one of those three than the others.

So for me, analytical is my strength, always has been. My technical skills are pretty good, years of practice didn’t have them when I started doing this work. I’m not particularly good with pictures though. I am not a classic creative person.

Kelly Molson: That’s where I come in. I’m the designer to your analytical skills.

Matt Scaysbrook: Yeah. Exactly. There are other members of my team who are creatively very, very good, technically strong, analytical, not as good. We all have those strengths and weaknesses, but the role sits so perfectly on that, on the cusp of those three, that you can’t be useless at any of them, I guess. And then the SPA element of it, that is we call those the sub-roles of the job.

So you’re effectively a subject matter expert, but for a client, you are also their project manager and to some extent, their account manager as well. Our work is very collaborative. We speak to most clients most days in some form or other, be it on call or Slack or emails, whatever it is. So it isn’t an easy thing to get into. You have to want to practice all of those things.

And so when we take on someone new, the time to getting them up to speed is pretty long. But if you can master things that are creative, analytical, and technical, and talk to people for whom those things are specialisms, can you converse with developers? Can you converse with analysts? Can you converse with designers? If you can do that, pretty much any job that our guys may go into in future, they’ll be good at it, because they can speak the language of three different people. And that makes a massive difference.

Kelly Molson: Oh God, doesn’t it? So considering that to have the skills to do this well, it’s quite rare to be pretty good at all of those things, I would say. So that’s quite a hard person. You need to fit someone to quite a difficult mold. Can our listeners start to do this process themselves?

Because I guess our listeners vary from huge attractions, thousands and thousands of people through the day to down to some quite small museums who might have a very stripped back team but still need to be able to look and analyse their site and understand how it’s working. Can people do this? Can they do this themselves?

Matt Scaysbrook: They can. One of the things that you have to believe in if you do this work, is that whatever you are doing today is not as good as it could be. And that goes for ourselves as well. What I know about my industry now, versus when I started my agency five years ago is massive. The only way to improve is to accept that today’s you is not the best version that it could be. And the only way that those improvements will happen is if you try things.

The very core of testing is accepting that improvement is out there, but you’ll make some planners along the way before you get there. We actually wrote, few months back, we published a guide, which is for that exact purpose, which is okay, you can do this yourself. Here are some of…

I can’t remember how many questions they’re in it now. I think it’s like 51, is basically 50 odd questions that every experienced CRO person has asked at some point. Because what I know about the industry and its practice, I didn’t read a book. I’ll tell you that. I spoke to a lot of other people who gave me their time and their input to answer, at the time, what probably seemed like quite dumb questions, but we’re all built on the back of other people’s selfless efforts, I guess.

So they absolutely can do it themselves. There are free tools available to help you start running tests. What I would recommend is that you do do some reading about it. I can give you the link to our guide afterwards, Kelly, and-

Kelly Molson: I already have it, Matt.

Matt Scaysbrook: Oh, you already got it. Okay.

Kelly Molson: I have already prepared for the show notes.

Matt Scaysbrook: Oh yeah. You’ve actually downloaded it, haven’t you?

Kelly Molson: I have downloaded it. It’s called 52 Questions Every Experienced CRO Once Had To Ask Because We All Started Where You Are Now. It’s a brilliant book actually. I’ve learnt a lot from it and we’ll pop the link to this book in the show notes. So if you are thinking of looking at this process, this is a really, really great place to start.

Matt Scaysbrook: Laura, our marketeer, will shoot me for not remembering the name.

Kelly Molson: Don’t worry about it, this is what I’m here for. I prepared. No, I do highly recommend it. So I’ve learned so much from having a look through this booklet. And like Matt says, it’s a really great place to start. And in it, you do actually recommend some of the best tools to use, which are free or some that will then start to incur costs as well.

Brilliant. Matt, thank you. I have really enjoyed having you on to chat today. We always ask our guests to recommend a book for us. Something that they’ve loved, something that’s influenced them, their career. Can be absolutely anything. What have you prepared for us?

Matt Scaysbrook: So mine’s boringly professional, I’m afraid.

Kelly Molson: Nothing’s wrong with that.

Matt Scaysbrook: Mine is a very small book actually called Built to Sell by John Warrillow. It is about a fictional agency that the owner decides he wants to sell. And he goes to someone who’s built, installed multiple businesses, who advises him on how to move his business to a point where it is sellable.

But even if that’s not the thing that you’re interested in, what the book really focuses on is how do you make sure that you are not the problem in your business? So to my unpopular opinion earlier, reading that… I can’t remember how long it is. It’s like 120 pages maybe, you literally can read it in a few hours.

But the first time that I read that book, I was just looking at all the things he says, points out, make sure you don’t do this, make sure you don’t do this. And you sat there thinking, yeah, I’m doing that. There’s like 15 or 16 lessons that you should learn from it. And I just remember looking at it thinking, I’m literally doing pretty much all of those.

And it’s just that one of those proper sorts of light-bulb moments where you realised that you didn’t have to learn all this stuff yourself through painful experience. I had a fair amount of painful experience by that point anyway, but it’s like, other people have been here before. You’re not unique as they were, other people have been through this experience, you learn from them and they will help you.

Kelly Molson: Yeah. Great book. Listen, as ever, if you want to win a copy of Matt’s book, then head over to our Twitter account and retweet this episode announcement with the words, “I want Matt’s book”. I might get there first because I feel like this is a bit for me. I’ve had 19 years of making mistakes.

Matt Scaysbrook: It’s really good. Really, really good.

Kelly Molson: I’m pretty sure that paints a good picture of me in that book, but we’re all here. We’re all doing our best. Matt, it’s been a pleasure having you on today. Thank you. If any of our audience wants to get in touch with you to talk through CRO, ask a few more questions, where’s the best place they can get a hold of you?

Matt Scaysbrook: On our website, there is a page where you can basically book in directly with me just to have a conversation. Those things have been from, some people want to talk about formally working together. Other people just want to have a chat about what they’re currently doing.

I keep my diary open on that because I have so many good conversations with people. And if I can help someone out, even if they’re not someone who’s ever going to work with us, I feel good about it at the end of the day, still, I’ll share the link with you.

Kelly Molson: Matt, thank you. That’s lovely. I think that’s a brilliant way to end the podcast. Thank you very much for coming on and for your generous offer of helping out our audience.

Matt Scaysbrook: Thanks, Kelly.


Do you know someone we should be talking to?

Do you know someone fascinating we should be talking to?

If so, email us at hello@rubbercheese.com – we’ll get back to you shortly.

Paul Wright.
Kelly Molson Managing Director

Host of the popular Skip the Queue Podcast, for people working in or working with visitor attractions, she regularly delivers workshops and presentations on the sector at various national conferences and universities including The Visitor Attractions Conference, ASVA and Anglia Ruskin University.

Read more about me

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