Interview With Jay Abraham & Justin Christianson

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Transcript,

Justin:
We see a lot of different businesses and a lot of different marketing messages and a lot of data that we can really just pinpoint and we come at it from a very unbiased perspective.

Jay Abraham:
Hello and welcome. Today is going to be really fun. Everybody that knows me said I’m pretty fanatical about marketing and optimization and preeminence. Today we are going to interview a man who is fanatic about conversion, Justin Christiansen, and it’s going to be fun. Hi, Justin.

Justin:
Hey, Jay. How’s it going?

Jay Abraham:
It’s good. Justin is in Austin where a lot of techno people seem to reside, and he has a very unique company that helps people truly optimize all they’re going to do. He’s got some very proprietary ways he does it, and I think this is going to be very revealing and I hope educational. I hope we will transfer some cool knowledge and Justin will strut his stuff and show his intellectual prowess. Okay?

Justin:
We’ll try.

Jay Abraham:
All right, so why don’t we start by having you explain to me and to everybody what it is exactly you do and why what you do is different.

Justin:
Well that’s part of the reason why I’m excited to actually do this interview is a lot of what we had started with now, our company Conversion Fanatics was because of what we learned from you.

Jay Abraham:
Well that’s great.

Justin:
In a lot of ways. Learning the art of split testing and really identifying the key behaviors of visitors and how they go about the buying cycle. And what we do is we do that for companies. We really take the qualitative and quantitative data and mix it in with our own user experience knowledge and help the visitors do more of what it is you want them to do on your website. And we confirm it or prove or disprove it with experimentation and split testing.

Jay Abraham:
Okay. And you and I know the power of that. One of the most interesting things that I’ve found out or just reflected upon about the digital era is that people don’t realize how powerful testing analytics and optimization properly executed and utilized can be. In my era, pre the digital era, you had to spend enormous amounts of time, money, and inaccuracy trying to figure out how to get answers, how to get more performance. Now you’ve got all these sophisticated methodologies and technologies and we’re going to talk about it and it’s tragic because most people don’t capitalize on it. I’ve always said that optimization is getting the highest and best use of time, effort, access at the right market, the right buyer. Certain buyers are very profitable now but aren’t as profitable later. Others are different. If you don’t know all that, you’re at a disadvantage if you want to be really strategic and build yourself the most successful, sustainable and profitable business, and I’m going to basically lock that back to you and let you comment.

Justin:
I think you nailed it and that’s the sustainability. So many people get caught up in the tricks or the gimmicks or the tactics and all that’s really changed from 20 years ago almost when I started even, or you obviously, you’ve been doing this longer than I have, is the medium’s just changed. We’re still dealing with people at the end of the day. And a lot of these companies rely on those tactics and gimmicks and things to get them the short term improvement, which I tell companies all the time, yeah, I can increase your conversions today, but will that help you with the scalability and the sustainability and will you be around in five years?

Justin:
Or are we just going to blow out a market and an offer and hope to get as much cash grab as we possibly can or are we building a real brand and a real company and a real growth cycle with that? And that’s kind of what we help companies do is really help them with the exponential evolution and change and growth from our experimentation and really help them evolve as the buying habits and the mediums change and all of those other aspects and variables with the market in the ever changing digital landscape.

Jay Abraham:
And I love that. One of the things that I am appalled by and it really… There are so many what I will call one trick pony sales men and women out there who are… Stop one minute. We just got a thing that said that the [inaudible 00:05:07] message, I don’t know if it’s mine or his. A message just came Justin, on my thing. It said my internet was a little bit weak and I want to make sure that it doesn’t flake out on us [inaudible 00:05:19].

Justin:
Yeah, you’re buffering a little bit.

Jay Abraham:
Yeah. I don’t know what it would be. Brian, you might want to [inaudible 00:05:29]. My daughter, who is our [inaudible 00:05:32] figure this out. We had a little problem yesterday.

Jay Abraham:
Is that all this one trick, tactical, pony sales men and women out there who will have you believe that their tactic is going to transform your business and your life and what the buyers of these tactics don’t realize is that, A, many of these tactics were successful a year ago before the tactical sales people decided to become salespeople and recycle it, number one. Number two, that person isn’t trying to just sell exclusively that tactic to you. He or she wants to sell 100,000 or a million of you. So basically, even if it works short term, it gets marginalized and now you got to buy another tactic and another tactic. And as you said, it’s a short lived win and it can’t possibly sustain and expand and grow and fortify and ensure an enduring business.

Justin:
Yeah, I mean what good is a 100,000 customers if you can’t build that relationship with them and evolve and make more out of them and really nurture that relationship, increase that lifetime value. Instead, oh hey, I’ve got a hundred dollar offer. Here it is, buy it, and then they’re jaded when you don’t support the product.

Jay Abraham:
I agree. Let’s take the gloves off for your benefit because I love to showcase powerful and original thinkers who have uniquely valuable and distinctive benefit to entrepreneurs. So let’s talk about some of the things you do, that are appropriate and that will help people see opportunities, underperformance, hidden profits that exist in what they do. But also let’s have a thread of strategic thinking, excuse me, running through this because one of the things as I’ve gotten older, and I’m sorry I’m a little bit ADD, Justin, but I am appalled also by how tactical, linear, and episodic most people are and they don’t understand when you build a business, if you’re not strategic, you can’t really build a sustaining business. So if you can take that confusing instruction I gave you, distill it and play it back in a more organized way, I’ll be appreciative.

Justin:
Yeah, I mean one of the things that I see is, a lot of companies are really good at one thing or they find a product or they find a niche or they find something that is appealing to the audience in the marketplace and they fail to look at the specific granular elements because not everybody is an analytical thinker and they don’t see numbers in a pattern that paint a picture of what that data is telling us because I can go into an analytics platform and I can say, okay, you’ve got this issue or you’ve got this specific demographic, they’re dropping off here. There must be some friction points there. And then we take that quantifiable data and mix it with some additional data of heat maps, click maps, and we really try to boil it down to what that visitor is telling us on their buying behaviors.

Justin:
For example, we found a company-

Jay Abraham:
[inaudible 00:09:06.

Justin:
We had a company that had a product that had a smell to it, a scent, and they had the scent guide on the page, but it was so far down that people weren’t actually interacting with it or understanding it. But we found out through our polling and of the users that they were wondering which scent they were supposed to choose. So we just made it very easy. It’s like, hey, this product smells like this. And it increased their mobile conversion rates by more than 30% just because we were answering the questions of the visitors, removing that friction point and answering any objections that they had during that process.

Justin:
So what we really do is just understand what the data is telling us from that standpoint. We test to then prove or disprove it and really figure out do they care about X, Y, and, Z? Are they driven by social proof? Are they driven by science? Are they driven by whatever benefit that that product or service has? And we give it to them in a way that’s as streamlined from point A to point B as possible. Trying to maximize the average order value through that process without obviously sacrificing the ethics of the business and the company.

Jay Abraham:
Okay. Now I’m going to do you, I hope, a great service and I’m going to be your interpreter for the UN. Okay?

Justin:
Okay.

Jay Abraham:
So one thing that Justin has said I need to focus on for everybody. He talked about what the data tells him. I have a friend who took $100 when he was in college and parlayed it into $1 billion of sales just by asking his market continuous questions and adjusting his marketing and his messaging and his offering to what they told him. My original influencers, Claude Hopkins, basically said the only vote that counts is the court of last resorts, the consumer. The more you ask them, the more they will tell you what they want, what they don’t want, what they’re willing to buy, why they’re willing to buy, what turns them on, what turns them off. He knows how to do that for you.

Jay Abraham:
My colleague did a marketing piece for me one time and the title was The Data Speaks. The data will tell you exactly what to do, what not to do, how to become a marketing genius if you let someone like Justin do it for you. He also told you all kinds of questions he asked. The reason why is that one size fits all is a delusional theoretical concept. Every business, every value proposition, every dynamic is different and so what works great with one client may be a turn off with another. You could make assumptions and the assumptions are the most costly and lazy possible way you can run a business. Don’t you think Justin?

Justin:
I give speeches probably about 10 times a year and one of my slides in there is as a marketer, assumptions kill. It will kill your business. You can’t assume anything in the marketplace. And I’m glad you said that from the standpoint that the visitor, the end consumer is the final vote, is I get companies that come to us all the time that say, oh, we think this looks… It’s like, I don’t care what you think.

Jay Abraham:
Doesn’t matter.

Justin:
It doesn’t matter what I think either.

Jay Abraham:
No.

Justin:
All that matters is who’s got their credit card out ready to buy and what problems are they facing that you solve and how do we get it into their hands faster, better, cheaper, easier, and in a way that appeals to them most. We get people redesigning their sites all the time. And then they come to us and say, well, my conversion rates are in the tank. I’m like, did you base it on any data whatsoever or did you just have a designer that thought it looked great?

Jay Abraham:
They get tired of it. One of the things also that I wanted to point out and I forgot for you, is the implication of what Justin is talking about is profound because he was talking about the scent client. He was talking about how he increased the, whatever he called it, their conversions, but the buyers 30%. Well, it’s not just 30% if it’s a sustainable business and those buyers are buying on average three, five, ten times a year, that 30% might put another 30,000, 100,000 dollars not just annually, but perpetually with certainly a drop off, into the pocketbook of that entrepreneur. You’re playing a very high upside leverage game really, Justin.

Justin:
Yeah, and that’s what a lot of businesses fail to realize is, say we optimize it today and it might not have a massive improvement, but we tell them, you’ve got to think of it from a compound perspective. It isn’t today and I can’t quantify, oh hey, I changed this headline and it increased your conversion rate 15%. They’re looking at their numbers right now saying, well, it didn’t increase my numbers 15%. It’s like, well, you have to look at it from a longterm scalability approach, but also we can’t quantify some of the other things. I answered that question about scent, but maybe it reduced their customer support strain by 5% or 10% or it reduced their customer acquisition cost by five or it increased their lifetime value, which we can’t measure immediately, but we know that it removed a major barrier and a major friction point that is going to improve things longterm. Again, not going back to the gimmicks and tricks and tactics, we’re just listening to the visitors and giving them what they want.

Jay Abraham:
Yeah, and as you, I’m fanatic about people realizing that the implications and the application of what you’re talking about, executed right and sustained, it’s constantly changing and optimization is a perpetual process. It’s not done one time and then you stop because everything changes. Competition changes, psychology changes, economy changes, dad’s change, people’s needs change, they go through cycles of life. Every one of those factors impacts on a longterm basis, your business. So you have to be able to monitor and pulse it constantly, and if you want to be an optimal strategic marketer, you have to be willing to change as the market and when the market tells you it’s warranted. Right?

Justin:
Yeah. And what worked six months ago might not work today and vice versa. We’ll come in, we’ll test an idea that might not have done well and we’ll come back to it six months later. And the client’s like, well, why are you retesting that? We’ve already tested that. It’s like, it’s different now. It’s not month to month or year to year. It’s week to week in a lot of cases.

Jay Abraham:
Oh, I think that’s very brilliant. Also, and people don’t realize is every time the algorithms change, the dynamic changes.

Justin:
Could be daily in some cases.

Jay Abraham:
And here’s what’s so interesting. By origins, Justin, it used to take, as I said, four months and it would cause somebody between 100,000 and millions to get answers. Now you can give the managers constantly in real time and most people don’t recognize how valuable it is and don’t utilize it to anywhere close to its fullest extent. Let’s talk about some meaningful differences that your work has produced. Maybe a couple of case studies so that we’re not talking theoretically. We can talk about real life implications, applications, talk about what you would uncover. You did one about the scent but do a couple more so we can see the spectrum, okay?

Justin:
I just looked at a company yesterday that did very well. Came out of nowhere in the last about, 12 to 18 months and really taken over a big chunk of a very large market and he wasn’t doing any optimization or testing and I realized that they had a major friction whole point in their product description pages and their product detail pages on their store that just a handful of fixes to clarify a couple of the marketing messages is going to yield them, I think last month they did about three and a half million in sales and they’re going to do many, many more in the next 12 months. But it’s just understanding those. But we tested more than 6,000 or so experiments to this point. I think testing all sorts of different variables and metrics and a couple of the quantifiable ones obviously is that scent guide.

Justin:
Another one was that we figured out that a company was very, very price sensitive or the company wasn’t, but the audience was very price sensitive to the product. It was a very large purchase. And we did a poll for them and they said what the biggest barrier was, price. And the average ticket was something like $2,200. So yeah, that’s out of reach for a lot of people. And all we did was said, hey, why don’t we help you finance this for payments? And remove that roadblock and that barrier. And they had a record Q4 so far and they’ve been around for five or six years, so they’ve had a record Q4 all because we were able to handle that objection]= and push those visitors to where they wanted to go and really just giving them an easier way to do business with [inaudible 00:19:22].

Jay Abraham:
Brian, would you turn the air off. Excuse me one second. I’m in my office and it’s cold, I’m having someone turn the air off. Let me ask you a different question because I want to walk through process because a lot of people have used certain tools and I want to distinguish how you work differently than just putting a tool on their website. I think it’s important, don’t you?

Justin:
Yeah, we leverage tools but we just use that to kind of prove or disprove. We don’t reinvent the wheel. I’m not going to come with a huge tech stack because we know that working with a fortune 500 company or even a small shop, they don’t want to change up those elements that they already have. So we introduce some new tools, but really the method to the madness is just combing through that data and understanding and going through the site as a user and putting the right methodology and the strategy in place to uncover those key variables.

Justin:
So generally what we’ll start with is we’ll just comb through analytics. So we’ll just log into simple Google analytics, which 98% of websites out there have it. If they don’t, that’s kind of a big problem.

Jay Abraham:
But how many of them use it?

Justin:
I heard a study one time that it was less than 30%.

Jay Abraham:
So what you’re saying is 70% of all entrepreneurs nationally under achieve the potential of their opportunity, their expense, their existence, just because they don’t utilize the ability to let their marketplace tell them how to do better?

Justin:
Yeah, I had a company come to me about two weeks ago. They’re doing about a million dollars a month in revenue and they didn’t even have analytics set up at all, barely. They had the snippet put on their site, but they didn’t have any of the key functions. I couldn’t even tell demographic data. I couldn’t tell any e-commerce data, I would’ve there.

Justin:
And they just basically got lucky in a market and exploded. And now it’s time to refine and evolve from there. But yeah, people underperform because they just don’t let the data do the talking. They just go off their gut and that’ll only get them so far. So we comb through that data, we install heat maps, click maps to get some qualitative approach to it, some screen recordings so we can kind of understand what they’re clicking on, what they’re paying attention to, what they’re ignoring, how far they’re scrolling on certain pages. And we’ll set up exit polling. So people that are leaving the site, we just simply ask them, what questions did we answer for you today? Or why didn’t you purchase from us today? Or where are we falling short?

Jay Abraham:
And surprisingly, a number will answer, won’t they?

Justin:
Yeah, and we have ways obviously to get them to answer. We can incentivize that poll, like hey, enter for a chance to win a gift card or something of value to get them, because they’re leaving our site, they didn’t like something. So we put all of those methods in place and then we do what I call our 20 minute exercise where here in the office we’ll get our user experience people, our developers, our strategists and throw it up on the big screen in the office and we’ll just walk through the website from start to finish. So we’ll look at the core analytical data. We’ll understand, okay, we’ve got a majority female audience age 35 to 54, they’re primarily on mobile. So we’ll walk through that mobile experience and try to see what friction points and just write down as much notes as we possibly can on what key friction points or elements that need to be tested or addressed.

Justin:
And then we go back and match it up to the data and then we just pick one thing to start testing. Usually-

Jay Abraham:
Why do you do just one thing?

Justin:
Yep.

Jay Abraham:
Why?

Justin:
Why do we pick just one thing?

Jay Abraham:
Yes.

Justin:
Because you got to start somewhere and that’s really it. A lot of companies aren’t testing at all. And what I tell people when we first start is the first couple months are going to be us testing to figure out what holds the most weight on those pages in the eyes of the visitors. Do they care about images, do they care about social proof, do they care about colors? Do they care about description or text or what benefit of the product? I might test 30 different headlines with different benefit statements to see which one they respond to most. And then that can carry on through the rest of the marketing and the message because I just really want to understand what they care about.

Justin:
What are the key friction points, what makes them tick, what drives them. And then I can inform my future tests and in testing, I’ll set up that first test and then we’ll use that as a stepping stone because I can go in, and this is where companies ask us all the time, why don’t you just give me a list of a hundred things that we’re going to test? It’s like, well, I can but it never goes one, two, three, four, five, all the way down the list. We might get to test three and we figured out something based on that information that informs another test. Or we have to iterate on it and retest and-

Jay Abraham:
I understand that, beautiful. I’m stepping on you. But everybody wants everything to be so neatly and simply, what’s the word I want to use? Universalized. That they want it to be one size, one group fits all. And people don’t realize the advantage is the disadvantage. Everybody’s business is unique and the dynamics and the factors and the forces that are going to give you the ability to compound multiply your performance are unique. And you got to go through a process.

Justin:
You do. And I tell that to people all the time, and I sound like a broken record a lot of times because you could sell same thing, similar market, similar product, but you have different hard good costs. You have different brand equity, you have different processes and systems and flows and everything that’s completely different. So one company might need a 1% conversion rate and an average order value, certain number, and the other one might need a 3.5% conversion rate to make the same numbers make sense.

Justin:
And it isn’t that one size fits all. And while the strategies and the tactics, yeah, they turn to me and my team for our expertise, but at the same thing, we’re just fanatical testers. We just know where to look. We know which data to uncover and we know in what order and what strategy to do to apply to that specific business that’s going to get them the results that they’re looking for long term. And it isn’t just a one size fits all. Hey, we’re going to test this today and we’re going to test this tomorrow. And we’re going to test this one on Thursday. It just doesn’t work like that when you’re doing it correctly. Instead of just the spray and prey approach where you’re just testing random things and hope you get a winner. We’re really trying to build upon those results to get that exponential growth and see that scalability and sustainability for these companies.

Jay Abraham:
I love it. So one of the things I want to go back to, because I don’t think people realize that within the data and within the analysis and within the interpretation and within the, what’s the final word? The quantification, you get the implications, you get the correlations, you see anomalies and aberrations and it tells you a powerful story and it gives you a road map of what to stop doing, what to do more of, where to shortcut. It’s very profound, but people don’t let the process work for them very often and they’re not very discriminating about who they trust.

Justin:
Right.

Jay Abraham:
I’m excited about, particularly if you have an origin in my work I’m very flattered, so let’s talk about timeline. How long does it take normally when you do your job right, to start really getting to what I’ll call pay dirt, to understanding and to elements that can be improved?

Justin:
A decent size business will start to see some improvement on the bottom line and some hard quantifiable numbers within just a couple of months. But it’s not going to be like, oh my god, we’re now making millions of dollars more. In some cases, yeah. But the home runs come few and far between. We’re just looking for base hits and usually within about three months of actual testing after we’ve done some of our initial analysis and gathered some intel, I’m going to know whether or not where we’re at is in a good place. And that’s my goal from a compounded perspective is to ROI for a company on our services and fees within that first three months. But you have to look at it from a compound perspective. And in other cases we’ll make our fees back in one split test. But yeah, I just tell people give us at least three months to gather the necessary and three months of actual testing and we’ll know exactly where the direction needs to be from there.

Jay Abraham:
I love it. Also I think it’s very important that people understand, you just hit on it, when I started teaching my three way to grow business model crap, I don’t know, 30 years ago, and when I started teaching the Power Parthenon 25 years ago, I said 10%, 10%, 10%, is 33% you get some big wins, 15, 30, 40%, could be 200%, but it’s a continuous compounding and there was a very famous marketing piece about get rich slow. You’re building layers upon layers that hopefully can be sustainable, but you do have to know that you’ve got to constantly monitor… Excuse me, I started to say model. Monitor, measure, compare, adjust, replace, constantly. In today’s world, there’s no such thing as static and it’s actually, if you want to go into Einstein, in quantum physics, you either progress or regress.

Jay Abraham:
Nothing stays constant. So I think you would be probably, and I’m not incentivized, I have no economic gain for saying this, but I think somebody like you is one of the most invaluable assets and enhancement, I want to call mechanisms, but let’s call it factors, partners that a business that’s growth oriented and sustenance oriented and wants to be enduring and keep constantly not just going but growing with need.

Jay Abraham:
And so I’m encouraging them. If somebody has a sense that they’re not really… I don’t even like the word optimizing because it gets bantered around so much, but if somebody believes they are not really capitalizing anywhere close to the fullest on the performance of their business and more specifically the guidance their market could give them if they were asked the right continuous questions, what do you suggest they do?

Justin:
Get an analysis done by somebody who knows what the data is going to tell you. Because if you’re getting 20 plus sales a day, we’ll just throw out that kind of bottom number, is you’re probably leaving money on the table that’s causing you to not be able to scale as quickly as you possibly can. Or you’re not asking the right questions or you’re not looking for the right answers. My favorite question is why? Why is that happening? Why is that holding back and I ask that question constantly even to my team every single day. It’s like, did this happen? Well, why? Why did it happen? That’s all I care about. We need to figure that out and if we figure that out, we’re going to help this client more so than we would have if we wouldn’t have figured that answer out, but just get an analysis done.

Justin:
Have somebody with a fresh set of eyes. Because marketers, I kind of joke and say, marketers ruin everything. I know, I’m one of them. But as marketers, you get so close to your message, you get so close to your product and your marketing and your efforts that you fail to see the key friction points or the key bottlenecks that are holding you back in the marketing. So getting a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective on things is key. And we see it all the time where companies know they have a problem or sometimes they even know they have a problem and you get these aha moments once you say, hey, you’ve got a huge problem right here. And they’re like, oh I never saw that before. Or I never even thought to look there before. And we have those kinds of breakthrough moments every single week.

Justin:
We’re fortunate enough to see that and provide that fresh perspective because we see a lot of different businesses and a lot of different marketing messages and a lot of data that we can really just pinpoint. And we come at it from a very unbiased perspective. Because I’m not close to your message, I’m not close to your marketing. I just come at it from the data’s telling me this and here’s what we’ve seen in the past and here’s what we can do to fix it. And that’s kind of how we approach every single business and every single client.

Jay Abraham:
I love that. You said something and I wanted to pick up on it. I’m having an ADD moment. I wanted to really reinforce something that you said and I’m going to let you down because it was really an important point [inaudible 00:33:41]. I’m very impressed with you and I’m very impressed with the answers you are rendering. If people have, which I hope they do, the interest in exploring how your company might help them, what would they do? How would they connect with you?

Justin:
The easiest way is just to go to conversionfanatics.com. That’s plural. You can search my name. I’m on all social platforms. Justin Christiansen. I’m happy to connect and chat and see what you guys have going on. We do this all day, every day. So it’s just kind of second nature to us at this point. And yeah, just conversionfanatics.com, we’ve got a lot of case studies and blogs and there’s links over to my book, which you can find on Amazon too. And I try to just share a lot of great information and help people realize how important optimization is.

Justin:
Everybody talks, they just need more eyeballs on their product and marketing and their message, but they fail to see the other side of the coin. And that’s the conversion and the psychology and the aspect of the user experience and getting them across the finish line and building that relationship long term. So that’s what I’m just out here doing and that’s kind of how I started my whole career and just telling people how important it is and hopefully carrying on the message that I learned from you many years ago.

Jay Abraham:
That’s very gracious. I’ve enjoyed this thoroughly. Thank you very much and I hope, I really do, that a lot of people will contact you for their benefit, not even yours. Thank you very much, Justin.

Justin:
Thank you, Jay. My pleasure.

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