My CXL Institute CRO Mini-Degree Course Review (Part 1 of 12)

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

This is the first part of a 12 series blog post review of the Conversion Rate Optimization Mini Degree course provided by the CXL Institute.



What is the CXL Institute?


As a long time reader of their blog, I have always included their blogs as one of my weekly reads in improving my CRO skills as a digital marketer. The wide variety of topics in their blog (not just CRO but also growth hacking) is such an essential knowledge resource. So when the chance for me to review the CRO Mini Degree came up, I really had to dive in head-on.


And obviously seeing the companies that have trained their employees at CXL Institute. It was a convincing social proof. :)


Why is Conversion Optimization Important?


As a professional digital marketer and a lifelong learner of all things about marketing (and its subsequent tactics), I have always been fascinated by how effective Conversion Optimization is in all the campaigns that I have worked with.


In my past projects, I have seen how CRO testing has really improved conversion and overall sales for my company. A single addition of a scarcity text improved conversion rates by 40%. And sales doubled within 30 days.


I know that the right application of the elements of persuasion and copywriting can really win the hearts and minds of the target market to guide them down the right path of conversion and purchasing the product


CXL CRO Mini Degree Overview


The overall time for the whole course lectures is around 78 hours and 59 minutes, which is quite a long time if you’re planning to sit through all the lectures in one time.


With this amount of information, a student needs to allot a dedicated time each week as the program covers a depth of information on Conversion Optimization that is not found elsewhere.


Here’s a breakdown of the course core modules:

  1. Foundations

  2. Conversion Research

  3. Testing

  4. Optimization Strategies

  5. Conversion Optimization Program Management

  6. CXL Certification Exam

The course format is a combination of recorded videos and posts with several recommended readings per subtopic.


For this course review series, I am doing it linear so whatever I’m learning for the week, it will be posted in each blog post.


So we start off with the Foundations Module



Intro to CRO (Course Instructor: Brian Massey, Founder of Conversion Science)


The CXL Course begins with an instruction given by Brian Massey of Conversion Science. And I certainly enjoyed the introductory course and overview of CRO.


In this introductory course, we are guided on why managing ideas is key with CRO. With CRO and improvement, there will opinions left and right on what to do with the website design, copy. There will be multiple sources of opinion on how to do things.


Some of the concepts focus on the following:


  1. Building a Hypothesis

  2. Creating an Ideas List

  3. Researching and Ranking Ideas

  4. Ranking Criteria ( using the ICE Method)


Personally, I like how they immediately provide a framework on how to manage ideas (input, suggestions from others) Having worked in some CRO projects in the past, everybody will have a suggestion and opinion on how the test should be done. And by CXL adding this head first as one of the introductory topics in the courses means they are really preparing future CRO experts well. The approach is unbiased and methodical, which is the way it should for testing.


A/B Testing


A/B testing is the core activity of conversion optimization. This is where ideas on text, copy, landing pages, and buttons are tested with the objective of finding the right one that initiates the viewer to take the next action and convert.


Course Impressions: The introductory course provides an excellent overview of what CRO is, and it also provides in-depth explanations on why having a framework is essential in keeping things organized. This intro course lays a very good groundwork for the next topic - which is Best Practices





Best Practices (Instructor: Peep Laja, CXL Institute Founder)


If the previous course (Intro to CRO) laid out a groundwork, then the Best Practices course is where all the interesting and practical conversion optimization lesson begins.


The course instructor for Best Practices is Peep Laja, Founder of CXL Institute, and he emphasizes the importance of having best practices as starting points or benchmarks - and I 100% agree on this one. There are instances where some companies will just imitate some of the website designs by their competitors, colors, and even structure. This could be counterproductive since every business is different. And having best practices as a guide rather than a copy+paste tactic opens up the possibilities for multiple ideas and testing.


The Best Practices course itself has 18 lessons and I have highlighted some of the lessons that I found really interesting (for me...)


  • Understanding Web Forms - Going through the data on why too many text fields can impede conversions - and it provides the estimate “correct” number of fields that a form needs to have to improve conversions. I found this really helpful.


  • Buttons and Call To Actions - Understanding the complete picture and context on how a button color can influence viewers to take action and convert.


  • Principles of Persuasive Design. It is all about clarity, having the right visual appeal, a strong visual hierarchy, attention span, and one action per screen.


  • Homepages - Provides 2 objectives that a homepage should do - to provide information and also to direct to inner pages for conversions. I found the lecture here really simple but it does make a lot of sense.


  • Pricing - The right pricing reduces friction in the conversion process. By using different types of methods to test and find out the optimal price.


  • Website Speed - Unbelievable but there is a science on how faster websites can convert. I think usually website speed is usually the domain of an SEO or a web developer, but here we can see clearly why a CRO must be involved in helping optimize the site.


It has just been one week into the program reviewing each course and their subtopics, and I already feeling refreshed with the amount of insightful knowledge, methodologies, and skills that I’ve learned.


I am definitely looking forward to another week and continuing my review of the Conversion Optimization Mini Degree by the CXL Institute.


In the up and coming 2nd blog post review, we will discuss the following topics - Intro To Copywriting, Product Messaging, People &. Psychology and Social Proof.






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