CXL CRO Minidegree: Lessons from Week 1

Hardik Lashkari
5 min readMay 18, 2021


A year ago, while browsing through the never-ending chat of a WhatsApp group, I read 3 letters: CXL.

Someone had enquired about a good course on copywriting and conversion optimization. A person commented that CXL is the best platform.

Just below his message, another person replied, “CXL is costly for Indian marketers. You will have to pay a significant amount to get admission on their platform.”

Since I was about a year old in copywriting, I was looking for a few courses to improve learn copywriting and master the art. However, when I read that CXL is expensive, I dropped the plan.

Luckily, a few months ago, when I was browsing LinkedIn, a girl posted how she got benefitted from the CXL CRO minidegree.

I messaged her to ask how much she paid for the minidegree. But to my great surprise, she told me that she had applied for the scholarship and got approved. That is why she didn’t have to pay a dime to take admission and learn CRO.

It was a dream-come-true moment for me. I was so happy to hear that CXL offers scholarships to people who can’t afford to pay for these mini degrees.

But again I procrastinated for another few months. Finally, one night, I filled the form. It was a short form with 5 questions, out of which, the last question was the most important.

“Why are you passionate about the minidegree you have chosen?” I had to write an answer in a minimum of 500 words to become eligible to submit my application.

I thought over it, gathered all points, and wrote a full-fledged article. I copy-pasted it in the answer box and hit the SUBMIT button.

After 3–4 days, I received the good news. CXL notified me that it has submitted my application and I can now take up the Conversion Optimization Minidegree.

According to the prerequisites mentioned in the scholarship, I have to write and publish one article every week to tell everyone what I learned during the last week.

So for the next 12 weeks, you will read an article every week from me where I will tell you my lessons from the last week.

So, let’s get started with the lessons from Week 1:

Intro to CRO

The first lesson was the introductory lesson to understand CRO and what it is all about. This lesson is taught by Brian Massey who is associated with Conversion Science.

Even before the course started, I had learned the first copywriting and conversion tip from Brian.

In his book Cashvertising, Drew E. Whitman explains that you can persuade the audience by using generally accepted images of medical and scientific authority.

Similarly, since this lesson was about the science behind CRO, Brian Massey wore a white lab coat to establish credibility.

He even acknowledged it during the lecture by mentioning how studies conducted on a lab coat prove that when you take a cognitive test and you are in a lab coat, you are going to score about 17% higher than if you are in street clothes.

Also, there is a certain amount of documented respect that goes automatically with a lab coat, no matter how bad or good a guy is.

Coming back to CRO, Brian starts with the full form of CRO — Conversion Rate Optimization. The objective of CRO is to understand how any change made to your website will impact visitors and their decision to take any action.

We are surrounded by confirmation bias. We pay attention only to those things that we agree with or that we think are good. However, many times, those things may not be good enough in reality. Data and science help us to remove these biases and think more analytically.

CRO saves time as we don’t have to lose time on things that don’t work. In fact, CRO tells us things that are going to work and make the stuff we have got better.

Further, Brian explains how CRO helps to manage our boss converse better with consulting agencies. CRO provides us with data that we can show to our boss or agencies and tell us why a particular campaign may work/ may not work.

Without adequate data and analysis, we may look at competitors and their ideas. However, since their business, customers, work area could be different from ours, there are likely chances that we may pick wrong or bad ideas. Working on those ideas may further ruin our marketing campaigns, resulting in fewer leads, fewer sales, higher cost of acquisition, lower growth, etc.

Lesson 2

CRO is not about the total number of tests you do but about how many ideas you can test.

If you want to improve conversions, you need to test your ideas the right way. The best way to test ideas is to:

  • Ask right questions
  • Increase the sample size
  • Increase the quality of the sample size

The sample size is important.

Will you buy a keyboard with a 5-star rating that has been rated by only 10 people, or rather a keyboard with a 4.2-star rating that has been rated by over 1,000 people?

Of course, the second one. The bigger sample size influences our decisions.

Lesson 3 (Managing Ideas)

To manage ideas, you need a list where you can save ideas and also record whose idea it was. You can even add the website URL or campaign where this idea has to be applied.

This list will not only help you save ideas but also act as a tool to validate all ideas coming at you from all sides.

However, these ideas may not have enough specifics. So it’s important to write a hypothesis as it makes your ideas specific and crisp.

Format of a hypothesis:

If I do ___________, I expect ________to happen as measured by___________.

Once you write a hypothesis for each idea, the next step is to rank these ideas based on their impact or efforts involved. Rate ideas on a scale of 1–5.

Lesson 4 (Sources of insight)

The next step is to collect enough data. The main sources of data can be:

  1. Google: You can do a Google search and check if someone did a similar test and got results. However, remember that there is nothing called best practices. What worked for one company might not work for some other company. The audience is different. Their issues, interests, and requirements may also be different.
  2. Marketing studies, reports, surveys, etc.: These are the most crucial documents lying in the hard drive in your drawer. They can give you some crucial insights about personas or people’s wants. Those wants can become ideas on your hypothesis list.
  3. Analytics & tools: Various tools available in the market can help you to achieve what you want. You can use a heat map, 5-second test, or other such tests to analyze people’s actions and test your ideas.

A/B Testing

The “Intro to CRO” module ended with A/B Testing basics. In this video, Brian discussed A/B Testing.

During A/B Test, you present different versions of a creative to your visitors and analyze which one version delivers the most subscribers, leads, and sales.

Remember, A/B testing is not about testing multiple versions or elements at one time. You have to change one thing at a time while keeping other things constant. If you test too many things, you may get confused about which element was most effective. So, test only one element at a time and keep other elements constant.

If you like this article, please CLAP and COMMENT. And get ready to read the Week 2 article from me the next week.