How do you know who your real audience is when your product can — technically — work for anyone and everyone?
This is the question that led Upright — the world’s first biofeedback-based posture trainer — to GetUplift. And it’s a challenge a lot of D2C brands face. When you’re selling something universal — like water, mattresses, couch throws, t-shirts, or posture-improving tech devices — your customers could really be everyone.
That’s a problem.
So how do you know who your real audience is so you can create a CRO strategy that works?
How Upright defined their real audience
When we started working with Upright, the business was growing. Fast. They’d sold over 500,000 unique devices to people all over the world and were transitioning from a scrappy start-up to a growth company.
Here’s the thing: what gets you to where you are is (usually) not the thing that can catapult you to where you want to go. To unlock the next stage of growth, something has to change. And if increasing revenue is a key part of that next stage — and it really should be — that ‘something’ is intrinsically linked to understanding your customers better.
Because here’s another thing: the customers that got you to the rapid growth stage, are not always the same customers that can help you keep growing.
Uncovering the customers that could catapult Upright to the top
The folks that buy from you during the more sustainable, lasting growth stage are not the same as the ones who bought from you at the beginning. And they don’t tend to think about (and buy) your product in the same way. To appeal to that early majority, you need to understand what sets them apart. Because once you know that, you can apply that messaging to every page, ad, sales email and funnel you create. Simple, right?
That’s exactly where we come in. Our number one job on the path to increasing conversions and setting up a long term, reliable conversion optimization process, is getting to know that pool of people and figuring out exactly what it is they hire your product for.
If you’re familiar with the emotional targeting methodology at all, then you know that this happens through a potent mix of:
- VOC research — including visitor surveys, customer surveys and customer interviews — that tells us how the best fit customers speak, think and feel
- UX & user journey analysis — including heuristic analysis and user recordings — that tells us how your best fit customers act and maps out the path they have to go through to convert.
- Qualitative research — including GA data analysis — that shows us what people are actually doing
After collecting all this information, we analyze it and identify everything your ideal customers need to know to convert. And then we show marketing, product & sales teams how to use it. This research becomes the backbone of all marketing efforts.
For this particular project, we broke the ideal customers down into three segments that thought about the product differently:
- The Sedentary (Home) Office Worker – people who spent hours in front of the computer, developing bad posture from constantly leaning forward
- The Aware Aesthete – people who want to primarily improve their posture to look and feel better
- The Health Conscious Seeker – people who are actively trying to solve their back, neck and shoulder pain to avoid the pain and future complications.
Through this breakdown, we could zone in on the messages that resonated.
The Research Helped Pinpoint The Brand
“The breakdown of our ideal customers’ characteristics helped us understand how we should present ourselves as a brand. It showed us who is looking at Upright and why. Before that, our target audience was everybody — because everybody has bad posture.
The research helped pinpoint the brand — it helped management understand and approve bolder creatives than before because it gave us something to base our hypotheses on.”
— Ayala Gazinsky, Senior Marketing Designer
But the research portion of CRO doesn’t just help your current team increase sales. It gives everyone you onboard a clear starting point to learn about your customers and get up to speed too.
We Better Understood Our Customers
“When I joined Upright as the Head of Growth, the GetUplift team sent over the initial CRO Research Audit they ran nine months ago. This helped me get a better understanding of who our customers are and what they’re looking for. It helped me understand the role better, not only from a conversion optimization perspective but from a business perspective as well.”
— Etgar Simner, VP Growth
Turning customer research into experiments
The research is the first step to building out a successful CRO strategy — it provides the hypotheses you and your team need to test in the real world. The second stage is — of course — building out test briefs and starting to collect practical experience so you can see how customers respond to your new messaging.
A Mindset Shift
“Before GetUplift, we were running generic AB tests. Now, we’re running precise experiments built on a solid testing hypothesis. Identifying our ideal customers — and what they need to see, hear and internalize in order to convert — was a big mindset shift for the company. It changed our approach to conversions, testing, the user experience, landing pages, email marketing and the overall website.”
— Ayala Gazinsky, Senior Marketing Designer
One of the first tests we ran was a homepage messaging experiment. Let’s break down the original:
- The hero image. The main image focused on the product itself, not the person behind it. It didn’t represent the customer profiles we uncovered and didn’t really speak to our audience’s pains.
- The headline and subhead. The headline focused on active improvement. However, one of our main findings from the research was that posture is an afterthought — even for the people that really care about it. While folks really want to actively improve their posture, they don’t have the time or room in their life to focus on it. This headline puts too much of the work on their shoulders. (Literally.)
- The supporting copy under the fold. There’s not enough information — or connection to the struggle — here.
Based on our research — and emotional targeting principles — we built an alternative to test against the control. Let’s break that one down too:
- The hero image: The image we used here shows a woman working at her desk, a setting that fits Upright’s ideal customer and makes it easy to relate to.
- The headline and subhead: The phrase “The Simplest Way To Transform Your Posture” captures all three groups of customers and speaks to their need to find a simple way to improve their posture.
- The supporting copy: ‘Your poor posture isn’t your fault.’ approach helped us assuage the guilt people felt around not doing anything and take some of that weight off.
This change in messaging resulted in a 33.69% increase in transactions and a 25% revenue increase.
From there, we built on the learnings, testing out:
- Upsell funnels and messaging,
- A quiz flow,
- Complete product pages
- and so much more
An Uplift In Revenue
“I think the first one that we did after I joined Upright was the upsell option at Upright. I think it brought us about ~15% uplift in revenue which is incredible. It’s a test I really liked and something that I remembered.”
— Etgar Simner, Head of Growth
Beyond the website
Our tests didn’t stop with the website, of course. We took the research and applied it to Upright’s email marketing too.
By this point, the Upright team had several key email sequences in place already including:
- The welcome sequence introducing new customers to the brand
- The abandoned cart sequence helping people decide which device to get
- The abandoned browse sequence reminding people about the value of the device
On top of those marketing automations, the team sent email campaigns around new product launches and seasonal promotions.
We began by optimizing the existing sequences— layering the customer research and best conversion practices to increase sales. This included a complete redesign so the emails felt in line with the new brand and testing out shorter, more traditional e-Commerce emails against longer, story-driven ones.
The biggest win came with the accessory email re-launch: a simple campaign built around the little ways great posture could help you thrive. And with each campaign, we learned and applied that learning to the next test. Because in a great CRO strategy, the learnings from each test need to inform future tests — so your plan is always growing and getting stronger based on the real-world response you get from customers.
Choosing the right team to help you grow
Every client has to battle with, and answer, the same question at one point or another: Should I hire a CRO agency or should I build an in-house team? And let’s get real: this isn’t a question you only have to tackle once. It’s something that you’ll slam against again. And again. And again. And… you get the idea.
So let’s take a look at how it played out in the case of Upright — incase you’re working your way through this particular question right now.
The main benefit of a boutique agency like us is the wider CRO perspective. You get to tap into a team of experts who’re tackling similar challenges for different businesses. This brings the benefit of a wider industry knowledge that’s harder to hone when you’re working to increase conversions for a sample of one.
Support For The In-House Team
“The insights and recommendations we received from Talia and the team were also based on past knowledge — not just on assumptions of what would work and what won’t. That lived experience can be better than a purely in-house team that doesn’t have the kind of experience the GetUplift team brings to the table.
Then there’s the research. The way the entire team conducts research — the questions that you ask, the insights that you come up with — is something that you just don’t have the kind of capacity to run with an in-house team.”
— Etgar Simner, Head of Growth
One of the other main benefits, of course, is the established (and tested) emotional targeting process. Our approach has been honed over the years, and gone through dozens of iterations based on direct, hands-on experience. The clear, defined methodology helps us move faster and get to those goals.
But a great in-house team does come with undeniable benefits. It’s hard to beat the deep business knowledge developed by being deeply embedded into everything. This is crucial.
This is why we take a hybrid approach. GetUplift doesn’t just come on board as an outsider — we integrate, becoming a part of your growth efforts, embedding deep with everyone involved in meeting those conversion goals we define at the start of the working relationship. And as you grow your CRO team, we share everything we learned so we can all run stronger tests together because, in the end, here’s the thing:
CRO combines traditional business consulting, design, copywriting, data analytics and traditional marketing to create something unique. Something that, when done well, reaches into every part of the business.
When done properly, CRO does reach across everything. It’s number one job is to increase revenue: whether that’s by directly increasing the number of sales on a landing page or an sales email sequence, or increasing free trial or paid account conversions, or increasing the % of people that successfully increase an onboarding sequence, or drop their email in a pop-up box.
That’s why a great CRO partner is really a great business partner:
A Business Partner
“Since the first moment I met Talia and got to know the team, I felt like we had a business partner. That we had people who knew what they were doing. When I consulted the team, and got guidance, I felt I could trust them. I felt that, together, we could come up with the best possible solution to provide to the company.”
— Etgar Simner, Head of Growth