I first met you at the Chiang Mai SEO conference in 2018 where you gave a great presentation on the effectiveness of split testing for affiliate websites.
I know a little bit of your background, that you used to be one of the Chiang Mai “rat-pack” of nomad workers, but these days you run a more corporate business in conversion-rate optimization.
When we briefly chatted at the conference, I talked about my plans to develop a Super Greens supplement brand, and you kindly offered some conversion-rate tips. I am nearly there with the launch and so plan to test your ideas soon!
So, thanks again Kurt for taking the time to be interviewed – let’s jump straight into this with my first question.
1. Can you give us a little background information on you? For example, where you’re from and where you spend most of your time these days.
I’m originally from a tiny town called Kawerau in New Zealand and did High School on the Gold Coast, Australia.
I traveled around the world building websites in my early 20s (when wiFi went mainstream circa 2006) and then re-located to Chiang Mai, Thailand which is where I have been a resident for around 8 months a year since.
2. I know that you were very active in the SEO space before moving into conversion split-testing. What motivated the move towards being a conversion rate optimization expert?
I have been doing SEO since I was in my teens. Seeing how the industry was changing so quickly, I decided to look for other opportunities. I sold out of my SEO businesses at the end of 2016 and took a few months off to decide the next play.
After getting caught up briefly with the Crypto craze, I decided to go all-in with conversion rate optimization and haven’t looked back since.
3. When I first became aware of your services you were called the CROguy and have made the transition to Convertica. There is no denying the re-brand is great, but what triggered the change?
At the time (end 2017) I was part of a few masterminds with some big influencers. After expressing my goals and where I wanted to take CRO guy, the overwhelming response from my peers was to re-brand to go after bigger brands and create a company that people would take more seriously.
CROguy had the perception of a side hustle or freelance business.
4. I understand that Convertica has grown significantly over the last 12-18 months. How many staff are you at now and are they based in one location or remote working?
We are now at 25. We have middle management and 3 different departments.
We decided to go that corporate route and build the business using a traditional organizational structure. All of our operations department is based out of Manilla and works in person 2-3 times a month but we are a fully distributed remoted team.
We have members from Thailand, India, Philippines, Eastern Europe and the UK. The company is growing quickly and I plan to have double the team members in 12 months.
5. Your focus at Convertica was mostly based on working with Affiliate-based websites. Is this still the case or are you branching out to eCommerce sites too? I am asking as may well reach out to you guys to consult on my site soon!
6 months ago we were 90% affiliate and 10% lead gen. At this stage, we are 40% eCommerce, 40% Affiliate, and 20% Lead Gen and others.
We saw a big market for eCommerce in the last 6 months so we decided to start opening the doors to eCommerce and have never looked back since.
It was a lot more work to build the systems for eCommerce.
6. You must have run hundreds of split-testing experiments by now (do you remember how many?), what would you say is the number one mistake you consistently find?
Yes, we have 2,000-3,000+. We are running 100s at any one time.
The number one mistake we see is that people don’t make their call to actions clear enough because they don’t want to come across as salesy. If someone is coming to your site looking for ‘Best X review’ they want to be sold.
So be salesy!
7. Do you find useful being able to look at a new site and spotting what could be the obvious conversion-rate killers?
Not me personally so much but the operations team for sure. When we get a new lead come in, the team will go through and audit the site and can straight away see what they want to test straight away.
We never say something will work 100% but we can see straight away what we want to test based what has worked well in the past on similar sites.
8. How do you see your business growing over the next 12-24 months.
We are growing like crazy. This time last year we were managing 20-30 sites a month.
At the moment we are managing around 70 with a capacity for around 100. The great thing about the business is it is really scalable with our systems and process. Not to mention the organization structure we use.
This time next year I can’t see why we won’t be at 100 clients per month but purely focusing on bigger clients so we can get better results.
The company is night and day from this time last year so the next 12 months is looking very exciting.