Speaking About CRO at Engage Conference 2021

I spoke at the Engage Conference in 2020, what!?

Strap yourselves in and get the smellin’ salts ready. You’re in for one heck of a story. Here we go…

Well well well look at what we got here folks…four years ago I posted this to Facebook.

…and here we are four years later having just completed my first presentation for a major conference. No, it wasn’t inside a big fancy venue with 1,000 eyeballs looking back at me but the pressure and anticipation were still the same. I don’t get stage fright, in fact, I’m very comfortable upfront of people, cameras, etc. Frankly, it turned out to be a bigger challenge to present remotely for several reasons:

  • You can’t see anyone.
  • It’s the internet, so things break all the time.
  • Recording something ahead of time can be insanely difficult.
  • It’s very easy to share something on your screen (or background) that you shouldn’t.

Oh, and before I forget, this was pretty cool to see myself on a list of so many other tremendously talented people!

Paying Attention to Your Surroundings

This is related I promise…well maybe it isn’t. Ahhh whatever, you be the judge…

One time, I was in an interview and I was traveling. I was scrambling to find a wi-fi connection somewhere. I walked half a dozen blocks to find a spot and…I couldn’t find anything that would suit my needs. At the time I didn’t have unlimited data on my phone so I couldn’t just use a hotspot. It started getting close to the meeting time and I had to post up anywhere I could and connect to my hotspot knowing full-well that it could die at any time. 

I connected to the call and shared my video + screen. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes into the meeting that I realized a fully naked painted figure was floating over my head in the background. I didn’t understand why there were some red faces and giggles. I casually and slowly slid down the sofa as to suggest I was just adjusting so my ass wouldn’t go numb. I’m sure I was blushing …. Anyway, I digress …. 

Luckily! Outside of some action figures and Spiderman posters (fully clothed of course), there wasn’t anything that scary behind me. Which, we don’t worry about these things so much for our regular day-to-day meetings but if 1,000 people are about to take screenshots of you, you best prepare yourself for more comments about what’s behind you, rather than what you’re actually speaking about…..I have another story, but we’ll save that for another time.

The Road to Engage

What is the Engage Conference? I pulled this from the official site.

Engage Marketing Conference is a two-day digital marketing conference featuring informative learning tracks and panel sessions designed to provide expert insight into the latest strategies and technological advancements in digital marketing, social media, content, UX design, creative, advertising, SEO, paid media, and more!/

My journey to Engage was purposefully slow and it was one of my long-term professional goals that have been on my list for a good 8 years or more. I had the opportunity to speak about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and how design, UX, and marketing are all connected to a common goal. Creating sales opportunities.

And so, this presentation was born … 

As usual, I put far too much into one presentation, but that’s still good for you, the audience because well … there were a lot of goodies to take away from it.

Due to timing and other challenges I was only able to practice one time and because of things outside of my control, I had to pre-record the presentation. There was a possibility I wasn’t going to be present for Engage…and boy oh boy, was that recording a much greater pain in the butt than I anticipated.

This is me, slightly panicking and trying to record the presentation for the 10th time.

I didn’t record the audio the first time, then the tool I was recording with had a max resolution cap. Then I found solid ground only to be interrupted by apartment maintenance outside my window (lawnmower). Alas, we got through it and the show went on.

Kevin gave me quite the intro and then we were off!

Over the next 30 minutes, we dove into CRO, what it is and how to deploy theories and cases to increase business results. CRO in my view is the most critical component of any marketing campaign. Getting lots of traffic is great, but if they aren’t buying your products or services then there’s a serious problem! 

CRO Can Change Everything

I’ve helped hundreds of businesses over the years (maybe thousands now) and we don’t realize how important small changes are. We get so focused on big website redesign projects that we miss the small stuff like simply changing the text of a button to something else.

We changed this button from “Apply Now” to “Get Started” and saw significant increases in conversions (15-20%!!!).

Every little change can have a dramatic impact and it’s up to a team of experts like ours, to find those opportunities, call them out and then put them through the wringer as it were. All successful campaigns require iterative work. 

Great CRO is a result of awesome collaboration between SEO’s, designers, developers, and others. In other words, it takes a village.

I could get into all the details, but why not listen to the presentation instead 🙂 


I wanted to take just a minute to thank SEMpdx, the Engage Conference crew, Kevin Getch, and my colleagues at Webfor for providing me with the necessary support and growth opportunities that have made me who I am today. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for you all.

Engage was a blast, and I’ll be back.

What’s next you might ask? Well, you can check out the haphazardly managed CRO series called CROW on our YouTube channel if you’re interested in learning more about how I deploy my ideas, analysis, strategies, and design. Additional content is coming in October 2021.

You may see me run the conference circuit more in the future, but until then enjoy the video above and I’ll see you again next time! 

As always, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this post. Cheers!