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Focus on Just One Thing

Our conversion optimization process is a little weird. Instead of looking at the whole funnel, it hyper-focuses on just one detail to deliver a 10% to 20% sales lift in under 90 days.

When clients first hear about it they’re excited because they know what a 10% to 20% sales lift means to their growth plans.

Then, as they think more, they stop smiling. Our brains have evolved to consider all angles.

After the initial excitement their brain is thinking:

We’re going to spend all this money to improve just one thing on the site? We have a 50-page site, there is so much more we could be doing.

Let’s unpack this statement:

— Yes, you have a 50-page site but what is the direct revenue contribution of those other pages? If their contribution is minimal and if this one thing is 40% (or more) of your overall sales why worry about those other pages? Aren’t we better off focusing on the one thing that has the biggest impact?

— Applying a 90-day project expense to one thing can feel like overkill. But imagine you had a sales guy whose job was to bring in 5 clients a month. Over the last 12 months, this guy has been delivering 6 new clients a month— he’s your best performer. You are happy. You then realize he’s only working 6 hours a day. Not the 8 hours all the other salespeople on your team are grinding out.

A sales guy beats quota but only works 6 hours a day. Do you care?


— or —


    By the same logic, who cares if we’re working on optimizing the crap out of one site element if that one thing is responsible for 40% (or more) of overall sales?

    If I’m Ted Williams, baseball’s greatest hitter, should I spend my time improving my throwing arm -or- use every waking minute to improve my ball-hitting skills?

    Ted Williams used to Focus on Just One Thing.

    If this is the first time you are hearing the name Ted Williams, don’t worry, I didn’t know him either. I just Googled “best hitter of all time” to find a sports example to make my point.


    Nothing good comes from doing too many things. Doing a lot of things feels good because it fools us into thinking we’re making progress. Think back to periods when you grew a lot and tell me if this growth was because you were doing a lot of things or because you singularly focused on one thing.

    Did big moments in your life happen because ...

    ... you focused on a bunch of things?

    — or —

    ... you were singularly focused?


      The weird side benefit of focus is that it speeds progress, which can lead us into a trap. That trap is that you had allocated 90 days for the project but got a statistical winner in the first 42 days.

      Now you are likely to think, “Mission accomplished. I need to work on another part of my funnel next.”

      Don’t fall into this trap. One of the most common questions I deal with after getting a test winner is this: Rishi, that’s a great result. Should we now move to another page? I doubt there is more room for improvement here.

      Mission Accomplished

      More room? There is a whole city-sized room for improvement. I once worked on a client’s page for two whole years. That means I sent them 24 invoices and each invoice said, “this month I worked on the same page I worked on in my last invoice.”

      Can you imagine how irritating that must have been for their accounts payable department?

      But they didn’t protest because they saw conversion rates— for that one part of the funnel— double over a 2-year period. For context, this company was doing $100 million in annual sales.

      And if they hadn’t finally put their foot down and warned me to leave that page alone I would still be working on it today. And I’m sure page conversions would have doubled again.

      But they insisted we work on other pages. This hurt the project’s target ROI (those other pages were featherweights in terms of their impact). Eventually, the project ended.


      1: Pick one thing to work on.

      2: Triple-check to be certain that this is the thing worth working on.

      3: Commit for 90 days. Like, really commit.

      4: Rinse and repeat till the sun burns out.

      Next Steps

      Now that we have a philosophical agreement on this critical detail I’m excited to share the magic of Deconstruction. That’s the next step in our journey.


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