Almost two decades ago, Jeffrey and I started evangelizing the notion that your conversion rate is a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take.

Good companies know how to persuade visitors, but legendary companies better understand their visitors and their desires, and do more than simply satisfying those desires.

Great companies find ways to delight them along their journey. This is sometimes labeled as ‘flow’ in the UX world.

In other words, conversion rate optimization is a critical discipline, but by itself, will it be able to transform a good company into a legendary one?

About five years ago, after Jeffrey and I left our agency, we started to reflect on what tactics were behind all of our successful conversion optimization (CRO) efforts.

Then we started looking at other published CRO efforts and the Conversion Trinity was born. It is our most important tactical tool for conversion rate optimization.

By simply applying the Conversion Trinity to any ad or web page, anyone can quickly identify the most powerful ideas to test on that page to make the experience more relevant, more valuable, and to make the visitor more confident in taking the call to action.

While many people started to use this technique to identify their tests, we still had a bigger problem to tackle.

The missing piece of the puzzle

The critical issue behind becoming a customer-centric, data-driven organization with a culture of innovation and testing was not in the tactics they employed. While working with a large client over the past couple of years and looking back at the organizations that we worked with previously who transformed their optimization cultures, we uncovered that missing puzzle piece.

What every company who adopted this optimization culture did wasn’t unique. Each and every one of them had the story of their ‘personas’, a narrative of the customer experience shared from department to department.

So, over the last two years, we have found a way to make it much simpler to adopt by companies large and small. What used to take months of planning and hard work can now be done in around 90 minutes with almost the same results.

Buyer Legends is a customer-centered, data-driven customer experience design that is supported by narrative.

Buyer Legends may be the most important strategic tool for creating and exemplifying a brand that builds an experience beyond the already difficult step of actually making the sale. By using the power of story fused with hard data, Buyer Legends makes your customer the hero of a buying journey that can be used to close gaps in your customer experience, to identify opportunities, and to suggest ways that you can go beyond their expectations.

What exactly is a ‘Buyer Legend’?

Put simply, a Buyer Legend is the actual story of how and why a customer interacts with your brand. The process of writing a legend is straight-forward and simple and you can write your first legend in about 90 minutes.  Almost anyone can write a legend.  Here are the steps.

Start small by writing a Buyer Legend for a single-content piece — an email, flyer, landing page or even a banner ad.

Follow these four steps.

  1.  Select your perspective: Who is the hero of your buying journey? Determine their buying style and decision making preferences as well as your company’s conversion goal for this Buyer Legend.  15 minutes.
  2. Create a pre-mortem list- Detail the most likely things that could derail your hero’s successful journey to your desired destination, determine alternates routes the hero will take and propose enticing ways to keep them on the path. 10 minutes.
  3. Outline the story using reverse chronology. Start from the end of the story and work backwards. 15 minutes.
  4. Now write your Legend draft. Tell the story of what needs to happen to get the customer to complete the goal you outlined for them. Describe opportunities (upsell/upgrade) that you can lay out in your customer experience. 50 minutes.

TOTAL TIME: 90 minutes.

This is just a simple outline to writing your own Buyer Legends, if you want detailed instructions you can pick up a copy of our newly released book Buyer Legends: The Executive Storytellers Guide on Amazon Kindle. It is available free until November 7th, 2014, and $2.99 afterwards.  It’s a quick and easy read and will set you on a path towards using the power of narrative in your optimization efforts.

If you want to stay ahead of competition embrace the future of conversion rate optimization. The future will be less about about the conversion funnel tactics and more about the customer experience.