If you do any kind of business online, whether you’re selling products or services, generating leads to push through your funnel, or even engaging an audience without pitching anything directly, I’ll bet you already know the vital importance of conversion rate optimization.
The reason is simple. A higher conversion rate equals more sales. Without a dime spent on extra advertising.A higher conversion rate equals more sales. Without a dime spent on extra advertising. #CRO #ConversionRate #ecommerce Click To Tweet
But why bother with conversion rate optimization services at all? Why not handle it all yourself?
In general, we deal with two kinds of clients at Growcode.
On the one hand, there are those that already have an active conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy but want to improve it.
Alternatively, there are people that recognize the importance of CRO but have put off launching a CRO campaign for any of a multitude of reasons – lack of time, knowledge, or even money.
But you’re here because you’re ready to take the leap.
Yet you probably also realize that picking a great partner isn’t easy.
There are a number of considerations – deciding whether it’s better to go with an in-house team or outsource everything to an agency, choosing the best competencies for your business, seeking a mutual understanding of your business goals.
The list goes on.
Well, I’ve got you covered. In this article, I’m going to cover everything you need to know to pick the best possible CRO services possible.
Before you start to put together your CRO plan, you need to answer these two questions:
1. Should I hire a company offering conversion rate optimization (CRO) services or build an in-house team?
2. What are my CRO goals?
Let’s take a look at each in order.
Never forget that CRO is not a one-man show.
Running an effective CRO campaign – one that drives serious revenue-boosting results – involves managing a multi-skilled, agile team.
Even a basic team will be made up of a data-cruncher that will analyse and interpret user behavior, a user experience expert (here are some useful UX tips!) to develop new design solutions and A/B tests, a graphic designer to formulate new changes, and a front-end developer to implement them.
Hiring individuals with these skill-sets can be a lengthy process, especially in an increasingly competitive job market. What’s more, they will need to be trained so that they are familiar with a company’s internal processes.
As I run an agency, you’re probably justified in thinking that I would be biased. But I think I’m being objective when I say that for small-to-medium organizations, it is far easier and more cost-effective to hire an agency. For larger organizations, building an in-house team is likely a better long-term decision.
It’s essential to ask yourself what you want to achieve through conversion rate optimization.
Do you want to improve conversion rates on mobile or desktop, for example? Perhaps both? Or maybe you see particular metrics that need to be improved, such as curbing checkout abandonment?
When setting goals for optimization in ecommerce, it’s best to think broadly, viewing CRO in the context of other metrics. A complete ecommerce optimization campaign will encompass improvements not only to CR (ecommerce conversion rate), but also AOV (average order value), CLV (customer lifetime value), and more.
Placing equal focus on these other key metrics can have a knock-on effect on your approach to optimization in terms of managing your team, setting priorities, and allocating resources. You can learn more about these other metrics by reading this article about customer lifetime value.
At Growcode, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients. We’ve helped them specify their needs and find a package of services that exactly meets their needs. We also have a pretty good feel for the market and understand what makes a great conversion rate optimization agency and what makes…well, let’s just say “the opposite”.
Here are ten key questions you should ask your potential partner offering conversion rate optimization services:
At its heart, CRO is an iterative process. It’s not about one-off tactics and tricks, though sometimes they do have a place.
A good overall CRO strategy is one that’s based on data, an understanding of customers’ needs and problems, and a practical strategy to build and improve on these elements.A good #CRO strategy is based on data, an understanding of customers' needs and problems, and a practical strategy to build and improve on these elements. #ecommerce #tips Click To Tweet
At Growcode, we take a formulaic approach to our clients’ CRO, splitting each individual campaign into sprints designed to deliver a specific set of results.
Our approach progresses from an initial period of data analysis and customer profiling all the way through to A/B split-testing and analysis of results.
There are two points to consider here. First, will you be paying for the tools that the agency uses? Second, are you able to fit these tools into your existing tech stack?
The second question relates to things like reports, analytics, and any areas where you may need to manage tasks, like confirming ad spend, for example.
There are different ecommerce conversion rate optimization tools that enable experimentation with CRO – Optimizely, VWO, Google Optimize etc. Each one is a little different and you need a team that is proficient at using your preferred tool.
Also, remember that every tool requires a budget and you may be expected to pay this on top of the services.
At Growcode, for example, we have our own experimentation platform called Swiftswap where we’ve harnessed the power of AI, enabling us to code changes faster and more affordably than with any other technology.
Growth hack your ecommerce conversion rate, sales and profits with this 115-Point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist
At Growcode, we much prefer the term “ecommerce optimization” as opposed to “conversion rate optimization” because it encompasses other important metrics.
A good agency will take the following metrics into account on top of conversion rate:
All of these metrics are tied to revenue. And at the end of the day, your revenue (not conversions) is what needs to increase during an optimization campaign.A good #CRO agency will take the following metrics into account on top of conversion rate: #AOV, #PurchaseFrequency, #RetentionPeriod. #EcommerceTips Click To Tweet
Here’s a simple truth: CRO is not an easy game and it takes time to learn. We’ve spent nearly a decade in the industry. And we’re still picking up new things every day.
Many people claim to be conversion rate optimization experts. In reality, they’ve just started out.
With experience comes knowledge.
But note how I used the word “people” in the last paragraph. A company may be young, but if it’s run by an experienced team then it’s well worth your consideration.
Equally, an old company with inexperienced people should be avoided.
Ask about who will be working on your project.
Case studies are extremely important because they show you the kinds of results an agency has delivered for other similar companies.
There is no better indicator of whether a company offering conversion rate optimization services is right for you or not than detailed, practical, data-based case studies.
You’ll also want to make sure the case studies provided are in industries similar to your own.
At Growcode, for example, we have case studies across a wide range of sectors. We grew the conversion rate for Budapester, an online luxury shoe and accessories store, by 12.5% (29% for mobile).
We boosted conversions for 4F, a sportswear retailer, by 8% in only five weeks.
And we increased conversions for Grene, a supplier of farming equipment, by 11.5% in a similar period.
Ok, so you might be thinking I’m shamelessly plugging Growcode here. But the point I’m trying to make is that we’re able to provide case studies across a very wide variety of industries.
Any company offering conversion rate optimization services should be able to do the same.
Also, pay attention to how results are presented.
Ensure that growth is quantified using precise metrics like conversion rate, average order value, customer lifetime value and so on. In short: metrics related to revenue.
Improvements in metrics like time-on-site or pages per visit rates aren’t useful when selecting conversion rate optimization services.
Because it’s iterative, conversion rate optimization takes some time to produce results.
Not every sprint will yield an uplift. Sometimes companies will be able to cite exceptionally fast results – for Growcode we usually have eight successes out of every ten trials – but it’s a rarity.
With that in mind, it is wise to ask an agency if they offer a “proof of concept”. This is essentially a test period during which an agency will “test” the basic strategy they intend to use, providing you with any results. This allows you to try them out to check if communication is OK and deliverables meet your expectations.
At Growcode, for example, we offer a single sprint for clients – where we go right through from analysis to experimentation and results – before they make a longer-term commitment.
This is extremely important. Some agencies require lots of time and resources. And if you’re unable to deliver them, the whole project can end up as a colossal waste of time.
It’s up to you to decide how much time to devote. Tasks, like approving wireframes and accepting new designs, are usually considered essential by most companies.
At Growcode, we endeavor to make this process as painless as possible, with clients not spending more than seven hours of their time per month on supervising conversion rate optimization effort. This is a good benchmark.
Generally speaking, it’s better to use developers that are dedicated exclusively to implementing CRO-related designs and tests, either in-house or working for the agency you are considering.
In-house developers are often very short on time. And when designs have to be passed to them for implementation a project can derail very quickly.
It’s far better for the agency to code and test the changes, possibly under the supervision of one of your developers, prior to hardcoding the winning variations.
That’s how we operate at Growcode and it enables us to deploy experiments very quickly.
CRO is a business investment and every investment needs to be justified. While there will always be a degree of uncertainty, an estimated ROI will give you a rough idea of the kind of return you can expect.
An experienced company offering conversion rate optimization services should be able to look at your site, along with current results, and provide you with a solid outline of what they’re going to deliver and how it’s going to impact your bottom line.
If an agency doesn’t want to calculate projected ROI, perhaps on the basis that outcomes cannot be foreseen, then you should be wary.
You wouldn’t give a broken car to a mechanic who doesn’t know if he can fix it. You want results.
Specifically, ask the company to come up calculations of projected ROI. It all has to come back to revenue.
Sounds like an odd finishing question, doesn’t it?
At Growcode, we deeply believe in focus. If you come across a “full-service agency” – that offers conversion rate optimization services alongside a host of other services – then most probably the results won’t be outstanding.
I’m sure there are always exceptions, but my own industry experience has led me to conclude that agencies dedicated exclusively to optimization deliver the most outstanding results.
For instance, at Growcode we focus specifically on optimization for B2C online stores. That’s our area of specialty and we don’t deviate from it.
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