How to Pick the Perfect CRO Agency for Your Business: 4 Steps to a Highly Successful Optimization Program
July 12, 2018 –
One of the most crucial steps in building an effective testing program for your business is finding the right agency to help you reach your ecommerce goals.
In fact, we believe that choosing an agency that is passionate, knowledgeable and will strive to help you make the most of your brand’s unique value proposition is as important a factor in the success of your digital strategy as the platform you host your website on or the experimentation tool you decide to use.
Before we find out how to choose the perfect testing agency for your business, let’s start by looking at why hiring one could play such a significant role in your business’ growth.
Why do I need to hire a CRO agency and what will they do for my business?
When planning to invest a considerable amount of time and money in conversion rate optimisation, it’s worth the effort to get the highest return on your investment by involving an expert who has an established process, proven results and the time to do the job properly.
This is particularly the case when it’s your team’s first time testing or if you are struggling to get results from your existing CRO program.
At Swanky, our team believes in taking a strong data-led approach to ecommerce optimisation, which means developing hypotheses to solve real issues rather than simply relying on ‘best practices’ testing.
A legitimate and experienced CRO agency will begin by talking to you and analysing your customer base, products and goals.
They will then work with you to define objectives and to gain a solid understanding of where your business is currently – and where you would like it to be.
Based on this information, your agency should then begin to evaluate your site; recording customer interactions using heat-mapping tools, screen recordings, scroll-mapping, customer surveying, traffic funnel analysis and customer interviews to identify the core issues preventing your consumers from making purchases.
They then prioritise these issues by their commercial value and develop a strategic testing roadmap before moving to the testing process, using the generated results to learn and re-prioritise concerns.
Ideally, you will be working with a full-service agency that can analyse your data, design and develop your tests and then implement the website changes which emerge as the most viable options.
This will prevent any hold-ups along the line and will ensure that you maintain your testing velocity; constantly learning, adapting and improving the way you manage your store.
With so many intricate factors to consider, good conversion rate optimisation requires an extremely specialised set of skills.
Most ecommerce managers simply don’t have the specific knowledge, years of experience or even the time to manage a successful CRO program.
If your business is currently attracting more than 60,000 visitors per month and you are looking to invest in conversion rate optimisation, we recommend hiring an agency that has the knowledge, the experience and the bandwidth to get the best results for your business.
But how can you tell whether your prospective CRO agency is the real deal?
Let’s start by taking a look at the four golden characteristics any reputable optimisation agency should possess:
#1 Strong technical knowledge and a highly efficient process
As impressive as your chosen testing tool may be, using complex technology to deliver real results is not a job that can be done by just anyone. In fact, it requires a great deal of advanced technical know-how and years of experience in the optimization world.
Remember that there will always be consultants out there who will consider themselves optimisation experts but will make promises without first establishing their process or using proven techniques.
If your ‘expert’ can’t explain their process, the logic driving previous successful tests or the rationale behind the tests they are proposing for your business, it may be time to look elsewhere.
To get the best from your testing program, you need to make sure the agency you choose to work with is very familiar with their own testing stack and can outline their specific testing process in order to show exactly how they will deliver results.
As well as making sure to ask them the right questions, you can assess your prospective agency on the authenticity of their claims by paying attention to the questions they are asking you.
A CRO expert should be looking to find out exactly where your business stands before they begin strategizing for your brand, meaning they should be interested in your business’ goals, unique selling points, website traffic, product inventory, return rates, bounce rates and your ability to service the expected growth.
In the long term, this information will help your CRO agency ensure that you are chasing the highest value opportunities throughout the testing process and drive better results more quickly.
Additionally, gaining insight into your customer base will help inform your marketing efforts, generating a better return on your marketing investment as well.
#2 A wide range of ecommerce skills and capabilities
Knowing how to test and optimise a website is important, but understanding the broader ecosystem of the business and its traffic generation strategy is just as vital.
A reputable CRO team will draw on their extensive know-how of marketing, testing and technical development to make genuinely effective changes to your online store and tailor their work to your business.
To ensure your prospective agency is the real deal, do your research to establish the breadth of their ecommerce knowledge, the aspects of ecommerce they specialise in and what experience they have delivering results for other brands.
Don’t be shy about asking your prospective agency to back up their claims with case studies, customer testimonials and even a few references you can contact for more information. A confident testing team will happily share this information with potential new clients.
#3 A good fit for your business
To be sure that your prospective agency is a good match for your brand, you need to make sure you are asking them the right questions.
Who have they worked for in the past? What is their project management process? How many contact hours can you expect per week? Does their experience translate well to your business? Are they people you feel you could build a good rapport with?
Once you have identified that an agency might be right for your company, consider what they can actually do for you by looking at how they have helped similar brands in the past and investigating how well their results stack up.
Before hiring a team of CRO partners or ecommerce experts, you need to ensure they have used their knowledge of user-friendly design and testing strategy to deliver tangible results for companies similar to yours.
#4 An honest and transparent approach
While having strong technical know-how and years of experience is important, it is also non-negotiable that the testing team you choose to work with is open and honest with you at all times about process, timelines and what they will realistically be able to do for your business.
Once I’ve found the CRO agency for me, how do I make the most of their services?
Even after you’ve found a testing agency that ticks all of the check boxes, there are a few things you need to bear in mind if you want to get the highest return on your investment and to make the most of this exciting business venture:
Be open to change
From small tweaks to larger on-site adjustments, adaptability lies at the heart of any successful CRO strategy. It is therefore crucial that you remain open to the ideas your testing agency proposes.
Your website may currently be tailored to your taste but if your CRO expert comes back to you with suggestions around how your store can be improved based on the adjustments that have proven successful in their tests, don’t hold onto your old habits – or your losing variants – too tightly.
Instead, remain open to giving these changes a try so that you can enjoy their sales-enhancing benefits in the longer term.
At the end of the day, you must remember that these tests allow us to learn about your customers and are not necessarily the final ‘look’ for your site.
Communication is key
As well as being accepting of their suggestions for change, it is important to encourage dialogue with your CRO experts and touch base with them regularly to ensure remaining on the same page throughout the testing and refining process.
If your testing partner has not scoped out a clear communication structure and authority tree, chances are they are not as organised as they should be.
Good things come to those who wait
If you want the job to be done properly, it’s important to be patient.
While anyone can suggest random website changes and be done with it, the strongest CRO agencies will carefully review the results of every split test and learn lessons from their findings to make logical statistically confident tweaks.
The more you and your agency know about your customers, the better an experience you can provide for them.
CRO is occasionally a slow burn process, but it is always worth the time. The best results come from working collaboratively with your agency to follow a thorough process; gaining scientific data and continuously reflecting, learning and improving your website.
Clearly, hiring the perfect testing agency is no easy task. Still, when done properly, it can return both your time and monetary investments ten times over.
CRO requires commitment, meaning that even after finding the right team of CRO experts for your business, you need to be prepared to build and maintain a strong rapport with your testing agency in order to make the most of your relationship with them.
By following the above guidelines and taking the right approach to both finding a CRO agency and managing your professional relationship with them, your ecommerce store will be well on the road to ongoing growth and success.
If you are interested in learning more about Swanky’s optimisation services and how they can use Convert Experiences to maximise your profitability, please feel free to get in touch with their friendly team of digital experts today.