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Selecting the Best CRO Agency — How Do I Choose?
Consider this — 90% of consumers don’t have a brand in mind when they start searching for a product or service (1).
What does this mean for you?
Well, the good news is that with so many people undecided, you have plenty of opportunities to pull in new customers. You just have to make the most of each customer interaction to commit them to your brand.
The best way to accomplish this: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
I’ve covered various ways to enhance CRO before. This beast of a method can generate 30 to 100% more traffic for eCommerce businesses.
It’s even as simple as the design of your pricing pages.
So how do you hire the best CRO agency that delivers on everything they say they can?
How to Choose a CRO Agency Who Delivers on Their Promises
I’m going to give it to you straight: CRO agencies are businesses, and as businesses, they will use whatever marketing techniques they need to gain a new client.
I’ve seen enough in the industry to know what factors make an agency stand out and what tricks some agencies use to pull the wool over clients’ eyes. In an honest assessment, I’d say maybe 70% of agencies are honest, hardworking folks.
The other 30%?
You’re better off losing their number.
So, how do you cut through all the noise and find CRO consultants worth your time and money?
I’ve put together a list of key factors to keep in mind on your search. These are based on my years of experience surviving the cutthroat world of entrepreneurship, and yes, building my own CRO agency. Let’s dive in.
Look for experience & proven track record.
Here’s the deal. Just because a CRO marketing agency is new doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t qualified. However, I’ve found that it is best to go with CRO consultants that have experience.
Well, I can tell you from my own experience that developing expert knowledge of best practices for SEO and CRO takes time. Fledgling CRO agencies may have their hearts in the right place. But, if they haven’t faced all the setbacks and hard knocks in the industry like us veterans, they just won’t be able to predict all the possible issues that may arise.
So how do you choose? First, be aware of how long they have been in the industry, who they have worked with, and their current customers. Then ask yourself: Have their clients had positive experiences with the agency? Were they responsive to their clients’ needs? Did they produce results?
The best place to look for client experiences is testimonials.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Won’t an agency only feature testimonials that make the company look good?
Sure, of course, they will. But the thing is, they cannot just make up testimonials. These are still real people giving feedback in their own words.
At a minimum, the agency should be able to provide you with a reference. If an agency cannot give a reference, be skeptical. It’s probably an indication that they don’t have a proven track record of real results.
Also, as a business owner, one thing I always appreciate is case studies. Case studies tell you how much an agency understands the approaches and techniques that work.
Look through the company’s case studies. Assess them on values like: Do they utilize the most relevant methods? Are they offering all the CRO services you need? What are they doing for usability testing, designing web pages, etc.?
I’m not going to bother feigning modesty. I’ve built Convertica from the ground up, and guess what? We have testimonials and case studies for you to review. Check them out, give it a think, and drop me a comment. I always appreciate hearing from real readers.
Make sure you can develop a truly symbiotic relationship with the agency.
As simple as it sounds, you should like the agency you hire. Knowing how they work and what they stand for is essential.
A symbiotic relationship is one in which both parties benefit. The agency you hire benefits from your patronage. And you sure as heck better benefit from hiring them.
To get a sense of how well this relationship is going to work, you need to vet them carefully. You can get a general sense of their values by reading their website or even through a consultation call.
Are they friendly and pleasant to work with? Or maybe you prefer the blunt and honest type? Do they answer your questions, or are they evasive and just pushing a product or service? Are they passionate about delivering results?
Ask yourself these questions because if the agency disappoints with any of them, your best bet is to move onto the next guy.
Determine if they can work across multiple platforms.
To implement a CRO strategy, you need different platforms to accomplish unique goals (2). Some of the most common include Unbounce, Optimizely, and Effective Experiments.
In my experience, I’d say it’s common for a digital CRO agency to have partnerships with several different tools and platforms. This is a good sign. It means they are recognized as a reputable organization.
Just make sure that their partners are trustworthy and well-established.
Over the years, I’ve developed many partnerships to make sure that Convertica is in good standing in the industry. But my company also is willing to work with other kinds of platforms, and the agency you hire should be, too.
Why do partnerships across multiple platforms matter?
Put simply; it might be the case that a platform the agency isn’t partnered with might be better suited for your CRO needs. An agency that isn’t versatile won’t be able to offer you the results you deserve.
Ask how they conduct website audits.
If an agency has a one size fits all method, this is a big red flag.
Your company is unique from all others out there. To see an increase in conversions, it needs a personalized CRO approach.
At Convertica, I stress to my team the number one strategy for us to be a successful CRO agency is simple: learn about the client.
This isn’t just learning what the client does, what products they make, etc. Learning about the client is about tapping into their core values and visions for the future. When an agency takes time to learn about the client, they also develop more in-depth care for the client.
When talking to a consultant, ask them how they conduct their audits. The initial review should be when they establish how they get to know a client.
The audit also will tell you what features they prioritize. This is part of the technical audit. Some key components they should analyze are current traffic, bounce rates, and page layout (3).
Figure out how they implement A/B testing, reporting, & data-focused approaches.
A good agency will not just implement changes and let your campaign be.
To maximize their efforts, they need to use a data-focused approach. The agency also should periodically run reports to monitor conversion rates. A/B testing allows the company to see which components of a page or ad copy are most compelling aka converting.
If their changes are not producing results, they better adapt accordingly.
Don’t be shy about asking how they use data metrics, reporting, and A/B testing. Even if you don’t fully understand the processes driving all these, you will be able to tell if they are willing to be upfront with you.
Make sure they have a team of competent web designers & developers.
Here’s the thing. In most cases, you shouldn’t trust a general digital marketing agency with your CRO needs.
The process is very intricate and requires an expert approach.
CRO is an art. It requires data analysts to evaluate results. It requires knowledge of web page design and coding for website development with the specific goal of CRO in mind.
I can tell you now that a common digital marketing company won’t be able to manage all that.
If you are in a niche industry, consider hiring specialized CRO consultants. For instance, let’s say you own a Shopify eCommerce website. You can find an eCommerce Shopify CRO agency.
Niche specialization means the agency will have experience with the platform. Meaning? They are familiar with appropriate design, development, and implementation techniques. Therefore, you’re likely to see better results for your Shopify website than if you went to a more generalized agency.