Running an ecommerce business isn’t a walk in the park.
If you’re a startup or a solopreneur, and you’re wondering how to advertise your business
you’ve probably seen firsthand the grueling task of building an online store from scratch — not to mention the challenges that come once your store goes live, such as conducting product research, building a social media presence, and generating traffic.
A few weeks after your traffic building strategies, you should begin to get visitors to your eCommerce site. Some of them might even ask questions or add a couple of products to their cart.
The bad news is, most of these visitors probably won’t convert into paying customers.
According to global statistics, the average conversion rate of online shoppers clocks in at less than 3 percent over the past 12 months.
Unless you take the right measures to improve the conversion rate of your eCommerce site, the odds are stacked against your success.
This is where Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO steps in.
CRO encompasses practices that aim to help websites turn more visitors into subscribers or paying customers.
It’s a process that requires you to optimize every aspect of the user experience, from your website’s performance to the quality of your content.
As an eCommerce business owner, there are a handful of CRO strategies you can execute by yourself. For example, you can sign up to a Content Delivery Network or CDN to improve loading speeds for customers in distant areas.
CRO also begins as early as picking a domain name for your eCommerce website. After all, your domain name can have a lasting impact on your website’s SEO, which affects its ability to draw in quality traffic.
There are, however, core components of CRO that one person alone can’t pull off effectively. That’s why it’s far more cost-effective to hire a proven CRO agency that will help you unlock the profit potential of your eCommerce site.
Without further ado, here are five qualities you need to look for when hiring a CRO agency.
First and foremost, a reputable CRO agency knows that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.
A CRO campaign must be tailored to the specific needs of your website. Even if a CRO agency shows positive results with other clients, there’s no guarantee that they can replicate the same for your eCommerce business.
To make sure they’re not a one-trick pony, check if they offer website audits.
Put simply; a comprehensive website audit should help clients and CRO agencies identify the steps necessary to accomplish your website objectives. Apart from the important conversion metrics like conversion rate, bounce rate, and average session time, they should also come up with a list of potential improvements to your eCommerce site elements — from your product page headlines to your CTAs.
Remember, even competent freelance CRO specialists are able to use CRO audit tools that can provide their prospective clients with actionable insights. If they don’t have an audit-related CTA or button anywhere on their site, make a direct inquiry and ask if they offer this service.
A CRO agency, of all things, should know the importance of educating prospects to earn their trust and compel them to take action.
Look around their website and see if they have a blog post, explainer video, or landing page that describes what they have in store for you. Just by looking at their resources, you’ll have a better grasp of their capabilities, and you can better size-up if they’d know how to advertise your business the right way.
If you have no idea what to look for, here are some examples of the core CRO processes that an agency must specialize in:
- A/B Testing
A/B testing or split testing works by simultaneously testing multiple versions of a page, allowing CRO agencies to identify the best possible layout for conversions.
- Content Optimization
eCommerce copy such as product descriptions and category page introductions play a crucial role in user engagement. Your CRO agency preferably has an in-house copywriting team, but as long as their output is consistent regarding quality, they should be a good fit for the job.
- Customer Journey Analysis and Segmentation
A CRO agency knows the right way to approach customers based on where they are in the sales funnel.
- Competitor Research and Benchmarking
You know a CRO agency is capable of delivering results if they are in touch with the competition. This will help them understand what works, what doesn’t, and what requires changes.
In a survey, most CRO specialists cited the strategies above as among their top CRO methods:
Source: Smart Insights
A surefire way to tell if a CRO agency is worth the investment is to look at their portfolio.
While most agencies won’t expressly disclose what they’ve done, some of them share the names of the brands they’ve worked with. This will allow you to look at the landing pages they’ve created for their past clients.
Below is an example from Conversion Hut — a paid marketing and CRO agency.
Keep in mind that landing page design can make or break a CRO strategy. If for some reason, you find a CRO agency’s designs lackluster or sluggish, you’re probably better off elsewhere.
As far as website profitability goes, CRO and SEO are two crucial components.
Since optimizing your website for conversion would need online visitors pouring into your website, they CRO agency should, at least, be knowledgeable about traffic-generating SEO activities like generating backlinks for online stores.
Link building is a fundamental aspect of SEO that focuses on increasing your ranking potential and generating organic, click-through traffic.
With a full-service CRO agency, every detail in your CRO strategy will be fine-tuned to the keywords and users you target in your SEO. This means you can develop streamlined campaigns that provide customers with a compelling journey — from brand discovery all the way down to a purchase decision.
Of course, a lot of ecommerce brands settle with having different teams for individual facets, including SEO, PPC, and CRO. But if you have one team effectively managing it all at once, you’re golden.
Hiring a CRO agency is something you shouldn’t rush.
Using the strategies above, make a list of your top contenders and compare them according to factors that matter to you, such as their pricing or physical business address.
Do you have other tips you’d like to share with other readers when it comes to hiring CRO agencies? Feel free to leave a comment below!