Testing tools like Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely have made is easy for anyone to run optimization experiments. In fact, with so many data-driven platforms out there, it’s never been easier to measure and test your copy, color, layout, responsiveness, and even your price points.
So what’s the value in hiring a conversion rate optimization company? Why hire a conversion rate “expert”?
We get this question all the time at Uplift and want to provide 5 common reasons why any company should look to outsource their CRO work:
1. Because you can’t reach optimal conversion by yourself
Optimizing a website by yourself – when you have limited or even some experience – is extremely, extremely hard! Take for example one of our New Zealand based clients:
If I were to ask you to optimize this, how many variables can you think of testing? What would be your first? When we present clients with this question, the majority present simple tests such as:
- Free Shipping
- Product Image Size
- Special Offers
Etc. etc. These are all good tests and what we would also start with as testing 101. But, past this point, there are over 20 different variables that we’d look to test within these broader groups.
Take for example testing a “free shipping” offer:
- Where on the website would you place this offer? At the top or bottom of the page?
- What color would you make the text?
- What exact copy would you use?
- What’s the optimal price point to offer free shipping at while maximizing your margin?
And that’s not even the beginning of it! Once these offers have been tested, you’ll want to move into more advanced testing:
- What are the optimal products to show on the homepage to maximize conversion?
- What’s the price point? How do we beat competitor pricing while still maintaining margin?
- How do we personalize the experience for each and every visitor, including email campaigns, etc?
For a single entrepreneur, or even for a small web team running a mid-size business, optimizing everything by yourself is extremely hard. You’re simply not going to have the time to balance everything that you need to do with the demands of testing, and without building up a portfolio of successful tests, it’s going to be difficult for you to get the same level of results that an expert firm will be able to get.
2. The ROI is hard to beat
The ROI of conversion rate optimization of large websites is ridiculous. You are – in nearly all cases – guaranteed to see a high ROI by hiring a conversion rate optimization firm.
Take, for example, a $3M ecommerce retailer looking to hire a CRO firm. A typical “good” firm will charge in the range of say $15K for services that get a 10% minimum lift in conversion rate. Doing the math on this:
- 10% lift * $3M Revenue = $300K Revenue
- $300K Revenue * 20% After Tax Margin = $60K profit
- $60K / $15K cost = 3x ROI
Many clients fall into the trap of thinking that their internal resources are “free” because they can do it themselves, and that simply isn’t true. Your internal resources have costs – namely, time – and in the majority of cases, you’re going to see a better return on investment by hiring experts to reach optimal conversion for you rather than investing all the time yourself.
The short-term benefit of CRO also doesn’t include the long-term benefit of:
- A higher converting website that lasts for many years – i.e. your investment continues to pay for itself, and
- More customers. Even acquiring more customers will not only lead to increased profit but to more customer referrals, repeat purchase, etc.
The majority of top CRO firms will offer some type of performance-based pricing where your investment is guaranteed. So, the ROI on conversion rate optimization is extremely hard to beat.
3. You need the insights to improve conversion
One of my favorite examples of landing page optimization is optimizely’s case study on ZAGG.
ZAGG, which sells stunningly beautiful mobile accessories, did a simple test where they replaced a static image with a 360 degree image (the type of images that you see on ecommerce sites where you can take a tour of the product by clicking into the image).
Here’s the image of the final version of the page:
This one simple change lifted revenue by 40%!
And this is only *one* test. This does not take into consideration any other types of variables, such as the price point, call to action buttons, layout, etc.
The point I like to make with this is example is that it wasn’t necessarily testing all of the variables that led to an increase in conversion rate – it was the thought. The lead optimizer at Zagg realized that a 360 degree image could be the perfect balance between a video and a static image, and this insight generated a 40% revenue uplift.
Hiring a CRO firm lets you get additional insights from experts that you may not have thought through yourself, and many times these insights alone are extremely valuable.
4. It’s fast & efficient
Letting experts do the testing for you – and paying them based on performance – is the fastest, most cost-efficient way for you to drive conversions:
- You won’t waste time on tests that fail – your experts will handle all of that for you
- You won’t get “stuck” trying to lift conversions – you’ll have help determining what ideas are worth testing
Just like SEO or web design, CRO is a learned skill that takes time. Investing in an expert is the faster and more cost efficient than doing it yourself in the majority of cases.
And here are two other reasons why you want to do CRO in general:
5. You’ll save on your marketing costs
Perhaps one of the most overlooked benefits of CRO are the savings in marketing costs. The increase in conversion rate is directly correlated to marketing savings.
For example – if you double conversions, you’ll reduce your customer acquisition costs by half. If you increase conversions by 25%, you’ll reduce customer acquisition costs by 20%.
(To calculate marketing savings, take 1 and divide by 100% + the increase in conversion rate. The explanation for that formula can confuse people and that’s another blog post!)
In any case, not only will conversion rate optimization increase the ROI of your site and earn more profit, but will often pay for itself in the marketing savings alone.
6. You’ll become more efficient than your competition
Each year, SEO gets more competitive. Trying to beat your competition in Google Rankings is quickly becoming a “content war” where both sides have to invest so much to maintain their search rankings that the ROI of SEO investment has gotten questionable.
Competing based on price is also a losing game. We see this with many ecommerce companies who want to guarantee customers the lowest possible price, and this doesn’t do anything but destroy profits.
CRO on the other hand lets you become more efficient that your competitors, and I can guarantee that having a conversion rate that’s 30% – 40% higher than your competition will put you leagues ahead. The ROI of your SEO will improve, the ROI of PPC will improve, and most importantly, you’ll see an immediate boost in the # of new customers.
Get expert help! No matter if you’ve never tested before or if you are a testing expert, put a CRO firm to the challenge of lifting your website to maximal conversion. I guarantee it’ll be the best investment that you make.
Andy Hunt – Optimizing websites is my passion! I currently work at Uplift where I coordinate all optimization competitions. When I’m not delivering ROI back to online marketers I can be found enjoying the great outdoors in Austin TX.