10 ways optimisation will get your agency ahead of the game

By 2017, it’s predicted that CMOs will spend more on IT than their CIO counterparts. So for digital agencies, this burgeoning landscape of data-driven marketers presents an exciting challenge. But how does a digital agency looking to be best in class in its industry manage a finite budget and deliver impactful results?

Answer: Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).

Whether you specialise in designing creative, building websites, or managing ad spend, investing in a CRO skill set will help you grow. Here’s how.

1. Lead the charge

Ten years ago, most marketers didn’t know what SEM was. These days, SEM is not only part of the everyday marketing vernacular; it’s an integral component to any online marketing strategy. This didn’t happen overnight. Recognised leaders in the space started optimising for search in the mid-90s, establishing best practices and a framework for others to follow. By the time the rest of the world hopped aboard the SEM train, these companies had already established themselves as thought leaders and trusted advisors. CRO adoption is happening even faster than SEM, but it’s still early in the game. Who will be there to build out an optimisation strategy?

Enter you (and your agency). Don’t stand on the sidelines as your competitor transforms the way your clients do business. Be the firm that introduces your client to their next home run.

2. Turn one-off client projects into long-term engagements

Unlike building a website or creating a new ad spot, CRO isn’t a finite deliverable. Continuous testing leads to incremental growth and can strengthen each one of your clients’ digital marketing efforts.

Building them a new website? Don’t just “set it and forget it.” Lengthen the engagement by monitoring and improving the site over time. Setting up a new media buy? Don’t let it run wild. Deliver long-term results by testing various landing pages and reallocating traffic to the winning page as results come in. Unless you’re converting 100 per cent of visitors today (and if so, please let me hire you!), there’s always room for improvement and an opportunity to deliver better results.

3. Settle debates with hard numbers

Testing is one of the first steps toward becoming a more data-driven organisation, which is especially vital to a successful client-agency relationship. Have you ever disagreed with a client as to what that headline should say or what image to use? A/B testing allows you to objectively–and quickly–solve that argument and move on. No time wasted with back-and-forth creative treatments, no tiptoeing around big egos, just empirical evidence. In the end, the best experience wins.

4. Use data as preventative care

With CRO, you can easily monitor site performance and prevent problems for your clients before they arise. Imagine you hire an agency to redesign your website. You spend months wireframing with the agency, discussing the brand, rethinking the vision, and developing the designs. Then, on the day the site goes live, the unthinkable happens – revenue drops. Traffic is constant, but the conversion rate is lower. That’s not exactly the start of a beautiful friendship.

Testing helps ensure the new redesign goes well–an outcome just as important to your agency as the CMO that hired you.

5. Use data as insurance

Testing not only increases your chances of success, it also keeps you in the game, even when results from tests don’t turn out as expected. Back to the failed website redesign example… Investing so much time money and other valuable resources on a project that turns out to be a complete flop is a scenario avoidable with testing. Had you been running A/B tests on the new design, you would have been able to look back and gain a much deeper understanding of what went wrong. Where did visitors drop off in the funnel? What types of users were more or less likely to convert? What parts of the site did they engage with or not engage with?

Data and analysis gained from testing provides a 360-degree view of website performance. It helps you explain why you did what you did and make the case for continued, more informed iterations. The more data behind your decisions, the more you and your client win.

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