Choosing the Right CRO Agency: What You Need to Know

Conversion rate optimization is just now starting to gain traction among online shop owners. It’s not that it’s a new field in marketing and people are just now hearing about it. It’s probably because most people focus more on other marketing activities and they don’t know what are the benefits of conversion rate optimization and how  a CRO agency can help them grow their business.

How do you know your website needs CRO?

You know it’s time to start doing CRO if: 

  • You have a decent amount of traffic coming to your site, but the overall conversion rate is low. In other words, a lot of people visit your shop, but few of them convert (make a purchase, sign up for a trial, fill out a form etc.). The ideal conversion rate doesn’t exist. It depends on the type of business, the goals and the audience. However, in e-commerce, the general consensus is that anything under 2-3% needs the intervention of a CRO agency. 
  • You are investing a lot in paid advertising, but the results are far from satisfactory. This means that you are dealing with a low ROI (return on investment) and it’s time to do something about it. It’s not that your ads aren’t good enough. On the contrary, maybe they are too good compared to your landing page. Visitors arriving on your website via paid sources of traffic (Facebook ads, Google Ads etc.) have certain expectations. If your landing page fails to deliver on those promises, you’ll be left with a low conversion rate. So, in order to reduce your client acquisition costs and manage your ad spend efficiently, you need a CRO agency that can help you with landing page optimization. 
  • The user experience on your website is not that great and it could be driving customers off. The key to a successful business is, without doubt, pleasing customers. And while the main purpose of conversion rate optimization is to increase revenue, a CRO agency can also help you correct any technical or design problems on your site, thus creating a smooth customer experience. 

How to choose the right CRO agency?

Statistics show that 63% of companies don’t have a structured approach to optimization. More often than not, this leads to poor results. 

If you want to make sure that your CRO efforts pay off, you need to hire an experienced CRO agency. So far so good, but how do you find it? What things should you consider when trying to decide between different CRO agencies? 

What To Expect from a Successful CRO Agency 

1. They have a transparent work process and set clear expectations from the beginning

A professional CRO agency will clearly explain their work process in the very first meeting. You’ll know exactly what methods and tools they use in order to help you achieve your CRO goals. If they don’t have a specific framework or methodology, you should question the scientific dimension of their work. Conversion optimization is a data-driven endeavor, so make sure you hire a CRO agency that makes rational decisions, backed up by data and research, and not based on gut feeling only. 

Following this logic, if a CRO agency tries to sell you on best practices and various case studies, don’t believe everything they say, because it’s most probably just a sales pitch. If they tell you they’ll double your conversion rate in a week, that’s a red flag! First of all, conversion rate optimization is a sustainable, long-term process that generates results in time, not overnight. Secondly, for someone to ‘promise’ you a certain outcome, they’ll need to conduct a thorough analysis of your business and target audience first (using quantitative and qualitative research methods) and then lay out a realistic optimization plan. 

2. CRO agencies should be user-centered

You can’t optimize a website if you don’t understand how users act and why they do certain things. You need to dig deep and find out what are their motivations and anxieties if you want to provide a flawless customer experience. In order to solve an issue, you need to understand the nature of the problem first and how it affects user behaviour. 

Before anything else, a CRO agency should be keen on gaining a better understanding of your visitors. And they should do so by running an in-depth user research using effective tools and methods such as heatmaps, session recordings, site polls, user testing and so on. If they don’t put a real effort in understanding your customers, their testing hypotheses will be based on guesswork, and if these A/B tests will generate positive results, it will be out of pure luck, not as a consequence of understanding how things work and where the real problems lie. And you can’t rely on arguable results, can you? 

3. Having a deep knowledge of their client and how their business works is required

Next time you’re in a meeting with a CRO agency, try to find out if they have a genuine interest in understanding your business. Look for sensible questions like: 

  • What other marketing activities are you doing?
  • How much does it cost to acquire a customer? 
  • What is your churn rate?
  • What’s the lifetime value of your customers? 
  • Profit and revenue?

A good CRO agency will put a lot of effort into understanding the lifecycle of the customer and the business itself, with all its internal politics. Without understanding how things work, one is more prone to making mistakes. 

Not to mention the fact that if you are not able to understand how a business works, you can’t optimize it. And this is because CRO is more than A/B testing. It implies gaining a deep knowledge of your client and understanding their underlying business model. 

4. They will keep you in the loop at all times 

The way an agency communicates plays a major role in determining whether you have a successful collaboration or it needs improvement. Ideally, they would keep you up to date regarding the evolution of the optimization process through weekly meetings or calls. You should also expect monthly reports containing testing updates, insights and new ideas for further improvement. 

Keep in mind that a good relationship between a CRO agency and its clients is also based on reciprocity and mutual support. More often than not, CRO specialists require their clients’ assistance and approval during the testing process. Communicate your availability and make sure that the agency knows they can count on you with any type of information needed. This means that your contribution, as the client, is highly valuable and helps build a functional and successful business relationship.

5. You need a CRO agency that challenges you instead of always doing what it’s being told 

It’s highly important to make sure you’re on the same page. I’m sure that no one works well with clients that have fixed ideas about how things should be done. If you hire a CRO agency, trust them with the entire process and if you have doubts or questions, make sure to express them in a constructive way. To put it plainly: talk it out. Avoid putting pressure on them or trying to get them to act the way you want. 

Rest assured, an experienced CRO agency will know how to challenge you and always find a better way. They will not wait for you to tell them what to do, but instead they’ll have the initiative and they’ll also provide rational arguments to make you understand the reasoning behind their proposals/ideas.

6. A competent CRO agency can be identified by their previous success on the market

When you’re visiting an online store with the intention of buying a product, you always read the reviews before making a final decision, don’t you? It’s the same with specialists and agencies. 

Before choosing a CRO agency, make sure that other business owners from the same industry have worked with them and check to see what they have to say about the way they’ve collaborated.

Recommendations coming from previous clients weigh a lot in the decision making process, because they highlight that agency’s level of competency and experience. It’s like a guarantee that they will do their job right. 

As a side note, check to see what is their area of expertise. If you’re looking for a team that can be in charge of the optimization process full time, I’m not sure that hiring a full service digital marketing agency is the best option, because CRO it’s simply not their main focus. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal choice: do you want an agency that is good at multiple things, or you’d prefer a team that does only one thing but they excel at it? 


If you’re still looking for a CRO agency that gets you, write us at [email protected] and let’s see if it’s a match 🙂

By Cristina Neagu

I am a CRO specialist with a focus on consumer psychology & behaviour.

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