Working as a digital marketing consultant the last few years, I understood something pretty obvious:
My clients were under-utilising their resources.
They were throwing money in great campaigns that were never going to deliver optimal returns.
I was seeing all marketing agencies focusing on impressive vanity metrics and creating new fancy marketing assets, but saw very few that focused on optimizing existing assets.
This is a huge gap in the market and literally ALL businesses can benefit from Conversion Rate Optimization services, since they perfectly complement the traditional “Digital Marketing”.
This is why I am slowly turning my services from traditional Digital Marketing to Conversion Rate Optimization.
There are definitely some challenges to that, so, I will share my thoughts on that and on how I (and you) can make that transition.
What can I sell as a CRO agency?
Basically, with CRO, you gather data from analytics tools, you do research and you create experiments, testing the “improved” versions against the old ones. You can apply this logic in all fields of marketing:
- Landing page optimization
- Website design/redesign
- Customer research
- Creating user personas
- Analytics audit and implementation
- Conversion copywriting
- Email optimization
- A/B testing and experimentation
Finding clients & managing relationships
There’s a major issue here for a CRO agency: Clients don’t know what Conversion Optimization is or how it works. CRO is not even ONE thing. It’s MULTIPLE things. It’s a philosophy as well as a set of diverse services.
That means that it is hard to explain and hard to “sell” the value of it.
Most clients don’t search for “how to optimize my conversion rate” or “conversion rate optimization agency”. They search for “marketing agencies in Athens” or whatever.
In other words… in order to approach them as a Conversion Optimizer, I have to educate them on the subject first. Then and only then will they be ready to understand the value of CRO.
How can I educate them?
- By publishing articles (like this one)
- By hosting webinars (after procrastination and fear of exposure stops for me)
- By posting relevant articles in my Facebook Page
And most importantly…
- By doing work for clients.
The best way to get the foot in the door with CRO services is to productize them: Create a very specific CRO service (eg. landing page optimization) with low cost for you and clear value for the client. Standardize it, make it replicable for many clients. Put a price tag on it.
Once you start working together in this rather small project, you’ll have dozens of opportunities to showcase your expertise, as well as start educating the client on how CRO services can be of value. Then you can upsell.
Outbound sales are the worst for me. Cold calling. Cold emails. Pitching to a person that doesn’t know you.
Nightmare. The chances of success are slim.
Remember that CRO services are not a commodity. They are highly specialized. Not many people offer them. Not many clients search for them either. But clients who ARE searching for them, will probably be really happy to hear from a competent CRO specialist and pay good money for it.
It won’t be that easy though, because you need 2 things:
- Strong positioning as a CRO specialist: You’d rather be seen as a “CRO Specialist” than a “Marketer who also does CRO”
- Proof of your skills with real case studies to demonstrate: Start with smaller clients. Offer value with your productized CRO services. Build a portfolio. Get testimonials. Prove that you ROCK! Then knock on some “heavier” doors.
Working with small clients
Why does “working with small clients” deserve it’s own section in this article?
Because it is fundamentally different from working with “big” clients.
CRO relies on experimentation: When you optimize a landing page for example, you monitor visitor data between the old and the new version of the page.
When you don’t have big sample sizes (lots of visitors), you cannot safely conclude whether your optimizations were impactful.
Furthermore, optimizing for example for a 1% increase in revenue, is very different for different size companies:
- Annual revenue = 100,000€ x 1%=1,000€ increase in yearly revenue
- Annual revenue = 1,000,000€ x 1%=10,000€ increase in yearly revenue
If I charge 3,000€ for the job, in the 1st case the ROI is negative. In the 2nd is more than 3x.
That simply means that CRO cannot and should not be applied to its full potential in small clients, because the ROI simply isn’t there.
For that reason, smaller clients need CRO services that have big impact such as
- Heuristic analysis
- Qualitative user and client research
- Analytics audits and implementation
- Landing page re-designs
- Conversion copywriting
While CRO methodology suggests to test and optimize one thing at a time, when working with small clients it is advisable to optimize and test everything simultaneously and try to go for more drastic changes.
How can I sell it? How can I price it?
There are 3 main ways to sell:
Sell my time (charging per hour)
Who cares how many hours I’ve worked? Right. Nobody. I haven’t yet found a reason why I should sell my time. Charging per hour gives you incentive to be unproductive and unties the price from actual results .
Create productized services
I already talked about productizing your services in the 1st section of the article. Each of these services mentioned could have a price tag and could be sold separately as a “product” with a specific end result.
That is the ideal way to start a relationship with the client. Once the products are documented and standardized, it is easy to replicate for various clients, which means you can deliver great value at a fraction of the cost.
Having monthly recurring payments and continuously optimizing is the goal for an optimizer. This will usually work the best on clients with consistent budgets that have lots of optimization opportunities.
Pricing is one of the most challenging parts of a Conversion Optimizer and we have to experiment and A/B test ourselves on that. A good rule of thumb is to get your first clients with low prices and after each successful project to increase prices by 10%.
Because CRO skills are very specialized and offer amazing value to customers, we should aim for big margins. Theoretically there is no upper limit on what to charge our clients. It all depends on our competence and size of client
These are some thoughts I have while I am graduating from the in-depth CRO Minidegree by CXL, and building my personal brand focusing on CRO services.
Let me know If you have any comments or thoughts about that. Whether you are a marketer, a Conversion Optimizer or a business owner…