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Guest Blog Post by Andy Hunt

Hardly a day goes by now when there isn’t another conversion rate optimization startup that launches (including us). Just this past week we were comparing Evergage, Barilliance, Visual Website Optimzer, Optimizely and a handful of other SaaS providers who all claim to make it easy to increase your site’s conversion rate and performance.

If all the software can do it for you, and you can do all the testing yourself in house, why hire an expert?

Because optimizing a website by yourself won’t get you maximal performance. It’s true that it is becoming much easier for you to show an increase in conversion rate by performing your own tests. But it’s very unlikely that you’ll reach the highest possible conversion rate by doing all the testing yourself.

Here are 5 good reasons why it’s better that you hire a conversion rate consultant:

1. For Additional Ideas

Let’s say that you’re responsible for improving conversion rates at ModCloth, arguable one of the most successful e-commerce startups today:

Homepage

Product Page

What are the things that you can think to test?

If you are like most clients, you’re going to start by simple tweaks to what already exists on the site. For example:

  • Testing the banner on the homepage
  • Testing positioning of offers on the homepage – i.e. where do you put free shipping? At the top or the bottom of the page?
  • Testing navigation & site flow
  • Testing check out call to actions & colors

Realistically, this is only the beginning of what would be tested! On any e-commerce site, no matter how large, there are often more than 20 variables that can be tested, with maybe 4 to 5 variations within each one. For example:

Homepage

  • Do we test a banner or focus on products?
  • If focusing on the products, which products do you sell?
  • Where do you place free shipping/additional offers, and what price points do you place them at?

Product Pages

  • Do you make product videos, static product images or interactive product images?
  • How many CTA variations can you test:
  • Add to Bag?
  • Buy Now?
  • Buy It?
  • What’s the effect of removing any 50% offers from the product page?

And that’s just two pages! If we were to layout all the variables for all pages on a site like this, it would be a monster.

For any website that’s driving more than $1M+ in online sales, getting the right ideas is important because small changes can drive huge impact. We see this all the time at Uplift and it’s one of the reasons why we have a team of people source ideas for a single site, not just a single optimizer.

2. For Additional Expertise

Many people think that testing only involves changing the color of a button, changing layout, etc. The reality however is far different.

There are many, many factors that affect conversion rate, and when you are testing you need to ask yourself if you really have the experience necessary. Here are a few examples:

Price: How much you charge for your products – whether you are an online retailer, software provider, etc – can have a dramatic impact on your conversion rate. For example:

  • Competitive Pricing: Are you selling a commoditized product? If that’s the case, what’s your optimal pricing strategy?
  • Dynamic Pricing: Can you adjust your pricing to a visitor in real time? How does this affect your net margin?

Speed: Website speed is one of the trickiest variables that affects conversion rate. Improving your load time by just a half a second can boost conversion by 10% or more (speaking anecdotally from our clients).

Responsiveness: Is your site fully optimized for all devices? Is it fast on mobile and tablets?

Personalized: Does your website respond to each user depending on what they search for, whether they have been to the site before, what their referring traffic URL was, etc?

More often than naught, even an experienced optimizer or web professional won’t be a jack of all trades across all of these areas. If you aren’t a master of any of these, then make sure that you get expert help.

3. To Save Time

Optimizing your website is as much an investment in cash as it is an investment in time.

Again, software has made it simple enough for people to run their own experiments and most people think that running tests is a fast, simple exercise.

Maximizing your site for optimal conversion rate will take time. There is no way around this. A typical project for a $1M+ online business will take up to 40 hours to complete all testing – and that’s with experienced experts working on your site. Doing it internally can take much longer and you need to weigh the pros and cons of having your internal designer/web marketer work on your site as opposed to outsourcing.

4. To Guarantee ROI

The vast majority of optimization professionals will offer some type of performance guarantee or payment on performance. This is one of the best investments you can make!

For example, using a $1M online etailer as an example, a 10% uplift in conversions/sales would lead to $100K in incremental revenue, and let’s say $20K in incremental profit.

A decent optimizer would take about $5K of this for a 3x ROI on your return, then charge you more or less for performance – say, up to $10K for a 20% lift.

Hiring an expert in this way guarantees the performance of your investment and lowers risk. Many companies believe that hiring someone inside the company to do something is less risky and they fail to understand that having someone inside the company spend time on optimization is also risky – what if it doesn’t work? Or what if they can’t optimize your site to its highest potential?

5. For Peace of Mind

And probably the biggest benefit of outsourcing in general:

Hiring an expert to maximize conversion rate will reduce stress. I guarantee this! Having someone go in and maximize the site for you will take the “burden” off you of optimization and let you focus on other things.

Between your inbound marketing strategy, outbound sales, partnerships, HR, accounting, etc. I can guarantee it’s worth it to simply let someone else take care of work for you – and guarantee ROI!

Summary

Hiring a conversion rate expert can help you maximize conversion rate in a shorter amount of time, and often at a stronger ROI, than you could internally.

Have you always done optimization in the past? When have you looked to hire an expert?

About the author

Andy Hunt – Optimization is my passion! When I’m not selling ads at Facebook I can be found battling landing pages and e-commerce sites. Follow me on Twitter @upliftroi to get updates on improving your website’s conversion rate.

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