Transform Data’s Impact: Pick The Right Success KPI!

Your analysis provides clear data that the campaign was a (glorious) failure. It could not be clearer. The KPI you chose for your brand campaign was Trust, it had a pre-set target of +5. The post-campaign analysis that compares performance across Test & Control cells shows that Trust did not move at all. (Suspiciously, there […]

The post Transform Data’s Impact: Pick The Right Success KPI! appeared first on Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik.

Your analysis provides clear data that the campaign was a (glorious) failure.

It could not be clearer.

The KPI you chose for your brand campaign was Trust, it had a pre-set target of +5. The post-campaign analysis that compares performance across Test & Control cells shows that Trust did not move at all. (Suspiciously, there are indications that in a handful of Test DMAs it might have gone down!)

Every so often, the story is just as simple as that.

You do the best you can with a marketing campaign (creative, audience, targeting, channels, media plan elements like duration, reach, frequency, media delivery quality elements like AVOC, Viewability, etc.), and sometimes the dice does not roll your way when you measure impact.

You would be surprised to know just how frequently the cause for failure is things that have nothing to do with the elements I mentioned above.  In future Premium editions we’ll cover a bunch of these causes, today I want to cover one cause that is in your control but often a root cause of failure:

Judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree!

AKA: You picked the wrong KPI for the campaign.

[Note 1: I’m going to use the phrase Success KPI a lot. To ensure clear focus, clear postmortems and clear accountability, I recommend identifying one single solitary metric as the Success KPI for the initiative. You can measure seven additional metrics – say for diagnostic purposes -, but there has to be just one Success KPI. Close accountability escape hatches.]

[Note 2: Although the guidance in this article applies to companies/analytics teams of all sizes, it applies in particular to larger companies and large agencies. It is there that the largest potential for mischief exists. It is also there, with an army of brilliant Analysts, that the highest potential for good exists.]

[Note 3: This article, part 1 of 2, was originally published as an edition of my newsletter The Marketing < > Analytics Intersect. In part 1, below, we’ll sharpen our skills in being able to recognize the problem, and five of the twelve rules for success. If you are TMAI Premium member, check your inbox for TMAI #313 for part 2 with the remaining rules and additional guidance. If you can’t find it, just email me. Merci.]

Be sure to save the summary visual at the end for implementing it in your company/agency.

The Subtle Art of Picking Bad KPIs.

Example 1.

Let’s say I work at Instagram, specifically in the Reels team. We want Reels to, say, crush TikTok. The team runs a $250 mil multi-platform campaign to increase Awareness of Reels. The campaign Success KPI was chosen to be: Incremental Reels Videos Created.

Good campaign. Bad Success KPI.

If you truly build Awareness creative, then judge success using the KPI Awareness. No?

Fish swim.

[Yes, long-term success of Reels will only come from Instagram users uploading Reels, but that was not the problem the creative was solving for. If the goal was Incremental Reels Videos Created, you would build an entirely different creative, you would target the campaign, potentially, to a different audience, you might create a different media plan, you would… run a different campaign.]

Creating a performance Success KPI for a brand campaign is a particularly common, and heartbreaking, mistake. Sophisticated brand measurement is hard. It feels simpler to pick what’s easy to measure, but you are going to make the fish feel bad when you judge its ability to climb trees AND you don't accomplish the desired outcome.

Example 2.

Let’s say I ran the campaign mentioned at the top of this email for my employer American Express.

If you look at Brand Trackers published by numerous industry sources, it becomes apparent in two minutes that American Express does not have a Trust problem. Americans trust American Express in massive quantities.

If you run a trust campaign for American Express, that campaign is going to fail. You are solving a problem that’s not a problem.

Bad Success KPI because of, technically speaking, high baselines.

Example 3.

Your new, Extremely Senior Leader is obsessed about doing Marketing that makes people fall in love with our brand. So, they conceive of a multi-million dollar Social campaign and demand the success KPI be: Brand Adoration.

[A KPI like that instinctively makes Analysts cringe because what’s Brand Adoration anyway. What does that even mean? Do we just make something up? If we do, how would we ever know if we did something meaningful, how we are doing compared to competitors/industry, what kind of creative/media do we even use to build “Brand Adoration,” and what are the core drivers of Brand Adoration, and if you don’t know, what are you actually doing spending all this money? I am going to set all this aside for a future TMAI Premium editions!]

You’ll measure that KPI using a question (or five) that will be presented in both the Test & Control cells. Will anyone who is not an employee of your company or in your Team's orbit even understand what the question is?

Let’s say, you ask Do you adore PayPal? Will the responding human know how to process this question?

Let’s say, you try an even more clever trick and ask PayPal is my preferred choice for financial transactions of a personal nature, and I would never use any other service, choose Yes or No.

Would the responding human understand that you are measuring brand adoration and give you a valid answer?

This is a bad Success KPI because no responding human can understand what you are asking – then the signal you accumulate to assess the campaign success or failure is a false signal.

And, it is the analytics person/team/agency's mistake.

Example 4.

A little grab bag for you…

When you are trying to drive long-term profit, picking Conversion Rate as a Success KPI for a campaign would be a mistake.

For your Display Advertising campaigns, picking any Success KPI close to buying (ex: Revenue) usually is a mistake. (Assisted Conversions – over a 30 or 90-day period, depending on your business – might be better.)

Anointing Conversion Rate (or dare I say even Revenue) as the Success KPI for your Email newsletter is a double mistake. It will cause your team to use newsletters in the spirit of pushy spam, and it will stop newsletters from truly becoming a strategically valuable owned asset, as Email is magnificent at See and Think, not so much Do.

I could keep going on. I have a hundred thousand more stories of judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree.

12 Rules for Picking the Right Success KPI.

While there is enough responsibility to spread around, I rest accountability for this common mistake on the Analyst/s. Marketers, CMOs, Finance peeps should know the implications of picking an imprecise Success KPI, but the Analyst is the expert and, hence, I expect them to take the lead.

To help you do that, here are 12 rules I codified for our team to use when we pick the Success KPI for a campaign. Each of these rules helps address a common error, collectively they also help you/leaders think through the campaign strategy, consider if they are solving the right problem, and so much more beyond just the KPI.

Ready to be A LOT MORE influential in your company?

Here are 12 rules brilliant companies use for picking the right Success KPI (and do Marketing that matters):

1. Is it an industry standard KPI?

It sounds like bad news that I’m saying you are not a special snowflake, that your campaign/tactic/magnificently brilliant idea is not so very incredibly unique that you need to make up a Metric to measure its success.

When you use an industry standard KPI, you have access to standards and benchmarks – providing you the super cool benefit of being able to assess your own performance in a much bigger context. This choice also comes with guidance on best practices for measuring this KPI – so that you don’t have to invent a methodology/technique that has no benefit of the industry’s collective wisdom.

Bonus: If you use an industry standard KPI, very often you’ll get access to research related to drives of that KPI that your Creative, Media and Strategy teams will kill for. If they know the drivers, they can internalize at a deeper layer what it takes to drive success.

Try not to make up a KPI, try not to make up the formula/question/methodology for a Success KPI. On that note…

2. (If it is a made up metric:) Is the KPI definition clear and understandable by a non-employee (aka consumer)?

For brand marketing, you and I assess success using a question we ask consumers.

When we make up our own metrics, the questions come from our best expertise, they might then get changed by a non-expert (Director of Marketing, CEO) because they like the sound of a particular word or phrase. But, phrased like that… Only your Director, and five people who say yes to everything the Director says, actually understand the question and answer choices. People taking the survey are super confused or putting their own interpretation on what you are asking. Now, their answers are suspect and – regardless of if their campaign results are indicated as a Big Success or Big Failure by the data – the measurement is imprecise.

Non-employees – aka normal people – need to be able to clearly and quickly understand what you are asking in your brand measurement surveys. Both the question AND the answer choices.

For performance marketing, you can see this confusion practiced when you create compound metrics. I bet your CMO dashboard has Social Engagement on it – only you understand what that metric actually is, and the convoluted formula ensures no one will ever know why Social Engagement went up or down. Not a good success KPI.

3. Is the Success KPI a business metric or a third-order driver metric?

You might have noticed above that I’m a fan of understanding the drivers of success (driver metrics) and not just the Big Thing we are trying to move (success KPI).

But, there is a special type mistake I see often made: The driver metric is chosen as the Success KPI.

An example of this is choosing Conversion Rate – certainly a driver metric – as the Success KPI vs. Profit. Yes, perhaps Profit will go up if you have a higher Conversion Rate, but the team could just use coupons or targeting low-value customers to drive the Conversion Rate and Profit will never go up.

Another example of this is that we want to influence Trust in our company, and we end up picking Product Quality as the Success KPI. Yes, Product Quality will improve Trust over time, but the coefficient is probably petite.

To correctly identify the impact of your campaign, pick the business outcome you want as the Success KPI and not one of the many driver metrics.

4. Is the Success KPI the goal set in the creative brief?

The creative is the ad we see on TV or TikTok, it is the lines of text in your Bing ad, and it is the (hopefully not annoying) image, text, animation, call to action, in your Display ad currently running in the Sacramento Bee.

Creative teams love big challenges and are motivated by solving existential issues. Hence, when Marketers / Leaders write creative briefs, they end up briefing the team for Big Things.

Make the world believe we are as good as Apple in quality… We are trying to get customers to think we are an innovative company… Our goal is to have the world believe that we are a force for good when it comes to climate change… The campaign investment is meant to help shift the perception that we are committed to our customers in the long run!

These are all fantastic things to shoot for (if your reality matches these aspirations).

The challenge occurs when the Success KPI for all of the above campaigns is set as In-Store Sales. Or, Lifetime value. Or, Most Valuable Brand in the world.

When there is a conflict between what the creative brief is (what the ads are being built for) and the measured Success KPI, the latter is an extremely poor choice because it will invariably show failure.

Brief the creative team for an outcome that actually matters to the business, and then set that exact same outcome as the Success KPI. Clear alignment between input and output.

5. Does the KPI have headroom?

I love this one. Not only as a great rule, but also to force Marketers to be clever.

What’s headroom?

Let’s consider this brand question: Is Apple an innovative company?

The answer: Yes (68%).

That is a very high baseline. If 68% of the people think anything positive of a company, there is likely no one else left in the world to persuade.

[In the case of Apple, there are a fair number of people who love to dislike Apple. That further means, purely from a measurement perspective, no headroom.]

You cannot move an unmovable metric.

No matter how much money you spend.

Even IF the campaign had great creative, it was well delivered, on the right channels, with optimal reach and frequency. The campaign will look like a failure. And, it was not the Marketing team’s fault.

Before you pick a Success KPI, do a bit of research to understand headroom. If you have less than six or eight points, don’t solve that problem (because data is indicating that it is not a problem!).

Pick something else. Unaided Awareness of Apple Tags is just 12 points. Solve that problem. Lots of headroom!

[Note: The concept of headroom applies to performance marketing as well. You might be maxed out for the audience you can reach in a particular channel. You already have max possible Click Share on Google. There might not be any more new customers to entice across the East Coast of the US. Etc. Assess headroom available across your performance Success KPIs as well.]

​​​​ Premium subscribers will recognize assessment of headroom as another clever manifestation of the win before you spend Minerva (Pre-Flight) Check outlined in TMAI #273.]

Scoring Success KPIs.

It would not surprise you to learn that smart teams codify their thinking (frameworks FTW!), and implement a process that ensures that thinking is applied 1. at scale 2. at the right moment, and 3. is understood by all.

That’s the real success to winning influence with data. To make it easier for teams I've led to implement the rules for success KPIs framework, we use the following checklist (with part 1 rules)…


[Click image above for a higher resolution version. It is pretty easy to type it all up in Excel, but if you need an Excel version, just email me.]

A thoughtful assessment, upfront. Simple and clear to all the cross-functional teams involved (and not just the Analytics team).

Rules 1 through 8 are mandatory, all of them have to be met for a KPI to be anointed a success KPI. The scoring in light blue row above. Rules 9 through 12 are for Analysis Ninjas, those who want to go above and beyond, those who do not leave things to chance, those looking for coming as close to guaranteeing success as possible. The scoring is in the darker blue row.

The KPI candidate with the best score wins! :)

In a future blog post, we can cover the process to put in place to ensure this happens at scale in your company/non-profit.

Bottom line.

Measuring the wrong thing should be the last reason to get a false signal of the impact of a campaign. False positive or false negative.

Measuring the right thing, and ensuring there is a process and framework in place to discuss that up front, ensuring every good and bad dimension of thinking can be put on the table up front, is a gift of immeasurable proportions to your employer/client.

Pick the right Success KPI.

It won’t guarantee campaign success, it will ensure that you’ll know when success occurs that it is real, and when failure occurs, there are clear lessons to learn for doing better in the future.

Pick the right Success KPI.

How good is your team, your agency, at ensuring that you are picking success KPIs that deliver in-depth insights, and optimal accountability? Please share via comments below. Merci.

[Quick reminder: If you are a TMAI Premium subscriber, part 2, with rules six through twelve and bonus content, is in your inbox. If you can’t find it, just email me.]

The post Transform Data's Impact: Pick The Right Success KPI! appeared first on Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik.

Locus of Control: How It Affects Your Life, and How To Manage It

My daughter had just pulled the caramel corn out of the oven, and the sticky-sweet smell was almost irresistible. Despite knowing it wasn’t going to help my diet, I was gnawing for a taste. But instead of kindly asking for a small bite, as I should hav…

My daughter had just pulled the caramel corn out of the oven, and the sticky-sweet smell was almost irresistible. Despite knowing it wasn’t going to help my diet, I was gnawing for a taste. But instead of kindly asking for a small bite, as I should have, I barked, “Damn this caramel corn!”

The post Locus of Control: How It Affects Your Life, and How To Manage It appeared first on Nir and Far.

Distraction at work is a symptom of dysfunction. Here’s how to fix it.

It seems we’re all checking our phones constantly these days. But all that time spent on our phones leaves little time for anything else. We need time to think in order to come up with novel solutions to our business challenges.
The post Distraction at…

It seems we’re all checking our phones constantly these days. But all that time spent on our phones leaves little time for anything else. We need time to think in order to come up with novel solutions to our business challenges.

The post Distraction at work is a symptom of dysfunction. Here’s how to fix it. appeared first on Nir and Far.

eCommerce Website Accessibility & ADA Compliance Tips

Improve the accessibility of your online store using these strategies, recommended by Zack Poelwijk of ABILITY.

According to the CDC, 26% of American adults have a disability — a whopping 61 million people who have a combined disposable income of about $480 billion.

Although many countries, including the United States, have laws about accessibility (like the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] of 1990), accessibility-compliant eCommerce sites are few and far between

This is a huge disappointment for people who fall into this demographic — and a giant opportunity for your brand to level up and better serve your potential and existing customers.

In this guide, we’ll share a few recommended strategies from Zack Poelwijk, Director of Customer Success at ABILITY Digital Accessibility Co, that will help you reach a bigger audience, improve your accessibility features, and bring your online store closer to ADA compliance. 

As a bonus, these easy upgrades not only help your customers with disabilities, but they’ll benefit your overall SEO strategy, too!

Let’s get started.

What is Online ADA Compliance?

When we think of ADA compliance, we often recall the ramps installed where stairs are present in a building or braille printed on signs that point to bathrooms.

But what about online ADA compliance?

When it comes to accessible websites, eCommerce businesses need to think about customers with all sorts of abilities and support systems like screen readers, closed captions, and keyboard-only access. 

For example, users of a website who are on the visually impaired and color-blindness spectrum most likely use a screen reader or require larger font. Some people may not be able to use a mouse and can only navigate websites with a keyboard. Customers with cognitive impairments may need more time to process information before a decision can be made.

In other words, as Poelwjik describes, digital accessibility is “the philosophy of ensuring that digital assets are built in a manner, or retrofitted in a manner, to be accommodating to [various assistive technologies for customer usability].”

What ‘Compliance’ Means

Online accessibility is ultimately defined by one set of rules: the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, also known as the WCAG.

This single point of truth for global accessibility standards makes it much easier for brands worldwide to achieve these goals, while simultaneously keeping complicated government speak out of the equation.

When it comes to ADA compliance, there are three different levels that companies can achieve:

  1. A: This is considered the bare minimum standard a website must meet. 
  2. AA: Reaching this mid-range level ensures that your website is built to avoid the biggest, most frequent barriers for disabled users.
  3. AAA: This is the highest achievable standard and can actually be impossible for some websites to reach, depending on their content types.

Why It Matters

Digital accessibility is important from two main standpoints: altruism & legality. 

  1. Altruistically, providing alternative, equitable outcomes to people with disabilities is part of the fabric of our communities. 
  2. Legally, we live in the most litigious society in all of history, which means accessibility lawsuits are common. In short, your company could be sued if it does not provide equitable service to all of your customers, regardless of ability — and there are plenty of lawyers waiting in the wings to make it happen.

By committing to an eCommerce site with improved accessibility, you’ll provide more shopping opportunities for often-overlooked audiences. In return, they’ll be more likely to frequent your online store out of ease of use. 

Finally, improving the user experience for impaired customers improves the user experience for non-impaired customers, too. (We’ll discuss more on that below). In turn, this can boost SEO performance and overall revenue for retailers like you.

eCommerce Website Accessibility Best Practices

When it comes to accessibility for eCommerce websites, there’s one question to answer:

What additional accommodations are needed for a customer with disabilities to navigate a website, find the products they want, add them to the cart, and check out effectively?

The following suggestions are based on a few of the standards ABILITY highlights for anyone looking to improve online accessibility. 

This is a great starting point, but it’s not a comprehensive list. We recommend that your brand conduct thorough accessibility testing to identify every issue on your site and create a plan of action.

Only that way can you ensure the best user experience for your prospective shoppers.

1. Color Contrast

Visual impairments fall among the most common disabilities. Luckily, providing proper solutions for these users is fairly easy. 

By ensuring adequate color contrast anywhere text is present, you can alleviate many of the stressors that vision-impaired customers face. 

Adequate contrast is measured by comparing the color of your font against its background. This ratio is also determined by the size of the font. Standard size font needs a color contrast ratio of 4.5:1; for large or bolded font, you only need a 3:1 color contrast ratio.

Website menu bar with heading Free Ground Shipping on All Orders. Arrow points to this text with a caption: Failed Color Contrast. 2.04. Below is an arrow that points to the Stories tab. Caption: Passed Color Contrast: 14.39.

Keep in mind that this high-contrast rule applies to everything — infographics, promotional text superimposed over an image, marketing brochures, product shot sheets, etc. 

Use a tool like the WebAIM Contrast Checker to check your font size vs. contrast ratio to understand your current contrast and mark which parts of your site need improvement. 

2. Image Alt Text

In addition to proper color contrast, you must ensure that all images on your site include alt text.

Alt text describes an image to your visitors so if they are visually impaired, they can still understand the content on your site. This is especially important in cases like infographics and product descriptions. 

Without alt text, your customers could miss crucial details about your products or important context on your webpage.

Screenshot of Alt text for images is displayed across the homepage, describing each image for screen readers.

Decorative images are the exception to this requirement. But we recommend using alt text for all images to provide a fuller experience to your website visitors.

You can use software like Chrome’s Web Developer Plugin to view current alt text on your website. Watch our video below for a quick walkthrough of how it works.

The video below is hosted on YouTube. If you need assistance with viewing the video, please contact [email protected].

3. Tab Navigability & Visual Focus Indicator

After visual impairments, mobility differences are some of the most common barriers for website users. 

Able-bodied people use a mouse to navigate screens and websites and shopping situations — but what about those customers who can’t use a mouse? Many of them use the tab and directional keys to maneuver the internet.

Everything on a website that you’d otherwise be able to interact with using your mouse — links, buttons, and anything that is clickable, actionable, and takes you somewhere — needs to be just as functional by using only the tab key.

GIF showing tabbed navigation in the menu header for K E H .com.

When building this functionality, keep in mind that clicking the tab key should navigate a user through a website from left to right, top to bottom.

For example, your users should be able to move from your homepage to a product page with the tab key. Then, within that product page, they must also be able to select the size, color, and any other details of the item they are trying to purchase. 

In addition to that capability, the user also needs a visual focus indicator, so that they can see their progress on the page. Usually, this is a color change in text or a dotted line box around the current selection. 

K E H Camera homepage. Skip to Content is highlighted in a blue box on the navigational menu.

You can accomplish this through CSS, which is a simple, superficial, top-level code change.

4. Programmatically Determinable

All of the elements of your webpage need to clearly show the user what the object is and what they are supposed to do with it. Generally, you can make this happen in the user interface development process.

To ensure accessibility, all of these same things have to be programmatically determinable. In other words, screen readers and other assistive technology must be able to understand what each piece is. 

When a webpage is programmatically determinable, it means that a screen reader can read a piece of code to identify what the thing/button/etc. is, along with its clearly identifiable, accessible name (the label we have given that thing in the code) that it shares with the user.

For most eCommerce sites, this step can be completed with the help of an experienced web developer.

5. Finalizing the Purchase

Once your customers can maneuver your eCommerce website with tab navigability, you must ensure that they can finalize the purchasing process with similar ease.

Your users should be able to fill and check out an online shopping cart through the help of their assistive technologies (and without using a mouse). For eCommerce sites, this can get complicated, because there are so many details involved in the checkout process and so many places things can go wrong.

Checkout form. Form fields: Email, First Name, Last Name, Company (optional), Address, Apartment, suite, etc. (optional), City, State, ZIP code, Phone. Button: Continue to Shipping.

From filling out forms to entering credit card numbers to verifying all the details, your brand needs to prioritize accessibility in the checkout process. Not only will this ensure your site meets WCAG guidelines, but it also prevents you from losing that valuable sale!

Again, we recommend hiring an experienced accessibility developer to make necessary improvements to your checkout process.

6. Fillable & Form Fields

When it comes to the online shopping checkout processes, fillable fields and form fields present a unique challenge. 

Each of these fields has very specific requirements and rules to follow. Making these rules known to your users and their support systems requires that every detail be programmatically labeled behind the scenes. 

Some fields will require numbers and others letters, while some will allow for both. These need to be as detailed as possible. You’ll also need to name each field, so that technologies can identify them for users — First Name Field, Last Name Field, etc. 

Checkout form with form field names highlighted in red boxes. Form field names: Email, First Name, Last Name, Company (optional), Address, Apartment, suite, etc. (optional), City, State, ZIP code, Phone.

All of these labels can be created with simple HTML manipulation.

Don’t forget: You’ll also need to check color contrast and tab navigability with the visual focus indicator for each piece — so that your user and their support systems know where in the form they are, too.

Error messages also need to be made available to screen readers. These messages should have all the same accessibility traits, as well.

7. Mobile Responsiveness

How many of us use our phones for online shopping — whether we have an impairment or not? (Answer: About 36% of us.)

We all know the importance of mobile responsiveness (also known as mobile reflow) in website design and for SEO purposes

But, just like any able-bodied users, many users with disabilities primarily or only use their phones or tablets to surf the web or make online purchases. Therefore, it’s critical that your site be built to be responsive to their needs.

According to the WCAG, all web content needs to be able to elegantly stack to one column. (The association provides rules on how to do this with guidelines around pixel width and more.)

Mobile version of a shipping address form fill. All fields have collapsed into one column for mobile usage. Fields: Email, Country / region, First name, Last name, Company (optional), Address, Apartment, suite, etc. (optional), City, State.
In this mobile version of the form shown above, all columns have collapsed into one for a better user experience.

Unfortunately, some digital objects (like clothing size charts or large graphs and images) can’t necessarily be shrunk down to become mobile-sized. For example, big tables can’t be re-sized to be mobile-responsive and shrink to fit the screen because then, well, they’d become unreadable. 

To make these elements accessible and responsive, you build your mobile web design in such a way that mobile users can scroll in only one direction at a time — either up and down or side to side — so as to keep the information readable. 

Starting Your Accessibility Initiative

The tips above are a good place to start when it comes to creating an ADA-compliant eCommerce website for your customers. 

That said, following these rules alone will not automatically designate “full compliance” for your site. Instead, you may need to bring on more tools and services to ensure complete accessibility, provide the best experience for all of your users, and avoid litigation.

For brands looking to upgrade their customer experience, there are two main solutions available. 

Overlay Widgets

The first is to implement an overlay widget. These accessibility tools typically provide an accessibility icon that appears in the top corner of the site. If users click on them, the tool can provide some additional information and usability. 

Often, these overlays don’t produce the wide array of results they promise, so we don’t recommend relying solely on these for your accessibility needs. 

If you’re just getting started with accessibility and your budget is very low, they can be a temporary bandaid — but should not be trusted as the end-all-be-all of your site’s accessibility.

Full Accessibility Audits

The second solution is to conduct a detailed, person-led eCommerce accessibility audit. 

These audits are a much better way to ensure your company is in full accessibility compliance. If you want to reduce your risk, keep lawyers away, and sincerely make your site user-friendly to your entire target audience, an audit is the best solution. 

Headshot of Zack Poelwijk, Director of Client Success at ABILITY. Quote: Hire an auditor, have them human-led audit your site, and fix the problems at the code level. That is how you make accessibility.

Fortunately, there is a range of audit companies out there for every need and budget:

  • ABILITY provides a full suite of accessibility services that cover all of your digital assets. They offer an overlay product, as well as auditing, transcripts, closed captions, audio descriptions, and a compliance certification.
  • Deque also offers a remediation overlay, along with audits and training for your in-house team to ensure that any further developments are made with accessibility in mind.
  • UserWay provides a widget alongside their auditing services. They also can check for contrast and dyslexia font issues, as well as moderate your content.

If you’re already working with a digital marketing agency, they may have a partnership program with an accessibility service — so it’s worth asking if they have any recommendations for you, as well. 

Improve Your Revenue with Your Accessibility Strategy

Improving your eCommerce website’s accessibility will not only help you reach new customers, but it will also actually help your current customers more easily navigate your site. In addition, these updates can drastically improve your technical SEO strategy. 

In short, following the steps above can lead to greater revenues, market share, and conversions for your eCommerce store.

By streamlining your accessibility, you can outshine your competitors and draw in a loyal customer base. When people find online stores that are easy to navigate and buy from with clear access, they keep coming back — and you’ll reap the rewards.

Want a digital marketing strategy that addresses these accessibility issues and improves your online revenue? Request a free customized proposal from Inflow today to learn more.

If you want to start improving your site’s accessibility with a more DIY approach, we recommend the following resources:

8 Productivity Hacks You Can Do in 30 Minutes

Got a few minutes? Then why not use them to implement these quick fixes that cut distraction and aid productivity? I uncovered these productivity fixes while researching how to combat distraction and increase productivity for my book Indistractable, an…

Got a few minutes? Then why not use them to implement these quick fixes that cut distraction and aid productivity? I uncovered these productivity fixes while researching how to combat distraction and increase productivity for my book Indistractable, and I’ve relied on them ever since.

The post 8 Productivity Hacks You Can Do in 30 Minutes appeared first on Nir and Far.

Google Analytics 4 Setup: Step by Step Guide

Learn how to set up your Google Analytics 4 eCommerce tracking before the July 1, 2023, deadline.

It’s time to get tracking.

With Universal Analytics’ final goodbye less than a year away, the clock is ticking on your deadline to set up Google Analytics 4. To prep your business for success before next July, you need to get your GA4 properties in order — and tracking — as soon as possible.

For the last few months, our marketing team has worked diligently to transition our eCommerce clients from UA to GA4. Along the way, we’ve learned some tips and tricks for a smooth migration that captures everything a business needs to bring from Universal Analytics.

In today’s guide, we’re sharing that process with you, including a helpful GA4 eCommerce Tracking Toolkit to kickstart your efforts. Read through it now to start configuring your own accounts, or to give your agency a headstart with its operations.

Download our Google Analytics 4 eCommerce Tracking Toolkit Now. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

And, if you ever need help with your Google Analytics 4 setup, Inflow is always here.

Table of Contents

How Google Analytics 4 Tracking Differs From Universal Analytics

Before we get into the details of setting up Google Analytics 4 tracking, you need to understand the crucial difference between this platform and Universal Analytics. 

GA4 is more than just an “upgraded” version of UA. It’s a completely redesigned system with a totally different approach to event and conversion tracking. Whereas UA tracked events as different “hit” types (page views, events, transactions, etc.), Google Analytics 4 tracks them all as an “event” — which means you’ll need to do some additional configuration for the most accurate data collection.

You can learn more about how GA4 differs from UA in Google’s complete guide, or you can check out our infographic below for the quick hits:

Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics comparison chart. Universal Analytics: Measurement: Session-based data model. Sessions: Ends after 30 minutes of inactivity, after midnight, or after campaign source changes. Traffic sources: Customizable channel groupings and definitions. Filter capabilities: Subsets of traffic, unwanted data, and other pieces of information. Reporting: Limited cross-device and cross-platform reporting. Automation: Limited automation. Google Analytics 4: Measurement: Flexible event-based data model. Sessions: Ends after 30 minutes of inactivity or timeout. Does not create a new session when campaign source changes mid-session. Traffic sources: Default channel groups and definitions available, but cannot be modified or customized. Filter capabilities: IP filters only. No Views available. Reporting: Full cross-device and cross-platform reporting. Automation: Advanced machine learning to improve and simplify insight discovery. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

If you haven’t yet read our introduction to Google Analytics 4, we recommend you do so now, to familiarize yourself with the platform. You can also watch our explanatory video below:

The video below is hosted on YouTube. If you need assistance with viewing the video, please contact [email protected].

How to Set Up Google Analytics 4: The Basics

Before setting up your data tracking, you must first configure your Google Analytics 4 property.

If you haven’t yet done so, follow the steps below to get started. (You can also follow Google’s Setup Assistant within the platform.)

Step 1: Create Your New GA4 Property.

The first step to your GA4 tracking — make sure you have a property to track with!

You can easily create a Google Analytics 4 property for each of your existing Universal Analytics properties. After hitting “Create Property,” follow these steps to complete the process.

  1. Click on “Property Settings” in the lefthand navigation menu.
  2. Fill out the details for the Property as accurately as possible.
Google Analytics 4 Property Settings. Property Details: Property Name. Industry Category: Real Estate. Reporting Time Zone: United States, G M T 05:00 Chicago Time. Currency Displayed as U S Dollar U S D $.

At this point, you’ll have your basic property created and populated with the must-have info. But there are a few other steps involved before you can configure your tracking.

Step 2: Set Up and Connect BigQuery Data Warehouse.

Remember that Google Analytics 4 is limited to a 14-month data retention period. Therefore, to store your long-term historical data, you’ll need to use a data streaming warehouse.

Here at Inflow, we’ve been using BigQuery for our clients, because GA4 provides an easy connection to the platform. It’s also free or very low-cost for many of our mid-sized eCommerce clients’ needs, with 10 GB of complimentary storage.

Before you can link this data stream to your Google Analytics 4 account, you’ll need to set up a project for your site. Follow Google’s guide to doing so, then link this warehouse to your GA4 property as outlined below:

  1. In Setup Assistant, click on “Link BigQuery” in the “Linking” section.
  2. Click the blue “Link” button.
  3. Click “Choose a BigQuery Project.” (You may need to search for the Project ID if you don’t see it listed.)
  4. Select the appropriate BigQuery project and then click “Confirm.”
  5. Select the data location (your GA4 property name).
  6. Select the data streams and frequency. We recommend leaving your frequency set at “Daily.”
  7. Finally, click to the next step, where you can review and submit your data. You will now be able to see your account in the BigQuery Linking page. 
Screenshot of Google Analytics 4 Setup Assistant. Create a Link with Big Query. Link setup: Choose a Biq Query project, "Link to a Big Query project I manage." Configure settings. Review and submit.
Step 3 of the BigQuery linking process.

Step 3: Link Your Existing Accounts.

In addition to linking BigQuery, you’ll also need to link your Google Ads accounts. This will allow your business to take advantage of GA4’s advanced cross-platform data integration and reporting capabilities.

There are two processes involved in this:

Google Ads

  1. In Setup Assistant, click on “Link Google Ads” in the “Linking” section.
  2. Click the blue “Link” button.
  3. Click “Choose Google Ads Accounts.”
  4. Select your account and click “Confirm.”
  5. Click on “Enable Auto-tagging.” Select “Leave my auto-tagging settings as they are.”
  6. Click “Next” and then “Review your settings.” Hit “Submit” to finish the process. 
Review and Submit. Link to Google Ads Accounts I manage. Data Configurations. Enable Personalized Advertising: Google Analytics audience lists and remarketing events / parameters will be published to the linked Google Ads accounts. You can change this setting anytime while maintaining your link for other purposes. Enable Auto-Tagging: Auto-tagging allows Analytics to associate Google Ads data automatically with customer clicks, enabling richer and more detailed reporting data than manual tagging across a number of Google Ads metrics and dimensions. Any Google Ads reporting features or ad units added in the future will only be available if auto-tagging is enabled. Previous. Submit.

Google Merchant Center

If you’re using Google Ads for your eCommerce business, odds are you’re also using Google Shopping

To ensure your GA4 data gets integrated into your Google Merchant Center, you’ll need to link GMC to your new property with the following steps:

  1. In Google Analytics, click “Admin.”
  2. In the “Account” column, make sure that your desired account is selected. (If you only have one Google Analytics account, it will already be selected.)
  3. In the “Property” column, select the property you want to link to Merchant Center.
  4. In the “Property” column, under “Product Links,” click “Google Merchant Center Links.”
  5. Click the blue “Link” button.
  6. Click “Choose Account,” and then select the account you want to link your property to.
  7. Click “Confirm.”
  8. Click “Next.”
  9. Under “Enable Auto-tagging,” choose to enable auto-tagging for the Merchant Center account (or leave the settings as they are).
  10. Click “Next,” and then review and submit your configuration settings.
Screenshot of Google Analytics Merchant Center Links page. Red arrow points to Blue "Link" button. Another red arrow points to "Merchant Center" in the left navigation menu.

How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 Tracking

Now that you’ve completed the first part of the GA4 setup process, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of conversion tracking.

Remember, Google Analytics 4 tracks events very differently from Universal Analytics. You can’t just import your UA setup into your tracking configuration; you’ll need to go through the following steps to properly configure your events tracking and ensure your data is collecting accurately.

In the section below, we’ve simplified the tracking process by offering a GA4 eCommerce Tracking Toolkit that your development team can upload quickly to your site. 

For a full description of the process without these tools, check out Google’s guide.

Step 1: Add a GTM Container to Your Site.

To get your Google Analytics 4 tracking to fire, you’ll need to use Google Tag Manager to add a custom tag to all pages on your site.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with our downloadable GTM container. It contains every piece of tracking code you need to start recording events on your eCommerce site. You can simply download it, import it, and configure it in a few steps.

You’ll find your unique measurement ID in Google Analytics 4. In Setup Assistant, navigate to “Tag Installation,” click on your web data stream, and then locate your ID in the upper-right corner of the page.

Google Analytics 4 screenshot, showing Web Stream Details page. Measurement ID is highlighted in the upper righthand corner of the page.

Add this measurement ID to our GTM container. You’ll also need to add this ID to your GA4 configuration tag.

Screenshot of Google Tag Manager, showing Google Analytics GA4 Configuration. Arrow points to the Measurement ID box to be filled in.

Then, the container and tag will be ready for installation on your website.

Step 2: Set up non-eCommerce Conversion Tracking.

From a non-eCommerce perspective, setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics 4 can be fairly straightforward. We recommend identifying any applicable events and conversions in your Universal Analytics properties (again, saving eCommerce events for the next step) and making a list of those you feel comfortable replicating in Google Analytics 4.

Make sure to ignore events that are now automatically tracked — scrolling, outbound clicks, and more. In addition, “path”-type goals likely won’t need to be replicated for your site.

Once you’ve identified the metrics you need to track, you’ll want to set these up in Google Tag Manager using the Google Analytics 4 Event Tag type. 

Don’t forget to mark these events as “conversions” in the Google Analytics 4 interface when you’re done, if any of these events qualify as conversions.

Learn more about this kind of event tracking setup in Google’s detailed guide.

Step 3: Set Up eCommerce Tracking.

If your site is eCommerce, you’ll need custom tracking to gather data for all of your eCommerce site events. Fortunately, when you use our GTM container, this step becomes much simpler for your development team.

In essence, all they’ll need to do is code our GA4 Data Layer into your website. This data layer communicates to Google Tag Manager what eCommerce-related events are happening on the site. (This includes actions like purchases, add-to-carts, refunds, etc.) 

Adding the data layer code should be fairly straightforward for most eCommerce platforms. Our development partners typically report 5–10 hours of work needed to complete it. 

If you’re using a platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or Magento, you might consider using an app or extension to install the GA4 Data Layer on your site, instead.

Download Our
GA4 eCommerce Tracking Toolkit now.

Set Up Your GA4 Tracking Now for More Data Tomorrow

While you technically have until July 1, 2023, to set up your Google Analytics 4 account, we recommend doing so much sooner than that. The earlier you upgrade to GA4 and start tracking your website data, the more historical data you’ll have when Universal Analytics meets its end.

In addition, because Google Analytics 4 is a completely different beast than Universal Analytics, starting your configuration now gives your team more time for trial and error, to learn the new platform, and to parallel track for accuracy of data.

As mentioned above, GA4’s Setup Assistant is a great place to start — but it can’t provide the detailed, personal instructions that your eCommerce business needs. For that, we recommend working with a digital marketing agency like Inflow, which can customize your migration process and ensure all of your tracking is correct long before next summer’s deadline.

Learn how our team can help you by requesting a free proposal today. In the meantime, review our other helpful guides on Google Analytics 4:

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The post Why Values In a Relationship Are What Make It Last (Or Not) appeared first on Nir and Far.

CRO for eCommerce: Is It Worth It? Costs of Continuous Testing

Is CRO worth it for your business? Learn more about the costs involved and average eCommerce pricing to make the best choice for your website.

When it comes to digital marketing strategies for your eCommerce site, perhaps nothing provides as much of a return as conversion rate optimization (CRO). In fact, one study estimates that return at an average of 223%.

But, when you’re already investing in tactics like SEO, PPC, and social media marketing, finding room in your budget for a comprehensive CRO strategy can be difficult — even more so when you don’t know what to expect.

In this guide, we’ll help you better understand the facts and figures behind this marketing tactic. By the end of this piece, you’ll have a clearer answer to the question, “Is CRO worth it for my business?”  — so you can make the best business decision for your eCommerce store.

Get ready to learn:

  • How much different CRO options cost
  • Which factors will impact your overall pricing
  • And whether this investment is worth it for your business

Table of Contents

CRO Costs: Why No Two Programs are the Same

Although we’d love to talk dollars and cents off the bat, the truth is that it’s frankly impossible to say exactly what your CRO efforts are going to cost. 

That’s because no two CRO projects are the same. 

Depending on your website, your products, and your target audience, wildly different efforts may be necessary to generate the results you’re looking for. 

For some eCommerce sites, the solutions are very basic, like relocating the add to cart button. For others, it can be something more nuanced, like building trust in your target audience through long-term marketing campaigns and site updates.

Let’s consider two examples from our client list:

  1. Quick and easy fix: TrailCamPro was able to increase its sales by 20% by prominently posting free shipping and return notifications. Prior to this update, customers didn’t know the company even offered this feature; their new knowledge of it was quickly reflected in the revenue increase after our update.
  2. More complicated, long-term project: For Mountain House, our team leveraged user-generated content (UGC) to ultimately increase sales by 13% — but finding out where that social proof should be positioned took several tests (some of which resulted in smaller lifts, no lifts at all, or even a decrease in sales).

To create the most effective eCommerce conversion rate optimization strategy for each client, many agencies (including Inflow) offer a range of services. You’ll need to understand what these are and how they work before you can start comparing costs from agency to agency.

Here at Inflow, we offer two types: a one-time audit and a continuous testing program

1. CRO Audit

An eCommerce CRO audit is a one-time investment that reveals your site’s biggest opportunities for improvement — and, in most cases, the less expensive approach to conversion rate optimization.

It typically includes four steps:

  1. Understanding your business
  2. Auditing your site
  3. Presenting recommendations
  4. Reviewing site changes before launch

While an audit always involves a personal review of your site, many recommendations are made based on an agency’s running list of industry standards. For example, Inflow’s CRO experts have spent hundreds of hours creating a Best in Class list of practices, which guide all of our client work.

Using that list, we evaluate every single page template of your site (homepage, category pages, product pages, etc.), reviewing metrics and factors like:

  • Bounce rates
  • Cart abandonment rates
  • User experience (UX) features
  • Calls to action (CTAs)
  • Chatbots and live chat
  • Site coding
  • Product descriptions
  • Product images
  • Checkout processes
  • Customer reviews
  • Pop-ups and banners
  • Shopping cart pages
  • And more

Then, our team delivers a list of one-time recommendations for your site, including the changes most likely to result in significantly higher conversion rates. 

It’s important to remember that a one-time audit does not include A/B testing, which can often be the secret ingredient for maximum improvement.

Still, a one-time CRO audit might be best for your eCommerce website if you:

  • Have a very low conversion rate
  • Have never had an outside CRO audit
  • Don’t have enough traffic to justify monthly CRO efforts

In short, a CRO audit is a great choice for small or medium businesses that are looking to improve their profitability on a budget — or, on the other hand, bigger brands looking for optimization opportunities that they can test and implement with their own in-house team.

2. Continuous Testing

In contrast to a one-time CRO audit, a continuous testing program involves ongoing A/B tests to improve conversion rates for site visitors. 

With this kind of program, strategists continuously run multiple tests on your website, tweaking your CRO strategy in real-time for steady improvement. 

While these services are more expensive, it’s worth it, especially for larger eCommerce websites. You’ll see significant and steady improvement in your sales through the program, as your experts hone in on your customers’ experience and their unique online shopping behavior.

Dollars & Cents: What You Can Expect to Pay for CRO

Now that you know what CRO services entail and why they vary from client to client, it’s time to get into the numbers.

Using our own package rates and those from competitors in the industry, we’ve compiled typical conversion rate optimization prices below, based on a few specific business factors:

Ongoing CRO Testing

  • Tier 1: $3,000–$6,000 per month 
    • Website size: Small or mid-size eCommerce sites
    • Monthly traffic: 50,000+ visitors per month
    • Annual revenue: $10–30 million
  • Tier 2: $6,000–$10,000
    • Website size: Mid-size or large eCommerce sites
    • Traffic: 1+ million visitors per month
    • Annual revenue: $30–50 million
  • Tier 3: $10,000–$30,000 per month
    • Website size: Enterprise-level eCommerce sites
    • Traffic: 100+ million visitors per month
    • Annual revenue: $50+ million

Remember, the more complicated your project, the more you can expect to pay. If your scope of work is less (or more) than an agency’s typical engagement, your program costs will reflect that.

The best way to really understand how much CRO costs for your needs is by requesting quotes from several professionals. You’ll get a better idea of how far your budget will go — and what kind of results you can expect for those services (more on that later).

One-Time CRO Audit

Typically, an a la carte CRO audit costs between 150% and 300% of an agency’s typical monthly fee. However, additional services may increase that project cost.

Let’s say you choose to conduct user testing during your audit. User testing can be done cheaply (with a DIY method) or in an expensive manner (with a live test lab and costly staff and equipment). For example, a program like Foresee Results — which collects feedback from live website visitors to “audit” your site — can easily cost upwards of $50,000, depending on your site size.

Like with an ongoing CRO testing program, you’ll need to request quotes from several professionals for an accurate pricing estimate.

The 3 Main Costs of CRO

So, why does CRO cost so much?

Like with most digital marketing services, there are three important factors that influence a CRO program’s pricing.

1. CRO Professional

You have several options for your CRO professional. You could choose to use an agency, hire an outside contractor, or run some initial tests in-house.

As demonstrated above, a digital marketing agency is often the most expensive of these options — but for good reason. An agency maintains a team of trained CRO specialists, who perform website tests day in and day out. They’re up to date on the latest industry trends (thanks to working with so many clients), and they’ll bring that knowledge to your engagement.

For this reason, an agency typically provides the most bang for your buck. While pricier than your other options, the detailed and experienced services are more likely to result in a substantial revenue increase.

If your budget isn’t ready for the commitment of an agency program, you have two other options:

  • Contractor/Freelancer: Most CRO contractors work on an hourly basis, and you’ll find a wide range of options for your budget. However, you get what you pay for here. Be wary of any consultants charging extremely low rates (anything under $50 an hour); they may not have the experience needed to manage a comprehensive testing program or deliver real results for your business. Instead, look for contractors with a substantial portfolio and a detailed proposal for your site. Typically, these experts can cost anywhere from $150 to $300 an hour.
  • In-house: If your budget is severely limited, we recommend saving your money and running a few tests on your own instead. Recognize that your results will be limited with this option, too, and you’ll still need to pay your development team and for a testing program (read more below). There are a few ways you can develop your test ideas:
    • By purchasing a one-time audit from an agency
    • By researching industry best practices (like our list of DIY eCommerce CRO tactics)

Because CRO can be a hefty investment of both money and time, consider all of your options for improving your eCommerce website’s profitability before committing to a CRO solution. Always review a few competing agencies, as well as freelance options, before signing any contract.

2. Testing Tools & Software

In order to successfully run CRO tests, you need a testing program. These programs and tools can sometimes cost thousands per month, but they’re crucial for delivering statistically significant results.

A testing tool allows your CRO professional to test several site changes at the same time without harming your current user experience. For example, a testing tool can present two separate calls to action to your site visitors. By displaying these simultaneously to a subset of your audience, the tool eliminates as many confounding variables as possible.

Like the price of CRO agencies, the price of your CRO testing program will vary based on your site size and needs. Many offer custom subscription plans built specifically for your business. 

Some examples include:

Keep in mind: Many CRO agencies will require you to cover the cost of these external tools (in addition to their own service costs), so they can test and implement changes on your site. But, here at Inflow, we use a proprietary A/B testing tool to build tests directly into your site — no extra fees required.

Therefore, make sure to discuss any testing program fees as part of your CRO agency evaluation process.

Note: A testing program is often not required for a CRO audit. If you choose this service option, you’ll save your team thousands of dollars in expenses.

3. Development Work

Finally, you need to consider the costs of hiring a development team (or increasing the engagement for your existing team).

Depending on your choice of professional, it may be your responsibility to implement changes to your site during tests and after those tests are complete. Not all agencies or contractors have the capability to complete this step for you, which will add another cost to your total price.

As you’re considering a CRO testing program, talk with your development team. How much extra bandwidth do they have? How much will those extra services cost?

Figure that into your decision-making process.

Is CRO Testing Worth It for Your Website?

Bottom line: CRO testing is an investment, which means your website needs to be ready to profit from this venture before you get started.

Therefore, CRO testing is usually only a good choice for mature eCommerce businesses that not only have a good sense of their customers but also know how to bring in enough shoppers and sales to be profitable in the first place. The more stable your site revenue, the more likely the high investment cost of CRO will be worth it — and will be able to drive the results you’re looking for.

When considering CRO services for your business, remember to ask yourself these questions first:

1. Is your online store generating enough traffic and sales?

CRO agencies need substantial traffic to run tests on a site — and enough baseline conversions from that traffic to provide statistical significance for the results. 

Typically, we recommend sites should only consider CRO when they have at least 50,000 monthly website visitors and at least 100 monthly conversions.

If your site has less than that, the money spent on a testing program simply won’t be worth it. You won’t be able to generate statistically significant results, and you’ll be better off simply following CRO best practices (without the A/B testing portion).

2. Is there space in your marketing budget?

If you want the best results from a CRO project, the best choice is a continuous testing program. However, if you don’t have the budget for a six-month commitment, consider a one-time CORE audit. 

Either way, be prepared to invest in your CRO — not expect a “get rich quick” solution. If you’re struggling to afford the costs of CRO in the first place, you won’t have the flexibility required to support the scaling up and down of your scope of work, not to mention the additional software and development costs involved.

3. Are you willing and able to make changes to your website?

Successful CRO depends on making changes to your website to make it more friendly for potential customers. 

If your website can’t be easily changed (maybe stakeholders are committed to its current design or administrative control makes updates hard), a CRO program is not the right choice for you. Similarly, if you have no room in your budget for increased work from your development team, all the tests you run will be for naught.

4. Are you ready for a long-term investment?

Like many digital marketing strategies, CRO is all about the long game. The right program will slowly convert more customers over time to steadily build up revenue increases. 

Yes, you can expect to see significant results within six months — but those results will accrue slowly, not suddenly spike. 

The longer you stick with CRO, the more stable those results will be, helping your brand become more profitable over the long term. For example, Inflow’s clients see an average of 20-30% increase in sales within six months of using our continuous testing service, with more substantial results for longer engagements. 

Get Custom CRO Pricing Today

If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the questions above, it’s time to start researching and pricing out your potential options. See where you might carve money for CRO out of your marketing budget, and review our case studies to see just why that money might be worth it for your brand.

Whether you’re ready to start a CRO program or simply want to know more about Inflow’s pricing structure, our team is always happy to help. Request a free proposal now to get started.