Driving digital improvement, 1% at a time.

Driving improvement, 1% at a time
Followers of British Cycling might be familiar with Sir Dave Brailsford’s medal winning ‘1% improvement’ strategy – the idea that success lies in the aggregation of marginal gains. The idea is simple; what if you could break down every element you need to be successful in an area and improve them all by 1%? What would this mean for performance, turnover and profitability?

Applying this strategy to your digital and website marketing is a great approach, not only to tweak and improve current activities, but to also get the most from what you’ve already got. After all, pouring leads into the top of your sales and marketing funnel is a critical (and obvious) requirement for growth, but ensuring your funnel is effective and free of leaks is just as important!

Let’s explore some high level areas where you can apply this ‘1%’ strategy to your digital strategy.

Better measurement

Understanding and knowing your key performance indicators is a key starting point in driving consistent marginal gains. Let’s explore a few common ones to look for:

Lead source ROI

“Half of the money I spend on marketing is wasted, I just don’t know which half” is an often cited colloquialism. While understanding where customers are coming from sounds obvious, ensuring effective use of your budget is a fundamental requirement to do more with what you’ve got. Digital channels are inherently easier to track than traditional forms of advertising, and this doesn’t require a fancy online system! Using UTM links and Google Analytics is a great place to start discovering which sources your traffic is coming from.


Though considered a dark art by many, one measurement for SEO performance is the impressions you’re getting on search engines. Don’t be mystified by this, just start by focussing on reverse engineering the intent of your customers right before they find you – what problem are your customers trying to solve? What questions are they asking? What content do you need to serve them to a) fix their problem and b) get found. Piece by piece, % by %, you’ll get found.

Most wanted action

Every business owner should know their ‘most wanted action’ for their site and online activity. That is, what is the one thing we want visitors to do more than anything else. For most, this is an enquiry or a purchase, but this varies from business to business. Usually the 1% improvement in this area will be driven by external factors, which leads neatly on to…

Speed and friction

Irrespective of whether you’re selling tangible goods online or offering a B2B service, we all deal with humans! Ensuring the customer journey is fast and frictionless must be a key consideration in the 1% game. Areas for improvement include:

Website speed

Data shows you have a three to five second window to load your site and grab interest before prospects bounce off somewhere else.


How can you make checkout or enquiry faster and simpler? For ecommerce businesses, payment methods like Apple and Google Pay cut form filing and speed up processing well beyond the 1% rule!


Within an ecommerce context, half of customers abandon a purchase if the delivery and return options don’t meet their needs and 86% resent paying for returns. Seller beware!

Efficiency and automation

Time saved

When deployed correctly, digital technologies can save hours of time per week on manual processes. Bristol based businesses like Brightpearl and ShipTheory have helped some of our ecommerce clients save hours. Let’s put this into context, in a standard 37.5 hour week, saving 1% of someone’s time equates to over 20 minutes. How big is your team? How could you be streamlining processes and redeploying the time saved to more valuable tasks?


Time and time again, we meet with businesses who’ve gone to some effort to build a database of contacts… usually at great expense of time and/or money. How regularly are you engaging with them? When adding in CRM tools to automate the legwork of this you can save time and help to maintain a nurtured database of leads that could be tomorrow’s customers.

We frequently deploy the ‘1% principle’ with our clients and would encourage you to try this in your business. Whether you’re running an ecommerce operation or are just looking to increase inbound lead generation – it’s 1% at a time, rinse and repeat!