Digital marketers are consumers and end-users, too. Why then is it so difficult for us to understand what our online visitors are trying to accomplish on our websites? Most of us forget what it feels like to be a visitor when we put our marketing hat on.
For instance, you’ve probably encountered this scenario countless times:
You Google something you want to purchase. You review the results. You settle on a site with the product you want in the price range you want it. You’re excited by the thought of completing the transaction but … maybe the item is out of stock. Or the “Add to Cart” button is just plain hard to find. Or there’s some other hurdle to complete the transaction.
How this problem fails to bubble up on top of web priority fixes is something of a mystery. How to solve it, on the other hand, can be pretty simple when you empathize with your end users.
Start with the Visitor Goal in Mind
The business objective of a page, that cool infographic you’ve worked weeks with your artist on, the latest White Paper you have that pushes your company’s message out, they don’t matter at the beginning. What matters is how your visitors got to a page, and what they are trying to do.
Most marketers have this information. If visitors were exposed to a TV ad that you feature, you probably used a custom vanity URL that redirects them to a specific page. If visitors are coming in from Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or some other search engine via organic results, you can probably see what they typed in to get to your page. If visitors are coming in from an ad, you have the campaign parameters. If visitors are coming in from a site in your industry, you have the referral data.
Now, granted, there are some exceptions to this, like your search term report saying (Not Provided), or multi-channel conversion paths tracking as direct visits (and this is probably worth an entire post to discuss). But for the most part, digital marketing has gotten to a point where you should know where most people are coming from, what they are doing on your pages, and what they\’re trying to accomplish.
It’s more work, but you should be listening to these signals, and adjusting the visitor experience to tend to visitor needs. The magic happens when what the visitor needs from your page – a good price and a dead simple path to purchase for a product they need, good information to make a decision on a model to select – is exactly what you give them, hassle free.
For the sale, that’s a clear call-to-action that describes what the next step is, specifically. Not a “Submit” button, not a “Buy Now” when you mean “Add to Cart.”
Reduce Corporate Speak
For a comparison about benefits, that means showing them unique content that talks about your products in relation to the industry. Not a collection of descriptions including “world-class” and “industry-leading” written in marketing padding.
Pages that convert well have a big overlap between what the visitor wants to do, and what the web page creates task aids for. When reviewing your pages, it can be good to take a step back, check out what your tools say and listen to what your visitors are trying to tell you about their needs.