by: Thomas Young
Earlier blog posts reviewed the tactical approaches needed to develop a web marketing strategy and the key elements of website design. Now we are going to go deeper into understanding your website visitors. In fact, we are going to attempt to get inside their heads to better understand their needs and how they will use your website. Let’s start with what website visitors want. Web marketing results will only be as good as the team’s ability to understand what website users want to accomplish during their visit to your company website.
Understand Your Website Users
A clear understanding of what visitors want from your website is essential when implementing a successful website design or web marketing strategy. This is easier said than done, and most people do not take the time to figure this out. Rather, they do what they think or assume people want. This “sample-size-of-one” approach can result in a website that does not meet user needs. Design your website from the perspective and needs of your target market, and not of your own.
Business leaders that really understand what website visitors want will drive business growth and marketing results. This is a competitive advantage because most businesses make false assumptions about website user needs and minimize their results. We have worked in the area of user testing and website data analysis for fifteen years and here is what people actually want from websites, based on our data, research and analysis.
Get Information and Solve a Problem
They are not looking to read content about how great your company is and other superlatives. They want very specific information that helps them solve a problem and get information. Your website must help people get this information and help them solve the problem that initiated a visit to your website. This is the most common intent of the website visitor.
Enhance Their Lives and Convenience
The Internet is vastly popular because it makes life more convenient. Your site must do the same. If the Internet were a challenge to use and hard to understand it would not be popular and would be deemed a failure. Yet, many websites are hard to use and understand. Internet users have no problem using Google and finding what they want. For many the struggle begins after they arrive at a website destination. Your website should be easy to use with a depth of content that meets user needs. It should help visitors do their jobs better and otherwise enhance the quality of their lives. It is very easy for people to leave your website and search Google to find other options.
Product and Services Information
Product and services information can sometimes be buried in a website. It should be front and center and very easy to find. The most important factor in driving online conversions and sales is the way users interact with the content about your product and services. A large amount of visits to your product and services web pages is a good sign if you are looking to increase company revenues. Include links to your products and services in your main navigation menu and make this content attractive to visitors. Go into great detail on your product and services. Your product and services landing pages can link to volumes of content. Website users will appreciate this content and search engines will rank your website higher in their search results.
Pricing for Products and Services
Pricing is also very important and should be included when possible on your website. This is true for all types of products and services. Cost is one of the biggest issues on the mind of website visitors and the Internet has driven transparency in pricing. You can price strategically as needed, but your site has to communicate the value that comes with your pricing options and explain how your pricing relates to competitors.
Some companies worry that competitors may see pricing on your website and take advantage of that to hurt your business. For the most part, the upside gain of visitor engagement with your content is more important than competitors having access to this information.
Business Locations and Contact Information
This is very easy information to post on your website and highly useful to website visitors who often come to the site only looking for locations, hours of operation and contact information. All websites should have a Contact Us link in the main navigation and in the website footer. Your mobile website should make this a prominent feature and easy to find in the main navigation.
Delivery and Shipping Information
Shipping and delivery pricing and policies is one of the biggest factors in e-commerce conversion rates. It is important that your website clearly explains how this process works and has fair pricing for shipping. Not including this information will cost you conversions and sales.
Access to Interactive Information, Search and Research
Users expect your website to function like Google, Amazon and other top-of-the-line sites that offer a premium web experience. If you offer any functionality on your site, it must be very good, because it will be compared to the best online resources. This includes everything from a basic search function to advanced e-commerce features. If you have a search option on your website, users will expect it to work as well as Google. Make sure site functionality is part of your strategy and has a purpose, because including it and making it work well can be expensive and time consuming. It is better to not have extra functionality than to have functions that work poorly.
This may all seem like common sense, but the fact is many websites do not meet visitor needs or drive sales at an acceptable ROI. To win online, you must implement these common sense approaches that are not so common. The better you meet user needs by understanding what visitors want from your website, the better the results of your web marketing efforts.
Use the above items as a checklist and verify your site has them covered.
Check your assumptions about website visitor needs and confirm them with feedback from customers and by reviewing your web stats.
Make a list of the top ten reasons why people visit your website. Include access to content in each of these areas on your website. If you don’t know the top ten reasons, go and ask your target market.
Question added functionality on your website and only use it when required by your web marketing strategy.
Make sure products, services and contact pages are on your main navigation.
Answer the major question: How does your website enhance people’s lives and help them do their jobs better?
Thomas Young is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Websites. He is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant. Order Tom’s book “Winning the Website War” to get more digital marketing insights.