By Performance, Of Course We Mean Creation Of Leads And Sales Opportunities
People need direction. When people come to your home, you welcome them in, take their coats, escort them into your living room or den, let them know where the powder room is and make sure they are happy and comfortable.
That’s what a good host does.
When people come into your store, you welcome them in, let them know you’re there to help, show them the areas of the store and ask them a few questions to be a better guide. You’ve placed highly profitable products in the front and pushed the checkout to the back to encourage them to walk through the store. Planograms in retail store design are critical to optimizing profit per square foot of retail space.
This is what retail store operations optimizes day in and day out. But we are all well aware that today’s buyer journey has moved online. Retail is experiencing this dramatically, but B2B businesses are also experiencing this in almost equally significant ways.
The experience your prospects have on your website can make or break your business. Whether they are there to buy, get educated, learn about your company or connect with you, how you escort them through your website will determine if they do business with you or click over to your competitors and do business with them.
Because of this dramatic shift in buyer behavior, the user experience on your website must be a top priority in 2020 and beyond.
Here are eight of the most important ways improving the user experience on your website will drive business growth for your company.
People coming to your website will be at all stages of the buyer journey. Some might be ready to talk or chat with you today, others are looking around for educational information and a third type might be trying to see if you do what they think they need done.
Regardless, you can’t treat them equally.
By creating a deep understanding of the buyer journey, you can quickly identify based on behavior where a visitor is in their specific buyer journey and then usher them politely in the right direction, just like the two examples above.
Early in the buyer journey? They might like a selection of educational materials to consider.
In the middle of the buyer journey? Perhaps offer a page on how to compare their solution options.
Later in the buyer journey? Consider offering a chat with an expert or a session to go deeper into their specific challenges and issues.
This direction has to be elegantly mapped out, designed, flowed and supported with copy, images, links and page flow tools. The better you do this, the more people will click, convert, stay on your page, view more pages and ultimately flow into your sales pipeline.
Everyone wants their website and website pages to rank highly on Google and other search engines. Many of the major signals Google uses to value a page and move it up in the rankings are improved when the visitor experience is optimized.
Obviously when people click on a page, Google sees that signal as an indication of value. Someone found what they were looking for on this page. Time on site or time on page are other signals, and when people are directed through a site, they spend more time on that site. When pages are designed with value in mind, people spend more time on a specific page.
Page views is another signal. When pages and links are presented in context to someone’s buyer journey, that metric can be dramatically increased.
Finally, bounce rate shows Google how many people are landing, not finding what they want and bouncing off. The lower this number, the better your site signals to Google that you have high-value content and your pages are worthy of higher rankings.
This is a metric that almost every marketer is familiar with. It’s the rate at which your page, content, offers or buttons turn visitors into contacts.
Most websites perform between 1% and 3% for a site-wide conversion rate. But it makes sense to look at individual pages’ conversion rates in more detail. Some information pages might not convert highly at all by design. Other pages, like landing pages, should be converting in the 20% to 40% range, because that is their only function.
Keep in mind that if you’re running an ungated content marketing strategy, then your site-wide landing page and general conversion rates might all be lower.
And if you are running an ungated approach to your content, you should be actively working with chat tools to provide visitors that “always-on” access to people if they do want to talk to someone live and in real time.
This is going to enhance the experience. It can be mapped perfectly to the buyer journey and achieve some of the advantages that gating content also provides while still allowing your visitors unencumbered access to your educational content.
The first three reasons for doubling down on the user experience are great for marketers, but what about the CEO, sales and everyone else in the organization who is looking for revenue generation and growth?
Your website has only one reason for existing in our eyes, and that is to generate leads, generate sales opportunities and fuel your new business revenue objectives.
But there is a direct relationship between the number of leads and sales opportunities created by your website and your prospect’s experience on your site.
If you deliver a remarkable, compelling and educational experience, you’ll generate more leads and sales opportunities that will likely move quickly through your sales cycle and close more often.
Or you can create an experience where visitors are stilted in their attempt to find what they want, unable to easily navigate around the site or feel less than certain that your company even does what they need done.
It’s your choice. You have 10 seconds once a new prospect arrives on your site. You either reengage them and draw them in with a design and experience that compels them to want more, or you lose them to the back button.
Once we apply this type of thinking to a company’s website, we’ve seen lead generation increase by a factor of 10. If you’re getting 30 leads a month, a concerted effort to upgrade the prospect experience would produce 300 leads month.
Then we’ve seen sales opportunities improve by a factor of five. If you were getting three sales opportunities for every 30 leads, you’d now be looking at 15 sales opportunities.
Keep in mind this is just the starting point. These numbers should be improving month over month, which means you could be looking at a significant amount of new customer revenue.
We all know that not all leads are created equal. Some people are ready to go right now, while others need months until they’re ready to talk to a rep. Some sales opportunities are ready to buy tomorrow, while others want to take their time.
Scoring leads helps dictate the marketing nurture track and the priority for sales reps. Typically, lead scoring is based on demographic information, but it can be based on on-site behavioral signaling.
By creating a more prospect-focused visitor experience on your website, you can add some very targeted elements to create a more robust lead-scoring model. This could include pages viewed, links clicked, videos viewed, pages clicked in sequence or chat engaged.
The better the user experience, the better and more accurate the lead score, which also means reps are spending more time with the best prospects and gaining a deep understanding of which leads and which sales opportunities should be getting their attention first.
This means your visitor experience has to be optimized for mobile devices as much as it is for desktop and laptop devices.
Website design and development for devices generally requires individual design adjustments for different devices. Menu options, picture optimization, drop-downs and page design are all different depending on your device.
Of course there are some tools like cascading style sheets (that’s technical speak for HTML formatting applied to specific pages based on the device the page recognizes), but regardless, these style sheets also need to be designed, tested and aligned to the visitor’s optimal experience.
You shouldn’t expect your visitors’ experiences to “magically happen” on a wide variety of devices. Instead, those experiences should be just as purposefully designed by user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) experts.
Think about any experience with any business. You want it to be easy, stress free and with as little friction as possible. You want the communication to be clear, the expectations to be obvious and the access to information to flow freely. Think Amazon.
You want your website to deliver a similar experience. You want people to:
You want every aspect of the site to flow easily. Does your website deliver at this level right now? Hardly any websites do. In fact, about 90% of the websites we review in our work with prospects miss at least one or two of these items, and many are missing them all.
Solid user experience design applied to websites ensures that the site is going to deliver on the business outcomes outlined above. Lead generation, and the creation of sales opportunities, new business and new customers, will come from a website that works to optimize the visitor experience.
This takes a unique set of skills, and often it requires a UI design skill set and a UX design skill set. To understand the exact difference, here’s an article that helps explain the two approaches.
Finally, there are some highly valuable yet qualitative reasons for creating an amazing experience on your website.
First, you want people talking positively about your business. How many times have you heard this? “Yeah, but their website sucks.” That’s not the type of advocacy you want associated with your business.
Worse, how about the visitors who are referred to your business, stop by your website and get that unsettled feeling because the site is not amazing? This feeling is important because it causes them to pause and it might actually repel them from doing business with you.
People make purchase decisions emotionally first and then rationalize them second. They hear great things about your business and land on your site. If they don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling, and if they can’t find what they’re looking for, then you are losing potential new business because your website isn’t prepared to deliver.
This is one of the first experiences most people will have with your company. You have to shine and shine brightly.