Love your users more than they love you.
It sounds stupid, but it’s extremely true. If you think about this as you build your product and your marketing and everything else, you are bound to see a huge return.
You have to start to realize that your brand is not your logo. If you can’t see that your brand is how people perceive you, how people talk about you, how people interact with you, etc., it’s going to be hard to get you to understand why you aren’t having a higher conversion rate for your product or service.
It’s not about sales or biz dev guys getting out there and schmoozing. That’s really important (hell, I do it and so does my staff), but that is not how your company sustains growth long term in space.
Do Better Research
I’m going to tell you right now any HubSpot partner website you go to, or any smart marketing agency for that matter, will give you an education on buyer personas. Your target audience. Your key demographic. It’s who you are trying to sell to.
So I’m also going to tell you that most of that is fluff. It’s important to know your audience, everyone knows that. But filling out a questionnaire about who you think your clients are and what their pain points might be is the furthest thing from truly understanding your clients and what they say about you.
Here’s how you truly understand your voice of customer.
- Message Mining. Have you ever done any kind of Google search for your company or your founders? Try typing in your company’s name in google followed by “review” and see what people say. Unless you are brand new, you will likely find something. Pull out key phrases that describe your company. Oh, and if you find something nasty, you need to respond. I don’t care how painful it is. Don’t brush it under the rug. Then, double up and do this for your biggest competitors. The goal here is to see what ways people are talking about your space.
- Customer surveys. Create a list of questions that ask your customers/users/clients to specifically talk about their experience with you. How do they describe you? What do they think of your team? What’s their experience and length of engagement? Do they refer you? Email this survey out to every single customer you have and hope for decent feedback. It’s okay to send a reminder a few days later. Experiment with different days of the week and times.
- Website Poll. Guage a single question as a poll at the bottom of your site. Don’t ask anything crazy or that requires too much thought. Do you prefer x or y? Are you here because of a or b?
- Client interviews. This is best done by a 3rd party or an employee that doesn’t have a personal relationship with the particular client. Ask 5-6 core clients you have, or ones that have been with you from the beginning, to schedule a 30 minute interview with you. Ask them very open ended questions, record the conversation, and just sit back and listen to them describe you and what you’ve done for them.
This data will show you everything you need to know about your company in the eyes of your consumers. This data will show you the experience people are seeking when they find you. This data will show you how you should be presenting yourself in front of completely new strangers, because they likely have the exact same vocabulary as other consumers just like you.
Produce Better Content
Knowing what you do about your consumers, you absolutely must produce content that appeals to them. Here are some ideas:
- Pick a recurring theme that showed up in your discussions. It doesn’t matter if it’s them saying they loved a specific service you offered, or if they said they had this awful problem they couldn’t solve until you came along. Write 5 blogs about that topic. Word them differently. Write some that go into detail, and some that are very top level. Make the keywords vary slightly in each one. And most importantly, make sure it’s valuable.
- Use the statistics you gathered from your polls and surveys, and create infographics around each of these elements. It can be a long graphic, or it can be a single square image. Share these on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Record yourself talking about the results you gathered and what you learned. Have someone in your office write down a handful of questions regarding the surveys for you, and record yourself answering these questions. Do this via Facebook Live or Periscope, and perhaps upload the recording to YouTube once you’re finished.
- Create a downloadable checklist that highlights all the major pain points you learned during your research, and put it behind a landing page so you can capture new leads. Have your blogs link to this via CTA.
Make Design Revisions That Promote Conversion
Design and messaging go hand in hand. Make sure your site is constantly evolving as you learn more about your users. Our site, for example, goes under a major overhaul once every year, and throughout the year we make minor adjustments as we learn more and more about our audience. Here are some recommendations for better UXD:
- Your hero image should have text over the top, and it should highlight the most essential pain point your product or service solves. Don’t overwhelm visitors with crazy buttons and unclear messages. Pretend like they have never seen your company before and this is their first visit. Do you think having in big bold letters at the top of the page that says “THINK DIFFERENT” is going to do a lot if you aren’t already an established brand? No!
- Use social proof designed into your site and throughout the navigational flow to keep people engaged and to validate your expertise. If you have worked with any major brands, even in a somewhat minor way, please please PLEASE highlight this.
- Simplify and remove clutter. Don’t be afraid of white space. Keep things easy to read and extremely comfortable to navigate through. Make the website experience more minimal, even if that’s not a design style you particularly love. Your clients will.
- Focus on one CTA per page. There’s nothing worse than going to a website and feeling like you’re being pulled in 500 different directions to download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, get a consultation, etc. Make sure you highlight the flow you would like your visitors to follow on your site, and make it clear the direction you’d like them to take.
- Be extremely consistent with font choices. Max - 1 font for header, 1 font for body text. Even then, I would make sure they are similar.
- Make sure images are clear and match your brand guidelines. Don’t add images of mountains just because they look pretty. If they aren’t relevant to the topic or our overall brand, you’re better off with whitespace.