Your customers aren’t idiots
There’s an attitude I see often, that a customer base is stupid because they don’t use products correctly, or they can’t find the information they need on websites. I’ve heard many, many times “all of our customers are idiots.” It is essential that as marketers that we lose this attitude for good. Our customers and our leads aren’t stupid.
Yes, there will be times that users overlook information, or don’t read instructions properly — but that doesn’t make them idiots.
If customers are complaining about website functionality or instructions — what we should be doing is logging those complaints. Keep those complaints in an easily accessible Excel sheet and log each time we hear that complaint. If more than five users point out the same issue, it’s time to take that issue seriously.
The customer is always right
This old adage is still true. As far as your usability is concerned, your customer is right. Your website’s job is to get your customers to products, give them the information they need, and hopefully generate revenue. Every time your website fails, you lose a customer, you lose potential revenue. There are thousands and thousands of websites out there that are doing it right. Why should a user stay on a website that doesn’t work for them?
When we look at our own websites every day, we eventually become blind to the problems on them. We learn to navigate in ways a user may not to find the information that we need. You need help to really see those problems again so that you can finally get your website fixed.
There’s a mentality that has been around for a while that I think needs to go far, far away. Everything above the fold. First, it’s impossible for everything to be above the fold. Second, it’s not a good user experience for everything to be above the fold. While it’s great to have the most important things for your customers be readily available, don’t focus on getting every-single-thing above the fold.
With the prevalence of mobile it’s even less realistic to get everything above the scroll line. The most important thing you can do is prioritize. Figure out the things that are the most important to your customers. Login for your current customers? That should go at the top right. Search bar? Yep, include that too. A way to convert new customers, yes. If you have an easy to find navigation and a search bar, your customers can manage to find the rest of the information they need.
The other big mistake? Big red arrows. Or big arrows of any color. Yes, I know this is common with PPC lead gen sites (I’d say this is the only type of site where this is okay). Covering your website with arrows is frustrating, and condescending. It shows that you don’t think your customers know how to navigate a website. Chances are, yours is not the first website they’ve ever been to. If there’s so much on your website that a customer can only be led by a big arrow, you need to re-think your website.
How to fix your website
Do you know what your average customer looks like? Are they male or female? Are they 25-35? This is information that you need to know. If you don’t have a good idea what the profile of your average customer looks like, there are database experts who can give you customer profiles based on the information you have. Google analytic can also give you an idea.
Once you know what your customer looks like — it’s time to have your ‘ideal customer’ test your website. Have someone within the demographic pool look through your website for the first time. Don’t coach them, instead provide them with a list of products or information you want them to find. Ask if the website appealed to them, if it was easy to use. And, most importantly, ask them for their favorite websites. Knowing what websites do work for your demographic is valuable information.
Don’t go off data from one user, instead try and get a wide range of opinions. Usually twelve to fifteen users are helpful, but more is always better.
Test, Test, Test
It’s easy to get excited about updates to your website. You may have some great ideas that you think would improve your website. However, don’t just release those changes and hope for the best. A/B test the pages to see which performs better. Depending on the size of your audience, you should have a good idea after 2 weeks to a month. If you have thousands of visitors per day, you can get your answer in about a week.
Once you’ve determined the winner of the test, roll out the winning page. Then, come up with the next idea to improve your conversions. Don’t stagnate. There is always room for improvement.
note: Some of the graphics used on this page were designed with elements from FreePik.com