It’s clear that “marketing in uncertain times” is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint. With constant uncertainty though comes a sense of a loss of control. You may be struggling with the best way to continue to market when you can’t plan more than a month in advance and aren’t sure how much you should commit to future initiatives.
Struggle no more. Take back control by focusing on what you can control, what you can manage with certainty, what you can rely on to promote your products or services and that, my friends, is your website.
If you have recently had to make large changes in how you attract prospective customers, then isn’t it more important than ever that you get the most out of the traffic you are already receiving?
Now is a perfect time to take stock of your website and look at it from your customer’s perspective.
Use your site as if you were a customer
When was the last time you really went through your site, I mean really went through it, filling out forms, searching for products, or going through the checkout process? And when was the last time you tried to do any of those things from a mobile device – phone or tablet?
You might be surprised at what you find: pages that take forever to load, pop-up calls to action that come up at inappropriate times (don’t ask me if I want to stay up to date on your content if this is the first five seconds of my first visit, thank you very much), filters for product pages that are clumsy and difficult to use on a small device, or site searches that provide 0 results a good percentage of the time.
After you have created a list of all the things that you might want to improve (oh let’s just say it, fix) on your site, go through the most prominent user journeys starting not the at the start of the journey on your site but at the start of your customer’s journey: an ad, an email, the home page, popular searches—where does the user land and what do they see first?
Do you see situations where messaging may not be consistent between offsite and onsite? Are there opportunities to add dynamic content on the landing page to help make messaging more consistent? Are there questions that are coming up for you like “I wonder if we moved the most important value about our product to the top of the page, would that make people more likely to request the demo?” (By the way, adding dynamic content and testing are a lot easier than you may think.)
This is a particularly good exercise if you aren’t often on the site or haven’t been on it for some time. If you do spend almost every day on it, then find someone to help you spot the things you might be blind to such as a colleague or even your agency.
Making the business case for site improvements
Some of the items you identify for improvement will be no brainers and easy to address; others might be more resource intensive but don’t let decision makers shy away from them. Improving the on-site experience is hard but the changes you make today are solid investments in the future. If the improvements you make today can help you achieve more sales and more leads, think what those improvements might do when you are able to return to normal modes of business acquisition.
Even a small increase in conversion rate can have a big impact on sales or lead volume. Let’s say you receive on average 50,000 visits per month and convert (lead or sale) at an average of 1%. An increase in 1% would mean 500 additional conversions.
Site improvements may even necessitate considering a full site redesign and/or moving your site to a platform that is more extensible and allows for agile changes to pages as customer needs or campaigns change. Again this has to be approached as an investment in the future and positioned as a means of ultimately improving the customer experience for an increase in sales and/or leads.
So stop the hand wringing and start focusing on what you can affect. When business is good and things are moving a mile a minute, oftentimes the website is the last thing that is on anyone’s mind. Use this time to get the whole organization behind improving probably the most important marketing vehicle you have—your website.