How To Create a Great First Experience in Your Website

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In my previous post, Optimizing Your Website For Customer Acquisition, I described how A/B testing may help to the improvement of acquiring visitors on your website. Basically, I proposed to apply David Skok’s Method, that explains the concerns and motivations of customers to solve blockage points in the marketing funnel. While in my previous post I focused on the top of the funnel, the Acquisition, now let’s continue with the Activation.

 

Marketing To Sales Funnel Activation

Following a similar schema as the previous post, the steps proposed are:

First Step: Identify Concerns of Your Visitors

Most companies design their website around their own view of the world, instead of taking the time to understand the customer’s buying process and her concerns at each stage. David recommends designing this process from the outside in, i.e. from the customer’s point of view.

So, what are the main concerns that restrain a visitor of your website to convert, whatever conversion means in your context? General examples may be:

  • I don’t like to give my email address, as I hate getting spam emails from vendors.
  • I distrust vendors with my email. I’m not sure how they may abuse this in the future. You need to earn my trust that you won’t abuse this.
  • You ask me to register to a free-trial service, but I am not sure if it’s going to be really free. Why do I have to give the credit card for a free trial period?
  • My information is personal, and the time it takes for me to deal with your future emails has considerable value. You need to earn the right to ask for that.
  • You are asking me to put my valuable time and effort in to trying out your product. I have concerns about whether it will be easy to use, fast to evaluate, and effective at meeting my needs.
  • Is this product really for me? Do I really need all the features of the product? Maybe, with an easier and cheaper product, my needs will be satisfied.
  • Do the prices include taxes, shipping or any other extra payment? I see different pricing options, but what is the total?
  • I hate when after filling the buying form, it seems they do not deliver products in my shipping address
  • I am not a geek, will I be able to use this product?
  • What If I sign up for a plan and then I want to upgrade or downgrade to another?

Second Step: Identify Motivation of Your Visitors

The next step is to identify or guess the main motivations that will overcome their concerns and then will make them move forward in the sales process.

General examples may be:

  • I have a problem, and would like to find a solution. I have seen enough about this product/service in your intro video/content, that I believe it will work and take away my pain.
  • This site seems to have enough positive feedback in comments from users, and reviews from the press that I feel it is likely a good product, and worth my time to try.
  • I care a lot about being amongst the best in my industry. These guys have data that will allow me to benchmark myself against my peers. That is valuable, for if I find out I am below the industry top performer group, or not following best practices, I will want to improve.
  • I’d like to impress my boss/co-workers with my ability to come up with clever ideas and solutions to problems that we have.
  • I am passionate about something and I’d like to learn more about things in that area (critical for bloggers and publishers).
  • I have heard about this from my friends, which means I believe that it is very likely to be good, and worth my time.
  • If all their designs and products are as cute as the website, I certainly should try them.
  • I like that it seems there are real people behind this service which I may contact to.
  • It’s going to take me just few minutes to try it for free. What can I lose?

Third Step: Help Your Prospects and Provide Them With Solutions

Now is when you have to face reality: to help the visitors of your website with their concerns and provide them solutions that motivate them to go further with the solution. Once you guess a solution, analyse your website to check whether it is already described and start testing to really discover whether your proposed solution increments the conversion.

In the following, we’ll see different examples, suggest hypothesis, and provide A/B testing ideas. However, I’d recommend you to first review some of the examples I presented in my previous post Optimizing Your Website For Customer Acquisition.

Trust, Trust, and Trust indicators

It’s clear that the visitors to your website make an emotional decision about your business: do they trust you or not?

They evaluate sites in many ways to decide whether you are trustworthy. They want to know if their personal data is safe. They want their privacy to be protected. They want to be confident that they will get what they ordered, when they expect it. They want to know that your customer service is there if they need it.

There are plenty of different trust indicators that you should try to prove in your website to win new customers and reinforce that you can be trusted. Security reassurance is particularly important for any e-commerce. Today’s online shoppers are savvy people, trained to look for the additional “s” in their browser address bars (https rather than http) and padlock symbols that tell them that a website and the buying process are secured.

Example 1: Adding Reviews From Your Customers

If we consider the following concerns:

  • You are asking me to put my valuable time and effort in to trying out your product. I have concerns about whether it will be easy to use, fast to evaluate, and effective at meeting my needs.
  • Is this product really for me? Do I really need all the features of the product? Maybe, with an easier and cheaper product, my needs will be satisfy.

And the following motivation

  • This site seems to have enough positive feedback in comments from users, and reviews from the press that I feel it is likely a good product, and worth my time to try

On the previous post, you’ve halready read an example of A/B testing to incorporate testimonials, but another way for building trust is to include reviews from other customers.

Analyze your website: does your website explicitly contains reviews? Where are they placed?

Mockup of Landing Page
Mockup of Landing Page

Suggested A/B tests:

Mockup of Landing Page with Review Rating
Mockup of Landing Page with Review Rating

Example 2: Making It Personal

Let’s consider the following motivation:

  • I like that it seems there are real people behind these service which I may contact to.

Again, thinking about being trustful, you should focus on different alternatives of talking about yourself. Remember that there is no unique formula that works.

Analyse your website: do you have an “About Us” tab menu in your website? Does the content really describe valuable information that provides more confidence to your visitors?

Mockup of an About Us Page
Mockup of an About Us Page

Suggested A/B tests:

  • Create a different A/B Page experiment of the “About us” page: try an alternative humor page instead of being so serious.
Mockup of an alternative About Us Page
Mockup of an alternative About Us Page. Illustration by Friks hikingartist.com

Why do we need to be so serious? Adding humor to your website might or might not work. When it does work, however, humor can build up a more personal and stronger human relationship between you and your customers.

Alternatively, if you are someone who doesn’t like to talk about yourself at all, you may consider to try social proof. The very personal view of your customers is a better selling than yours!

Suggested A/B tests:

  • Create an A/B Page experiment of the “About us” page: try an alternative page describing what your customers say about you.
Mockup of alternative About Us page with Testimonials
Mockup of alternative About Us page with Testimonials

Example 3: Targeting Your Audience / Customer

Now, let’s consider the concerns:

  • Is this product really for me? Do I really need all the features of the product? Maybe, with an easier and cheaper product, my needs will be satisfied.
  • I am not a geek, will I be able to use this product?

Have you heard of the phrase “Jack of all trades and master of none”? Your business is probably not doing too well if there is no focus on your target market. Your product or service is not necessarily for everyone. Transparency and honesty builds trust. Try to identify your target maket and you’ll be able to offer exactly what they need.

Suggested A/B tests:

  • Create a different version of the menu adding a tab for each target market by using A/B Menu experiments.

In our website, targeting the market became a clear menu winner for improving conversion.

Targeting the Market

 

Example 4: Giving Accurate Information

What about these concerns?

  • What If I sign up for a plan and then, I want to upgrade or downgrade to another?
  • Why I have to give the credit card for a free trial period?

The importance of giving and getting accurate information cannot be understated. If you and the person with whom you are communicating get it right the first time, you will not need a second time. Moreover, current legislation protects the buyer against any inaccurate information, so never exaggerate or mislead. It may sometimes be tempting to generalize or exaggerate just a tiny bit, since it’s for a good cause, but honesty and accuracy must prevail if you want to gain the trust of your visitors.

In situations where you think that your customers may have concerts to convert, try to reaffirm your position and clarify it with an explanation.

Suggested A/B tests:

Example 5: Sense of Urgency

Let’s consider the following motivation:

  • I’d like to impress my boss/co-workers with my ability to come up with clever ideas and solutions to problems that we have.

The business world has never moved faster than right now and we can expect this pressure only to increase. Speed, agility and proactivity are necessary requirements for survival and success.

In the management field, the “Leading blog” has many great articles on leadership topics taken from John Kotter’s ideas on his book “A Sense of Urgency”.  Also, Michael Hyatt makes “urgency” a theme for organizations in Creating a Sense of Urgency.

Clearly, urgency is a persuasion tactic that you should also test in your website.

Suggested A/B test:

Examples of Call to Action Buttons

You may find plenty of ideas of what different call-to-action buttons to try, as for example: “Call to Action” Buttons: Guidelines, Best Practices and Examples by Cameron Champman or 17 Best Practices for Crafting Crazy-Effective Call-To-Action Buttons by Megan Mars.

Finally, regarding the motivation:

  • If all their designs and products are as cute as the website, I certainly should try them.

The best landing pages are simple, speak to the right audience, and are well designed.

Some of the best tips for a great design have already been described and some others are coming in the next posts. Next week, I’ll focus on a critical blockage point for e-commerces on the Activation: the checkout process. Stay tuned!

You may be interested in the full series that shows you the importance of conversion rate optimization through all the marketing funnel and provide different ideas and examples to improve your website:

  1. Motivation – Optimizing Your Visitor’s Journey
  2. Acquisition Optimizing Your Website for Customer Acquisition
  3. Activation (I)How to create a great first experience in Your website
  4. Activation (II)How to Improve the CheckOut Experience
  5. RetentionHow to Retain Your Customers
  6. RevenueHow to Increase the Revenues on Your Website
  7. ReferralsHow to Improve Your Customers Loyalty and Referrals

Featured image by Thales of Hot Air Ballon Ride – Sedona

by

Ruth obtained her PhD in Software Engineering at UPC and did a Master of Information Systems at DePaul University (Chicago). She has professional experience in the business world and at the University. Ruth has been University Lecturer at UPC, Vice-Dean for Corporate Relations of the Barcelona School of Informatics, and Associate Lecturer at ESADE. She specializes in software engineering and information systems management. She is also certified in Inboud Marketing.

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