This was an excellent seminar I attended at the Internet world Exhibition last Thursday. The name of the talk made a very bold statement so I was intrigued to see what Craig Sullivan had to say. The session showed what tools and approaches really work to optimise visitor behaviour and to persuade people to do things that make your site successful. Here are a few of the key points I learnt from Craig’s presentation:

  • It is important to work out your key conversion points so you can optimise these effectively. Also take a look at the bounce rate for key entry pages, and learn where you are loosing customers (ask yourselves why this might be happening). You can even see if you need to make improvements by looking at what people are searching for on your site. If multiple people search for the same thing, does this mean your homepage or navigation buttons are not clear enough?
  • Survey your customers to know what they really want. 4qsurvey is a great free online tool to find out what visitors have come to your site for and why they are or aren’t doing the tasks you want them to. Another way of collecting this data would be to add a ‘give feedback’ button to your page. Customer feedback is invaluable to improving your site.
  • Always think about who gets final say on the design of your page. Is it the product team? IT department? CEO? No, its the customer! Carrying out usability tests are vital for new pages or websites. This way you can see what your customer really wants rather than predicting what they want. Even watching friends or family using the page is better than nothing.
  • There are multiple sites that can help you improve your customers experiences. With Tealeaf.com for example you are able to see your customers visit from their perspective, gain insight into their abandonment, what obstacles they ran into and where the site let them down. Clicktale.com is another similar solution which shows you what visitors are doing within your site, capturing every mouse movement and click. Using aggregated heat maps you can see where customers look, where they click and how far they scroll down your page. If you have forms, you can see how long it takes customers to fill them out. For shopping carts, it can tell you who abandoned the cart, if customers couldn’t find what they were looking for, or if they came across any errors.
  • MVT (Multivariate Testing) was the main focus of the talk. Craig showed that this is definitely worth the money and effort. In time, the results should speak for themselves, taking opinions out of your design process. A good place to start is with your homepage and anywhere with a high bounce rate or call to actions. If you are running Paid Search, MVT should be run on your PPC landing page. Emails should also be optimised, sending them out to 5% of your audience as a test, improving your DM based on the results, and then mailing the improved email out to the remaining 95%. Telephony (i.e. Hold music) is another great way MVT can be used, for example the hang up rate for certain songs (if you have it wrong, this could loose you a sale). An example of a MVT tool is Google Website Optimiser. This is a free tool and is a great start to improving your site content and design.
  • And Finally, with the Internet becoming more and more viral, if someone has had a bad experience on your site, it can easily and quickly reach thousands of people. Getting your website right is therefore even more important. Find out what your customers think about your website, before they tell everyone else.

Thank you Craig for a great seminar! Was anyone else at this seminar?

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