On the 14th of August, I submitted my first article for Web Marketing Today on usability and conversions. I’ll be writing on topics that concern usability and conversion rates; ways to meet your customers needs and at the same time, getting them to buy, call, download or donate.
When thinking about my first article for this publication, I decided to write on something quite basic, often overlooked or put off – matching business objectives to customers’ needs and motivations. Most times, the business objectives are discussed, but writing them down, deciding on what defines success, especially with a realistic measurement attached to the goal, is short-shrifted. Businesses want to get started with tactics and actionable strategies that will get them more traffic, more conversions – more business. The result often is that the agency, consultant or marketing manager writes quick notes that are re-iterated in an email and then work begins on making improvements based on the general concept of the objectives.
It’s easy for businesses AND consultants to lose site of the importance of defining the business objectives, followed by matching those objectives to the defined target audience(s). As a consultant, I spend many of my initial meetings speaking to my clients about their goals and who their customers are. I ask questions, listen and ask more questions. We talk about why they called me in the first place, what they hope to accomplish, what the problems and successes are and in the end, objectives and goals are established. BUT, because time is usually a factor, I confess that I sometimes don’t require us to sit down and truly define the objectives, add the measurable goals and assign the usability tasks that will be needed. I talk to my clients often and in the course of our conversations, we review what strategies have been implemented and discuss how effective they’ve been in meeting the objectives. Sometimes, I discover that the real objective has been masked and that taking the time for the formalized approach may have uncovered it sooner. Since I work with more small to medium-sized businesses, changes can occur rather quickly, but this is not necessarily so in larger companies, especially when there are multiple approval levels and usually multiple teams involved in a project.
So thus, I had the idea for the article. It outlined an approach for formalizing the process that too often gets done in a very informal way. It also makes the strategizing more focused and allows all concerned to be actively working toward the same goal.
Below are excerpts from the article, How to Increase Conversions, Part 1: Defining Objectives, Metrics. I encourage you to read the entire article at Web Marketing Today.
Improving website usability and customer conversions is a process. … defining business objectives is the first step in ensuring your usability or conversion optimization success. Getting the phone calls, the business leads, the donations, downloads, online purchases or newsletter sign-ups you desire requires matching your business objectives to your targeted customers — what they want, need, and desire.”
Determine stakeholders. These are the key decision makers in your business. Include as many of the key stakeholders as possible at the beginning of the project. It’s easier to establish objectives and key performance indicators earlier in the project than later.
Assign measurements to company objectives. What constitutes a success? Is it a 5 percent increase in sales? Is it a reduction of 2 hours of an employee’s time answering customers’ questions? Is it getting 10 people a month to download your whitepaper or ebook? By assigning measurements, you’ve defined how you are going to achieve the business objectives by setting measurable business goals.
Identify usability or conversion tasks. To make the business objectives an actionable reality, assign usability or conversion tasks.
As you will read in the article, there are additional steps and examples. My goal is to remind us all, including myself, of the value of defining the business objectives in a formal approach. In my next article, matching those objectives to what the customer wants, needs and expects will be addressed.
Do you have the same experience in trying to formalize this process? What tips can you offer?
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