It’s never been more important to optimise your marketing around the user’s needs.
If your user’s needs aren’t central to strategy tactical marketing activities can fail to provide reasonable or measurable return on investment. In this article, we’re going to explain how this works in relation to websites and give you a series of tips as to how this way of thinking can work for you.
When thinking about marketing tactics that can increase online conversions, the following can be invaluable:
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- A well-designed website
- Website optimised for mobile
However, if goals aren’t defined and the user’s needs are poorly prioritised activity can fall short of expectations . Before committing to any tactical activity, ask yourself the following question:
What do our users want from us online?
Usually, this can be broken down into three main areas:
1. Relevant information/products/services
Once a user has realised their need for your product or service, it’s essential to understand the contributing factors behind this catalyst moment. This insight is part of the story here, as the wider context surrounding this realisation is what can shape your tactical marketing.
We believe in also understanding:
- Why the user wants/needs your information/products/services
- What the context is surrounding their want/need
- How the user will fulfill their want/need
Companies can better understand their audiences by: doing customer satisfaction research, using online surveys, speaking with their own staff and examining their website’s Analytics data.
Let’s illustrate why this is important by applying it to an example:
John is visiting Cambridge doesn’t know the area well. He’s meeting with friends and the group now need to find somewhere to eat. John takes his mobile, and searches online for ‘5 * Italian Restaurants Cambridge’. He clicks on a result returned by Google, but the website takes a long time to load and isn’t optimised for mobile. Instead of an easy-to-use website, he’s presented with a big picture and a long paragraph about the history of the restaurant building.
Even if this restaurant served the best food in town, they’ve lost John’s custom because he couldn’t readily get what he needed. He goes back to Google and clicks on the next result. He is directed to a responsive website with a clear 5 * review at the top of the page. Below this are: the opening times, the address, and a click to call button. John simply presses this button, calls the restaurant, books a table and has a great evening with his friends.
So, what does this example show us?
The second restaurant understood the context of mobile visitors to their site. Typically, these users’ are out and about and are looking for somewhere to eat there and then. As such, they want to know: the food is good, where the restaurant is, when it is open and how to make contact.
The first restaurant hadn’t considered their mobile user. Despite appearing higher up in Google, they lost John’s business because his needs weren’t met.
Local internet accounts for 40% of all mobile searches
This is a powerful statistic for local businesses. Mobile internet is a channel of engagement that just didn’t exist to this extent even four years ago. The enormous penetration of smart phones, combined with our expectations as consumers, means that local businesses must adapt to take advantage of this opportunity.
If meeting the needs of the user is integral to growing online conversions, timing is everything. Just as in the offline world, we can have a very short window to make the right impression when people visit our website. Generally, the way in which we browse the internet has meant that users have a fairly short attention span. So, present users with too many obstacles and they will leave your site in favour for another.
Keeping it simple is essential when it comes to championing the user’s needs. This is where great content, design and technical functionality can come together to clearly display relevant information/products/services, or signpost to where the user can go to learn more.
Most people using the internet appreciate good housekeeping. Therefore, without being well built and fast to load even a website filled with relevant information/products/services, won’t convert. Therefore, poor navigation, or an inability to search on-site, can result in users leaving your site because they can’t get what they want. User persona research and usability testing is essential for brands looking to improve users’ online experience. Ultimately, both operations will iron out any issues that might slow down your process.
What are the challenges?
Determining user needs can be challenging if a company serves multiple user groups with differing objectives, contexts and ways of accessing information. It’s difficult to be all things to all people. But, this is where insight into audience profiles comes into its own. By understanding each group and what drives them, companies can organise their online presence to reflect each segment. A well-defined navigation system and user-centered online signposting can provide users from each group with the online experience they want.
A good example of this is the Natural History Museum’s website. This site is used by: academics, teachers, parents and young children. Thorough user profiling and testing has resulted in a balanced site that meets the user’s needs, as well as the organisation’s objectives.
To lean more about how your customers are operating online get in touch with Mackamn on 01787 388038, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.