42% of businesses fail because there’s no market need for their product. That’s a staggering number. Almost half of new companies will fail because they didn’t bother to gauge what kind of appetite consumers would have for what they’re offering.
The single greatest investment a company can make is in understanding their consumers − their behavioural tendencies, their frustrations and their needs. And taking that a step further, narrowing the scope to be in relation to behavioural tendencies on your website specifically can unlock enormous growth potential without the need to drastically increase marketing budgets.
The struggle for many start-ups and SMEs is they believe they don’t have the resources to invest in customer research. They don’t have the time, they don’t have the money, and they don’t have the know-how. But as technological advancements continue to accelerate exponentially, there’s an enormous amount of tools and knowledge freely available and waiting to be leveraged.
Below are a few tools and techniques you can use right away to start turning your website into a more effective sales tool:
Hotjar is an all-in-one behavioural research tool, allowing you to do everything from heat mapping, to session recordings, to exit surveys, user testing and form tracking. I recommend setting up tracking for all of your key pages so you can identify any issues your website visitors might be experiencing throughout the purchase (or enquiry) process. Setting up funnels to track drop-off rates is another easy way to uncover potential friction points for potential customers.
Lucky Orange and Mouseflow are two other tools that are very similar and to Hotjar, but it’ll just come down to personal preference. We’ve found Hotjar to be a great combination of being both easy to use and easy on the wallet.
For those who don’t have the time, money, or experience to run a focus group, user testing is a simple and effective method of conducting customer research. It’s also a brilliant option if you have an audience that’s scattered either nationally or internationally and you want to get a more diverse range of feedback.
You can use a service like UserTesting to set pre-determined tasks for your respondents to complete, allowing you to put isolate and put focus on areas of your website that require attention. You can then watch a screencast of users completing the tasks while they provide verbal commentary for you. A few best practices worth noting when setting tasks for completion:
- Always make sure the respondents you’re using are people who you would consider to be in your actual target market
- Always get the respondents to go through the entire purchase / enquiry process so they can give you feedback on the end-to-end experience
- Always get the respondents to compare your website to some of your best competitors, because it’s important for them to have context when providing feedback
Recent Customer Survey
Sending out a survey to a list of recent customers allows you to combine the benefits of a larger volume of data with a speedy turnaround time. The key is to make the survey short (no more than 10 questions), relevant and filled with open-ended questions.
You want customers to ramble and rant − that’s where you’ll strike gold. If you ask a question with a multiple choice answer, you’re instantly limiting the quality and depth of insight you can collect. Leaving questions open-ended will provide you with honest, meaningful answers.
According to Dr. Karl Banks from Conversion Rate Experts, the most powerful question you can ask a customer is, “What nearly stopped you buying from us?”
We recommend using something like Typeform to build the survey. It has a beautiful user experience and is packed with valuable features. We recommend getting at least 100 responses to make the data statistically relevant, so depending on the size of your database, you might have to offer some sort of incentive to increase the response rate.
Freebie: Google Analytics
I know this might seem like an obvious one, but just having Google Analytics installed really isn’t enough. Make sure it’s properly setup and optimised:
- Setup goals and events to track key conversion metrics
- Setup conversion funnels
- Block your home, office and supplier IP addresses, otherwise it will skew your performance metrics
- Turn on bot filtering to remove any spam visits from being tracked
- If you have a search bar on your website, switch on the site search functionality so you can track the most popular search terms
And spend time actually using Google Analytics. There’s an enormous amount of valuable information in there that could play a big part in building your digital marketing strategy.
Growth is hard. Really, really hard. But by taking the time to invest in both quantitative and qualitative data on how your customers behave on your website, you can leverage those insights to refine your sales process, gain a competitive advantage and, ultimately, drive revenue growth.
This article was originally written for – and posted on – the CrowdInk blog.