If you don’t make a point of talking to your customers, you should. Your potential client pool will likely share amazing insights about your business or pain points. Wouldn’t you want to know that one thing that makes people choose your service over your competition? Of course you would!
Unfortunately, many people would rather just imagine why their customers choose them instead of asking them.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s Start with Website Optimization
Last week I used our Total Feedback plugin to ask our site visitors about website optimization. I wanted to know what sort of tools they use to optimize their sites. The response was overwhelming: We don’t optimize.
That response might flabbergast you. Anyone who makes their income online should be well versed in site optimization. It’s simple; why not make the most of the people visiting your site? Let’s say your average sale is $20 and you get 2,000 visitors a month to your website. Right now, you are converting at 3%. This means 60 people buy your product and roughly spend $1,200. Now, would you rather pay $300 more a month in Adwords for a couple hundred more visitors or would you rather bump that 3% to 6%? With 2,200 visitors at 3% conversion, you are making $1,320, which doesn’t cover your Adwords spend. With a bump in your conversion rate to 6%, you are making $2,400 with the same amount of visitors.
Was I flabbergasted? No. I spend time talking to my customers, and I take all our sales calls. This means I personally touch any potential or current client. This also means I hear their struggles. A major struggle for my potential clients is the overwhelming nature of site optimization. Truth be told, this is a struggle for many of my current clients as well, but I pride myself on helping where I can. Once you understand the concept of A/B testing, it’s fairly simple to implement. Not everyone jumps on the bandwagon, but I’ve never heard a complaint from those that do.
The double edged sword to site optimization is how unique it is to your business. Sure, there are general rules about site layout or strong calls to action, etc. But what is going to give you a huge boost in conversion is understanding your site visitors.
For example, I had a client who recently did a lot of work with their website optimization. They used Optimizely (a great service, which I highly, highly recommend) to A/B test their pricing page. They created versions based on general best practices and one atypical version with excessive writing.
In general, pricing pages should be clear, straightforward, and aesthetically pleasing. But, for whatever reason, the version of their pricing page that was overwhelmed with copy and explained every nuance of their pricing structure converted the best.
Well, not “for whatever reason” – the reason is because their site visitors like to read. Their site visitors and potential clients want to spend the 10 minutes reading every note about how their prices work. After adding an 800 number and giving the staff ample opportunity to chat with these potential clients, it was found that their audience really enjoyed seeing behind the curtain. It made them feel more in control of their purchase and a part of the site’s community. That’s a whopper for a pricing page! Did I mention their pricing page went from a measly 1.5% average conversion to over 8%? That’s roughly 1 in every 12th person to visit their pricing page ended up purchasing.
The good news is the vast majority of website optimization can be accomplished via your Google Analytics dashboard. There is no need to pick up the phone or be a part of the conversation with your leads. However, the best gems are for those who make a true connection.
Whether it is a direct mail sales letter or a landing page piece of copy, you aren’t going to get very far without knowing the pain and pleasure points of your customers. Do yourself a favor and don’t assume you know these right off the bat. That’s one of the oldest mistakes in the books.
We’ve all done it. We have this picture of our ideal client. We know their wants, their dislikes, why they want to buy from us, and what they hate about our competition. This is a great starting point, but don’t let yourself (and your sales) get stuck in first gear.
When I launched CEM, I thought we had fantastic prices, an easy ordering process, and a super quick response time. This was exactly what I thought my ideal client wanted.
Then I got on the phone with people. I discovered that our prices weren’t that big of a draw. I started slowly increasing our prices without any major decrease in customers. In fact, the only customers I lost were the ones I was happy to live without.
I was right all along about the easy ordering process. My clients don’t want to fill out form after form but prefer a genuine give and take conversation. To this day, I often fill out a voice doc on the phone with my clients in a sort of interview format.
My clients enjoy the fact that I am super fast at responding to emails, but our 2-3 business day turnaround is only important to some. Others are happy to wait a week or more for their copy.
The biggest thing I missed was that I genuinely enjoy getting on the phone with my customers. I love brainstorming with them about their SEO or content marketing. We aren’t a full service content marketing agency, but that doesn’t mean my 7 years in the biz go to waste. The number one thing I hear from my biggest clients (those spending 15k+ a year) is that they like knowing I can get on the phone with them. They like that I am happy to “sit in” on a conference call with their team.
This is what made people choose our service over our competition, and I didn’t even know it! By leveraging this one component of our business I have more than doubled our revenue in the past quarter!
The unfortunate moral of the story is that these are my lessons and not yours. You have your own customers, and they have their own pain and pleasure points. You are not your competition. What works for them probably won’t work for you.
So whether it is site optimization, sales optimization or a little of both – keep your eyes and ears open. Leverage those connections and practice asking for feedback in a comfortable way. I promise, you will gain a world of insight once you do!