If you’re as big of a movie nerd as I am, then you likely remember the line “That’s Tron. He fights for the users.” As silly as it sounds to reference Tron, that 80’s movie with the not-so-state-of-the-art-anymore graphics, the sentiment of “fight(ing) for the users” is one I live by daily, especially since the world of digital marketing puts so much power into the user’s/customer’s hands.
It’s easy to forget in a world with a focus on conversion and click through rates that a user won’t convert if that right experience isn’t there. What people often forget is that there are multiple kinds of optimizations, and optimizing for conversion isn’t the same as optimizing for user experience. So how do you get around this when the purpose of inbound marketing is to drive conversions? Try keeping these three easy things in mind whenever you build a conversion path:
1. Remember Your Buyer Personas
When you were building out your inbound strategy you identified your customer base—demographics, interests, the whole 9 yards. The biggest mistake people make when building their conversion paths is that they stop using these personas. Personas are valuable to more than just customers. Is your buyer persona in the older portion of the population? Then maybe you should stay away from trendier web and graphical components like that hamburger menu that they’re not familiar with and won’t understand. Is your persona all over social media? Gate an offer with a tweet or a twitter handle instead of a long form. When you know the full range of a personas interest you can customize the experience they have to not only guide them through your conversion with ease, but to delight as well. Compelling content only converts if presented in a compelling way.
2. Don’t Fight Habits
The most innovative people are always trying to improve things. While that may work for an established company like Apple, you’ll find less success in trying to innovate your inbound marketing. That’s because people operate based out of recognition and habit. The neural pathways that form their usual methodology of operating, be it in the store or on the web, are so ingrained, they can be incredibly difficult to change. This can be contrary to the attitude of the world of Inbound, where people are constantly pushing the envelope to provide bigger and better things, but as people often say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Instead, focus on habits you know people in your industry have when searching the web for information. Keep your website in familiar territory rather than trying to have the most innovative and ground-breaking thing, and whatever you do, don’t force a user to question their habit schema. Habits are near impossible to break, and the user will quickly abandon you rather than try and form a new one.
3. Choice is powerful, but not too much choice
People love having options. What they don’t love is having too many options. We’ve all seen it before—you’re trying to decide on a restaurant with a group of people, but no one can make up their mind because there are too many options. Decision paralysis is alive and well in the world, but it’s our job as marketers to eliminate it for our users. While users value choice, try limiting those choices by making decisions easier. It can be as simple as offering two ways to submit information for a downloadable, or offering a quiz to the user that captures their needs so you can present them optimized solutions rather than overloading with every capability you offer. It can even involve simplifying the information you present a user—just enough to educate to their needs—rather than mentioning every cool thing your product or service does. Save that for the sales team to present when it comes to the final decision stage rather than when the user might need a boost. It can seem counterintuitive, but by simplifying for the user, you save them from the information overload that leaves them clicking the back button in their browser.
If all else fails, when you’re working as a marketer, take some time to switch views and take on the role of user instead. What do you like when you shop online? How do you look information? What are you personal preferences? Asking these simple questions can help you get on the right track in implementing a positive user experience.