Let me set the scene for you. Imagine you take a flight to Bora Bora and you’re dreaming of drinking a coconut cocktail on the most beautiful beach in the world… and then you land in Tibet. Now, Tibet is also a lovely place, but you’d be disappointed, right?
In fact, what happens on a website is very similar. People have specific expectations when they land on a page and if they don’t know where they are or what they can do there, this will impact your results. The user will then leave the site, or bounce, thinking they’re in the wrong place.
Therefore, the most important thing that can affect growth is to think about matching user expectations.
You may ask – if that’s so simple, then why isn’t it happening? And why is it so complex to match user expectations when we talk about digital marketing?
It’s a common question and there are three main reasons for this:
- Lack of data
- Creating a customer journey based solely on the needs of the business
- Lack of personalisation
Let’s look at them more closely.
When you take a flight, you know what your intentions are. Online it’s not so simple. In certain scenarios, as a business owner you might not have enough data.
If something is broken or you can’t track things correctly, you can’t possibly match your users’ expectations if you don’t know what they’re looking for or where they’re coming from. You’re basically blind.
And you’ll get the same result if you design your project and focus your efforts and research on reaching your business goals.
One of the most common mistakes in digital marketing is putting the needs of the business first. If you plan your strategy focusing only on the needs of the business needs, like increasing revenue, you’re basically setting yourself up for failure as it’s certainly not what your users want. As a matter of fact, they don’t care about increasing revenue, they only care about themselves.
This is not the right mindset to have, because the truth is, customers go through different stages – this is called the user journey – such as the awareness, and consideration stages in the beginning and the decision phase in the end.
The following is a great example of customer journey when purchasing a slow juicer.
In the awareness phase, you feel tired all the time and you start searching online for the reason why. Turns out, it’s due to a lack of vitamins and nutrients. Where can you get them from? You get them from fruit and vegetables – but how?
Next is the consideration phase, which is when you realise you need a juicer to get your vitamins and fix your nutrient deficiency, so you search online for different types of juicers and their characteristics.
Next you discover that a regular juicer actually destroys all the vitamins since it reaches a temp of 40 degrees during the process. You now come to the conclusion that a slow juicer is ideal to safeguard the vitamins from the fruit.
Finally, in the decision phase, you choose which brand you’re going to get your slow juicer from.
Another common mistake is designing your project with the mentality that people are already in the decision phase. For example, displaying the product right away with the price is a no-no – especially if the product costs a lot or requires some effort to buy.
The user needs to go through a whole process of the customer journey because if we don’t know their intentions, we can’t meet them.
Finally, a lack of personalisation is another problem, but is easily solved.
There are many tools available which will help you personalise the experience for your users (e.g. Convert.com). Say you’re coming from a specific advert and you’re looking for a red T-shirt. Instead of showing you all the T-shirts available, only the red ones will be displayed, so personalisation matches user expectations.
There are actually precise steps which you can follow to understand the user’s expectations.
If you already have a website, this is one of the best ways to collect data from the users of your product. The first step is to build a pool of users who visit your site and ask them questions using a tool like Hotjar.
You can use this to create a small widget on your page. This will ask your visitors to fill in a form, or survey, with their basic information. You can even offer a prize, like a voucher, to entice them to fill it in. In this way you’ll collect data on their demographics.
If you haven’t created a website yet because you’re still building your project, you have to find the best audience possible. Lucky for you, there are many approaches you can take.
You can go to a competitor’s site to gain an understanding of how the page is built, especially in those that are paying for premium position on Google Ads. It’s very likely that they’ve already spent lots of money on research, which means a large chunk of the work has already been done for you.
You can create a basic website for your product just by looking at and understanding what others in your field are doing. It’s not the best method, but it’s an option to consider.
The final goal is collecting enough information to create “Personas” and asking yourself the following questions:
Who are you trying to sell to?
What are their characteristics?
What’s the age range of your users?
What phase are they in on their customer journey?
Give your persona a name too.
Once you’ve gathered all that information, you can go online and search for groups of people who fit your user profile.
For example, someone interested in buying a Tesla or electric car, would also be someone interested in the environment. So, an easy thing to do would be to search for groups on Facebook on this subject. You can connect with the admin of the group and negotiate with them to allow you to distribute your survey and get to know your users and build a database of personas.
Once you’ve established rapport with your users, it’s time to build or review your current website to make sure it matches both user expectations and your business needs.
If you do this, you’ve already won. But you don’t want to be just good, you want to be great! So there is a step further we can take to now exceed user expectations.
This is where personalisation comes in. You can use tools like Convert.com which allows you to present different content to different users based on their traffic source and/or behaviour on the website.
It also improves key business metrics by empowering you to easily discover insights, test ideas, and improve engagement – across the entire customer journey.
Hopefully you can now see that by providing a great UX experience, you can supply the user with what they really want, and in turn grow your reputation as a business that delivers the best service possible.