This is a guest post. We welcome guest posts about helping manufacturers increase sales and/or advance their marketing function. Send in your idea and you too could be a guest blogger on MMG.
Guest blogger - Tim Doyle, VP Sales at TopSpot
When you think about how search engine optimization has evolved in recent years, Google’s latest algorithm changes probably come to mind. But behind the scenes of almost every search and algorithm update, there’s been an underlying theme in their evolution: improving the user experience.
The experience your website’s design and content provide is one of the most important things for your digital marketing program to succeed and drive new business opportunities.
In April 2015, having a mobile-friendly website became an SEO ranking factor. Since then, Google has announced plans of moving to a separate mobile index that makes it almost a necessity to have an updated, responsive website to compete in mobile search results. With the rise of smartphone usage, it’s no surprise to see this become a major factor and consideration for digital marketing. In fact, in a survey we ran:
80% of surveyed customers found a mobile-friendly site important when visiting a website. (Techvalidate)
In that same survey, we also found that:
89% of customers in the manufacturing industry will leave a potential vendor’s website and not consider them if their website is difficult to navigate. (Techvalidate)
Having to zoom in and out on a non-mobile friendly website makes it difficult to navigate and read the content, but a lack of mobile friendliness isn’t the only thing that hurts the user experience. Tables, calculators, 3D catalogs or other complicated tools often used by manufactures can be difficult to use if they aren’t designed with the user in mind.
In our own testing, we’ve found that one of the most effective ways to measure the experience of our websites and their functionality is by using heatmapping software, which uncovers where people are clicking and potential improvement areas.
The changes we have implemented based on heatmapping data results in a better user experience and often better conversion rates.
- Invest in a responsive website if you haven’t already so that your device adjusts nicely to the screen size of whatever device it’s found on
- If you have custom functionality or tools for your customers like tables, calculators or 3D drawing catalogs, consider trying a heatmapping software to really understand how they are working for users
In the digital marketing world, user experience isn’t only about the design. The information or content on your website plays a huge part in the experience your potential customers have on your website. The effectiveness of your content can be determined by how well it answers your potential customers’ questions to qualify you as a potential vendor.
After a decade of studying behavioral data from search queries, internal site search data and analyzing what information helps users to convert, we created The B-SMART® Method to help business owners develop content that anticipates and answers their target audience’s questions.
Here are a few examples showing how it can be used to evaluate your content’s strengths and weaknesses.
Before gathering and organizing information for your website, it’s important to know what your customers want. That information, by percentage, is as follows:
- Assess your content using The B-SMART Method® and understand the type of content your customers need to make decisions
While your website’s design and content are important to be discovered by new customers in the search engines and contribute to the online user experience, don’t forget about the offline user experience.
59% of the customers we surveyed typically request a quote from 3-5 companies before selecting a new vendor or supplier (Techvalidate), making customer service paramount to standing out amongst competition A positive online experience can open the door to a new relationship, but great customer service after the initial contact is key to closing the deal. Here are a few considerations for your offline experience:
- When contacting a potential supplier, 85% of customers surveyed expect a response from vendors within the same day of the inquiry (Techvalidate). One day is all it takes to lose a potential customer if a competitor beats you to the response.
- When directed to a vendor’s voicemail, 43% of customers hang up and abandon the call (Techvalidate). Simply answering the phone can be the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity.
In the same way that you want your website to be useful, fast and informative, your customer service representatives should provide that kind of experience. Are they accurately answering all of the customer’s questions? If they don’t have the answer to a question, do they offer to find the answer and quickly follow up (and actually follow up)? Are they finding alternative options for the customer if you can’t meet their initial request?
If you haven’t considered the experience your customers receive from your company online (website) and offline (customer service), now is a good time. Your digital marketing results rely on it.