There are several tools and techniques, such as A/B Testing, to improve the conversion and efficiency of your online properties. And with web analytics, interaction data, multi-channel marketing automation and interactive CRM businesses dispose of a lot of tools and possibilities to improve the ROI of their site, blog or other communication hubs.
However, there are more ways that are perfectly suited for the social media era where feedback, comments and crowd sourcing are at the order of the day.
Businesses can use panels, run surveys and execute usability tests. These techniques are different from each other but in the end, they introduce one common element in your website strategy; the (potential) visitors will tell you in their own words or by their behaviour what they think of your site, from a usability and as such an efficiency and conversion point of view.
It becomes more interesting if you are able to integrate the findings of this into your web analytics and/or customer intelligence tools. There are roughly three ways to obtain the input of the (potential) visitor.
Online surveys in a multi-channel context
An easy and obvious example is online surveys within your website, blog, etc. (or for example, sent via e-mail or with a separate campaign). These can be easily coupled with our interactive marketing software and with your web analytics solution. Given the right incentives, visitors will be all too happy to provide their feedback via these surveys. You could even use your LinkedIn group or Facebook page for them. Ideally, you will focus on different visitor segments and of course, the most valuable visitors are the most important herein. You can also organize offline surveys (for instance, instance in your shops) to understand what your customers want from you online. Integrating multi-channel contact moments is the best way to gather feedback data that are fed into your interactive CRM platform and vice versa.
Panels and focus groups
Another way to check how your blog or site is doing is to work with panels and focus groups. These are sometimes used on a permanent basis and sometimes for a website or blog launch. Especially for focus groups, the latter is often a fact: it concerns a group of people with different profiles (that correspond with your segments and persona's) who give their opinion.
Panels are rather fixed research panels which at certain moments give their opinion on your site from a real use of it. There are also several companies that have large user panels and in which sites can participate.
Usability is crucial in conversion
Finally, there are the 'real' usability tests. These are also often carried out before the website's launch or re-launch. However, they can be executed perfectly at any other moment in time. Usability tests can be simple but can sometimes also ask for complicated techniques. This depends on your site's or blog's size and on its importance for your business. A simple usability test consists of inviting a number of people and asking them one by one to perform several tasks on your site (look for product A, fill-in a request for information, buy product B, etc.).
You then look how the different persons handle these tasks, and you can ask them afterwards why they did this or that and how easy or difficult they thought it was. There also exists software that registers the mouse movements of your test persons and other gadgets (such as cameras) to see how people react. The 'heavier' usability tests are usually carried out by specialized companies that dispose of special systems hereto. The so-called 'eye-tracking' systems are quite known. They give a graphical map of the places on your website or blog where the test persons was looking at while he performed the specified tasks.
Testing is key in all aspects of an integrated multi-channel marketing strategy, including e-mail marketing, social media marketing, etc. When done properly it leads to improved conversion that can be further enhanced by automating your campaigns based on user-triggered or event-driven activities and real-time CRM data.
Finally, you can learn more about an integrated interactive marketing approach in our latest white paper.
Download our white paper "Efficient customer interactions: how to prevent marketing fatigue?" and learn how to optimize communication in a cross-channel and customer-controlled world.
Download the paper, including essential tips, here.