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Why Website Experimentation Is the Key to Growing Your Marketing ROI – Here’s Why #253

Here's Why Here’s Why Website Experimentation is The Key to Growing Your Marketing ROI

After a lot of SEO efforts, it is frustrating when users come to our website but don’t convert. But why and what should we do?

In this episode of the award-winning Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Alex Harris joins Eric Enge to discuss how website experimentation can help to increase conversion rate and marketing ROI.

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Eric: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Here’s Why. I’m Eric Enge, the Principal of Digital Marketing Solutions at Perficient. Today, please help me welcome Alex Harris. He is our Conversion Optimization Director at Perficient. Our conversion optimization team helps our clients design and develop hundreds of B2B and B2C E-commerce service and wholesale websites. His team also helps in creating optimized landing pages leading to E-commerce growth and increases in revenue. So, say hi, Alex.

Alex: Hey, everybody.

Eric: So, Alex, can you tell us a little bit more about website experimentation? How can it help to increase ROI?

Alex: Yeah, the digital experience really has moved way beyond the website today. In today’s digital ecosystem, the user journey really begins either on an app or social media, Google results, or another website. And by the time the user arrives at the website, your product really needs to sell itself. Having a good product is really the basics, but you should be leveraging a holistic approach to your user journey. This way you can ensure that the display ads really match with your targeting campaigns and the content really helps engage that funnel to help users be motivated to continue through your digital experience. A great example of this is when you’re buying furniture. You probably take weeks to really figure out which is the right style for you. Do those textures really match the interior design of your home? It takes a lot of searching to really figure out what you’re going to do. So, the landing page that is created to feature that furniture really has to set the parameters and the expectations of the user to ensure that the experience is going to solve the problem for the query they searched for.

Eric: Right. Google calls this buying process the “zero moment of truth,” or ZMOT, where customers do a lot of stuff all over the web online before making any purchase. So, by the time they get to your site, you’ve got to be ready and there to give them what they want and enable them to buy from you now. There are times when users come to the website but don’t convert. How can we identify what works or doesn’t and what experiments on a website would you recommend that a client do?

Alex: Great question. To do this we go through a process, either called a heuristic evaluation or a user experience process—but to determine what could be improved, or testable on your site, start with the basics. Make a list of reasons, all the reasons why your users may not buy your product. Then prioritize those issues of what could move the needle, what can get you some quick wins right away. This list of your issues should really be addressed at each point of the user journey. We usually put this outline together into what we call a testing roadmap, and then use a scorecard to figure out what has the most opportunity for quick wins right away—because some improvements might take a while for your developers to actually implement or design, while others could be implemented right away. This creates different channels of experiences that you can create to really increase the velocity of experiments that you run all at one time. You’re also able to isolate the testing experience specifically to different types of users, and the different touch points that they’re at in each stage of the funnel. Once we find out what wins in the conversion process, we’ll then take it to another level by scaling it, either creating personalized experiences based on proven things that have won—and in personalization, that’s a great ability to understand what your users’ particular pain points are—and then create one-to-one experience specifically to deliver the right user experience to the right person at the right time, on the right browser, in the right state, in the right location.

Eric: Agreed, and to really improve a website’s conversion rate, you need to scale your experiment results sitewide. How do you approach that?

Alex: Yes. A great example of this is E-commerce. It’s the easiest to explain, because most E-commerce sites are broken up into four or five templates. You have your homepage, your category pages, your product pages, your about or content pages, your blog, and then your checkout process. Once we’re able to figure out what really works on one of those product pages, we can then scale it to all of your products across your entire site. This is what helps the entire conversion rate of a website actually lift. And you really want to iterate and make changes quickly. We call this the accelerated feedback loop. How quickly can you learn from your ideal customers what works and what doesn’t, and then apply that to your website to really be able to scale and grow?

Eric: So, do you use any tools when you work on experimenting websites, or do you have any that you recommend in particular?

Alex: Yes, one of the tools that I recommend all sites start with would be a qualitative tool called Hotjar. Because there’s really no magic to improving your website conversion, it takes hard work. So, we leverage qualitative tools like Hotjar to do a behavioral analysis. This allows us to not make assumptions about what your customers are doing. And we’re able to gather and evaluate the users’ experiences, real customers using user recordings, surveys, heat maps, and really evaluate their experience—is the layout and the usability actually helping to motivate them through the through the funnel? After doing this analysis, we will then be able to understand why users may or may not be converting.

Eric: Cool. Thanks so much, Alex. This has been very helpful.

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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