The importance of the customer experience (CX) has never been more paramount, with a recent PWC report finding that 32% of users will walk away from a brand they love, following a single negative experience. And the importance of good CX isn’t just important to customers and prospects; it’s important to big search engines like Google, who are increasingly rewarding brands that deliver exceptional site experiences with a better SEO ranking. But what does it take to deliver a great experience? And how can we ensure we’re continually measuring, maintaining, and maximizing our own customer experience, which in turns drives results for brands?
We believe it’s critical to bring together three distinct disciplines to maximise the value you can get from your website, and to make the user journey as simple as possible.
Digital Analytics + SEO + Web Experimentation = CONVERSION ENGINE
By employing Digital Analytics to understand, SEO to diagnose and start to fix, and Experimentation to validate hypotheses and learn, we can deliver a better Experience (UX). And a better UX yields greater engagement, higher conversions, greater satisfaction and an increased likelihood of seeing that customer again. In short, getting this right, we believe we can be a conversion engine for brands.
We have identified three components:
1. Digital Analytics
The bedrock of understanding – this is where we can start to understand things like:
- What are the different user journeys on this site? What's the best place to land people? Where do they tend to go next? What pages don’t perform as a landing page?
- How far down your landing pages are your visitors scrolling? Are they even reaching the content you want them to see?
- Are visitors interacting with key assets on your pages, whether that's video, downloads, scrolling through images or clicking on things like size guide? Does it help your conversion rate if they do?
- How do users flow through your checkout or sign-up process? Are there changes you can make to improve it?
- What are users telling us they can’t find, or want more information on?
To deliver this, we’re bringing together web and product analytics tools, session replay and heatmapping tools and survey insights to build that deep understanding of what customers are doing, not doing, and struggling with.
This continues the diagnostics from digital analytics, looking at things from more of a technical perspective, and an on-page experience to inform:
- How quick is the website and are key pages loading? What can we do to improve this metric?
- How mobile-friendly is the user experience? Are we designing assets to be mobile-first?
- Are we nailing the fundamentals that mean search engines recognise the site as best-in-class – using HTTPS, fixing broken links or identifying and resolving crawl errors?
But SEO is where we can also start to take action by ensuring page titles, headings and images are optimized from both a user experience and a search engine perspective. From a user perspective, we’re looking to make sure content is readable, accessible and content is organised in a logical, structured way. To appease the search engine overlords, we’re looking at optimising images, adding meta tags and ensuring those basics are in place to maximise findability.
3. Website Experimentation
And experimentation is where we turn those insights and recommendations into value. We hypothesise what a better customer experience looks like (based on the feedback we’ve collected) and test those hypotheses. Experimentation allows us to:
- Ensure the user journey is smoother, by testing different variations of content and design based on insights from digital analytics.
- Make the SEO changes in a structured way, to ensure that pleasing search engines, doesn’t ruin user experience. There’s no point in changing a host of headers and titles if users who end up at the page find the experience more confusing and don’t engage.
- Maximise connectivity between channels. Too many organisations miss a massive opportunity around symmetrical messaging. Due to the power of tools like Webtrends Optimize, we can target experiments based on the presence of a value in a URL, for example campaign tagging. This means one landing page can look different to organic, PPC and email traffic, based on the call to action and messaging we’ve used.
- Most of all, experimentation helps us to learn. And those learnings can be used in a variety of channels, especially those which are harder to test. For example, optimizing the on-page experience to maximise SEO ranking will often mean changing titles and sub-titles (i.e., explaining what you do). By AB testing these, you will get a read on what’s most effective, and they can be used in harder to test places like billboards, bus stops or leaflets.
Building Lasting Bonds with Customers
As the CIO of Dell is getting ever-more famous for saying: “the customer experience is the new battleground”. Make sure you’ve got, not just the best tools in your armoury, but ensure that they are being used together to drive a result that is greater than the sum of their parts. I could probably squeeze a cheesy analogy in here – maybe something do with an omelette and ingredients? – but no, no I won’t.
We’d love to chat to organisations who are keen to deliver a greater experience, better returns from their website and are keen to find the synergies between their capabilities.