Jon MacDonald, an EO Portland member, and president of The Good
This may come as a shock but on the other side of the screen, showing your brand’s website, is a human being. Not a user, a visitor or a hit, but a real live human being with a specific task in mind. This human being has come to your site to accomplish a task, and if your site is optimized to help them, not only do you win, but your customer wins, as well.
Most websites are setup to accomplish several tasks: talk about the company’s mission; promote the latest product release or offering; archive years of press releases; display a calendar of events, and so on. These all equate to “yelling” at your customer, when they are really only visiting your website to research and purchase your products.
Imagine walking into a retail store and immediately being asked for your contact information … or to fill out a survey. What would you say? “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Now think of the last time you’ve visited a brand website to look for a product and the homepage was covered by a box telling you to “Sign up for emails.” What did you do? If you’re like most people, you looked for a way to close it, so you could resume doing what you were there to accomplish.
If what you came to do was buy something and there was a tempting enough instant discount offered in exchange for your address, you might give it (and perhaps unsubscribe later). Most of the time, however, an immediate demand for contact information is both jarring and irritating. And if the pop-up is not implemented properly, it actually can kill all mobile functionality. The thing to keep in mind is that customers aren’t coming to a site looking for a place to share their email address. Sure, it helps build a list of emails, but the question is: How much is it costing your brand to acquire that information?
If that’s the kind of experience you want your customers to have, check all vital site stats before and after launch to make sure you’re not losing sales to gain a few email addresses. And if someone actually does sign up, do them a favor and pre-fill the email field at checkout to save them some time.
Help your customers accomplish their tasks on your site, and you help yourself create loyal customers. So don’t make them work to get what they need. Once you embrace the idea that there is a task oriented human on the other side of the screen, you can get to work creating a site that is customer oriented. With this idea in place, evaluating your current website becomes a process of eliminating extraneous content and promoting relevant content. If your customer’s task is to research and buy a product, your site should be optimized to accomplish those tasks quickly and easily.