What’s the secret to a great marketing strategy? Empathy with your customer. And one of the best places to start creating empathy is to consider how they experience your business from their point of view. Have you considered how a future or current customer experiences your website?

Too often, when business owners know they need to focus on their marketing, they jump immediately to outreach: billboards, newspapers ads, television ads. But if all those attempts to hook new customers only lead them to a frustrating website experience, what’s the point?

If your potential customer took your call to action and made it to your website, that’s a small achievement. Lead generation is hard! You need to be sure they can quickly, easily navigate through your content and find a simple path toward opting in, scheduling a free consultation, or trying a sample product. The paths you ask them to follow will vary depending on your business.

Here are four customer experience mistakes we see all the time, and how to address them to improve your customer’s experience.

Burying The Lead

Let’s say you’re hungry. And you heard of this restaurant in walking distance to your house, and you know you want to go there because your friend recommended it. It’s Monday, and you just need to know whether the restaurant is open. If so, you’ll head out the door. You’re pretty much a guaranteed customer for this restaurant.

But it’s hard to find their website. Eventually, you find it by searching the cross-streets. The restaurant’s landing page includes 5-star reviews, photos, and a sample menu. The food looks delicious, and now you’re even hungrier. But after a few minutes searching through the website, you can’t find their hours. In that few minute period, your enthusiasm has waned. Maybe you’ll just get a taco at the same place you always get a taco instead.

The lesson here: don’t bury the lead!

Your website should have very clear paths to all the information your visitors need to visit you in person- or to take that next step, whatever it is. If you’re bombarding visitors with a deluge of information about your business and they so overwhelmed, they’ll just leave.

Just make sure that the need-to-know information about your business- contact information, hours, scheduling- is readily accessible to your visitor no matter where they are on your website. If a visitor accesses your website through your blog via Facebook post, will they still be able to quickly schedule a consultation with you?

Ignoring People Who Like To Search And Click On Links

A portion of visitors who come to your website want to search to find the information most relevant to them. Recent research indicates that website designers should consider placing search buttons on every page of a company’s website.

According to Jakob Nielsen, “usability studies show that more than half of all users are search-dominant, about a fifth of the users are link-dominant, and the rest exhibit mixed behavior. The search-dominant users will usually go straight for the search button when they enter a website: they are not interested in looking around the site; they are task-focused and want to find specific information as fast as possible.”

You should be linking to content within your own business and industry when you post stuff such as a blog, page, or case study. Make sure you check the functionality of links and clean up any broken links on your website on a regular basis.

Overwhelming Or Annoying Content

Your landing pages should entice without overwhelm. It is more likely that annoying pop-ups, opt-ins and flashy sale ads will drive visitors away from your website than toward your business.

Any of the following could be overwhelming for your customer:

  • Too many fonts–choose no more than 2 or 3
  • Too much text, or text that isn’t properly broken down into pieces
  • Pop-up ads or opt-ins
  • Nowhere for the eye to land; no clear prominent/ important pieces of information
  • A million navigation menu bar options
  • Pagination, or breaking content into a bunch of pages they have to click through

Think about your experience when you’re browsing. You probably open multiple tabs, listen to music, and click between different websites frequently.

Websites that are friendly for today’s customer avoid further overwhelming customers and instead give the visitor a clear, digestible way to engage with the information. The experience of being on the internet alone can be overwhelming- so try to make your website a place that takes users experience into account.

Long Registration Forms And Hiding All Content Behind A Registration Wall

Did your customer want to visit your website to order a free sample but somehow get roped into filling out a long form that’s more suited for the DMV? Don’t make them do that.

Collect only what information you really need and then deliver something in return to keep the customer from getting bogged down and bailing.

One note on another tactic many businesses are implementing today: hiding content behind a registration wall. This move comes with benefits and losses- you won’t have as much spam on your blog, but your overall engagement will also suffer. If you can avoid it, don’t hide too much behind a registration wall. Valuing the customer experience is all about making your business accessible.

Our advice: give away great, free content to your loyal followers as a gift for doing something simple, like opting into your email newsletter.

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