Growth-Driven Continuous Improvement for your website - Part 2

In the first part of this series, we discussed how a website is the hardest-working piece of digital marketing your company owns, and how it has to be honed like a race car to provide peak results over a period of time instead of being abandoned to its best devices. This week, we are going to discuss some high-level improvement efforts that will provide some good bang for your buck.

Is personalization important?

Lots of smaller companies feel like personalization is something only Google can afford to do. The truth is, a personalized experience makes the audience feel important. Maybe your personalized experience is showing the visitor content that is related to something they liked/shared/enjoyed the last time they visited your site, which would aid in site stickiness.

To start with personalization you have to consider two main things: (1) Who is the audience you’re personalizing for, and (2) what are you going to show them? We feel that personalizing for the audience based on behavior provides with the best result. For example, you could personalize search results for a client that’s consistently visiting the pricing page, but not purchasing. Or you could personalize based on exit intent, meaning you can provide one last window of information to people who are trying to leave the site before taking action.

As far as determining what to show the audiences depending on their behavior, you need to consider three factors - according to Optimizely - the page real estate, meaning the exact location where the personalized information will load; where on the page you will show the personalization, for example headlines or calls to action; and finally, the value you’re providing the audience. You should not be personalizing just because you can; at the same time, you should be focusing on specific experiments when you personalize so you can analyze results and implement based on existing data.

When do assets come into play?

White papers, ebooks, webinars, infographics or other downloadable materials are considered assets that you can provide to your audience for free in exchange for something (usually an email account, but sometimes an address and a phone number). Once you have an established audience, and have provided proof of your value as a resource, it’s good to consider assets as a way to optimize your conversion rate and maximize stickiness.

A benchmark for what constitutes a “great” asset is whether it’s good enough that your audience would be willing to pay for it.  Some examples of amazing assets are the Kissmetrics Marketing Guides and the MailChimp Learning Guides. Both of these asset collections contain great, actionable information that is of use whether you are a Kissmetric or a MailChimp client or not.

These assets should absolutely be part of your whole content and marketing strategy. They should be well-researched, written and professionally designed. They should present your business in the best possible light while also providing users with solutions to problems they face or offering tips that will save them money. If they contain any calls to action that pertain to your business, they should be minimal and unobtrusive and the overall tone of the piece should be editorial and not sales-centric.

In future weeks, we will be spending some time discussing assets in depth.

Finally: develop your network of promoters.

Your site should be built to make the sharing of content easy. Your audience will find value on your content, and they will want to share it. Make the user experience better by allowing them to easily and seamlessly share your content across other platforms.

Of course, the first solution that comes to mind is social media share buttons. While that is an obvious solution to the promoter step, there are other ways. For example, offering to invite other people who might be interested when your prospect signs up for a free webinar and presenting them with a ready-to-use form field where they can input emails and have invites automatically sent to those new users. Another example are pre-filled tweets or Facebook updates when you have successfully completed a transaction that announce to your network you have interacted with the product or service that need promoting.

You could also decide to reward promoters who excel at promoting your site. For example, Dropbox gives promoters free extra storage space for each person they invite to the service, and companies like SunRun will give promoters cash incentives for every person that is referred and successfully activates their solar power system.

We hope that you’ve found value in this crash course into Continuous Improvement. We look forward to continue the conversation into assets and further illustrate some of these techniques with case studies in the near future. Stay tuned.

Astrid Storey