What Your Visitors Want

Once upon a time the interweb was the domain of academics, scientists and techies or, as they were collectively known, geeks. You had to know your TCP from your IP just to get online. Then the general public got a sniff of the web and it all started to change. These newcomers  had expectations. They expected to be able to buy & sell securely, to find a job, to learn something & get training, to be entertained, to listen to music. Pretty soon their expectations rose and they expected to be able to share a video of a cat playing the piano with all of their friends simultaneously while Tweeting about #BGT… And they expected it to happen on their smartphone. Basically, they expected the internet to work properly.

The venn diagram above, blatantly stolen from the excellent XKCD, may be a joke but it’s a painfully true one and a great illustration of the yawning gap between audience’s expectation and what they often have to settle for. Matching your objectives to those of your audience’s is the key to all successful online communications, regardless of whether you’re a business, a charity or an individual. The first thing to remember when planning your website is the audience and, just like in business or on Dragon’s Den, you should always ask yourself “is there a need for what I’m offering?”

Who are your audience and what do they want? What do they want from your website/app/online service or latest Twitter update? Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But, quite often, we find this is a revelation to people, not least of all traditional marketers and web design agencies.

We once had a situation where a client didn’t want to put the price of their services online, preferring people to call a member of the sales team. This made sense to the sales team because they often converted a high percentage of inbound calls into sales. Of course, for this to work, people have to call but when we reviewed the visitor activity on the website we found the traffic peaked at weekends and evenings, when no-one was around to answer the phone. We decided to run an A-B test where some visitors would get shown prices while others would not. We found that sales increased significantly amongst those who could see the price through both email and increased phone calls.

There’s no genius at work here, it’s just advanced common sense. Think like the people who use your service, those who interact with your brand online and make that interaction a more satisfying & rewarding experience for them.