Your stomach is doing flip-flops – you hate reviewing your website’s results. It’s downright discouraging. It shows your visitors don’t spend much time on your site, they don’t explore the other pages on your site, and they don’t respond to your call to action. It’s particularly frustrating because you’ve recently had your site redesigned to be more attractive, with cool effects and clever copy. But it hasn’t seemed to help. And because your website is the foundation of your marketing efforts, its lack of success impacts the success of everything you do. There HAS to be a way to turn things around.
The good news is there is. You may not know it, but you have a superpower that, once discovered, will give you the ability to make a powerful connection with your visitors. This rich connection will result in your visitors spending the time needed to hear and understand your message and, more importantly, to respond to your call to action.
What is this superpower? A special kind of hypnosis? Or a new method of manipulation? No, those kinds of things don’t really work – people sense when they’re being coerced and don’t appreciate it. You may be surprised to learn your superpower is EMPATHY. Yes, empathy, as in truly knowing and deeply understanding your visitors. At this point you may be thinking, “What’s to know?”
The more you know about your visitors the better, but finding out the answers to the following questions will help you develop the empathy needed for an effective website:
Why does your visitor want what they want? What your visitor wants may seem very simple, but there is almost always more to it than meets the eye. For example, let’s say you offer watches on your website. When visitors come to the website, the assumption is they must be looking for a watch – and watches are what you’re providing – so you may think you’ve done all you can do. But if your understanding of your visitor went deeper, you’ll have a much better chance of connecting with your visitor. Why would one person only be willing to pay $20 for a watch and someone else wouldn’t consider buying anything for less than $1,000? The important consideration here is the question “Why?” and it’s one of the keys to empathy. When you can answer the question of why someone wants what they want, then you’ve made a major advancement in improving your website’s results. When you offer your visitors exactly what they’re looking for, they WILL respond to you.
What concerns do they have? Do your visitors fear unforeseen charges, poor workmanship, being ripped off? These kinds of apprehensions are one reason many car dealerships have gone to a “one simple price” policy. They realized most people are anxious about haggling over price with someone who does that for a living – so they removed the haggling and thus the fear. You’ll need to address your visitors concerns in a way that removes any apprehension they have. They aren’t going to listen to you as long as these fears are playing on their minds.
What feelings do they want? Taking care of the fears is only half of the equation – you must also recognize and reinforce the positive feelings they’re hoping to have when they’ve responded to you. Expectation plays a major role in the decision-making process. “This $1,200 watch will make you feel remarkably special!” or words and pictures to that effect are important. They’re not only looking forward to getting what they want but also the feelings that come with it.
What’s your visitor’s Big-Picture concerns? You’ll connect with your visitor at a deeper level if you can address the big-picture issues that are meaningful to them. What sets the world right for them (or at least moves it in the right direction)? What should happen to make life (or this situation) fair? What wrongs can we be involved in correcting? Addressing these kinds of concerns invites your visitors to engage in something bigger than themselves. Finding and including their big-picture concerns helps form a stronger connection.
How do you find these things out? One of the most important ways for you to gain “empathy insights” comes from creating categories and subcategories of visitors. Each category represents potential visitor engagement within one product or service you offer. If you offer more than one product or service, you’ll have a category for each. But the magic happens when you start creating subcategories. Let’s say you offer house painting and repair. This means you have two categories – one for house painting and another for repair. Looking at the house painting category, how would you create subcategories? There are visitors wanting house painting because their paint is so old it’s cracking; there are others who are preparing to sell their house; still others want their house to be the best looking house in the neighborhood, and so on. These subcategories usually point to what is motivating a visitor to seek the service or product. They help you answer the first question of empathy – WHY do they want what they want. Which subcategory has the most people in it? Which subcategory is the most profitable? Which subcategory is the one you want to work with most?
The importance of asking. The most important source of empathy insight comes from those who visit your website and especially from those who have responded to you. Talk with them and get their input on why they want what they’re looking for, what concerns them, how they want to feel after getting what they’re looking for, and what big-picture concerns are most meaningful to them. If you can’t talk with them verbally, set up an alternative way to find out: a survey, a rating system, or some other means to get feedback.
Don’t discount your instinct. Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Yes, it’s important to communicate with your visitors, but often times they themselves don’t really know what they want until they understand the alternatives. Ford realized people wanted to go faster, but they couldn’t imagine a way to do so until after they saw and understood the automobile. Get their feedback and insights, but don’t throw out your knowledge and what your gut tells you. Put them together and seek to truly understand, at the deepest level possible, what your visitors are really looking for.
It’s one of the great secrets of life: the best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want. Those who understand the wants, fears, expectations, and big-picture involvement of their visitors succeed. This is your superpower, and once you’ve put it into action, you’ll have taken a major step in improving your website’s results. Of course, we at Drake Web Development are here to help you implement your superpower in the best way possible – just let us know how we can help.