Marketing is a game of understanding your consumer better than you understand your own family. It’s about being one step ahead of their mind, so by the time they’ve caught up, you’ve already predicted their next 3 moves.
This, as a concept, is incredibly challenging. We’re consistently positioned to be inside the thought process of other people at all times. And due to the intricacies of human nature, this can verge on impossible.
Or is it?
More often than not, we as Marketers put expectations on our shoulders to reinvent the wheel. To build the yellow brick road for Alice, even though we’re already assuming that Alice is going to follow it. In fact, we consistently feel obligated to be new, innovative and revolutionary, because in the words of the hallowed Barney Stinson, ‘New is always better’.
I today, am going to challenge that because I also have fallen into this trap, time and time again.
There is a parable in the Bible, which talks about the wise and foolish builders. While the original Parable actually speaks to the nature of the human heart, I want to look at the concept differently, about how we interpret customer behaviour.
The man who built his house on rock withstood the winds, storms, waves and other elements that battered him. The man who built his house on sand was swept away.
When we as Marketers try and reinvent what in many cases is a stable and familiar wheel, we put our customers in a very unique and uncomfortable position.
Effectively, we’re telling them they have to follow a set path, which we have dictated, that is foreign and unknown to them. We are building our house (customer journey) on the sand, and we are getting swept away.
I came to a realisation of this when viewing the customer journey of a prospect who converted on a goal for one of our clients, without touching a single asset or element we had worked on. He navigated the website and converted on the generic ‘Get in Touch’ contact page, even with multiple other avenues, more specific to his request, all around him.
The reality was that ‘Jimmy’ felt comfortable converting on a page that was familiar to him, a contact page. The fancy landing pages, unique offers and styled customer journey we had outlined, were not. This doesn’t mean that those pages and offers weren’t relevant or effective, but it didn’t provide Jimmy with the journey that suited him, whatsoever. In fact, if Jimmy hadn’t so adamantly been looking for the solution we were providing, to reach out of his own accord, we might have lost him entirely.
This is the risk taken with reinventing the wheel. It puts consumers into a space that isn’t comfortable, and when you’re trying to create an experience for them that makes them trust you and want to convert, this can damage that.
So what can you do?
I’m going to look at this from a top level, and then also identify some quick wins you can make.
Firstly, let's become a consumer.
I’ve just arrived on your website for the first time. I’m here because I heard that you’re an expert in your field, and I need that help for my business. But before anything, I need to trust you, and I need to feel like you’re the solution for me.
Where are the first places I’m going to go?
I know personally, that I’m a big fan of About and Team pages because I like to know the faces behind a product/service. But better than just making assumptions, you should always trust the data.
In Google Analytics, you have the ability to view the exact behaviour flow that users take on your website. Right here, I can see that on our website, following viewing the homepage, the about page was one of the highest viewed pages.
How many of you have considered what your About page says about your company? Have you given it much time?
This is the process of identifying an existing customer journey and optimising it, rather than trying to rebuild it. Instead of spending hours upon hours building new pages, asset and conversion pathways without a data-backed approach, improving, optimising and elevating existing pathways is not only time saving, but it’s also more valuable.
Let’s look at some quick wins you could start right now:
Update your forms
If you have a unique offer that you’re trying to push, why not update your existing forms to include it as an option? If someone is wishing to get in touch with you, set up a ‘purpose of the inquiry’ field and make it an option, so people can get in touch with you about this, exactly as they wish.
Put your key pages in your navigation
Need to give more context for a product/service? Make this page as easily accessible as possible, by putting it right where your consumers are looking. Set up tracking software to heatmap your website, and put your core pages and offers in your navigation so people can find them.
Apply Pop-Up forms
I’m a sucker for a great marketing tool and Hubspot’s Pop-up Forms are an easy, seamless conversion point that appears on any page you wish, helping people to convert without having to go to your specific landing page. We installed these for one client and got them 200+ leads in 6 months.
Test, Test Test
One of the biggest dangers in reinventing the wheel is you create so many new assets, that when something isn’t working, it’s incredibly tough to identify what exactly the issue is. By tweaking and updating existing pathways, you can test your work, step by step, eliminating the confusion and issue caused when juggling too many variables.
I could go on for days about the beauty of improving on the existing structure, over rebuilding it, but I won’t because you have goals to hit, and I want you to succeed.
But please take away with you some insight from this. The pressure you’re feeling to consistently build new is unnecessary. We may always hear the stories of success with new ventures but we never hear the failures and they are equally as shocking. Don’t lose belief in what already exists, instead focus on making the consumers journey as friction-less as possible.
If anyone wants to talk about how this might look for your business, I’m always keen to help. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you want to achieve. I’ll help you visualise the journey!