09 Apr 2013

For The Best Marketing ROI, Eat Your Veggies

Your web site design presents two options after marketing it. Invite, browse, and leave. Or, invite and guide to revenue oriented tasks.

Most web sites do the first one. The investment goes into promoting, not the user experience.

Commonly Heard Feedback

Selling user experience and usability services such as audits and user testing is the equivalent of making kids eat their vegetables. You tell them they are good for you but they insist they do not need them. Then, you try to explain with more detail how there are vitamins in carrots and peas and their body requires these nutrients to be strong and healthy. When that still does not convince them, you tell them no ice cream unless they eat at least 5 peas.
That tactic works because they can hold their nose to gobble up 5 peas and the reward is chocolate ice cream. Kids are not dumb. So why, when presented with the same enticing offer, do companies refuse site reviews?

  1. They don’t see the value in it.
  2. They believe their site is working fine. (And the blame marketing for their problems.)
  3. “We know our uses and don’t need your help.”
  4. They have a vague idea about user experience design and “it doesn’t apply to us.”

Return on Investment

Every excuse for not including usability audits along with an Internet Marketing strategy is tied to ROI. This is a signal to me that the company has no idea what’s really going with their web site property and brand. How could they? They are opting out of understanding user behavior as it relates to their brand or vertical. They do not understand certain segments of potential customers they are turning away because their site is not accessible to special needs users or the millions who wear reading glasses or prescription correction lenses to see at all.
Picture of hands holding puzzle,
Losing all that potential business is worth investing more marketing dollars into fighting Panda and Penguin and buying ads on Facebook? I see this everyday:

  • The site that hid the link to where they generate their revenue.
  • The site that made customers go through steps intended for International sales, only to discover that 90% of their business is in the USA.
  • The sites that simply can’t be used because the text can’t be seen without needing a magnifying glass and adjusting monitors to deal with the zero contrast.
  • All the ecommerce and educational web sites that are closed off for use by people who use screen readers and keystrokes to use web sites.
  • Sites with navigation that drops visitors off a cliff, with no way back.
  • Sites with mystery links. Every site has them. Mystery links are those that, when clicked on, take visitors off-site, to a PDF, or page that is unrelated to what the link label indicated.
  • No calls to action.
  • Distractions that prevent taking any action or simply allowing people the chance to read.
  • No information about the company or what it does on the homepage.
  • No mention of the company name on the homepage or landing pages.
  • The sites don’t display well in mobile devices and there are no plans for doing so.
  • Guidance. Every page is a mystery to be solved by site visitors. And worse, the design is limited as to what visitors it is designed for.
  • Product and category pages are long, confusing and complicated.
  • Ecommerce sites don’t offer help with making good choices, for specific user groups.

And my favorite one of all.

Hiding the gem. The one “big thing” a company wants their visitors to do. The one “really awesome reason” customers will refer a site, praise the brand, and return for more. In other words, most web sites are not designed to be PERSUASIVE once someone lands on a page from a search query or PPC landing page. This is why investing in user experience, usability, customer experience is important to us at Internet Marketing Ninjas. We know our Persuasive Design User Experience services are good for you.

If you eat a few peas, we’ll reward you with a hefty conversions lift.

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net