Schooch close. We’re laying some user experience truth on you.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re entering a new phase of web design. It’s based on making life simple and sales free. Yes, people still want to buy products and make donations. They still want to connect and hear story. But we’re over hard work and hard sell. You’ve got to get with the program to succeed.
Here’s how you can be desirable through taking a calm, considered approach to web design and user experience.
Stop popping up like a (nasty) Meer cat
You know that pop up newsletter capture that despite being annoying collects your email addresses? Well, Google doesn’t want to see it on a mobile version of your website. So it’s handing down penalties.
Potential customers do not want to read 3 seconds of blog before being hit with a pop up followed by a pop up and then as they scroll down, cop yet another pop up. It is the number one reason why people click away.
Pop ups are so hated that the inventor, Ethan Zuckerman, apologised for them in 2014.
Manipulinks are another phenomenon that you should probably approach with scepticism and a shovel to bury it before it gets the chance. These pop ups are the ones that use confirmshaming to try and get you to do what they want. Like a bad boyfriend, they pose a passive aggressive question to trick you into signing up. Framed as a “No thanks, I don’t want to succeed” sorts of anti-questions, they are pitched at getting us to think. In reality, they are trying to guilt us.
Newsflash, guilt in sales doesn’t have a long lasting effect. It invites buyer’s remorse. And it makes potential customer second guess the nature of your marketing even more.
Why wouldn’t we? Think about it from the perspective of discovery. You meet a nice blog or product. You’re starting to get to know them. 3 seconds later, a pop up jumps up, disrupting your kindling relationship and says to you “Would you like to confirm that you’re a loser?” in some way, shape or form.
Uh...way to kill the vibe, dude.
You have to be super clever to pull of this kind of manipulative interaction, long term.
Pro tip: Positive pop ups are based on relevance and choice. Keep them to an absolute minimum (no double and triple dipping). Make the pay off worthwhile. And avoid the confirmshaming techniques.
BONUS Pro tip: Use a sign up at the end of your content instead of interrupting the flow during the reading process.
Make it easy to be likeable
Website design is the fan to the fan dancer and audience relationship. You’re there to entice imagination and connection. You’re not meant to give the whole game away. Just whet the appetite and invite the customer to take it further.
That’s why it’s really, really important to ensure you make having a longer term relationship simple. You can do this by providing choice to engage further and:
Give a call to action that invites movement towards the next bit of content on each page and post
Add an email sign up to the bottom of the page
Make sure your social media profiles are supplied and easy to join
Add eBooks and whitepapers to extend the relationship further
Provide additional information that is free that extends the value before hitting your customers with the hard sell to build trust
Provide a sample of what can be found with content that is locked behind membership and pay walls
Boost your efforts across content marketing. Create podcasts, blogs, videos and other forms of content to help grow the relationship with knowledge
The focus should always be on building trust. Find the connections and conversations you have that slowly reveal a little more of what is on offer.
Pro tip: Chart out your content marketing efforts and think about ways you can build trust. Make connection, not sales, your guiding light.
Make researching simple
Your customers are time poor and they are not invested in your business, not for profit or website until they are. Why then do so many companies, corporations, organisations and startups spend their time trying to show off by bamboozling the customer?
They don’t want your jargon or to feel stupid. They want to connect.
If you are copywriting to sound like business or to outwit your competitor, you’re doing it wrong. If your web design reflects what the industry wants you to look like, you’re inviting failure.
You must put the customer first. Speak their language. Make available content they can use to research and get to know you.
And make sure the functionality supports that researching intent.
Common mistakes we all come across when trying to explore a website are:
Clicking on something and having to do it again
No alternatives in place to help find something after a page has been retired
Information not being tagged or categorised properly, rendering internal searches useless
Having to wade through content they’ve already seen because how the search operates is faulty and not anchored properly
The use of geeky terminology and lingo that is not universal. If you need to supply a key to explain something to Joe or Jody Public, you need to re-write your content
Landing on pages that have very little to do with how they were optimised
Jumping through hoops and pages. Make it simple to enjoy the user experience
Pro tip: Chart out your customers when they are at their most time pressed, stressed and confused. Now ask your team if they are willing to perform the steeplechase you have provided to dig out what they need. If no, you need to look at your user experience.
Stop selling and start listening
There’s an awful lot of popularity behind using high pressure, hard sell techniques. These are essentially legacy tactics left over from a bygone era. We didn’t have marketing information and the ability to confirm claims at our fingertips like we do now. Driving all over town, making our own notes based on brochures and walking through the introductions are a thing of the past. The internet has enabled us to make enormous progress in self research and comparing sales notes.
Plus, humans are not particularly stupid. We’re cynical, sceptical, sarcastic and looking for things to pass the sniff test. And we’ve become increasingly so since we now have the opportunity to control much more of the information, marketing and sales paraphernalia we come into contact with.
Marketing has become smarter. We can use a level of analytics and business intelligence we would never have experienced without the internet. Targeting people on other websites, remarketing ads to them as they search for products, constant availability through search- this all adds up.
Why then do so many companies persist in bending the customers to their will as opposed to using this new found desire for information in tandem with supplying it?
Customers want to be in control of what they purchase. Why not give it to them?
How much skin off a company’s nose is it to:
Turn email and social media comments into FAQs and commonly asked questions to satiate the consumer learning
Make available the demonstrations, trials and taste tests of products without strong arm tactics and watch for conversion information
Incorporate the extra time it takes to make a sale into the research process by using business intelligence and insights
Not rely on scarcity myth to make the sale and instead, focus on building consumer confidence and charting out how long that takes
Follow Google regulations instead of finding new and interesting ways to score a penalty
Use Google data to isolate how customers find what they need and give it to them
Working with the customer helps bring the loyalty and the word of mouth. We should be providing a user experience and the kinds of tools that empower people to feel like they are respected by brands. We should be alleviating their pain, letting them know we’re sustainable businesses that will be there for the long haul.
Consumers are people. And people want respect. They want reliability and a way to do things on their own terms that makes them feel as though they are connected and capable.
Selling to people as though we’re the only caravan arriving in town for the carnival sells them incredibly short. Businesses need to learn to listen to what their customers want.
Pro tip: Use your social media, surveys, customer service data, emails and questions to design an experience that your customer’s care about. They are already giving you this information!
Want to improve your user experience by creating a better, longer lasting and trusting relationship with your customers? Get in touch now.