As someone who makes a living from websites, I run across many websites and digital content on a daily basis. It is alarming to see the % of sites – business or non-profit organizations – which are still not fully optimized for today’s web visitors. There are many businesses and organizations nowadays whose website is a primary sales channel responsible for a large percentage of business revenue – whether directly (ecommerce) or indirectly (branding). Yet a majority of businesses do not take full advantage of this sales channel and continue to run old-style websites which do not help at all with their sales.
Website Optimization is the process of turning your businesses’ most critical sales channel – your website – into a powerful sales machine. It does this by utilizing hard data and insights to respond to an individual users’ characteristics. Businesses which utilize even basic optimization practices increase their online sales or branding by 10-30+%.
Optimization covers two different yet closely related areas: testing and targeting. Testing is the process of understanding user behavior when they interact with your digital content. This is done by monitoring the performance of different variations of content against different groups of target audience users. By quantifying just how well a variation of the ‘default’ experience performs, you begin to answer the basic yet very important business questions: How effective is our digital marketing? What is the ROI from the money and efforts spent for digital marketing on this particular campaign or marketing channel? Which ones are the most valuable user groups or ‘segments’, which ones are the least valuable, and how can we reach all of them in the best possible way? Most importantly, how can we create a better experience for our visitors – current or future customers?
Targeting is the process of responding to the results you get from testing and deliver the right content, promotions, and experiences to the right group of users at the right time. It is about connecting the user with the content he or she wants to consume, when they want to consume it.
Optimization is very important to any business with a web presence – especially those in online marketing. An on-going optimization process allows businesses to utilize collected visitor data to understand how visitors – who are prospects – react to different marketing campaigns and promotions and then use that data to publish targeted and meaningful content to reach those particular users. Remember that the goal is to convince the user to take a particular action – may this be a direct sale, lead generation or a sign-up. An optimized visitor experience vastly increases the likelihood of a visitor performing your desired action.
Optimization can provide very valuable insight into user behavior. Different target users and groups will respond completely differently to one promotion then another. Some people like orange. Some people prefer yellow. Some people want to research your product before they purchase. Some just want to buy and move on with their lives.
The data collected from optimization can provide valuable and sometimes surprising information about your customers purchasing behaviors. This understanding can provide a wealth of information about which campaigns are effective, which products are popular with who, and which clients are interested in certain services. It also helps an organization to spend their marketing dollars much more wisely. Businesses which optimize their digital content and websites can make informed decisions about digital marketing budget allocation and campaign prioritization creating strategic, effective long and short term tactical programs for all digital marketing efforts.