This is a reprint article from 2014 I think, but the message never gets old so I wanted some of my current clients to see it… 🙂
To get right to the meat of it:
“Service the mind and the needs of your customer, instead of treating them like an engineer.”
Let’s explore where landing page testing goes wrong and is downright unnecessary, or unnecessarily complicated.
Instead of thinking of the Minimum Viable Product or the MVP, think of the MBR or Minimum Buyer Requirements.
Before you even think about the logistics of how your customer will end up buying from you, how you’ll deliver or any of that, reverse-engineer your sales funnel, your persuasion funnel if you will.
What It Takes For Your Customer
to Sit Up And Take Notice
For the buyer’s mind to want to even LISTEN to you, you must at least attract their attention, or curiosity.
For the e-commerce customer ever to end up on your checkout page with intent to buy, you must engineer their MIND’s way to the checkout, not their browser’s.
Seriously, the web-based, technical approach is so flawed it’s not even funny.
Otherwise you’ll just see the normal 30%+ cart abandonment rate, or worse, and wonder why that is. Sure, you can always bring them back through recovery emails, intense followup and expensive advertising, but then you’ve already lost many chances at doing it right the first time. Which means added cost and time at your end. Plus a delayed customer relationship.
So are you treating the customer as a buyer, or a browser that may of their own accord decide to buy?
Are you addressing the PERSON on your website assuming they have buying intent?
If not, you’re already making it unnecessarily difficult. So difficult in fact, that there is an entire industry built around the need to fix broken funnels and ineffective conversion techniques. I should know, I’ve done conversion optimisation with an overall success rate of 90%, improving results anywhere from 50% to 500%.
How come? It’s due to knowing the Buyer’s Mind.
When I started giving lectures on CRO, I noticed that the section on persuasion principles, buyer psychology and such was always getting the most attention, and questions after the lecture. Then they would go back and implement those principles to great results.
This finally clued me into the fact that it’s the Buyer’s Mind that should get the focus, not the usability, or the web design, or any of the other things that go into building and maintaining an e-commerce operation of any kind.
So, back to those all-important questions.
- On your front page, do you know what your buyers are looking for? Do you know what they’re thinking?
- Once they choose a category (and you know which ones they choose and why, don’t you…), do you know what they’d be delighted with next?
- Do you know how much they expect to be told about a product? Do you know if they prefer video or text, or both… or perhaps interactive guidance?
- Do you know how to ‘seduce’ a prospect from the fence into a raving customer, and when to do it?
Questions, All These Questions… Can’t We Just Get On With The Testing Already?
In the Conversion Optimization industry, the regular answer is ’test, test, test’.
Or if they’re smarter than average, it’s ‘build a hypothesis, and then test until you know for sure’.
Testing is great, but there are just a couple of things wrong with this approach:
1. Most testing is fundamentally flawed. This is because there are SO many variables affecting any given test. Even if you run it for a period of several months, you may later come to realise that your results were marred by some temporary phenomena. Or your initial results stopped happening because buyer behaviour evolved. It happens.
To add insult to injury – if you have a good enough hypothesis, you already know the answer. And if your hypothesis is bad, no amount of testing will ever convince you.
(This latter reason is a HUGE frustration to CRO agencies who get great results testing for their clients, but then the clients will go on to NEVER implement the results. This is because they lack the confidence to do so, not understanding the psychology or the reason why. And even when they do implement, the nicely round lift number of, say 50%, won’t hold up or will not translate to a healthier bottom line.)
This whole industry suffers from the same fallacies as the stock brokers intent on “technical analysis” only for stock trading, disregarding all fundamentals and real-world happenings. which is dangerous when you’re playing with money. in business, we’re playing with money too but nobody seems to admit this in the face of Almighty Numbers.
They’re just indicators, okay? Not the Infallible Truth or anything like it. Observations. Indicators. Something bulging beyond the wall lining. Who knows without further inspection. By which time you’re behind again!
For further corroboration, read this.
2. A good test depends on a good hypothesis, and a good hypothesis ALWAYS depends on how well you know the buyer’s mind.
See how that works?
You just cannot be sure of a test result’s real life efficacy UNLESS you can verify it with what you know about the buyer’s mind.
And how it always circles back to not only knowing your market or your prototype customer, but to knowing how a buyer is born, thinks, and acts. All that good stuff.
Here’s the bottom line: It all happens in the mind before it happens physically on your site.
It’s no different from anything you see around you – EVERYTHING you see around you was once a construct in someone’s mind BEFORE it ever became physical reality. That television, those drapes, that couch design… all of it.
Knowing this should give you some confidence in delving head first into studying the buyer’s mind, because you know every little phenomena you see in commerce, is so completely dependent on it.