Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Courtney Harris
Contributing Writer 

Houston, we have a problem


November 13, 2012

People are visiting your website but for some reason they aren’t “converting” into customers. They are clicking on things and they spend some time browsing around, but that’s about it. If there is a form, they aren’t filling it out. And those that are filling it out never seem to buy anything.

What’s the deal?

You’re promoting your product in the right places and in the right manner. You’re targeting the right audience. You even seem to be doing a good job at attracting the right people to the site. But for some reason when they get there, they simply don’t “convert”.

Sounds like a job for a website redesign!

Maybe the customer doesn’t understand you’re offering. Maybe your site doesn’t appear to be as appealing / professional as your competitor’s. Maybe the site is simply too “cluttered.” Maybe the customer wants to inquire further but they can’t figure out how. Whatever the problem is, improving the site’s design, messaging, and functionality will surely help fix it.

So naturally you turn to your “web guy”. He may be an in house employee or an outsourced contractor, but whatever his title, you have total faith that with your guidance he can help turn your website into the effective selling tool it should be. Only problem is, he’s not really a “marketing guy,” he’s a designer/programmer. Therefore he will be performing changes that he thinks the website needs from a design/programming standpoint. So on second thought, maybe you should simply tell him the changes that need to be made. But then again, you’re not really sure yourself why the site is not performing as it should be. Sure you have an opinion, but then again so does he. So whose direction should we follow here? Yours or your web guy’s?

How about neither.

When revamping your website, the person whose opinion matters most is not yours, nor is it your web designers. It’s your customer’s. Yeah, that’s right. Your customer. Remember him? He’s the one you’re trying to convince to actually buy your product. Wouldn’t it make some sense to speak to him and get his opinion? Better yet, speak to several of them and ask them all a few questions.

Find out things like: when you first visited the website what was your initial impression/reaction and what do you feel the site is missing?

After getting feedback from several customers, or even potential customers, you can then look at the data you’ve gathered and make an intelligent conclusion on what changes need to be made to your site. Maybe you will discover that the look/feel gives the wrong impression of your service. Maybe you will discover that your messaging is too confusing. Maybe the content is outdated. Maybe the form doesn’t work as it should. Maybe the customer really wanted to see some examples / case studies of satisfied customers and there aren’t any. Whatever answers you discover, you can confidently incorporate them into your plans because of where the feedback came from.

And guess what? This philosophy doesn’t just apply to developing your website. It applies to virtually all areas of your marketing program.

Trying to determine the best places to advertise? Ask your customer.

Need to understand how your brand is currently perceived? Ask your customer.

Can’t figure out why you are losing sales to the competition? Ask your customer.

Not quite sure which communication method is the best to use? Ask your customer.

At the end of the day your customer is the person who pays your salary. He/she is the person who keeps your company’s lights on. He/she is the person who ultimately determines your company’s success. Listen to them and let them be your guide on what changes should be made to your marketing message and the manner in which it is presented. They will never steer you wrong.

Courtney R. Harris is a Sales & Marketing Consultant helping companies improve sales of their products and services. He specializes in developing an effective marketing plan/strategy designed to help a company’s product stand out from the competition, capture the customer’s attention, and prompt them to take action.

He prides himself on getting to know the target customer and thinking from their perspective. By ensuring that every part of the marketing effort is designed from the customer’s perspective, the marketing effort will generate the highest level of interest and thus have the largest impact.

Courtney has developed and executed marketing campaigns with a variety of objectives including branding/identity, media exposure, direct response, collateral development, and performing deep customer profiling. Courtney can be contacted directly through his website


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