Data — It’s what I love to hate as a web marketer and consultant.
Data tells us who our customers are, where they come from and how long they spend looking at our content. What device they use, what pages they click on and how many videos they watch. There’s the free kind of data and then there’s the data we pay for.
It’s addictive and dare I say it — pornographic.
Charts, goals, heatmaps and social graphs. But guess what you’re forgetting about? Your customer.
Forget your Google Analytics for a minute
I was on a consulting call last week where we were exploring the idea of A/B testing landing pages.
“Maybe we should try a different headline or a different color blue?”
Well let’s take a look at the real issue.
The product has only been on the market for about 90 days and the website is barely in the 4 digits of monthly traffic since the launch. There’s not enough traffic to properly run a solid A/B test campaign so why are we talking about it?
Because we’re taught to execute on these formulas. If you can “optimize” a page, you will earn a higher conversion rate.
Well what about optimizing your product and service first? Let’s take a step back and talk with our customers to find out why they bought from versus us guessing what our call to actions should be.
If you’re already making sales
I don’t think A/B testing is wrong, it just might not be right for where you are in your business cycle.
So if you’ve made a handful of sales of your product or service — guess what — it’s time to pick up the phone. You need to reach out and talk to your existing customers to find out why they purchased from you. What made them trust you enough to open up their wallets and hand over their hard earned cash?
Luckily, it’s 2013 and there are many ways we can use this proverbial phone:
Record a Skype session – It’s not enough to just have the phone call, you have to ask your customer if you can record it. These early stage discovery sessions are a gold mine of information that will help shape your business for the next few months. Recording will allow you to go back and review or even share it with other members of your team. You can use E-camm if you’re on a Mac. It’s what I use to record my podcast.
Screenshare on Google Hangout – Google Hangout is becoming a killer app and it’s a great way to see how a client interacts with your product. You might discover a new use case or realize they aren’t using the product the right way to begin with.
Follow up e-mails/survey – After the sale, you should have a cycle of e-mails that go out to follow up. What app do you use? Your calendar. That’s right, if you’re still at only a handful of customers a month you don’t need a marketing platform — you just need to schedule it and reach out to your customer. No templates or scripted dialogues, just write them a simple e-mail to find out how they are doing and if you can help.
Your own pipeline with Trello – Use a list building app like Trello to manage and create your own funnel of this process. Make the customer a card and drag and drop them along lists that represent different stages. I use it for my contact forms and it’s amazing.
If you’re not making sales
You need more eyeballs.
I don’t care how you do it, but you need to get one person using it. Hell, give it to them for free and enter into a free consultation to help them set it up. This interaction will be invaluable.
Danger: I’m not saying you fork your product per each unique request, but look for the pain points they are pointing to. You have the choice to use it in your marketing or to make it part of the feature/function for upcoming releases.
When I talk to people about launching their business, there’s always friction within this first step.
They feel embarrassed or think that these people aren’t the right audience. Guess what? If you can’t convince someone in your elevator pitch or 2 minute demonstration, we’re going to have serious problems moving forward.
Furthermore, you need to practice dumbing down your value proposition. Technical folks might get the jargon, but if it’s making them stop and think about benefits, chances are their going to move right past it.
Invest more in your first 100 customers and your next 1000 will love you for it.