E-Commerce Link: Keepin’ It Optimized
Last October, Google brought Web site testing to the masses with the launch of Google Website Optimizer, a free tool that enables marketers to test and optimize their online campaigns. If you haven’t started testing your site already, it’s time to take advantage of this no-cost option. To get you off to a successful beginning, I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned over the past nine years.
In particular, the factors that determine your online success fall into three categories: confidence and intent; the personal experience factor (PEF); and environmental and conditional factors.
Confidence and Intent
This group of factors comes into play before a visitor lands on your site and measures the confidence buildup that occurs prior to that event. They can be characterized as:
Customer intent: What are your customers’ intentions toward your site and products? Will they buy today? Or do they intend to research a product online, then purchase it offline? Keyword research can help determine intent. Caveat: A percentage of your traffic will be unqualified. Some of the traffic on your site is the result of a visitor arriving by mistake. Other visitors need a product or service you don’t offer.
Brand confidence: How much confidence do visitors have in your products or brand before they arrive at your site? This, in a nutshell, is customers’ prior knowledge of your brand. It’s learned through word of mouth and the potency of your marketing efforts.
Personal Experience Factor (PEF)
This refers to the experience a customer or prospect has during and after a visit to your site. The following factors contribute to a site’s PEF:
Planning. Is there a comprehensive, focused understanding of target-visitor buying models? How well do you communicate your unique value proposition, with regard to what’s in the visitor’s heart?
Structure. Do the design, information architecture and technology aspects of the site support the requirements of the buying and selling process? Does the visitor lose interest due to site flaws?