Use Your Website

Too often, as marketers we are ignorant of real problems that consumers are having.

We spend our time focusing on new projects. What products can we launch? What new advertising channels can we test? How should we follow up with all those leads we got?

That’s the fun stuff. That’s what we like doing.

But we never take the customer’s point of view. If we did, we would quickly identify some simple things that would make their experience a whole lot better.

Today, I challenge all marketers to use their company’s website. Pretend for a second that you’ve never seen the site before, that you are your potential customer, trying to solve the same problem they are having.

This can be difficult to do, so be honest with yourself. Try to experience the website like you don’t know where everything is already. Chances are, if you are able to do this correctly, you will find at least one thing (probably more than one) that needs to change right away.

Either a form is functioning correctly, or a page is missing, or a link is wrong, etc.

No website is perfect. That is why many large companies employ people whose job it is to constantly test the website for quality assurance, looking at analytics and traffic patterns and user behavior to make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to.

Chances are you don’t have time to make this a top priority all the time. But at least once a month, you should use your website the way a customer would, and make the necessary changes to improve the user experience.

Note: I use a tool called Mouseflow, which records real user visits to the website and lets you watch them. This is a great way to learn how your users are actually interacting with the site, and whether or not it varies from how you expect or intend them to.