This week’s episode of the Bright Ideas series presented by Acuity Brands® is going to focus on the role of your business’ website in the buyer’s journey. Catherine Bruce was joined in the studio by Lindsey Riner, the Vice President of Marketing Operations at Acuity Brands, and Director of Website Content, Lori Armstrong.
Sirius Decisions says 70% of the buyer’s journey happens before they reach out to a sales rep. If that’s the case, what are the tools customers need to accurately find what they’re looking for?
DO YOU TREAT YOUR WEBSITE LIKE YOUR TOP CUSTOMER SERVICE TOOL?
Almost all buyers start their shopping online nowadays– not just to make purchases, but even to conduct preliminary research on the options at their disposal. Because of this, your company’s website can be one of the most valuable and essential tools you invest in.
The three best things you can do to facilitate a better customer experience are to know your clients and what their point of sale is– and build an informative, easy-to-use website for them.
Easy-to-use doesn’t mean you have to use ecommerce right away, either. Not all companies are necessarily engaged with direct online purchases yet.
However, you do need to remember that your website still plays a huge role in every purchase.
Even if your customers can only buy your products or services over the phone, they still may be searching for product information on your website beforehand. Thus, a good indicator of a sale may well be when they download a specification sheet or a product manual.
Easy site navigation will help make that task easy for them. One of the best ways for your website to be both informative and user-friendly is to add more photos and videos, rather than more text. Pictures can eliminate a need for excess words; and can bring clarity for users who are searching for products without necessarily knowing the specific terms for a particular item.
Lastly, another factor that impacts website usability is consistency. Many companies may actually incorporate many separate branches or brands which all have separate websites. Keep branding, navigation, and the overall service level seamless across all of those platforms.
HOW VITAL DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR WEBSITE’S SEO?
Search engine optimization is exactly what it sounds like: the practice of optimizing your website pages for search engines to quickly read and prioritize them according to various topics or categories or keywords.
SEO is pivotal for your marketing strategy because most everyone’s online research begins by going to Google. However, 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines! That means if your company’s website isn’t near the top of the search results, you’re going to get passed over.
The only method businesses have to communicate with engines like Google is through SEO. Optimizing your product pages communicates how they are prioritized, and which ones are considered authoritative.
It also helps to know your customers and your audience as well. Your website could be completely optimized for a specific vocabulary used within your industry. However, what if your buyers don’t actually know any of those terms? Some of them may be searching for “white office lights,” rather than “tunable white LEDs,” for example. So, make sure you’re bidding on the right keywords.
DO YOU EMPLOY MACHINE LEARNING TO TAILOR EACH CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE ON YOUR WEBSITE?
It’s worth noting that search engines outside of your website (such as Google or Bing) aren’t the only ones to keep in mind. Most company websites also have a search bar of their own in their main menus, where visitors can search within the site itself.
Make sure you’re utilizing that machine learning technology to help drive customers not only to the products they are looking for, but also to complementary or compatible products that they may not have thought of. Amazon is a familiar example of this practice: they always display underneath products, “Most customers that purchased this camera also bought this tripod,” or “Buy together with this carrying case and save $10 on shipping!”
The more you optimize your site, the more it can learn that when X product is purchased, Y product may be next. Soon you’ll be able to drive customers to that next product before they even realize they might want it.
Focus on that machine learning is foundational to creating personalized experiences for your website visitors.In December of 2019, a Forrester report shared that consumers will spend 48% more if they have a personalized experience online. But you can’t exactly offer personalized content to visitors if you don’t know who they are when they come to your website. You need to have the right tools and technologies in place to identify your users and tailor the content and search experiences they’re getting.Machine learning is one of many technological advances growing more and more common around the business world. Next week, we’ll examine another regarding the convergence of lighting and the Internet of Things. Until then, visit the Acuity Brands website to see an example of SEO-optimized, user-friendly content in action.
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