This guest post is by Kate Swoboda of The Coaching Blueprint.
Go ahead—ask anyone, whether it’s a small business owner, a solopreneur consultant, or someone who’s determined to hit it big with their hand-made crafts:
What action would you like people to take, as a result of visiting your website?
(Note: this question may or may not make you a hit at parties, so proceed with caution).
Chances are, they’re going to all serve up the same answer: they hope that people will either buy something or book an appointment.
People have designed their business websites with one aim in mind, and that’s to get people to buy stuff—queue the series of squeeze pages and pitches and sales funnels.
It’s what we’ve been talking about here on ProBlogger all week. And it’s a worthy endeavor—I like making my rent payment each month, too.
There’s just one problem: not everyone who lands on your website is ready to buy. In fact, I’ll wager that most people aren’t, yet. What’s more? No matter what you do—no matter how much you “prime” someone to buy, or “remove objections” so that they’ll buy, a vast majority of the people who land on your site just ain’t buying, because they simply aren’t yet “buyers.”
A great many marketing sites out there will tell you to just ignore those people and move on to the person who’s ready to pull out their credit card.
Here’s an alternative idea: What about appealing to all of the different users that land on your site? How much more business would you get over the long haul if you took the approach that there’s something for everyone who comes to your website?
That’s what I want to finish up this series with today—to show you how to take what we’ve discussed about reviewing your offer, revisiting your conversion funnel, revamping your communications, and running A/B tests, and see how we can apply that advice to different user types, or segments, within your target audience.
What are those user types? I’m glad you asked.
Ideal Users, Resonant Users, and Careful Considerers
There are three basic categories of people who are landing on your website at any given time. When I work with people on website leveraging strategies, I refer to these types as the Ideal User, the Resonant User, and the Careful Considerer.
Most people are designing websites that focus solely on the Ideal User—the person who’s going to buy (now), while these same websites almost entirely ignore a call to action for the Resonant Users and Careful Considerers.
Since we know that sales conversions are notoriously low—that in some industries you’re lucky if you generate even a 2-3% conversion rate for your offering—why are we focusing so much on that 2-3%? It’s seen by some as a waste of time to focus on anything (or anyone) else.
But here’s the truth: this approach is leaving money on the table, particularly in service-based industries such as coaching and consulting, where trust is built over time. There’s another possibility that can not only increase revenue over time, it can create loyal clients and customers for life: design websites that offer something for each type of user, and over time, it’s entirely possible that they will become a Ideal User.
First things first: it’s important to know exactly what you want a user to do when they reach your website. Know these three:
- The action you’d like the user to take if they were your ideal user who “gets” you right away and loves everything you have to offer.
- The action you’d like the user to take if they resonated deeply with your message, perhaps even aligned with it and wanted to adopt it as a shared philosophy, but felt they didn’t have time/money/ability in that moment to respond to an offer you’re making.
- The action you’d like a user to take if they like what you have to say, but don’t feel super-connected—the people who fall in the “Hmmm, I’ll wait and see what I think” camp.
When you know these three objectives, you can create a website that provides something for each type of user.
Realistic is good
Let’s say I’m strategizing with a coach about leveraging her practice. If I ask her what action she’d like a user to take when landing on her site, she’s likely going to say: “I want the user to book a session.”
Problem? That’s what the “Ideal User,” is going to do. The Ideal User is the person who is ready to sign on the dotted line.
It’s good to be realistic. Consider your last three major purchases. Chances are, even you are not usually an Ideal User right from the get-go—you likely start as a Careful Considerer, a majority of the time.
Here’s an example of three actions a coach or consultant might desire each of their different users to take:
- The Ideal User would book an appointment.
- The Resonant User would like a blog post enough to share it with their followers, associating their name with your work.
- The Careful Considerers would sign up for the newsletter or follow on social media.
The people who book it from your website without taking action at all, even when you’ve provided multiple options? We’ll just say that those are “not your people” and leave it at that. (You already know there’s no point in fretting about the unsubscribes, the people who aren’t down for your message, etc., right?).
Where website design comes in
It’s website design that is a vehicle for appealing to each type of person.
Let’s continue with this example of a coach or consultant who wants new clients to book sessions. They have a blog. At the end of each blog post, they invite people to book a session. The buttons to sign up for sessions are big and bold. Sessions are open! Open! Open! Buttons are right here—book here! Click here!
Problem: Their website design is only appealing to their Ideal User. Those big buttons are drawing all of the attention for “the next action to take,” without providing options for other types of users.
Let’s take the example from earlier, where the:
- Ideal User = signs up for a session
- Resonant User = shares a blog post
- Careful Considerer = follows on social media.
When I evaluate a coach’s website for a strategy session, I’m looking to see if they’re using the design to create ample opportunities for all types of users, since not everyone will be an Ideal User from the get-go.
For the Resonant Users: Is there more than one way that people can share blog posts? Are there hurdles such as signing up for a service that “allows” you to share blog posts? Is the coach directly asking people to share content, or just hoping the user will?
For the Careful Considerers, are there multiple places for someone to sign up for a newsletter? Is it clear what someone will get if they sign up for the newsletter? Do they know how often they’ll receive the newsletter? Is there a dedicated “welcome to the newsletter” auto-response?
Pulling it together
“Sometimes you don’t do one thing, 100% better. Sometimes you do 100 things, 1% better.”—unknown
This is just a piece of a much larger conversation. The best websites are those that have 100 different small, almost un-noticeable ways to engage users (the un-noticeable part usually happens when you hire a good graphic designer who can integrate elements without making them scream at your reader).
This isn’t about doing one big thing really well, or about cluttering up your website with endless ways for users to engage–this is about being clear on the specific, desired outcomes you’d like for the different people visiting your site, and then making it really, really easy for each type of user to engage.
Many people who land on your website will start as Careful Considerers. If you have great content on your site that provides value, they might become Resonant Users within a few minutes. It’s always possible that they’ll also convert to Dream Users pretty quickly, but realistically? They’ll probably hang out in the Careful Considerer/Resonant User zone for awhile.
That’s okay. That’s how I operate, and it’s probably how you operate, too, before you plunk down money or commit to time. Give those people plenty of clear options.
Evaluate your website carefully—perhaps even ask some friends (only the ones who are willing to be honest!) to determine the top three actions for the three different types of users who visit your website.
Then ask: is your website making it easy for each type of person to take action?
And: How can you best meet the needs of the various people who come to your website?
That’s basically all this series has focused on:
- we analyzed your existing offer
- reviewed the funnel you use to convert users to take up that offer
- refined some aspects of the offer and communications
- tested them
- and, in this post, saw how you could adapt that process to target different user types.
There’s no sense in only appealing to a fraction of the people who are visiting your website—create your website as a space where there’s something for everyone to easily engage with, at different levels. When you create ways to engage beyond the small percentage of users who are immediately ready to spend money, that’s building a business for the long haul.
Kate Swoboda is a life coach, speaker and writer who helps other coaches to strategize with integrity and leverage their practices, beautifully. She’s the creator of The Coaching Blueprint, a downloadable e-program for new and emerging coaches who want to create a successful practice, and leader of the Blueprint Circles, small collaborative marketing Circles for coaches. She’s also looking forward to the upcoming 2012 World Domination Summit, where she’ll be leading a breakout session called “Entrepreneurs–Stop Letting Overwhelm Kick Your Ass!”