Every day we come across newer and smarter ways to alter our websites to make them perform better, offer users a smooth, trouble-free experience, and ultimately result in higher conversions.
I believe that there is more to building a great brand and a successful business than just reworking your website’s layout or redoing its SEO details. There’s a very real human side to every business – whether it’s online or offline – that decides whether the business will bloom or go bust.
Here are five human factors that you definitely ought to factor into your next conversion optimization plan.
1. Personal Notes that Strike a Personal Chord
With email, instant messaging and social media taking over our lives, it’s literally been ages since most of us put pen to paper and wrote a handwritten note. The only mail I receive in my mailbox are bills to be paid and a ton of junk coupon flyers. How awesome would it be if you open your mail and find a personally handwritten note like the one below!
What makes this note doubly great is the fact that it was sent out for no reason at all; it was just a simple “Thank you!”
Reaching out to your customers personally and more importantly, in a non-intrusive manner tells them that you truly care for their business and they are more than just numbers on your balance sheet. This degree of personalization sets you apart from every other service provider out there and makes sure that you’re the first business that the customer will think of the next time!
2. Brand Personality that Shines Through
A brand’s image is built not just through multi-million dollar advertising. The way they strut their stuff every day, the way they make their customers feel, and the love they put into their product shines through without the help of any glossy ads.
Build a personal connection with your customers by wearing your brand’s personality on your sleeve. The distinct voice that you’ll bring to the table is a great way to strike a chord and build lasting relationships with customers. Denny’s Diner does a superb job of this, especially on social media.
Recently, there was a flurry of activity across social media platforms about a math problem from a Singapore high school about #CherylsBirthday.
Cashing in on the trend, Denny’s decided to post a tongue in cheek comment while simultaneously promoting its free birthday grand slam meals. Score Denny’s!
3. Product Suggestions Based on Profile Data
Who doesn’t like walking up to their neighborhood coffee shop and being greeted by the barista who knows exactly what coffee they’ll have. While it is impossible to have that friendly, observant barista at every store, it is possible to remember customer preferences, past shopping patterns, purchase frequency, profile information and more. All of this information can be used to create personalized experiences for customers every time they return to shop with you.
Personalization is not just a feel-good factor for your customer. It has been proven to offer a definite upswing in conversion rates too. Personalization can come in many different avatars. You could show customers items that they viewed last the way Amazon does it:
Alternately, you could follow Walmart’s lead and suggest new items based on their browsing history and profile information:
Making your user’s job a tad easier by offering autocomplete in your forms and pre-filling key data like name, shipping address, and payment details is another way you acknowledge that this customer is a returning friends whom you’re happy to serve.
4. Live Chat that Gives Out the Right Vibes
What happens when you’re in a store and can’t find the perfect sub-woofer system for your man cave? A salesperson helps you out, right? Now that’s obviously not an option online. But wait, what if it was an option?
Live chat bridges that gap between online and offline by reaching out to users proactively based on actions they take in real time on your site. Not only does it eliminate the wait times involved in emailing customer service back and forth, it also offers a zero cost customer care option as compared to a call center.
Petco uses live chat in an interesting manner. Instead of waiting for an online visitor to click on the live chat button, they go ahead and hit them up with a pop up if they’ve been idle on one page for too long.
The lack of activity could mean that either the customer is confused or stuck, in which case there is a customer care representative ready to help them out. Alternately, they could have found something that has caught their eye and may be searching the page for more information about the item. In this situation, a live chat representative can offer the extra information and reassurance that will help convert the consumer.
Either way, live chat can offer that ever so gentle nudge to visitors on the fence and transform them into a real paying customer.
5. Testimonials from Real Users
Some products and services require a high degree of research and reassurance about their worth than others. I would not bother researching customer reviews about the brand of table salt I buy from the supermarket. But my next DSLR camera? I’m going to scour every possible review I can lay my hands on, to decide my final buy.
It’s not just me. According to research by Nielsen, consumers at large trust personal recommendations from real users than trust marketing messages from the brands themselves.
There are two reasons for this. First, the obvious fear is that a brand will be self-serving in its messaging and would not offer an unbiased opinion of its products and services. More importantly, the voice of a real user touches a human chord in a consumer’s mind. The fact that a product has been used, tried and tested by someone else and to hear of their account is a huge confidence builder.
Tap into this power of a real voice by offering reviews and testimonials for your brand and products from real users. Some quick pointers on an effective testimonial:
- Do NOT script it yourself. Users can smell a fake from a mile away.
- Use images and real names of the users offering their points of view. This makes the review more credible and effective on potential new buyers.
- Make sure the review is not just a bunch of adjectives strung together. Request users to share the story of how your product helped them out for the better.
- Have the bandwidth to shoot a video testimonial? Go for it. Nothing beats a heartfelt video.
- Have any celebrities among your users? Get them to put in a word to stretch the power of the shared testimonial.
In a world where everything is automated and self-serve, it’s a refreshing change to see a human face and a pleasant smile. Don’t deprive your users of something that is so easy to offer, yet so often overlooked. Add that personal, human touch as your differentiator and watch those smiles on your customers’ faces grow wider each day.