A couple principles nearly all of us digital marketers have internalized: First, your website isn’t for sharing the information you want everyone to know about your company; your website is for sharing the information your potential customers need most as they decide whether to make a purchase. And, second, your customers’ needs evolve over the course of their decision-making process.
That leaves us all with two really big challenges at the outset of any web design project. We have to know what precisely our website visitors want to know, and we have to figure out the best way to present that information to them so it’s easy to find, precisely when they need it. So you do plenty of buyer persona research, and you follow best practices in creating your page layout and navigation options. Then you’re set, right?
But how do you know if the people you’re targeting—the ones you identify in your persona research—are actually the same people coming to your site? And how can you be sure that people returning to your site as they progress along the buyer’s journey aren’t getting sidetracked by irrelevant content? And how can you possibly be sure that your site is presenting visitors with the right premium content offers at the right time to maximize your conversion rate?
Turning Traditional Buyer Persona Research on Its Head
No matter how much research and testing we do, we still end up doing little more than making educated guesses about what’s going to work. We launch the site, wait to see how well it works, and then, usually after about two years, we take everything we’ve learned and apply it to the next re-design.
But what if you could get better, more up-to-date data on who’s visiting your site and what exactly they’re doing after they arrive? Most CMSs and marketing automation tools have functions for inputting all kinds of information about your personas. But what do you actually do with it once it’s in there?
Most of us simply use our static personas for content ideas and for suggestions on places to look for other websites whose designs appeal to the same types of people. So the personas inform your guesses—but you’re still just guessing. If your marketing efforts are properly aligned with sales and you’ve established closed-loop reporting, you can refine your personas after somewhat lengthy cycles of trial and error. But ideally what you’d want is real-time tracking of your persona’s behavior as they navigate your site.
Fortunately, some innovative technology is making it possible to create dynamic personas that don’t rely on your site visitors identifying themselves. Instead, you can get a sense of who they are and what they’re interested in based on the specific pages they go to on your site. Once you’ve identified the personas, you can then track their journey along the path you’ve laid out to conversions. And, finally, you can use this conversion path data to adjust which content you use where—to make that path as smooth as possible.
Aptera’s Two-Part Website Optimization Webinar
If your interest is piqued, you can watch the replay of this webinar series. The first session, on October 27th, focused on how to create actionable buyer personas. You’ll learn how new technologies like the Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud allow you to go from relying on a bunch of guesswork to building personas that are both dynamic and based on actual data.
The second session, on November 10th, focused on how to recognize which stage of the buyer’s journey a site visitor is in and delivering content that’s tailored to their needs at each point along the way. You’ll learn how to score and prioritize leads, when it’s time to reach out, and when it’s probably better to hold off and wait for more visits.
Click on the images below and fill out the forms to watch the replays. (Don’t worry. We like to keep our lead nurturing pretty low-key. And you can unsubscribe at any time.)
I'm Aptera's Content Strategist. I've been writing about tech and marketing for 5 years and have certifications from HubSpot and The Content Marketing Institute. A big science and literature geek, I taught college rhetoric and composition while I was still busy going to school for way too long, earning bachelor's degrees in anthropology and psychology, along with a master's in British and American literature. Look me up on LinkedIn.