Website Usability Testing Boosts Profitability

Posted on by Richard H. Levey

The obvious difference between business-to-business and consumer websites is the immediacy of conversion. B2B sales cycles are usually much longer, and often incorporate live salespeople and multiple decision makers.

But the importance of good user experiences remains critical. While B2B firms may not be closing sales online, the website can be essential in getting prospects to take desired actions, such as obtaining more information through a whitepaper download or requesting a meeting.

For marketers, says Chris Hicken, vice president of marketing at UserTesting.com, the key question is “Why aren’t people buying from me?” And the key problem is that when prospects interact with a company through its website but don’t buy, the marketer can’t ask what went wrong—at least, not directly.

But marketers may have some answers already at their disposal. For starters, Hicken suggests reviewing onsite chat transcripts, which can reveal the pages where visitors are encountering problems, as well as their questions and concerns. Support team answers, Hicken adds, can give insight into what works—especially if chats can be linked to conversions.

Similarly, surveys and logs from sales and support staff may offer clues as to the frustrations site visitors face. They can also reveal the language and terms prospects use when thinking about offerings—and that may differ from what they see the site itself.

Then there are walkthroughs of the site, both by conversion experts and by the marketers themselves. Marketers can also observe panels of site users navigating their sites remotely, through shared-site software. The problem is that while marketers can track a tester's journey through the site, and record typed-in answers to questions, they lose facial and other non-verbal response, which can be key, especially among technically oriented B2B buyers who may not be as comfortable expressing themselves verbally.

Hicken’s recommends marketers conduct usability, or “think aloud” testing. Marketers using this tactic watch people in their target market give a stream-of-consciousness talk while they try to navigate a site and accomplish actions desired by the marketer.

This sort of test enables marketers to see where users get stuck and have problems, Hicken says. And they will give marketers a chance to avoid what he calls “the curse of knowledge” – the blinders that marketers suffer by being too close to the design of the site. This allows them to leapfrog over what non-insiders would encounter as problems.

The Digital Landscape – Maximizing Your Online Lead Gen Potential
Check out this related B2B LeadsCon Event!

Your customers are doing research online, reaching out not only to vendors and industry resources but connecting with peers to gain insight …

One significant difference in conducting usability tests between B2B and consumer websites is that the professionals needed to evaluate B2B sites may be more expensive to recruit, Hicken says. This also means recruiting friends and family to go through the site isn’t as viable an option.

B2B marketers have to be “more sensitive about finding someone in their target market” Hicken adds. “They have to spend more time than average thinking about who they want to do a particular study.”

Things to Consider in Usability Testing

•    First impressions, in which subjects look at a web page for five seconds, then look away and are asked what they remember. Is the information the marketer wants to convey memorable? Is the progression to the next part of the sales cycle clear?

•    Ease of search, which can be influenced by the various ways marketers can listen to customers. Is the site optimized to provide the information searchers are looking for (as opposed to that which marketers want to tout)? And does it use the terms searchers are looking for?

•    Ease of navigation. Can a searcher get to product information, or relevance of offerings to specific verticals, without having to use the site's search box?

•    Is it easy for B2B prospects to obtain what they need, such as promised information downloads or product specs, and is their next step clear? Once they have the information they want, can they ask for an additional contact or follow-up? Are you presenting information more clearly than your competitors? This is equivalent to the checkout process on a consumer site, but in many ways it is more critical, because on a B2B site the transaction won’t necessarily be completed online.

•    Does the site work on mobile devices? This is especially important for B2B products which might be researched and ordered while in the field, such as construction or maintenance supplies.

•    Do referring pages and ads jump right to promised information, or do they require prospects to further search for desired topics? If the latter, and a B2B marketer is using pay-per-click services, is that marketer paying for a lot of prospects who are landing on the site and then abandoning their quests?

More

Get Content Like This Delivered to Your Inbox

Related Posts

Chief Marketer Videos

by admin

Buyer Personas – It’s Who You Know That Matters Check out this related B2B LeadsCon Event! B2B marketers aren’t just potential customers. They’re actual human beings with feelings and emotions, and understanding who they are and wh… View Agenda Register Now

Chief Marketer Awards

Fusion Marketing - Gold Velcro Industries - Gold Pringles - Gold Bud Light - Gold Bud Light - Gold Target - Gold Coca-Cola - Gold Coca-Cola - Gold HISTORY - Gold Denny’s - Gold Ford Motor Co. - Gold Cottonelle - Gold Intel Corp. - Gold Intel Corp. - Gold Miller High Life - Gold McDonald’s Corp. - Gold Poland Spring - Gold REI - Gold Game of Thrones - Gold Kingsford Charcoal - Gold Pernod Ricard USA - Gold Breathe Right Nasal Strips - Gold Lincoln Motor Co. - Gold Coca-Cola - Gold Mike’s Hard Lemonade - Gold National Football League - Gold Google Asia Pacific - Gold Piper-Heidsieck - Gold 2014 Show Your Joe Campaign - Gold Nike - Gold Cîroc Ultra Premium Vodka - Gold Kmart - Gold Kmart - Gold Coca-Cola - Gold Cotton Inc. - Gold Nike - Gold Malibu Rum - Gold Hostess Brands LLC - Gold HBO - Gold Prevacid 24HR - Gold Samsung Mobile USA - Gold Cîroc Ultra Premium Vodka - Gold Frito-Lay and PepsiCo - Gold Hewlett Packard Co. - Gold FX Television Network - Gold Captain Morgan - Gold American Express OPEN - Gold HBO - Gold Corona Extra - Gold AT&T - Gold World Vision - Gold Gillette - Gold Pantene - Gold Porsche - Gold Duracell - Gold Corona Extra - Gold Microsoft - Gold Cottonelle - Gold Chicago Shakespeare Theater - Gold HBO - Gold Crown Imports - Gold Samsung Mobile USA - Gold The Clorox Co.
 - Gold Pepsi Co. - Gold Oreck - Gold Jockey International - Gold The Art Institutes - Gold Monster Worldwide, Inc.
 - Gold Pepsi Co.
 - Gold HISTORY - Gold MillerCoors - Gold Time Warner Cable - Gold Frito-Lay - Gold American Express OPEN - Gold AT&T - Gold MillerCoors Foster’s - Gold Microsoft Windows - Gold ConAgra Foods, Inc.
 - Gold Coca-Cola - Gold Nestlé - Gold Ford Motor Co.
 - Gold

Chief Marketer Top Shops

TRCO MARKETING WUNDERMAN VERTICAL MARKETING NETWORK UPSHOT TWO/TEN TRACK MARKETING GROUP TPN TIPTON & MAGLIONE TIC TOC TEAM EPIC TEAM ENTERPRISES TEAM DIGITAL PROMOTIONS THE STRATEGIC AGENCY SWITCH SOURCE MARKETING SOHO EXPERIENTIAL SLANT SCOUT SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT RYAN PARTNERSHIP RUBIK MARKETING REVOLUTION RE:FUEL AGENCY REDPEG MARKETING RED MOON MARKETING PSE-PACKAGED SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT PRO MOTION PRIZELOGIC POWERPACT PGW EXPERIENCE NEXT MARKETING NATURAL SELECTION PROMOTIONS MOMENTUM WORLDWIDE MKTG MIRRORBALL MICHAEL ALAN GROUP MASTERMIND MARKETING MATCH MARKETING GROUP THE MARS AGENCY MARKETVISION MARKETING WERKS THE MARKETING STORE MARKETING RESOURCES MARKETING LAB THE MARKETING ARM MARKETING ACTIVATIONS GROUP MARDEN-KANE LIVE NATION MEDIA & SPONSORSHIP LIKEABLE MEDIA LEGACY MARKETING PARTNERS LEADDOG MARKETING GROUP LAUNCHFIRE LAGARD´ERE UNLIMITED KICKING COW PROMOTIONS JACK MORTON WORLDWIDE INTERACTIONS THE INTEGER GROUP INSPIRA MARKETING IN MARKETING SERVICES IC GROUP HMT ASSOCIATES, INC. HELLOWORLD GROW MARKETING GOOD SOLUTIONS GROUP GOLDNFISH MARKETING GROUP LLC GMR MARKETING GEORGE P. JOHNSON GEOMETRY GLOBAL GENERATION Z MARKETING GAGE MARKETING GROUP FUSE, LLC FORMULA STREET INC. FLUENT FCBX FCB/RED FAME ESCALATE THE ELEVATION GROUP EASTWEST MARKETING GROUP DON JAGODA ASSOCIATES DEPARTMENT ZERO CONCEPT ONE COMMUNICATIONS COLLABORATIVE MARKETING GROUP COLANGELO CATAPULT CARDENAS MARKETING NETWORK BRANDFORCE BRAND CONNECTIONS BLUE CHIP MARKETING WORLDWIDE BFG COMMUNICATIONS BECORE BDA ATTACK! MARKETING A2G ARC ALL TERRAIN ALLIED INTEGRATED MARKETING ALLIED EXPERIENTIAL ALCONE ACTIVENT MARKETING, LLC THE A TEAM