When Persona Based Marketing Fails (Hint: It’s Not Always the Content)

August 27, 2015 Asaf Rothem

Okay marketers, time to confess: how many times have you edited the website copy on your homepage? Half a dozen times? A few dozen? Hundreds? Marketers know that optimizing your website requires a lot of measuring and tweaking – especially for persona based marketing. After all the writing and rewriting is done, you usually end up with highly targeted content that connects with your visitors and motivates them to take action.

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The more difficult question is how many times have you edited the design of your website? Probably not as many.

Just because your content is optimized to convert visitors, doesn’t mean your entire website is. If the design of your site isn’t also working to optimize conversions, you could be blaming your content for something it will never be able to fix.

Here are five areas of the buyer journey where your design could be costing you major conversions:

Not Mobile Responsive

Remember, 60% of Internet access happens via a mobile device. If you’re not designing your site with those users in mind, you’re going to turn off your clients and readers before they read a single word of your content. In fact, 40% of mobile visitors will leave a website that isn’t mobile compatible and click on another search result.

However, with Google’s recent algorithm change (dubbed “Mobilegeddon”) those visitors may not even get a chance to reject you. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, it will affect where you show up in the search results.

Non-Intuitive Menu Navigation

While it may be tempting to adopt a stylish or unique website design, you should not sacrifice usability to do so. Users want to be able to quickly and easily navigate around your site. The best way to facilitate this is with a clean and simple menu, either displayed vertically in a sidebar or horizontally across the top and/or bottom of your site in a menu bar. For almost all of your website visitors, this isn’t the first site they’ve ever visited. Most of us expect the same simple, intuitive navigation across all of the sites we visit. If your audience can’t find the content they want, it doesn’t matter how good the content is, it won’t result in conversions.

Call to Action Location

Once you have got your website visitors to start reading your content, your next goal is to convert them. At this stage of the buyer’s journey, call to action location is extremely important. While traditional knowledge tells you to put it as early as possible and in as predominant a location as possible – that isn’t always the best approach. Design company Zurb found that by removing the call to action from the top of their client’s homepage, signups actually increased 350%.

The determination for the location of your call to action should be relevancy. Asking your visitor to sign up before they have consumed any content isn’t effective. Instead, make sure your calls to action show up when your visitor is most likely to be interested in the offer and most likely to take action on it. Tracking each visitor’s unique persona can help you customize this experience.

No Clear Direction to Your Landing Page

The landing page of your website should have one goal and one goal only. What that goal is, is up to you, but make sure it is clearly communicated to your audience. A landing page that offers users too many options will feel overwhelming to a new visitor and they are far less likely to take the action you want them to. Determine what the goal of your landing page is before you begin to design it and make sure every aspect of the design and content leads your visitor towards that goal. Unbounce does a great job of breaking this down in their analysis of how choice affects conversions.

Your Web Form Requires Too Much Information

Whether it’s the amount of information you ask for when people are making a purchase or the amount of information you ask for when someone contacts you, the same holds true: less is best.  The more information you require people to fill out on your site’s contact or purchase form, the less likely they are to complete that form at all. Even the elimination of a single field can increase your conversion rates by 50%. Keep it short and only ask for the information you actually need. 

The extra information you want can be obtained in other ways (often via bribery, like asking someone to trade a zip code for a free download or a discount code).

There are a lot of beautiful websites out there, and if beauty is your goal, great! If you want to make sales, though, you’ll design that beauty around the structural points we’ve discussed here. Your website’s design should support your persona-based marketing tactics, not distract from them.

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