Can you imagine having a brick-and-mortar business and leaving it open but unattended? Day in and day out customers walking in and evaluating your merchandise. Some buy and others don’t. Can you even fathom the viability of such business model?
Of course no one would open a business, stack it up with merchandise, advertise it and market it and then just leave the doors open and go about doing something else. Is there any way this could work? In a rare occasion such as automatic car wash, YES it could. But it is not a very viable model for most SMBs. But why do virtually all of us do it day in and day out anyway?
Yes most of us do. Don’t believe me? Well – think about your website. What happens when a visitor comes to your website, i.e. your virtual “shop”? You guessed it – they are left to their own devices. Don’t get me wrong; much like any evolutionary path we all have tried streamlining and experimenting with ways to get those visitor to take actions that include a wide range of measures like A/B testing. But the real question is: Is that it? Is this all we can do?
So now what?
Let’s take a step back and think about B.G. (Before Google). Your shop was open and sales people were ready to assist customers by providing product knowledge and help them decide in their selection process. Suddenly along came the Internet and the B.G. ended. We suddenly forget what has been working for a very long time just because this is a “virtual world”.
People get busy with needing and wanting a website, then needed it to be optimized for the engines, bought PPC, started email marketing, and so on. All great things that most businesses should do. Then came the attempt to capitalize and maximize every single visitor resulting in tracking and re-targeting, opt-in emails, big data analysis and so on. Along the way not many stopped to think: do we have to reinvent the wheel? Did all the working concepts in business suddenly disappear? What happened to the SOP’s that we knew worked?
Back to the basics?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for those actions. Each and every one of the many processes have their place and are successful if implemented properly and evaluated on a continuous basis. Those however belong in the lead generation portion of a plan. When it comes to actually converting a website visitor interactions via providing sound advice while a visitor is on your site, should be considered mission critical. All the traffic to your website won’t be of much use if they don’t take your desired action.
The second part of such plan can and should include rigorous data collection and data evaluation. Most savvy business people have been using data for a long time but when it comes to web visitors most of that data is concentrated on actions taken i.e. clicks, funnels, behavior, etc. That data and the respective analysis of it has its place. It can be very useful in helping make many decisions including design parameters, content marketing, etc. But the missing element is what you can’t get out of that data set: the human factors. Did that visitor buy from me because of a given event that can’t be understood from click data? Was that particular visitor comparison shopping and the price alone deterred him/her to go to your competitor without realizing that overall cost of your product is actually lower in the long run? And so on.
Granted some issues certainly can be addressed via testing but none of those possible solutions can replace live human interactions. Now imagine if you could access and analyze human intelligence!!! What would the value of such data set be to your business? What will you actually know in 90 days? Or 180 days?
This is not theoretical in nature. It is just a simple evolution toward a more inclusive IOT. You are already able to interact with your smart house, smart phone, smart watch, and many other daily tools.
Isn’t it time for your website to become a “smart website?”