Adam T. Sutton

Fall in Love with the Usability of Your Website & Email

August 12th, 2008

Usability does not get enough love. Many marketers consider it a problem for software developers to ponder, not the CMO. The truth is that the usability of your website, email and other media directly affects their performance.

Usability problems can be obvious. Your site analytics will usually point out a problem. If it’s taking users eight clicks to complete an action that could take two, your analytics can tell you. If users are abandoning a landing page, your analytics will tell you.

Site analytics are great at sounding the alarm: ***There is a problem!*** But they’re not always great at identifying the root of the problem, like WHY users are abandoning a landing page, or WHY they’re using so many clicks.

A great way to uncover the WHYS is to build a usability lab. Invest the money in a few computers, eye-tracking software and some test subjects. Have the subjects run through problems your analytics system has identified. Ask the subjects to speak their thoughts so you know what they’re thinking as they navigate.

You might hear the subjects say things like “I’m looking for the button to submit…still looking…still looking. I can’t find it…oh, there it is.” That inconspicuous button could be the reason people are leaving your page. Would you have known that without a usability lab? Perhaps not.

Other whys a usability lab could answer:

            o Why do people routinely leave our site after viewing this page?

            o Why are conversion rates higher for search than for email when we use the same offer?

            o Why don’t more people sign up for our newsletter from the homepage?

            o Why don’t people use our search function more often?

            o Why is this page the most popular on our site?

            o Why do people never visit this page?

Remember, having easy-to-navigate websites, emails and landing pages are the only way to maximize your marketing efforts. If any of your media are difficult to use, you will surely lose money to abandoned users who would otherwise have stayed.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: Website And Landing Page Design Tags: ,

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