How To Identify Areas Of Improvement To Grow Your Online Business
Recently, many companies have sped up their adoption of a digital experience for customers. Others have been compelled to carefully examine customer journeys and customer behavior metrics. This is time for businesses to allocate more resources towards improving the audience’s digital experience.
It may seem like a colossal and difficult task, however, it will pay off and help grow your online business.
Keys to Identifying Areas Of Improvement
I. Understand your Business Goals
You should clearly understand what your business goals are and how each initiative you take on contributes to those goals. If you have an idea but may not be clear, talk about this with your management team within the context of growing the business by improving the online experience. It’s crucial to understand how the areas you seek to improve align with your business goals.
When you consider your online business or your online presence, what purpose do you want it to serve? What is your objective?
This is where SMART goals come into play. Creating SMART goals gives you a picture of what success looks like and what needs to be done to achieve it. Additionally, done correctly, they help you realize that your goals are attainable.
For example, if your objective is to increase visitors to or usage of your online platform, how will you work towards that goal?
Using the SMART goal framework:
- Specific: What is the end result?
- Measurable: What are the indicators of success?
- Achievable: Is the goal realistic?
- Relevant: Is it related to your business objectives?
- Timely or Time-bound: What is the timeframe to achieve your goal?
When defining your SMART goals, it helps to break them down into action steps and milestones.
Together with good business habits, you’ll create a process working towards not only achievable goals but also constant improvement.
II. User Journey
When designing an online experience for your business, the key is to keep your user top of mind. You or other managers will probably have your own opinions about certain aspects of the experience. Remember that you are not the end-user.
Putting the user first gives your business a better chance to resonate with your target audience no matter if it’s for content or a product. Keep in mind that you are building a platform for your audience or customer, not for your own pleasure.
Your content needs to appeal to your audience. As your content connects with your audience, this will increase engagement. People want something refreshing, new, and thought-provoking.
Not only is the content itself important, but the presentation, including the design, can make an impression on your audience one way or another. Spending the time and investing in something that’s eye-pleasing can create a good brand impression even if the content may not immediately move the audience to action.
Map out the customer touchpoints and lay out the user actions in a journey map. This will include the typical stages for most customer experiences, which are awareness, education or research, purchase, and use.
III. Tracking and Measuring
To produce the desirable results, you must track metrics so you can understand what’s happening. There are a variety of metrics you can track and measure, but the key is to identify the most useful ones.
These are your key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are metrics that demonstrate how successful an organization is when working towards key business objectives.
Examples of KPIs are number of leads captured, accounts or memberships created, number of unique downloads, email newsletter sign-ups, number of orders, or revenue.
It’s also a good idea to measure user behavior related to your KPIs. Here are some areas to look at when measuring user behavior:
- Conversion Goals: email newsletter sign-up, form submission, or purchases.
- Behavior Flow: determine the clickstream path for how a user navigates from one page to the next as well as page engagement.
- Events tracking: specific interaction on a web page, such as the number of downloads and number of social media shares.
This requires web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, and knowledge of how to implement the tracking. Usually solutions that provide specific features to your audience, such as email marketing materials or video, include tracking in their platforms.
IV. Website Analysis
Since user behavior data is imperative to gaining visibility into what’s working and what needs improvement, you must be able to analyze and interpret all the data gathered by the tools you’ve deployed.
When optimizing your online platform, you need a basic but thorough website analysis to better understand the aspects of your platform that can be improved for the growth of your business online.
Once you’ve gathered the data for your measurement period, you will gain insights about your users, including:
- Number of visits
- Traffic acquisition data (sources of traffic)
- Landing and exit pages
There are tools that can provide a lot of interesting data but focus on user behavior data and outcomes to identify areas of improvement.
Keep in mind these five things when performing analysis:
- Understand what the data is telling you and what it isn’t.
- Figure out what draws the attention of the user.
- Identify barriers or obstacles that your users face.
- Explore the performance of important pages and sections of your website.
- Analyze the outcomes of the user journeys.
By using the list above, you can improve the marketing, content, and design efforts for the customer journey.
Thoughts on Identifying Areas to Grow Your Online Business
First, set goals that align with your business objectives, then focus on developing an experience with a design and architecture that is simple and easy to navigate with the user in mind. Collect and explore user behavior data to improve and optimize the experience. Testing alternatives is the best way to find what actually works.
While all of this requires resources and perhaps multiple tries, you will put yourself in a much better position to achieve success and grow your online business. Your journey on this path may be difficult and long but it’s a crucial part of the process.
Don’t always focus on the big win. Stay consistent, provide valuable content and a valuable experience, and you will eventually reach your goals.