The CRO’s Guide to SPIDER Optimization: Tracking Your Customer’s Journeyadmin
“Conversion.” It’s a simple word to describe that thing we all want. A nice, tidy little number, like a spider’s dinner, wrapped up in the web. That web is comprised of strands like “profit,” “retention rates,” “optimization.” Makes it all sound so easy, like that spider waiting for the fly to land and bring its own hors d’oeuvres.
It’s also wrong.
OMG: You’ve Got Funnel Vision!
This is a common trap for sellers. You sit back, you stare at the numbers, and wonder why it’s not connecting. Why isn’t it firing? Projections showed one thing. Why aren’t we converting properly?
The problem is that reducing people to numbers misses the complex interactions that inform the customer’s journey. It’s especially common for those who have had a taste of success to forget where they came from. Complacency is a momentum killer. “Good enough” is the death knell of the short-sighted.
Defining your strategy, following a process, and implementing that process, can help you reach your goals, not just from a business owner standpoint, but from every aspect of your business. Each interaction and process you’ve developed has a reason and strategy behind it. Now, back to the consumers.
Where do we come from? Customers, of course. We’ve all been there, undertaking that journey. When you’re staring at it from the other side, though, it can be different. If you want to know how to increase your conversion rates, you have to remember what it’s like to be the customer traveling through that sales funnel.
We’ve all used many different kinds of sales funnels. Some are simple and straightforward; others want to add in a few more steps. All of them are at risk of missing the why of the customer’s journey if you’re not careful. No amount of perfect sales models will actually create the transactions for you. The most important part of the process for use on the business side is that we remember what it feels like to be the customer.
Have You Even Travelled In Their Shoes?
Think about it. You can’t guide someone to a place you’ve never been to. And if you don’t know the path, you’re going to stumble just as much as your would-be ward. Eventually, they’re going to lose their trust in what you’re offering and retreat to find someone else.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m gearing up to climb a mountain, and my guide has never climbed this mountain and gets lost just as much as I do, I’m sure not going to put my life in their hands!
Buying a new computer or deciding to support a particular brand of energy drink doesn’t carry quite that level of life-or-death importance, but they follow the same exact path. Keeping that in mind, we’re going with a new sales funnel idea. In honor of our naturally funnel-building arachnid friends, who could teach us something, we’re going to call this one SPIDER.
SPIDER: Putting the Funnel Web in Your Web-based Sales Funnels
Here’s how SPIDER can wrap up your conversion rate issues.
- Customers Search for something
- Does your Presentation offer the right solutions
- Gain first Interest and snare it in your product’s web
- Give them Details that take the interest and secure it
- Established Extension of themselves (embodying Emotion and Experience)
- Ensure Repetition by completing the experience in a way that leaves them wanting more
Search: They’re Buzzing Around for Something
The customer is searching for something. Information, a product, some need they want to fulfill. They wouldn’t be shopping if they didn’t need something. If they are looking at your business, you must offer something that satisfies the need that drives the customer.
Presentation: Is Your Web Any Different Than the Other Guys
This is where the customer is searching through everything presented to him or her. In the modern, digital world, there are so many options it can be overwhelming. Many of them perform exactly the same for the customer’s needs. If A, B, and C all offer the same impact, what’s the difference-maker? What determines the product or service the customer ultimately chooses? Presentation. How it is presented to them, how it interacts with their needs, how it simply remains in the customer’s mind is what influences the decision.
Even something as simple as a color choice can have a large impact on a customer’s choice. Almost 95% of participants in one study admitted to simply buying based on what offered the best presentation. When I go to the store to buy bottled water, most of the competing products offer similar prices and similar bottle counts. The case of water I come home with is the one with the most appealing presentation. In my case, the pictures of serene waterfalls and untamed wilderness, with names like Arrowhead, implying a natural quality to the water that appeals to the naturalist in me. I try to eat healthy, favoring food as close to its natural state as possible. Why wouldn’t I want my water the same way?
Is the water any different from its competitors? Not likely. Many claim to be bottled from mountain springs or the like. In the end, they’re all purified water. But the ones I choose, remind me of things I enjoy, have a more appealing presentation.
In fact, some studies have shown that people tend to overwhelmingly prefer tap water to bottled water. It’s just that the presentation for these bottles is so well done that people will convince themselves of their chosen product’s superiority.
Interest: Entice Them to Rest on Your Web for a Meet n’ Greet
The customer has some kind of void to fill and are searching for the most attractive presentations. Yours grabs them. Now you have their interest. This is an important step, but interest alone is not a sale. You have things to do yet to make sure the customer’s interest in your product doesn’t wane. Bet that your competitors are offering something to get and keep their interest, too.
Think about what keeps your interest as a customer. When you are looking to purchase something, you might be looking through multiple good presentations. So what helps decide between them?
Details: You Have Their Attention. Now Tell Them Your Intentions
The truth is in the details. Conversion lives in the details. Going back to our water example, Arrowhead has a history that ties back to the Arrowhead Springs from which the company draws its name. More research shows a lower pH level than some competitor brands, and I just like the taste more. Yet the truth is that the taste isn’t that different, and it’s more in how they present the details of their brand that get me. This is also price and relative value. Sometimes, even just the ease of transporting or storing the product. Little things matter at this stage.
Consider that you put that a portion of your water bottle sales are going to nature cleanup efforts. It could be as little as .01%. I’d like more, of course. Who wouldn’t? But even that little bit pushes me to want to buy your water. It has the same exact stuff in it, same exact processes, but I feel like buying it is helping do something good for the world. Like it’s got a longer-term effect than buying the other company’s water.
Once you get interest with your presentation, your details are going to help inform the next stage of this customer’s journey. They also start to build up that tribal mentality that makes people not just choose a particular brand but stand behind it.
Why is that?
Extension: All That’s Left Is Ensnaring Their Hearts and Bringing It Home
The “E” in SPIDER can stand for three things as easily as one: Emotion, Experience, Extension. This is almost a miniature funnel in itself.
Customers are emotional creatures because we as humans are emotional. We make a lot of our decisions based on emotional value and then rationalize them afterward. Do that a few dozen times, and it starts to compound upon itself, layers of justification, preference, and decision-making building atop one another. Soon, you have in-built reasons for only buying from a particular company or seeking a particular experience. The product starts to become an extension of the customer.
Humans are also tribalistic, even in the most modern urban centers. We stand behind sports teams, political candidates, even food and drink brands. It all becomes part of an experience, being part of this privileged group. Our brand is superior, and by extension, so are we. It may be silly when you step back and analyze it, but when you’re there, in the heat of the decisions, of the competition, it makes all kinds of sense. “I’ve chosen to plant my flag by this brand and so I will rationalize my choice as best I can.”
Any kind of important purchase follows this pattern of investing oneself into the purchase. Have you ever bought a car and thought, “This is just a car” rather than, “This is my car?” Have you ever purchased a suit or clothes with absolutely no interest in how they fit you? We don’t just mean measurements here, but what they say about you, how they make you feel, how you think they accent your qualities. Even if you’re buying cheap just to replace some summer clothes, if it’s important, you’re putting thought into how it enhances your life.
Once the customers have made a product into an extension of themselves, the next step comes naturally.
Repetition: You’ve Learned to Eat. Now Repeat!
Repetition is the most desired step, and paradoxically the most difficult and yet easiest to achieve. It’s the most difficult because you have to guide the customer all the way to this stage of the journey for it to happen, and that can be difficult. The preceding step is perhaps the biggest hurdle. You have to get the customer to want to be part of your experience. But once you do, because customers have now identified with this experience, rationalized it, they’ll repeat it. Diehards are born of this tribalistic need to belong, which influences the very first step: the search for something.
This is where customer-business relationships, born in the earlier stages, mature. This is where they become full-on relationships, ones that last, spread to others via word of mouth, positive reviews, and generational reinforcement.
Repetition is your goal, but it’s everything leading up to this point that makes it possible.
Optimizing Sales Funnels to Increase Conversion Rates
Now that we’re thinking about the customer’s experience, the psychology behind it, let’s turn that into some real CRO. Analyzing each of the steps in the SPIDER Optimization Strategy helps to identify the key points for consumers’ emotional responses. You’ll notice that thread running strong throughout the entire model. Customers, including you and I, act on emotional impulses more than any rational, measured comparisons.
If you pay special attention to how your offering fares at each stage while keeping in mind what it feels like from the customer side, you can now properly guide your conversion. This comes from experience and intuition as much as it does pure analysis. Conversion rates fail when a company’s management fails to understand why content isn’t converting. That requires a look into context.
Content converts (or doesn’t) based on the people involved. It’s not some naturally-occurring chemical process. If you want that wood to burn, you’ve got to introduce some fire to it. The fuel is the impetus you put on the customer to act.
Holistic CRO From the Inside-Out
Proper CRO uses the emotional SPIDER Optimization Strategy along with the analytics and tools to discover why you’re not converting. What parts of the experience fail? How does that translate into the webpage and how you’re presenting the entire experience to your customers?
The holistic view encourages you to think about this from the customer’s side as well as the business perspective. Konvertica excels at unraveling those tangled threads, and then properly weaving them together. When you know what your customers are feeling, and how it translates to their actions on your site, you can make the necessary changes to lift your conversion rates. We will help you know every aspect of that process as keenly as a spider knows every strand in its web.
Trial by Fire
The proper tools account for so much. Spiders have their webs. You have Konvertica, and the experienced, holistic approach we bring. With the right tools, you can execute your plan of action at the right time, in the way you wanted to, and achieve the desired effect. This is a measure of experience, opportunity, and ability. Certainly, you’ll struggle along the way, as we have, but you come out stronger for it in the end.
You want to make sure your trial by fire doesn’t waste your marketing dollars. Time and money are both precious; a failed marketing campaign not only burns the funds you spent to create it, but wastes time that could have been increasing your conversion rates. We’ve been there, and we know how best to prevent that failure.
The SPIDER Optimization Strategy stresses that you know the customer’s journey at an individual level. Powerful technology like Trialfire helps experts like Konvertica glean that knowledge from the overwhelming data. You need to understand your customers in order to understand how to market to them.
Trialfire is a potent tool in your toolbox, allowing you to gather, curate, and parse that data. We’re analyzing the customer’s journey through this web we’ve made, but you need a way to properly conduct that analysis. Imagine trying to chop wood with a hammer, or mow your lawn with a scythe. Now imagine trying to do it blindfolded! The right tool paired with the proper knowledge creates proven results. Trialfire is a good example of the right tool, and the SPIDER Optimization Strategy can help you garner the correct insights.
If you want to emerge from your trial by fire better poised to guide your customers, Konvertica can be your guide, with our expertise and tools like Trialfire to light the way.