Customers are increasingly relying on the web to find information, purchase products and leave feedback. This means your website now plays an important part in the customer experience.
Yet as marketers, customer experience managers and directors, why do we always leave the website to the IT guys? Instead, let’s take control of the website customer experience and work with IT to implement our initiatives with the goal of making the customer experience better, which can lead to more sales, loyalty and advocates.
One company that is leading the way with a visually appealing and engaging website customer experience is Hubspot. Let’s look at how they do it.
1. Hubspot has a user-friendly, clear and concise homepage
Most customers will hear about your brand through a recommendation or a search online. Thus, your website homepage may be the first interaction they have with your company. It’s important to make sure that you communicate the right message to your customers through your website, or you risk deterring potential new customers and/or missing out on some new opportunities.
Let’s take a look at Hubspot’s homepage:
Hubspot’s homepage provides visitors with five key pieces of information:
- Why they’re in business: “To help your business grow”
- What they do: “Marketing and sales software”
- How their product works: “Blogging, website, social media, etc tools”
- Point of differentiation: “All the tools you need in one place”
- Target market: “Marketers”
Your website homepage needs to clearly address these five elements to ensure that visitors know what you do and how you can help them. When you visit Hubspot.com, you know straight away that this will help you with your inbound marketing initiatives. If the customer wants further information, the homepage has links to help guide him or her to more useful information to help with their buying decisions.
Key takeaways to help you create a useful and clear homepage:
- Make sure you communicate why you’re in business and who your target market is in the header or sub-header –both need to be above the fold.
- Don’t put all your product information on the homepage. Make use of easy-to-follow buttons to direct visitors to additional information.
- Use images and icons to show what you do rather than tell.
- Provide case studies to show how other customers are succeeding by using your product.
2. Hubspot uses simple navigation tools
Navigation is often an overlooked element when it comes to website customer experience. It’s an area the IT guys generally neglect and marketers don’t emphasize enough, but the key to a great website customer experience is offering an easy-to-follow guide around your website. Customers should be able to visit a homepage, see your products, find your contact details and learn more about your company. If they can’t find that information quickly and easily, you run the risk of losing them.
Hubspot’s navigation is simple and easy to use and their page is a great example of how proper categorising and an intuitive design can make a 50-page website easy to navigate. Here’s a screenshot of their navigation.
The first-level categories are clear and simple. They represent the core areas of the website and more importantly, the areas that Hubspot’s customers want to see. This is a great approach that anyone can use with their own website navigation.
Some experts might argue that this style of navigation – particularly with all the links under ‘software’ -might be overwhelming. I think they have a point, but with a complicated product like Hubspot, the extra pages and navigation links are needed so the benefits and features can be clearly explained.
There’s a fine line between a navigation that is too complex and a navigation that doesn’t provide enough information. Use website analytics and customer feedback to determine which of your website pages are most visited by your customers and then use that insight to create easy and useful navigation.
- Categorise your website pages using specific headings that make the most sense to your customers. For example, put your product-related pages under ‘product,’ company-related pages under ‘about,’ case studies and testimonials under ‘customers,’ and blogs, webinars and educational material under ‘resources.’
- Think like a customer – what are the pages your customers will want to visit on your website and in what order? Map out the ideal website flow and ensure your important pages are highly visible in your navigation.
- Use Google Analytics and customer feedback surveys to get further insight.
3. Hubspot personalizes content based on interests and needs
Personalization has long been popular with email marketing, but only in recent times has it transitioned to websites. There are tools available now that can dynamically change the way your website looks and feels and even change the content for each individual customer or viewer.
For example, Hubspot displays a different homepage to an existing customer than it would to a prospective customer. Instead of displaying sales information to existing customers, they might display more information about how to use their product or include event updates about their local user group meetings. Think about it. Why display sales information to customers that have already bought your product? Instead, use this precious website real estate to educate customers on other products, share other information or share event updates.
This type of personalization enhances the website customer experience because it focuses on being more useful to the customer. I challenge you to think about how you can improve the website customer experience by using existing customer data and displaying more personalized and valuable content.
Key takeaways to help you personalize content:
- Leverage a content management system (CMS) that offers personalization. Start gathering customer data so you can segment customers based on needs, interests and customer types.
- Focus on displaying personalized content that is useful. For example, if a Hubspot customer has indicated they are interested in lead tracking, display blog posts and product information about lead tracking.
4. Hubspot uses video to explain their product
Video is a great medium to explain complicated products. Sometimes it’s just too hard to explain an innovative product to someone with just text.
Think about a product like Dropbox. Can you imagine trying to explain Dropbox with text back in 2006 before it was invented?
“It creates a folder on your computer that syncs to the internet and syncs to your other devices, including mobiles.”
It’s just too hard without a visual guide.
Hubspot makes great use of video to show customers how their product works. Here’s their ‘video tour:’
This video is powerful because you can actually see the benefits of Hubspot in action, including how the product features can help solve practical, real business problems or challenges.
A well-produced product video can clearly outline why your product is the solution to your customer’s problem, how it works and any special product features.
Key takeaways to help you take advantage of video:
- If you’re an innovative technology product, B2B product or have another complicated offering, you need to try video.
- Follow this basic structure: identify a customer problem, highlight why it’s a problem, introduce your product as a solution, show how your solution is different than the rest and highlight why your company is the best option for them.
5. Hubspot uses a responsive design
Responsive design is a must-have in a world filled with mobile and tablet devices. According to StatCounter data, for the US market, mobile (non-PC) traffic now accounts for 30% of total internet traffic.
That number is massive and proves that it’s no longer sensible to just have a mobile site. You need a responsive website that offers a consistent experience across desktop, mobile and tablet. This means that a customer can view your website on their office computer and then check back from their mobile on the bus ride home and have the same seamless experience.
Hubspot’s responsive website design provides consistency across all devices. For example, if I was browsing the pricing page at work, then was out with a colleague and wanted to break down the pricing with them at a coffee shop, I could. Here’s what the two different screens look like, with the PC on the left, mobile on the right.
Consistency in this example is important because, as a customer, I want to see a page on my mobile that resembles the page on the PC – otherwise I might lose trust in the brand.
Imagine if you spent a lot of time planning your trip on Disney World’s website at home, but when you got to the gate you needed to double check something and came across a mobile website that looked totally different. That would confuse you and not offer a good experience.
Key takeaways to help you with responsive website design:
- Make the experience consistent and seamless on any device.
- Don’t offer a specialized ‘mobile-optimised page’ that is different to your other pages – that’s confusing.
- Build your website with responsiveness and different screen sizes in mind.
6. Hubspot leverages self-service customer service channels
Your website shouldn’t be used just to drive sales. It can also be leveraged as a self-service channel that customers can use to find answers to their questions or problems.
This can be in the form of a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, community site, training academy and/or learning center or blogs. The goal of these additional channels is to extend the customer experience beyond your bare product by providing useful information and advice.
Hubspot offers a number of self-service customer service channels. Here’s Hubspot’s knowledge base that provides tremendous value with plenty of user guides on how to use their products:
I also love Hubspot’s Training Academy:
The training academy offers rich educational material to help marketers learn more about inbound marketing and how to use Hubspot’s marketing and sales tools. Learning on demand via video and workshop exercises offers their customers a medium they can access 24/7 and progress through at their own pace.
The benefit of this medium for Hubspot is they don’t need to spend time and resources on one-on-one training with each individual customer. By offering the academy, they can deliver this training in volume.
Key takeaways to help you with creating a self-service channel:
- FAQ pages and knowledge-based community sites are the best place to start with self-service. Take advantage of tools like User Voice or Get Satisfaction to help you build out your resources.
- Keeping a regularly-updated blog will also add more value to customers and extend the experience beyond your bare product.
7. Hubspot uses live chat to offer quick sales and support
Live chat offers a customer service channel that delivers instantaneous answers to customer questions and problems. Instead of having to pick up a phone or send an email and wait hours for a response, live chat is effective because it gives customers the power to reach out to support and sales, while they are in the middle of evaluating your product or service.
As a company, you also have the opportunity to keep the customer on your website, instead of risking them going elsewhere to find an answer to their question.
Let’s look at how Hubspot uses live chat to enhance the customer experience:
Live chat is available on all of Hubspot’s pages. As a prospective customer, if you’re browsing the pricing page and have a question about the different packages, live chat lets you speak with a representative instantly to get an answer.
Additionally, live chat tools can extend the experience by offering co-browsing and the ability for representatives to send customers to specific pages which can provide them with more information.
Related: Can live chat improve the customer experience?
Key takeaways to help you with live chat:
- Use live chat technology to track the website pages customers are visiting and coordinate skilled live chat representatives to answer their questions – e.g. support answers support questions and sales answers sales inquiries
- Make sure you integrate it with your other support channels (phone, email, etc.) to ensure a unified experience.
Enhance your website customer experience with these tools
So I’ve challenged you to think about improving your own website customer experience and now you’re probably wondering what tools you can use.
Great question! Here are the top three tools I recommend to help you gather insight to improve the customer experience on your website.
Customer experience shouldn’t be a guessing game. There are metrics that you can use to see what actions your customers are taking and what information they are reading or searching for on your website. Start with basic analytics tools like Google Analytics. This will give you the ability to see what pages your visitors are spending the most time on (important pages), which pages they are bouncing off quickly (need improvement) and possible areas where they are getting stuck.
Your goal with analytics is to improve the flow so that you make the experience as intuitive and easy as possible. Why direct customers to pages that aren’t useful?
Customer feedback survey tools
There’s nothing better than asking for feedback from your customers. They will tell you if your website experience is easy or confusing. They will tell you if they found the information they needed quickly or slowly. Here are two tools I recommend you can use:
- Qualaroo can help you by grabbing snippets of information while visitors are browsing your site.
- Client Heartbeat can help you by surveying your customers and asking them how they feel about the experience you deliver.
User testing tools
User testing offers a great way to get real insight into how your customers use your website. Tools like Usertesting.com let you ask real customers to spend five minutes browsing your website and talking into a mic to explain what they are thinking through the process. You can ask them to go through a three or five step process and they will record their screen and talk into a mic so you can see exactly what they are doing and hear what they are thinking. Make sure you gather a sample size of at least 10 responses before you start making big decisions based on the data.
I’ve given you some great examples and tools to help you improve your website customer experience. Now it’s your turn to implement these ideas.
- 3 digital customer experience strategies that you can learn something from
- How to improve your website’s customer experience