What’s so unique about marketing websites for technology companies? A lot. While the technology industry is hot, and consumer demand for tech products and services is high, there are still many players doing it wrong.
Our team at Fell Swoop has been focused on helping small to large tech companies better connect with their consumers for years. We’ve worked closely with Facebook, Microsoft, Imperva and Clearwire to help hone their messaging and deliver useful, usable, and creatively inspired website designs that deliver results. Over the years we’ve learned a few basic principles that help improve lead generation, conversion, and overall customer satisfaction.
Start with the basics, don’t assume that your end users understand your technology.
Years ago I was working on Clearwire’s consumer marketing website clear.com and they were offering internet services with WIMAX technology. This technology is essentially a tower based wireless network – just like what consumers are used to with cell phones today – but at the time, the idea of connecting to the internet wirelessly was still relatively new. During User Research Studies we repeatedly heard target customers refer to Clearwire’s ‘satellites’ as the technology connecting them to the internet – there was no mention of satellites on the website we were testing, but more than one consumer made this assumption. In fact, there was no mention of how the technology worked at all, which led to confusion for consumers and customers – as well as false assumptions.
Through this research we discovered that we needed to start with the basics and include something equivalent to an airline safety card on the website. The role of this illustration (pictured above) was to clearly explain how the technology worked. After launching this content on the website, not only did it qualitatively improve the user experience by providing more accurate information (it’s a tower, not a satellite, you are connecting to), we also saw conversion spike for traffic that viewed the educational content before making a purchase. Consumers were more confident in the technology and that trust translated to better sales.
This strategy of visually explaining Clear’s offering with simple illustrations was so successful that it was used for other products and services and even extended to offline product packaging.
Make sure you answer the most important questions consumers have.
When working with Facebook in redesigning their Facebook for Business website we also began by conducting extensive user research. The existing site was extremely detailed and offered a wealth of information – however, users felt like a few very key questions weren’t being answered such as “what does a Facebook ad cost?” and “what does a Facebook ad look like?”
Sometimes marketers focus too far down the purchasing funnel and they forget to answer the simple questions that need to addressed before consumers even consider the offering. Through this research we also uncovered which topics needed to be better addressed during the redesign and as a result, we saw an increase in the key performance indicators post-launch. This was in large part due to the fact that we answered those basic consideration questions up front.
Balance your marketing goals with user needs.
Marketing websites must balance the brand message you wish to push out against the core information end users are looking to pull in. On occasion I see marketing teams more concerned with building content that will elevate their brand at the expense of uncovering key insights that will help them proactively deliver information to consumers. When working with large enterprise software companies I’ve witnessed stakeholders prioritize brand building videos while burying FAQ content – even though user research indicates that the most important questions users have are answered in FAQs. This is all well and good if brand building is your number one priority, but if customer experience and customer service is also a top priority (and it should be) – you need strive for a balance.