How Thinking Like Your Customer Will Get You Better Results

17 June 2015

As an SEO professional, the chances are you probably face technical web issues on a daily basis rather than coming up with more (fluffy) creative ideas. However as an SEO agency ourselves we are working in an industry that allows us – more than ever – to be creative with a plethora of new technologies to hand. So why not make use of it?

It is no secret that you need to think from a customer’s perspective when designing new pages or optimising existing ones in order to create the best possible customer experience. Nevertheless, there are still a great amount of companies out there that do not get this quite right.

We have listed 4 ideas to help you think more like your customer when optimising your website in order to get better results.

1. Explain the situation like a human being

People who are not SEO or technical specialists are generally not familiar with what a 404 page actually means, and may bounce from your site if that is all your error page says. Using alternative messages to a “404 not found” error in forms like: “This page does not exist” or “This page cannot be found” helps to humanise your content, add personality and make it clear to visitors that they came to the wrong page.

Tell your visitors exactly what could have gone wrong (in layman’s terms), and treat the 404 page as an information portal. Take advantage of the fact that your user may not know where to go next and recommend some your top content while they’re open to suggestions.

E-Harmony fills in its 404 page with a clever human touch.

2. Consider alternative ways of keyword research

It is not always necessary to perform in-depth keyword research and optimisation. In some cases, it’s enough to begin with some empathetic thinking. Get into the mind of a searcher and create a list of words and/or phrases you think people might use to find you online.

You can even go as far as to query a group of people with the same set of scenarios and ask them how they would search in each scenario. Rather than solely depending on a tool to provide possible searches similar to our starting term, this approach goes right to the source and asks a set of respondents about how they would search in each scenario. This approach can leave you with a rich set of data for analysis, allowing you to extract patterns about how users’ searching habits differ.

3. Make sure your content is written by experts

Mastering content writing when you think, speak and write in a language few people use can be really difficult. Someone who doesn’t know a lot about a certain industry will not come across as credible to your readers. Content needs to be written in the right ‘language’ – the language your customer or user adopts when searching.

In addition, it is essential to think about how you present that content. It's much easier for visitors to read an article or product page when all of your words are not in a single, overwhelming block of text. Large blocks of text are ominous and should be avoided.

4. Show how you are solving a problem

If your page is all about your wonderful product or service, it most likely fails to focus on the most important person in the process, which is the buyer. Instead, focus on pain points – the wants and needs of the user – and how your product can solve these problems. Show empathy and understanding to establish trust and show them that you know what they’re going through.

Photo credit: http://www.eharmony.com/404/

Showing empathy towards visitors is a healthy approach to converting potential customers; understanding what they need, what might confuse or concern them, what they need to know before they’ll be ready, inspired and confident to buy.

If you bring all these ideas together, you can create an engaging experience for real human beings with real thoughts and real feelings. Avoid hiding behind a pool of technical language that most people fail to understand and instead speak the language of your customers.

Do you believe thinking more about your customers’ needs can help your website performance? Let me know in the comment section below.