What if I told you that asking 3 simple questions could help you optimize your website? Sound too good to be true? It isn’t!
The Three Questions Exercise is something that I’ve come back to time and time again over the years working with clients to increase lead gen and ecommerce conversion rates. So I thought you might like to learn about it and try it out yourself.
This exercise is “deceptively” simple because it’s just 3 very simple questions. But it’s harder than it looks when you start to apply it to your marketing efforts and website.
The handy thing about the Three Questions Exercise is that it can be used at the macro level (e.g. an entire website experience) and at numerous micro levels (e.g. a single web page, a banner ad, an email)
Here’s all you need to leverage the power of the exercise – just answer the following three questions in regards to whatever you’re trying to optimize:
Question 1 is all about knowing your target audience. If you have personas [PDF], that’s an awesome start and will make answering this question a snap. Don’t cheat and say “People who want to buy my product.” Really think about who is being exposed to your ad, your site, your page, etc.
Question 2 is all about business goals. You’d be surprised at some of the awkward pauses I’ve heard when this question is asked of marketers. If you don’t know the business goal, conversion goal, or action desired from your page, your campaign, or your email, you’d better figure that out straight away! And be realistic: the business goal isn’t simply “buy now” unless you sell an extremely cheap, low-risk product.
Question 3 is all about persuasion. Once you know what you want from the business side, and who you’re dealing with, this question digs into the content that is needed, the objections that need to be overcome, and the user experience that needs to occur in order to get the desired action from your visitors.
Try this exercise starting at your homepage or landing page. Then click to the next desired page (e.g. a product category page). Ask the questions again. It will feel sort of silly at first, but keep going. Click to the next desired page in the scenario (e.g. a product details page). Follow it all the way into your conversion pages.
The “who” will stay the same, and the “what” will be relatively easy if you know the flow of your site. The “how” will be painful and difficult as you stretch to figure out what your target customer wants/needs/expects at each step along a multi-click path. Your answers to the “how” questions should be documented because they’re likely ‘pure gold’ for optimization.
Go through this exercise, and I’ll bet you come up with the fixes your site needs, some persuasive tactics you need to put in place, some content that needs to be produced, or some clever testing ideas. Try it with an email campaign or something small like a PPC ad, and you’ll be surprised by the mental framework you develop for thinking critically about every piece of marketing content you’re involved in.