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#Usabilityfail: stop wasting your marketing budget on bad usability

Rob Van Tol Strategy Consultant

Do you spend more on marketing your website than you do on ensuring that it is a high quality, engaging experience that lets your audience do what they want to do easily? I'm guessing yes. Most organisations do. To me, that’s a bit baffling.

Say you wanted to increase the number of conversions on your site, whatever that was: more bookings, more enquiries, or more downloads, etc. You could increase your marketing spend to throw more people at your site – double the number of people who come and you can expect to double the number of conversions. Job done. But there’s a cost here beyond the pay per click cost, a reputational cost.

Double the number of people coming to your site and you double the number of people NOT converting as well. Why aren’t they converting? Maybe they just have a different agenda – say maybe they are just “window shopping” or doing some background research and not ready to convert.

Or maybe the usability of your site let you down? Does it not only waste the leads that your marketing effort has brought to the site, but actually give them a bad, off putting user experience? Worse, will they complain about it. Follow tags like #usabilityfail and #customerservicefail on Twitter and you’ll quickly get a sense of how very annoyed people can get.

It seems to me a much safer option to invest in improving usability. Make those people who already visit happier, so they convert more and reduce the numbers who don’t get what they need. Really, it’s quite simple maths:

If 25 people convert out of 1,000 visitors, to get 50 people converting, you can either: (a) spend more marketing money to attract 2,000 visitors or (b) spend more on usability and get 50 people to convert from your current 1,000.

Not only does this reduce the numbers getting a bad experience, it also doubles your conversion rate. So, if later you do more marketing spend and get 2,000 visitors, 100 will convert.

We’ll be explaining the ins and outs of this at our #Usabilityfail seminars in London and Birmingham, but we’d encourage you to think about usability and user experience as important option in your digital marketing mix.