the answers to all your online marketing challenges understanding the customer
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The Answers to All Your Online Marketing Challenges: Understanding the Customer. By Aaron Kahlow CEO, Online Marketing Connect . Who am I? . Aaron Kahlow (Facebook preferred) CEO, Online Marketing Connect “Education based media company” Online Marketing Institute

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the answers to all your online marketing challenges understanding the customer

The Answers to All Your Online Marketing Challenges: Understanding the Customer

By Aaron Kahlow

CEO, Online Marketing Connect

who am i
Who am I?
  • Aaron Kahlow (Facebook preferred)
  • CEO, Online Marketing Connect

“Education based media company”

    • Online Marketing Institute
    • Online Marketing Summit
what we will cover
What We Will Cover

Understand the Foundation of a Good Website

Define your web site challenges

Solving the issues

stop think about marketing efforts

The Web

Stop & Think About Marketing Efforts …


Search Engines

Association Meetings





Portal & Destination Sites

Trade Shows

Banner Advertisements


Blogs & Community Sites


Distributor Shows

introduction to web site usability
Introduction to Web Site Usability
  • What is Usability?
  • How does it affect your web site, your brand, your sales?
  • Common Myths of Usability
    • I know my customer better than anyone
    • Surveys are Usability Studies and Suffice
    • Success vs. Satisfaction Example
minimum standard best practices and learned conventions
Minimum standard, best practices and learned conventions…

Minimum Standards:

  • Very few justifiable reasons not to comply.

Best Practices:

  • Tested practices that have proven to have a positive effect on the user experience
  • Not hard fast rules

Learned Conventions:

  • May not be more intuitive, BUT users already know how to use; therefore, is easier to use.
  • Preconceived expectations

Complying with minimum standards, best practices and learned conventions allow you to focus on the bigger picture challenges rather than wasting time on what is known.

opposing objectives
Opposing Objectives
  • Business Objectives
    • We want to get users to visit my site on a regular basis
    • We need to offer multiple content types and features to sell to clients (white papers, news, ask the expert, etc)
    • We want users to register so we can leverage their information for sales
    • We want to display content to show to everyone regardless if it is relevant or not. (News on home page)
    • We want to be viewed as the source for standards in our industry
  • Visitor Objectives
    • I don’t want my decisions manipulated (now or later)
    • I want control over my experience
    • I don’t want to be distracted with cluttered pages or too many like options
    • I only want to see content that apply to my industry or my needs
    • I want to reach information in as few steps as possible
    • I want to be able to easily find the same information another day (mental model)
    • I want to know what exactly I can and can not do on this site right away without having to waste time exploring or being distracted by marketing ploys.

Design to meet the visitors objectives first!

how customers view your site
How customers view your site
  • On a single track mission
  • Find what they want, THEN peruse or browse
  • No Patience (remember college … long road trip)
  • Scan not Read
  • Let’s look at some research…
design understand how users read the page
Design: Understand how users read the page
  • A common misperception is that people read a web page the same way they read a paper, from left to right
  • Extensive eye-tracking research has shown that users read the page: Center-Left-Right
sample eye tracker
Sample Eye Tracker

*Research from The Usability Company

purpose driven design
Purpose Driven Design
  • Assumptions:
  • Visitors go to websites for a reason (they have a purpose)
  • The quicker visitors reach their goal, the happier they will be
  • The happier visitors are, the more likely it is that they will return
  • Benefits: Increases the Scent (trail to destination)
  • Eliminates visitor guesswork
  • Helps visitor rapidly determine what the site has to offer
  • Helps visitor quickly find what he is looking for
  • Keys to Success:
  • Action links identifying visitor’s purpose
  • Create a mental model of the site so visitors can find what they are looking for and quickly orient themselves within the site’s structure
think usability sooner than later
Think Usability Sooner Than Later

Design Flexibility



  • Requirements Definition
  • Competitive Analysis
  • User Centered Analysis
  • Persona Development


Site Launch

  • System Flow
  • Information Architecture
  • Card Sorting


  • Design
  • Coding
  • Documentation
  • Beta Test




segment personas

Primary Persona

Secondary Persona

Segment Personas

Business Objectives

build online persona
Build Online Persona
  • Try to understand
    • Motivations
    • Goals
    • Needs
    • Decision Making factors
    • People / influencers
    • Expectations
    • Preferences
    • Demographics information
    • Brand Attitudes
sample persona
Sample Persona
  • Background with site: Diane has visited the site a few times but only when her friends send her links to their slideshows. When she is on the site, she is more of a general consumer with little to no emotional investment in her need for expressing herself freely. She looks at other people’s slideshows and bounces from one slideshow to the next. She is an observer who browses, searches, comments (gives feedback), and fuels her friends’ desires in providing more creative content such as the slideshows.
  • Analysis: A typical bouncer would have the personality of a moviegoer in which the consumption of a “good” movie is more important than the movie theatre she frequents to accomplish the task of movie watching, which is probably why she has no real brand loyalty to any particular product or application.
  • Needs:
  • Wants to know what is popular / “cool”
  • Easy to view slideshows / movies
  • Gives opinions / comments
  • Likes being heard
  • Business Opportunity:
  • Since Diane is already on the site, we want to keep her on there longer. Maybe creating a rating system consisting of 10 stars so that she can rate the individual slideshows. Then based on how she rates the types of slideshows, we can present newest slideshows that would be relevant to her the next time she logs onto the site.


Age: 22

Job: College Student working towards degree in Marketing

Technical Expertise: 4/5

Hours Spent on Internet / week: 8- 10

tip 2 build strong navigation thru information architecture
Tip 2: Build Strong Navigation / Thru Information Architecture

Information Architecture




the bridge between usability website not design
The Bridge between Usability & Website (not design)
  • Organization is based on users’ previous experience / expectation of how it should be organized.
  • IA strives to bridge this gap
  • Best practices and learned conventions come from this

User with Expectations

Display that info

How do we display the information so that it satisfies the user’s expectations?

display information so that it makes sense
Display information so that it makes sense
  • How do you ensure that the user understands the information?

Universal Set of Behaviors

Audience Specific Behaviors

bottom line

Current Business

Improve Usability

(1% gain in RFQs)

  • 10,000 users per year
  • 3% submit RFQ (300 RFQs per year)
  • 30% close rate
  • Average sale price of $10,000
  • SAME
  • 4% submit RFQ (400 RFQs per year)
  • 30% close rate
  • Average sale price of $10,000
  • Revenue = $900,000
  • Revenue = $1,200,000
  • 1.0% gain in RFQ = $300K in additional revenue
Bottom Line

..even small increases in conversion can generate substantial revenue

  • Usability is Ease of Use
  • Why Usability?
    • Competitive advantage
    • Site created only with business objectives in mind
    • Increase Conversions & ROI
  • Foundation: Follow learned conventions & best practices
  • Refine Personas
  • Don’t need Designer, Need an Information Architecture
  • Users first, Monetize second
cannot forget social media

Cannot forget Social Media

Customers DO NOT WANT experiences managed; want to manage themselves … now call CRM to CMR

who is the social customer
Who is the Social Customer
  • Active & Passive
  • Loyal vs. Advocate
  • Consumer or Contributor
who s the social customer
Who’s The Social Customer

What do they Say?

  • I want to have a say
  • I want to know when something is wrong
  • I want to help shape things I find useful
  • Don’t want to talk to salesperson
  • Want to buy things on my schedule
  • I want to tell you when you are screwing up
  • I want to do business with Transparent Companies

* Chris Carfi Blog

breakdown of social customers
Breakdown of Social Customers

* Source: Forrester Benchmark Survey

ultimate manifestation of usability
Ultimate Manifestation of Usability
  • For the User by the user
  • Telegraph to Telephone (full duplex)
  • Success already (LinkedIn, ItToolbox)
  • Try it and see…
why now the perfect storm
Why Now? The Perfect Storm
  • Web 2.0 Technologies
  • Broadband Proliferation
  • Online Adoption
why does it matter
Why does it Matter?
  • The conversation is happening; either you are a part of it or not (raising children)
  • 30% who read blog/post more likely to purchase
  • 80% who contribute more likely to purchase* CoreMetrics, Web 2.0 Study
take away
Take Away …

Further Your Education


Want PPT or Top 10 Site Usability Assessment

Facebook or LinkedIn “Aaron Kahlow”

Old School [email protected]