Like many business technology vendors, one of the primary goals of the WebTrends' Web site is to gather sales leads.
By late 2000, it became clear that the website had to be
updated. At least it became clear to members of the sales team, who were frustrated by the quality of the leads the site was delivering.
Most of the leads were ostensibly for the lower-tier products. However, when sales reps would follow up on the leads, customers often ended up needing the features of the higher-end products. Consequently, the sales force was having to upsell every lead to the appropriate product.
Beth Nougier, Web Marketing Manager for the company's NetIQ product, also pushed for a site upgrade because she had received complaints from customers and other visitors that the site was difficult to navigate.
Not everyone at WebTrends, however, thought the site needed to be revamped. Some executives, who had been around from the beginning and had a hand in the original design, were happy with the old site.
Nougierís challenge was to figure out how both to convince the old-guard execs that the site needed to be improved and then to redesign the site to generate better sales leads for high-end products and to improve navigability. CAMPAIGN
Nougier decided to outsource the site redesign. "The reason we wanted to outsource was to get an objective third-party analysis. We have many [internal] stakeholders interested in making the website work for their business unit. Itís always a challenge to get everyone on the same page."
Nougier started working on the RFP in November 2000. She invited 11 Web design firms from across the country to bid on the project. "The competition was fierce," she recalls.
The winner was chosen because they were the only firm that pitched using Web analytics to drive Web design (see hotlink to vendor below). Over the next 3 1/2 months, they conducted three critical types of pre-design research:
#1. Behavior analysis on how visitors used the current site
WebTrends' marketers, like so many others, had almost been paralyzed with the breadth and depth of data their software could provide on site traffic. When you can get details on everything under the sun, how do you choose what's important to look at?
As an outside firm, the vendor bought perspective to the table. "They asked me to run several different Web analytics reports using our software. It was detailed path analysis, top visited pages -- things the strategist on their side pored through," says Nougier.
With this data, they produced a detailed analysis of how site visitors were behaving; especially in terms of conversion rates. On the old site, they were concerned about the visitor-to-lead ratio, which the vendor thought was quite low and concerned that not enough people were registering as leads.
One reason for this was that calls to action were buried at the end of tunnels of product information. Before visitors could register as leads, they had to click through several pages.
Behavior analysis also revealed that the site's Product Matching Wizard was not working as well as hoped. The old home page had about 35 links, so users had to pick the right link to get to the product screening. When they finally got into product matching, there was a list of eight items on the left and eight on the right side. Of these 16 items, the user had to indicate whether they picked more on the left side or on the right side. Then they did that on three more pages.
Of the 22% who entered the product screening process, only 45% completed the process.
The Wizard also turned out to be responsible for pointing leads to low-end products. Many users were being directed to the lowest-end product. If they didnít know the answer, it steered them to the low-end answer.
#2. Getting personal input from site "stakeholders"
The vendor team conducted a full day of interviews with executives and key employees, including sales reps, to determine how their businesses depended on the website. This step not only gave the design team critical input, it also made even change-resistant executives feel pleasantly involved in the process.
However, as Nougier says, it became apparent "there were some challenging differences of opinions within internally." To give context to these interviews, she was asked to fill out a highly detailed 29-page questionnaire about WebTrends' business, audiences, brand, goals, how the Company perceived itself and how customers perceived it.
#3. Interviewing customers and prospects
Finally, after personally interviewing WebTrends customers and prospects, the team learned that most prospective customers did not know how much Web analytics software should cost. By filtering users to the lowest-end products, they were creating expectations that it was the right price range.
Another interesting point was that there were two types of people who went to the WebTrends site to look for product information: techies and marketers. Each was looking for different information and different features, and each was using a different vocabulary. In the old site, they were being treated the same way. There was no difference in tone.
So, Nougier and her team blended everything they had learned from the three research steps into a recommendations report. Using this data and the invaluable internal consensus it provided, they designed a new site, which was built by WebTrends' internal tech team, and launched at the end of June 2001.
The home page of the new site asked prominently whether a visitor was looking for solutions for an "enterprise," a "small/medium business" or "service providers." For the first two options, visitors could indicate that they were "business users" or "technical users." From that point, the features, benefits, tone and vocabulary changed.
New copy was just as critical as new navigation. "Itís not just the content; itís the tone as well. One of our beliefs is that copy is one of the most neglected aspects of websites. We increased the calls to action and improved them."
Every product-information page of the new site included three offers of white papers, chats or webcasts on the right-hand side. All of these required registration. For every product in the product list, "Request information" or "Download a trial" were options.
After the new site launched, it generated 144% more sales leads for WebTrends' middle-market solution, plus 65% more sales leads for its highest-end solution that had a six-figure price tag.
The day after the redesigned site launched, Nougier and her team saw a 49% increase in that visitor-to-lead ratio, from 5.74 to 8.55%. Since then, it has gone up even more.
Total page views per visit decreased by 11% on average, which means users are finding what they need faster. As might be expected, far fewer customers complain about navigation now.
One prediction proved to be completely (happily) incorrect. They were concerned that leads to lower-end products might decrease because users would be routed to the higher-end products. Instead, they saw an overall increase in leads.Useful links related to this article
Creative samples from WebTrends' site redesign: