Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Research the voice of your user

My original plan was to finish my recap on OMS, but I feel that this is an important topic to touch on.

The success of your company depends on how you are able to align your business to the needs of your audience, The best way to do that is to make sure it's in a way that they understand. Sounds simple doesn't it? Well it's harder then most people think because they don't take the time to research their audience. The easiest thing you can do is tap into your current customer base. You already won them over, and they will be happy that you value their opinion. Find out what they like or dislike about what you have to offer, and how can you do it better. Too many companies don't do this because they are scared of negative criticism. If we all agree that everything should be about the user, they should be the first person you turn to when you need feedback. They are the ones buying your product. Not only do you have to listen to their needs, but you also have to put it in a way that they understand it. On Saturday I got to hear a session on Business Intelligence by Doug Lenos, and he said you need to harvest the voice of the user. Well how do you do that you might ask. When you are doing your keyword research you need to find out what types of keywords that your users are searching on to get to your site, and use those keywords to write your copy. You don't want to make it hard on them, because you would have lost them before they even got to your door. The reason why this topic is fresh on my mind is because I had a friend come up to me and ask me to help him do some research on a product that he wanted to buy. I sure no sweat, and spent an hour or so on google, and sent him a whole list of links to check out. He was shocked to see that I was able to find so much "useful" information. He was shocked to hear that all I did was search on google. I asked him what resources did he use when he was researching, and he said google. Then I asked him what keywords did he use. The keyword phrases that he used were very broad. He told me that he didn't spend much time, and was hoping to find something rather quickly. He also told me that not once did he go past the first page. When I told him what phrases, and techniques that I used he said he would have never thought of that. This is a perfect example of how end users search. If you do your homework, and research what keywords and phrases your customers are using to get to you and provide them with relevant information you will get them every time. Sometimes I forget that figuring out keyword combinations is what I do, and this is not something that the average user does.

When we are marketing our product a lot of the time we don't take the time to view it from the eyes of the user. I guarantee you this: If you take the time to research the voice of your user, and align your business around them you WILL be rewarded.