When you think of crowdsourcing, you likely either think of big focus groups conducted behind closed doors or enormous funding initiatives like Kickstarter and GoFundMe. While the latter is an offshoot created by the crowdsourcing model, there are many other little-known ways to leverage the collective wisdom of the crowd and turn it into a conversion lift for your business. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step.
Understanding the Basics of Crowdsourcing
If you had to tackle a big problem or challenge, you’d obviously want some help. You might reach out to your coworkers or colleagues and get around couple dozen different suggestions. But what if you could get a couple thousand or more? That’s the core idea behind crowdsourcing – people pooling their talent, wisdom and suggestions that others can draw upon when they need them.
This applies to lots of different concepts – ranging from finances (crowdfunding) to coming up with new ideas (crowdstorming). Well-known companies including Starbucks and GE have successfully used crowdsourcing to create new products and solutions to tackle new problems. Keep in mind that it’s much easier when considering design changes (like updating your logo) to simply hold a vote or contest on social media. Other major changes, like structure, layout and brand voice – can be best served with the voice of a targeted crowd.
But can a crowd really improve your conversion rate? It can – but there are some caveats to remember. Most importantly, the more people you ask, the more solutions and suggestions you’ll get. That’s a lot of data to sift through, and a lot of tests to run. That’s why it’s important to attract only the kind(s) of people who closely match your ideal customer. You can do just that by using something like:
Usertesting allows you to get detailed video feedback from customers as they use your site or prototype. You can also specify which type(s) of people you want to interact with your site. To help weed out people who don’t fit certain criteria, UserTesting will poll them with a few simple questions.
As an example, if you want to reach users of XYZ Insurance who have an open claim in the state of Ohio, you can do that. Those who fit the bill will be asked poll questions like their current insurer and which state they live in to ensure that they can indeed assist you.
It’s important to remember, however, the more narrow your specified audience, the less feedback you’ll get. Pricing starts at $49 per video (up to 10 videos) and you can request that users test on certain mobile devices if you wish.
This video is from a Usertesting.com testing session. This will give you an idea of what kind of feedback you’d get by using their service.
Asking the Important Questions
After getting set up with your account, the next step is always the most challenging, and also the one that gets thrown aside as more of an afterthought – the questions. Sure, you can ask users to review your site as if they were looking to buy your product or service, but you’ll get so many answers (some helpful, some not so much) and so much “thinking out loud” that it can be hard to make sense of it all and turn those interactions into something meaningful that you can apply to your conversion optimization campaigns. So here’s what you do.
- Decide which action you want them to take – Have one central goal per testing session that you want visitors to work toward, whether it’s going through the checkout process, subscribing to the email list, trying to order on a mobile device or whatever the case may be. Whatever that action is – keep it in mind for the next step.
- Keep things relevant – Ask them specific questions, like “how does this image make you feel?” or “what questions do you have at this point?” You can also ask about pricing, copy, color scheme, layout or any other points you feel are relevant to getting them to take the aforementioned action.
- Ask about their experience – Let them give you firsthand details by asking things like “In the last X months, how often have you purchased Y?”
- Ask rating questions – Don’t skew your answers based on your own personal biases. Let users choose based on where they fall on the ratings scale, such as “Would you be likely to do business with this company in the future?” “Strongly disagree > Disagree > Neither agree nor disagree > Agree > Strongly Agree.
- Avoid industry jargon – What’s a UX? CRO? Your users likely have no idea what those terms mean. And the last thing you want to do is confuse them right from the beginning. This applies not just to the marketing and optimization industry but any typical jargon used in your line of work.
What Kind of Information Are You Getting?
Now that you have these videos and the answers to your survey questions – the next question should be “what do I do with all of this stuff?!” First, go through each one carefully. Note what the customers say. If their video shows they’re having trouble navigating to a certain page, don’t dismiss it. Chances are others have the same problems.
Once you’ve made a list of all the points, the next step is to prioritize them – which will likely give you the biggest lifts in conversion? Which are worth split testing? Only then will you be able to get the kind of accurate, meaningful data that you want.
It’s a good idea to collect user feedback and do so often. Any time you’re looking at reorganizing content, updating your layout or otherwise making a significant change, getting feedback during the process can show you at least preliminary information on how to structure your site accordingly, or how to make your offer clearer to your users.
Crowdsourcing for Conversions
The bottom line is that users provide a direct, easy and cost effective way to see which changes could optimize your conversion rate – in ways that your sales staff, your marketing team and others who work with you simply can’t. Remember, they’re looking at those same pages every day, so what’s intuitive to them could be frustrating to others.
Above all, keep directions simple, make the task as interesting as possible and reward participants for their time accordingly.
Have you used crowdsourcing to help improve your website or conversion rates? How did it go? Tell us more in the comments below!