We’re Wrong More Than We’re Right

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Have you ever come up with what seems to be a great idea, and you’ve actually implemented it… and hit a brick wall?  Not such a great idea after all!

In retrospect, that happens to us all the time.  We come up with what seemed like the best ideas ever, and our business prospects and customers disagreed.

For example, on our way to Europe a month ago, we revisited the idea while on the long flight that we should create “Video Tours” for each of our product.  The thesis is that if we were able to guide our prospects through video product tours, how they worked, how to customize, etc etc, that will solve a lot of friction that they experience prior to pulling our their credit cards.

After all, in the world of digital products, where you can’t hold it, feel it, lick it, it’s hard to convince people to purchase.

So after investing over 20 hours in creating these video guides for 6 of our products just to test reaction, we sat down today after almost month to study the metrics to see if the “Video Tours” were successful.  We measure the effectiveness with several metrics, including:

  • How many times the videos were watched
  • The average retention time (meaning on average, how long do each person watch for)
  • The average amount of time each visitor remains on the product pages (we expected the time to increase significantly as the visitors watch the videos on the product pages)
  • The change in page value (it’s a Google Analytics metric, which suggests how valuable a page is based on meeting certain goals such as purchases)

The results blew us away.  We thought the videos would have been viewed hundreds of times.  We expected the amount of time each visitor remained on the page to at least double.  We expected the page value to shoot up (meaning more purchases).

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

The lesson here is that just because we think an idea is awesome, doesn’t mean that it is awesome.  We thought that our prospects were not fully appreciating our product’s features, and that they weren’t sure how they worked.  That’s why we created the videos.

What we really should have done, is find out what the high friction points are first, then solve them.  We thought we had the answer, but we were asking the wrong question in the first place.  Classic mistake.

This happens all the time, and I’m guessing it happens to a lot of business owners too.  Too often, we think we are smarter than our consumers.  We think they just don’t understand our products, so we ought to educate them.

In fact, we really should be educating ourselves on what the customer wants, and ask them why they are hesitating and what the friction points are.  Don’t guess, ask them.

It’s not easy especially when we’re an online store.  It’s not like we can stand next to the entrance and ask every other person that walks through our store.

There are a few tools out there that can help, but we’ve tried them (including 4QSurvey, Qualaroo, Live Chat, email surveys).  But we’re still not getting high quality, relevant data, and that really frustrates us.  It really isn’t easy (if anyone reading this have better tools / approaches – do share!)

In can any case, we’re humbled once again.  We’re learning, and getting better at this.

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