Most brands do a pretty good job of using their website to convey information about products/services, but fall short when it comes to learning from customer website behavior and feedback. Here are a few ways you can leverage your website to better understand your customers:

Analytics
The most obvious way to learn about your customers through your website is through looking at the analytics. Google Analytics is the gorilla in the space, but Crazy Egg, Qualroo, Clicktale, KISS Metrics, Hotjar and others all have additional insights to offer. Log in and start clicking around. Do you notice any interesting patterns? If you zero in on one segment of traffic, what do you see? How do they compare to another segment of traffic? Analyzing your analytics is even more beneficial if you have a specific goal in mind — e.g. “I’m trying to increase downloads for this particular white paper.. I wonder what’s holding it back.”

Another way to observe customers is through user testing — whether in-person or via a tool like UserTesting.com. It’s amazing the qualitative feedback you can get by watching a customer interact with your message.

Split testing (also known as A/B testing)
Split testing is how you experiment with your customers. Using technology, you can effectively ask your website visitors (ahem, your potential customers) questions like “Would you rather I bill you up-front for services or over time?” This is done by systematically showing one message to say the next 100 customers today and a different message to the next 100 and then seeing which one gets better response. The more traffic you have, the more addicting this becomes — and big companies like Amazon are currently “optimizing their way to success” by doing thousands of simple A/B tests each day.

Customer surveys
Another way to learn about your customers through your website is to literally ask them. Popup surveys can be annoying and often ignored, but if deployed correctly they can give you incredible insight into customer behavior. Keep them as short as possible. Use progressive profiling if you can (only ask one question each time they come to visit). Don’t ask questions you can find the answer to through other channels. Good tools in this space: Survey monkey, Hotjar, Google Forms or, of course, roll your own

At Skyhook, we believe one of the major things that will divide 20th century companies from 21st century companies will be the use of data to guide decisions.