Is Your Path-to-Education Experience Simple Enough?

I work with data every day, and the number one thing that clients want to know is whether they are keeping visitors on the site and getting them to convert. You would think that in 2017 this would be easy, right? Drive visitor to website with content, lead them to learn more or receive an offer, and get a completed form. Alas, no. It isn’t always as straightforward as it seems, especially when you have multiple sites and brands, complicated lead generation situations, or other factors at play.

Let’s back up a moment. First of all, a form completion is not necessarily carte blanche permission to send info straight to your sales team so they hound your contact until they scream into the phone. Unless your contact specifically requests it, don’t pass the lead over the fence right away. After all, one of the reasons that prospects are waiting longer and longer to contact sales is that they don’t want to be bothered!

We’re in the age of content marketing, so this should be obvious. But it isn’t. So here’s a key stat. According to HubSpot, the number one thing your prospects want to talk about in their very first sales call is… pricing. That means they’re really far along the buyer’s journey by this point, ready to consider a couple of options and make a decision. The rest of the entire buying cycle up to this point is now completed without your sales team. To quote our previous Vice President, that’s a big deal.

What does this all mean? It means you better have your visitor experience in order.

Is it easy to find information on your site?

Today’s path-to-purchase or buyer’s journey includes another component, path-to-education. That’s why it isn’t as simple as creating a blog post, throwing a lead generation form on the end and sending the info straight to sales. That’s exactly what 99% of your visitors are afraid of happening.

Instead, think of it this way. If you’ve drawn someone to a piece of content, continue the thread. Put yourself in their shoes. What do they need to know next? Is it more about solving a problem they’re facing? Is it time to present an honest evaluation of solutions? Carefully consider the entire education process. And then make it as easy as possible. Provide direction to more content, but not in a pushy way. Offer more value, not a sales pitch. Enrich your visitors’ lives in some way.

It it obvious where your visitors can go to educate themselves?

Linking to more content within your blog posts is one way to provide direction, but not all visitors will react to that. Make sure the rest of your site navigation, from the top of page to the footer and sidebars, all provides easy jumping off points. Again, think of the education process as a continuum from point to point, start to finish. Details are good. Highlight challenges in your navigation structure, throw your most popular posts in the sidebar or footer of your site. If you make your visitors dig around for information, they’re probably gone.

Is it fast?

We’re an impatient people and being connected 24/7 makes us even more so. When I have a problem, I want the answer right away. Visit your site with a fresh eye, and ask whether you get that “now” feeling. Your site should start to address the major pain points of your potential customers from the first moment. Look at the home page for the Nest thermostat.

Two big pain points addressed in dramatic fashion. Fast.

In the first ten seconds, the page solves two major pain points for anyone considering a new thermostat: it saves money, and it’s not a pain in the ass to use. BOOM.

If your site doesn’t do the same thing for your audience, go back and try again. And it’s not only the home page that should do this. All of your site content should address a problem, present a solution, or make a point the same way.

Easy, Obvious, and Fast. Get those three right and you’ll be on your way to a great path-to-education experience.

Originally published at on April 19, 2017.