Website Optimization: 3 Surefire Ways to Change Stakeholder Opinion

Jack Maden  |  October 26, 2017

Jack Maden  |  October 26, 2017


Your website has issues. You've got a fantastic idea to address them. But key stakeholders aren't listening. In fact, they don't even acknowledge there's a problem.

The result? You don't get sign off on your changes. Your brilliant solution - its business-transforming brilliance - stays confined to your imagination.

And your website continues to have issues.

We've all been there. Use data, work hard, find a solution - only for a HiPPO (highest paid person's opinion) to come crashing down and squash all your hopes and dreams. There's no budget. It's not a priority. Etc.

It doesn't have to be this way. People have been taming HiPPOs in various forms throughout the entire history of humankind.

By approaching stakeholders in the right way - and by using relevant data to back up your arguments - you can do more than get the occasional sign off: you can get full backing for future projects too.

Here's a 3-step process for taming the HiPPO in the realm of web optimization.

1. Frame the problem

Did you know that 89% of customers stop doing business with a brand after a bad experience?

Or that in 2016 poor customer experiences cost US businesses $68 billion, and UK business $48 billion?

Key stakeholders think strategically, not tactically. Contextualizing how issues on your website fit into the grand scheme of things results in a much more powerful argument.

So, do some research, and show them the landscape. You don't have to produce a whitepaper - just frame the problem with a fact or statistic pertinent to your situation.

Then, with the scene set, it's time to...

2. Present the problem

You've piqued their curiosity, now it's time to get their attention.

For this, your most effective weapon is qualitative data. Showing actual user behavior and feedback drives home the fact that issues on your website are real and actively causing bad experiences.

Session replays are very powerful in this regard. As LexisNexis Global Head of Web Optimization Mark Fassbender says, "nothing makes decision makers take notice like sending them playback sessions of struggling and unhappy users."

Qualitative data provides a direct route to user sentiment, cutting through the noise and forcing stakeholders to take notice. It's not you saying there's a problem - it's your customers showing it.

3. Create urgency

Now you've got stakeholder attention, all that remains is their support.

Grab those scene-setting stats from step 1 and make them relevant to your website. "89% of customers stop doing business with a brand after a bad experience. That means, every time someone has a bad experience on our product page or during the checkout flow, 89% of the time they won't come back. They'll just go to our competitors instead."

This alarms the HiPPO. The big picture stats coincide with the realization that users are actually unhappy. A qualitative issue is imagined at quantitative scale - creating urgency.

Now, go in with data that hammers home the missed revenue opportunity. Look at relevant metrics - your conversion rates, your average order values - and work out how much the issues on your website are costing your business. "Due to our lack of investment in optimizing our checkout flow, we're missing out on [insert compelling figure here] in revenue. Every month."

It might not always be possible to use revenue as an example. If that's the case, use a metric you know the stakeholder cares about. With that done, all that remains is to...

Offer the Solution

Having framed the initial problem, you've affected stakeholders by using qualitative user insights to generate empathy, along with quantitative data to demonstrate scale and create urgency.

The problem looms large. They crave a solution. So now's the perfect time to give them yours, along with all its brilliance.

With this method, at least, you're guaranteed a much more receptive herd of HiPPOs.

Digital Experience Transformation

Framing website problems like this makes it clear what's at stake. But getting stakeholder approval is one of only the first steps to achieving digital experience transformation.

We've published a report that outlines how the world's leading companies stay ahead of the competition online. By harnessing new technologies to maximize visibility into digital experiences, The Rank Group achieved 400% ROI, and LexisNexis increased the year-on-year revenue of its UK website by 81%.

Hit the banner below to download the full report to get the lowdown on how they did it - along with a whole host of tips and tricks for transforming your digital experience offering.

Alternatively, take our 5-question quiz to see how mature your company is when it comes to measuring and delivering digital experiences, and discover how you compare to others.


Jack Maden

Written on October 26, 2017 by:

Jack Maden

Jack is Digital Manager at Decibel, the best digital experience intelligence platform around! He also runs philosophy break.


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