I recently launched GetLatka.com with the help of Hiten Shah posting it on Product Hunt. We didn’t spend any money on launch but what I did spend loads of energy on was what happened once users hit the site.
Many CEO’s I’ve spoken with use a combination of many tools to try and figure out what their users are doing. These range from free tools like Google Analytics, to event tracking tools like MixPanel, to heatmap, scroll, and click-path tools like HotJar.
I use 3 simple rules to make decisions about how to edit the website interface. These edits are what helped me convert 2200 of the 8300 website visits into new users (email, first name, last name, company, phone number).
First rule: Users Lie
Never ask your users “how can we make the tool better”. They lie.
They don’t do it on purpose. They just don’t remember how they were feeling in the moment. They don’t know how to communicate that to you.
For example, the video below is a recording generated by HotJar, the tool I use to get screen captures of what new users to my website do. This includes things like click paths, scroll habits, and navigation tendencies.
You’ll notice towards the end, he takes a screenshot of the data. If I had asked him “What do you want” he might say “a .csv download”. When I watch his scroll and click patterns in this video, what I see is that he’s trying to find more contextual data. Flooding him with a multi thousand line .csv download is not the answer.
If this CEO is like me, I imagine the CEO download would go unused outside of an initial 5 minute glance-over.
The question I ask myself after watching this sort of user behavior is:
How can I build the utility this user wants into the site? This approach is better than me emailing my developer and saying, stick in a “.csv download” button. I want to create utility inside the app so folks keep coming back as I post 7-10 new companies every week.
Second Rule: Careful using tools that “average” (heatmaps, click paths)
GetLatka.com gets a lot of traffic from people who are not my target. If I treated all of this data equally, I’d really like the heatmap produced below. HotJar generates these for me for free and they can be really useful for companies building products who want to appeal to a lot of users.
I’m the opposite. I want to cater to a very small number of users. Probably only 5000 of them in the whole world.
The problem is, all traffic is not equal. I care mostly about venture capitalists, other CEO’s, private equity firms, angel investors, and M&A firms and how they use the site. Everyone else “dilutes” my data set.
This is why I tend to rely on individual user behavior more. You’ll see in the video below that a Founder is using my site – perfect target demographic. You see him put in his name, phone, and company all in the first 20 seconds. I’ll weight his click path, heat map, and scroll patterns more than another more generic user.
Make sure you find a tool that lets you narrow down to user specific patterns. Not high-level generic averages. I like this view from HotJar the best because I can sort by session duration and pages viewed. Watching hyper engaged sessions like this helps you find your addicted users, who also match your target, and reveals how you can double down in delivering value to them.
Third Rule: Quick Decisions Are Better Than Correct Ones
Make decisions based on as much data as you have in quickest amount of time. Fast decisions are more important than correct decisions.
As an example, I saw the CEO of an outsourcing company using my database in the video below and watched him sort by Revenue per employee. He then spent 20+ minutes on the site engaging with the top 15 revenue per employee companies.
The red lines below are generated by HotJar and show you where his mouse was scrolling. The red circles show clicks.
This sort of behavior, combined with keyword research in google drove me to take the time to write the article:
It was the first article on the site and got over 750 pageviews with very little promotional work.
Someone else may have taken loads of time to question whether all 2300 users would appreciate content around Revenue per employee. Instead, I used gut and the fact that this was a super long session duration by a perfect demographic fit users to decide to move forward with the post.
It proved to be a big win without any marketing spend. 700+ views of which 10% converted to new GetLatka.com users.
Whether its writing a blog post, or deciding which features to add first, you’ll never have perfect data. The best decisions CEO’s make are the quick ones based off partial data and gut.
In summary, remember that:
- Your users love you but will lie to you
- Careful using analytics tools that “average”
- Fast decisions are more important than correct ones.
I’m using HotJar on most of my projects (mainly cause its free and was fast to set up) combined with Google Analytics.
What are you using? Tell me in the comments