"Visitor intent" is a new buzzword for the time-proven value of getting to know your prospects. For all our gains in technology, there is nothing more powerful than augmenting hard data with human feedback. Here are a few suggestions:
Throw your preconceived notions out the window
The idea is to get to know your site visitors in a more meaningful way — beyond the cold, hard data of web analytics. Toss out any preconceptions about why visitors are coming to your site — and about what they expect to find or achieve once they get there.
Differentiate users for more meaningful data
Different user groups based on intent behave differently. Beyond that, some are more valuable than others. Segment your visitors and to avoid lumping into one large group with poor definition. You’ll wind up with very generic data for a group that isn’t homogenous to begin with.
Gain insight through surveys — thoughtfully and creatively
When you encounter an extensive survey online, what is the chance you’ll take the time to complete it? Probably slim to none. Make your surveys succinct and easy to complete. And let users know upfront that you respect their valuable time. You can even note in your pre-survey messaging an estimated time for completion.
Try to connect at the moment of truth
Most surveys are delivered via a link in an email, requiring the recipient to remember the experience after the fact. Another way to go is the onsite survey: solicit feedback related to the webpage the visitor is on. This can be valuable in determining what a visitor is really looking for at that moment when the recollection of their site experience is fresh.
Think of your website as a means, not an end
Insights gained by determining visitor intent not only help to optimize your onsite messaging. You can use them to enhance your product/service offering to align with the real desires of your prospects. The more you do this, the better your chances are to develop meaningful dialogues — which can lead to valuable customer relationships.