A Business’s Worst Nightmare #Semrushchat

Maria Kalyadina

Oct 30, 201713 min read
A Business’s Worst Nightmare

Halloween is almost here, are you ready? In anticipation of all Hallow's Eve, we decided to talk about the type of nightmares that all businesses have — from empty sales funnels to no brand loyalty and other spooky things. In order to turn these nightmares into a sweet dream, we invited  Hotjar, an awesome analytics tool that helps you to better understand your web and mobile site visitors.

During the chat, our guests answered the following questions:

  1. For your business specifically, what would you classify as a business nightmare?

  2. How do you react and what do you tell your clients, if your marketing strategy fails?

  3. What steps do you take to recover and re-engage your audience, if your site crashes during a big promotion?

  4. All search traffic that comes to the website pages is untargeted and doesn't convert. What can be done?

  5. What do you do, if your CTA isn’t getting any traction?

  6. Which web design elements and CTAs scare the customers away the most?

Q1. For your business specifically, what would you classify as a business nightmare?

We collected tweets with some real business nightmares in different industries:

This last one is probably one of the most dreadful nightmares that we can ever imagine in any business:

Next, we decided to dwell on some of the problems that business owners may face and discuss how to successfully overcome these nightmares.

Q2. Let’s say your marketing strategy for a client failed. How do you react and what do you tell them?

1. Determine Why Your Strategy Failed

Take time to figure out why your strategy didn't work out as planned. Maybe it happened because you didn't identify your proper persona, or you didn't have enough resources, or you didn't set the right realistic goals. While there could be a plethora of reasons, you need to determine why your strategy failed so that you can understand what you can do to create a better plan.

2. Use Data

By using a data-driven approach, you can identify which strategies are most likely to be successful. If your campaign doesn't work, apply science and utilize analytics to understand why it happened. If you accumulate and analyze data on your user behavior, you can build a campaign that really works.

Don’t forget to test. Try something completely different and run a small campaign (a pilot) and monitor and analyze the results of your work. Testing is very effective to help you to determine how your campaign will play out before launching a large, expensive project. The “test and learn” approach allows for continuous improvement and can help you to raise the effectiveness of your campaign.

3. Don’t Panic and Be Honest

Mistakes happen, even to the most successful marketers. However, those who don't give up and are committed to fixing their mistakes have the opportunity to be successful in this industry. Don’t try to conceal your failure and always be honest with your clients, otherwise, sooner or later your deceit will be revealed and the consequences could be much worse.

“Failure is a step towards success. Successful marketing strategies take an iterative approach,” tweeted Hotjar‏ - @hotjar.


Q3. Your site crashes during a big promotion. What steps do you take to recover and re-engage your audience?

1. Show That You Acknowledge the Situation

If you have an email list, you can write a brief notice to inform your audience of the blackout. Let your customers know that you are aware of the situation and are taking the necessary steps to resolve the issue; this will demonstrate that you care about your customers.

2. Engage With Your Audience on Social Media

Social media remains a great place for businesses to connect with their audience. If your site crashes, you can turn to the social media platforms that your users usually spend their time on and respond there. This way, you can let people know that you are available for questions and concerns, even if your site is down.

3. Apologize

This may sound obvious, but, some site owners forget about this simple, yet still crucial step. Show people respect and make an apology for the temporary inconvenience. “Leverage your social followers and email lists to apologize and inform. Treat customers like you would want to be treated!” tweeted Thom Craver - @thomcraver.

4. Stop Online Ads

If you are running an online advertising campaign, don’t forget to stop it to avoid wasting your money on ads that don’t deliver desired results. Otherwise, your users will be annoyed when they land on a blank page, and you will end up paying money with no return.

5. Offer Compensations

Aside from making an apology, you can also offer your users some kind of compensation or freebie. Contact them on social media or other channels to let them know that you want to make up for the inconvenience, while you are fixing the issue; this will make them feel valued. “If your site crashes, put a notice up, fix it fast, then offer some incentives for folks to come back again,” recommended Peter Mead‏ - @petermeadit.


Unfortunately, many website owners have to go through this daunting experience. However, the steps our chat guests mentioned will help you remedy the problem, when/if it occurs.

Q4. All search traffic that comes to the website pages is untargeted and doesn't convert. What can be done?

When you analyze your website traffic and don’t know where some part of it comes from, this traffic is likely to be untargeted, which means that users come to your website with zero interest in what your business has to offer. As a result, there is only a small chance that this traffic will convert. Here are some tips to resolve this problem:

Find Out What Site Elements Make Visitors Drop Off

Successful marketers take their time to focus on conversion optimization. Running a solid CRO strategy means that you analyze users who don’t convert and invest your efforts into making them subscribe, follow, or buy, depending on your goals. It includes a thorough process of research, analysis, and optimization in order to figure out what pages make your visitors drop off and then identify elements that prevent them from converting.

Make sure to test and run experiments to determine what works and what doesn’t. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a powerful tactic to find out what’s wrong with your page, and more importantly, what should be done to improve conversions.

Rethink Your Keyword Research Strategy

Acquiring the wrong type of traffic is one of the main reasons for low conversions because the keywords you use may drive the wrong type of audience to your site. For example, if your customers are entrepreneurs, but your keywords are attracting college students, your traffic likely will not convert. It is important to learn how your potential clients are searching for you and your competitors, as well as how the search engines view your site. “Review your keyword list and Google Analytics data, identify what search terms are triggering traffic and make necessary updates to improve,” suggested Danny Ray Lima‏ - @dannyraylima.

Improve Your Calls to Action

When someone lands on your website, only half of your work is done. You need to persuade these people to choose you from your competitor's websites, which is where a good call to action can help. Its main function is to make your site visitors take a specific action right off the bat, and an effective CTA helps you to communicate the value of your brand to your site visitors. You need to make sure that your CTA is visually appealing, engaging, and compelling. 

Learn more about your site visitors

When you discover that your site visitors aren’t your true audience, you may ask yourself: “What are they looking for on your site?” Our special guest recommended asking for their feedback. For example, you can use a feedback form or a live chat feature to let people tell you what they were expecting to see on this page; this will provide some great insights into who your site visitors really are.

Build a Conversion Funnel and Create Interest

As Bill Slawski‏ - @bill_slawski pointed out, a strong marketing campaign should create targeted interest. To turn your non-converting traffic into significant conversion improvements, you need to refresh your conversion funnel or build it. If you don’t have one, you should focus on it because it helps you guide your audience from the awareness phase to action. Generally, a conversion funnel consists of four main phases: awareness, interest, desire, and action. The interest phase is both extremely important and difficult to go through. During this stage, you need to create true interest, instead of sales, to intrigue people and turn this interest into desire, which leads to an action/conversion.


Of course, this is not the ultimate list of tips for increasing conversions. However, these simple, yet actionable techniques can help you to dive deeper and discover important information that will make your strategy more informed and effective.

Q5. Your CTA isn't getting any traction, how do you track the user behavior and see if it's a placement issue or something else?

A/B Testing

Many of our chat participants recommend creating an A/B test to judge the effectiveness of several versions of the same CTA. By testing these platforms, you are eliminating the need to do guesswork and are making more informed and smart decisions.

A/B testing helps you to compare the data from two different versions of your CTA or your page to understand which one delivers better results. Therefore, testing is an essential way to ensure sustainable success of your marketing campaigns.

Make sure to start by testing your copy to figure out whether or not it’s value-driven and how your value proposition resonates with your audience. Don’t forget to test several locations of your CTA button on your page to find the best placement. However, don’t ignore minor elements, even the smallest things matter and can make a big difference. Test different colors and shapes to determine which compositions help to drive more action.

Event Tracking

You can use event tracking in Google Analytics to monitor the performance of your CTAs. You can track clicks, downloads, flash elements, and other actions that are important to you. If you have a long scrolling page, it may be worth using a scroll tracking plugin to track pixel depth which will help you to uncover how far people are scrolling on your page.

User Behavior and Experience

To monitor user behavior, you can use heatmaps, which are insightful tools for graphical representation of where your site visitors are clicking. Hotjar provides powerful heatmaps that can help you to better understand what people want, what they care about, and what they do on your site. You can see and analyze their clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior.

With its click, move, and scroll heatmaps, you not only can determine your visitors’ strongest motivation and desire, but you can also uncover which elements on your page should be leveraged more and which components don’t work at all.

You can also try out FullStory to discover a wealth of information about each user’s experience on your website, such as clicks, keypresses, page transitions, and more.


What are some of the techniques and tools you use to track user behavior when your CTA isn’t getting any traction? Share your tips in the comments! We would love to hear about your experience!

Q6. Which web design elements/ CTAs scare customers away the most?

Here are some of the most terrifying web design elements and CTAs that scare customers away:


Special thanks to the following chat guests whose tweets we used to make this list: @hotjar, @deren_baker, @dannyraylima, @thomcraver, @salmonseo, @netvantage, @clockworkTalent, @adriana_tica, @SarahAHolder, @R8chel_Marie, @JULScf, @Bronco, @SaadAlikhan1994, and @simoncox.

That’s it for today! Huge thanks to Hotjar and our other chat participants for making this discussion thrilling and useful - don’t let your business nightmares ever come true! Make sure to join us this week as we discuss "The Art of Crafting Successful Facebook Ads" with Susan Wenograd.

Author Photo
Maria KalyadinaMaria is the Social Media Marketing Manager at Semrush and the host of the weekly #Semrushchat. You can always connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter! Join the #SemrushChat every Wednesday at 11 am ET/ 4 pm BST!
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