Measuring your technical content – Part 2

In my previous post, Measuring your technical content – Part 1, I described some content goals and how those might be defined and measured for an introduction topic. I this post, I look at Getting Started topics.

Getting Started topics

If Introduction topics bring people in by telling them how your product can help them, Getting Started topics are where you show them how that works. Readers who come here from the Introduction topic will want to see some credible evidence that backs up the claims made in the Introduction topic and these topics are where you can demonstrate that.

Technical readers will also use this as the entry point into the technology, so there are at least two customer journey paths intersecting here.

  • One path will come to a conclusion here, moving from the Introduction page to see the value and then the Getting Started topic to see how it works
  • Another path starts from the Getting Started page (already understanding the value proposition of the product) and moving deeper into the technology to apply it to their specific case.

Because at least one of the customer journeys through the Getting Started topics are less funnel-shaped than for the Introduction topics (some are almost inverted funnels), it’s important to start with the goals and required instrumentation before writing so that you can design your page to provide the information that the customer needs for their goals as well as the data you’ll need to evaluate the page (your goal).

So, in that case, what how might you measure such a topic’s success?

How does such a topic look to the stakeholders?

  • Success factors
    • Customer are successful when:
      • They see the product solve a problem they recognize
      • They can see how the product can solve their problem
    • The business is successful when:
      • The customer believes that your product will solve a need they have.
  • Success indications
    • When a customer is successful, they will:
      • Have a successful experience Getting Started
      • Research the product further
      • Buy and/or download the product (if they haven’t already)
      • NOT call customer support for help
    • The business is successful when:
      • Customers will buy/download the product.
      • Customers do not call customer support for help
  • Measures
    • Customer success is measured by:
      • Views of the Getting Started topic (but not by this metric alone)
      • Engagement, interaction, and success with the Getting Started topic (e.g. trying in-page demos)
      • Session depth (deeper = more interest in the technology)
      • Satisfaction feedback (more satisfied = better)
      • Downloads/Purchases (more = better)
      • Related customer support calls (fewer = better; if possible such calls can be connected back to this page, perhaps by a link on the page)
    • Business success is measured by:
      • Satisfaction feedback (more satisfied = better)
      • Downloads/Purchases (more = better)
      • API accesses (showing that online software is being used)
      • API error logs (showing that the software is being used correctly)
      • Related customer support calls (fewer = better)

This might take some creativity to implement to capture both paths. For the funnel workflow you want to see them to do something after they get started. Make sure you can capture that action and attribute it to this topic. Google Analytics can help, but because the page’s interaction paths are not as funnel-shaped as Google Analytics would like, you’ll have to write and instrument the page to make it work.

For the not-so-technical audience, this might be their exit page. You’ll want to capture their feedback before they leave. Maybe pop up a quick question to readers who came to this page from the Introduction page asking, “Do you think this product will help you?” The answer to that will tell you if  the Introduction Page send them to a Getting Started topic and if that convinced them your product could do the trick  for the reader.

Asking a generic question, “Was this helpful?” makes for easy coding, but not very meaningful data. Asking a more targeted question shows that you understand the customer and care about their interaction. It’s the difference between asking “How are the kids?” and “How are Billy and Sally?” On this page, if you were sitting next to the reader what would you ask them after you watched them interact with your page?

For readers who come to this page directly, perhaps from search, Google Analytics can tell you how many people entered your site from at that page and where they went  from there. This isn’t easy to summarize as a number, but Google Analytics can display that graphically in the Behavior Flow chart. Feedback from this audience might need a different prompt. Maybe something like:

  • Could use this technology in an app?
  • Could this technology solve a problem you have?
  • Could you apply this technology in your business?

You might hope that the topic is helpful, but you wrote the topic to do something more specific than “help.” So, ask them about that!


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