Discover 3 Ways to Secret-Shop Your Online Presence Like a Pro

First published on June 3, 2022
Last updated on May 23, 2023
Use these three pro tips to secret shop your way to a better online presence.

Let’s be honest, most of us build our online presence piece-by-piece on the fly. What starts as a well-conceived and well-organised website, Facebook, Instagram or Google My Business listing can often slowly drift away from best practice.

We get it, you’re probably updating your about page while thinking of what to post on Facebook in between multiple interruptions from enquiries where you had to reply to Bob to tell him yes of course you can do Tuesday instead of Wednesday because his cat got sick and he can’t make the time he originally booked you for…sound like you?

That’s why occasionally it’s a good idea to navigate through your digital assets like a potential client. You’ll be able to identify confusing or missing information, ensure your user’s journey is smooth and leads them straight to your end goal.

So, with the goal that you want your potential customer to achieve (eg contact you, book you) firmly in mind, put on your incognito mask ???? and try these three ways to secret-shop your online presence.

Secret shopper tip 1: Navigate your website using your mobile

When it comes to your online presence, your website is the heavy lifter.  Did you know that 50% of website traffic comes from mobiles. Smaller screens and responsive builds can cause a multitude of problems like the one shown in the image below.

Common issues with your online presence when viewed from a mobile
Secret shop your online presence from a mobile to avoid these common issues.

Some common issues with your online presence when viewed from a mobile include:

  • Text that is too big/too small.
  • Images/logos that are too small, stretched or get cut off in funny places
  • Padding/margin issues (too much empty space around the outside while the text is squished into a small area in the middle)
  • Buttons that are hard to use (size or placement issues)

Write down anything that looks odd or annoys you while on your journey to your final goal. If it bothers you, it’s sure to impact those who don’t yet know and trust your business.

Secret shopper tip 2: Start from the Facebook/Instagram search bar

Again with your end goal for your customer in mind, start from your favourite social media account’s search bar and search the words that a client might look for (e.g. kayak Agnes Water).

  • Did your business pop up in the results?
  • Was your business’s description clear?
  • Do the images on your page include people from your target market?
  • Could you figure out what your business provides within 30 seconds?
  • Can you identify any areas for improvement?

Take a look at our Facebook and Instagram courses if you’re interested in more information on how to optimally set up your social media account for 2022.

Secret shopper tip 3: Check how your Google Business Profile listing holds up in a search

Next, check if your Google Business Profile listing is doing its job of getting you business while you do more important things (like heading to the cafe for lunch)! Go to the Google search bar and again, put in words that a client might use.

  • Where did your business come on the list?
  • Did it have engaging photos and reviews?
  • Were your hours/location/phone number listed?
  • From your entry point on your website was it an easy path to your customer’s goal?

Again, write down any missing information, areas for improvement or frustrations.  If you’re a bit confused about what a good Google My Business listing looks like have a look at this Google My Business course for some excellent tips.

Our challenge for you…

Secret shop your website, social media challenge and Google Business Profile using the steps outlined above.

Lastly, ask a stranger, ok, maybe just someone outside your business like a friend to have a look. Create a template of questions for them and see if they can answer the questions and find key aspects of your products and services on your website.

Looking at your digital assets from a stranger’s perspective and following the user’s journey will help you to see your website and socials with fresh eyes and identify points of frustration for your customers. Because a smooth user journey that points your potential customers right to where you want them to go will lead to more enquiries, more bookings and in the end a healthier business.

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