November 20, 2015
The ways in which customers are connecting and interacting with your business online are crucial. The rate that your users interact with your company’s website directly impacts how effective your website will be in driving success for your organization. Your conversions—the actions that you want a user to take on your website—are often how brands measure onsite performance, and indicate how well a company is doing at completing its goals. Whether it’s how many customers check out and make a purchase on an eCommerce website, or how many visitors fill out a request-a-quote form for a service-oriented company, these actions are closely connected with user engagement. The more that a user is interacting with your site, revisiting to review your products or content, or even talking about your brand with their friends and co-workers on social media, the closer that your company is to achieving the goals you consider indicators of your performance.
All in all, the importance of user engagement is unquestionable. However, what steps can your brand take to help facilitate greater levels of engagement and make it occur both more frequently on a more effective and deeper level? While all brands have different users, there is not a standard approach to encourage engagement amongst a generic audience. There are, however, certain tactics that can be implemented into your website design, regardless of your industry, and then tweaked to fit more closely with a particular brand’s unique products or services.
Consider the following strategic moves to help improve your user engagement and subsequently improve conversion rates for your company’s website:
Make Your Calls to Action Enticing
Calls to action (CTAs) are buttons on your site that you want the user to click. It can be anything from “checkout” to “buy now” to “learn more” to “request a quote.” These buttons are directly linked to your conversions, and for nearly all brands, they play a significant role in your online marketing efforts. Once a user has clicked a CTA, they’re moving further down the buyer funnel. This first step of clicking a CTA is key to generating engagement because this is typically how you discover your visitors contact information, like an e-mail address or phone number. Once you have this information, you can continue to market to them on a more personalized level through a tactic like e-mail marketing. It’s the first step to generating engagement.
To make your CTAs ‘enticing to click on’ (http://www.bluefountainmedia.com/blog/best-call-to-action-buttons/), you need to spark interest in the user. First and foremost, the design of the CTA must be vibrant. If the user has to search for a CTA on the page, you’re already missing out on the opportunity to engage them. Use bold typography and a color scheme that is fitting with the overall website design, but still possessing enough contrast to stand out amongst all the other elements of your page.
Take a look at your Google Analytics to identify any areas of your site that may consistently have high exits. If a lot of potential customers are continuously bouncing from your site on a specific page, this may be a good indication of a missed opportunity to engage them more. These pages may be ideal to add a compelling CTA that will offer the user more value by “reading more” or “learning more” about a particular product or service you provide.
Update Content on a Regular Basis
Showing prospective or existing clients your brand’s real value makes it far easier to generate user engagement on many levels. High-quality and insightful content that provides a genuine value to readers is key in facilitating interaction with your customers. Make it a priority to regularly update content on your website, and you’ll find that users will be more likely to continue coming back to your site because they understand that they will always find new information. If you set the expectation with your users that your content will always be new, they’ll have an overriding reason and motivation to keep returning.
Blog content should be updated on a bi-weekly basis at minimum. Starting a repertoire with your audience that positions your employees and leadership team as thought leaders within the industry will be an effective tactic to generate brand awareness, and share your company’s value. Write about industry news, post unique relevant images, create infographics, compile data-driven content, offer how-to and tutorial videos, craft checklists for your users – anything that is unique, shows a relevant value proposition, and can be housed on your blog.
Integrate Social Media Signals into Content
As discussed above, the value of content is undeniable. However, secondary to developing the actual content, is helping to streamline the process of sharing that content. Integrating social media signals or “share” buttons into the design of your blog will undoubtedly help produce higher engagement on your site. News outlets don’t get shared on Facebook, but the articles that are on that news outlet do. By making the process of sharing on social as easy as possible for users, you’re eliminating any barriers for the customer to further engage with your brand.
As social media users, we are constantly consuming content as we scroll through our Facebook news feeds, our Twitter timelines, and in our LinkedIn communities. Bridging the gap between your brand, and the personal communities of your users helps to make the interactions your brand gets with the customer that much more effective and meaningful. Not only are they absorbing your content, but if you make it easy to share the content on social, you have their audience and network absorbing the content as well.
Keys to Engagement
Engagement is without question necessary for any brand online. Interaction between the customer and the company is essential to facilitating sales, increasing profit, and generating a high ROI. A company’s online presence is the ideal platform for this connection, and by taking a few strategic approaches to the design of your website, brands everywhere can garner higher engagement rates, and reap the benefits that come along as a result.
Gabriel Shaoolian is a digital trends expert and CEO and founder of Blue Fountain Media, a digital agency in NYC focused on growing brands online through effective websites and online marketing. From start-ups to Fortune 1000s, Blue Fountain Media helps generate more leads and increased brand recognition Last year alone, the company, which has a client roster that includes Procter & Gamble, Harper Collins, Canon, NFL, Publishers Clearing House, Sharp, AOL and the United Nations, drove more than 200 million monthly visitors and $2 billion in revenue to the digital properties of its clients.