Do you believe in “love at first site”? Are you enjoying a “long term engagement”?
All Valentine’s metaphorical humor aside, customer engagement and repeat site traffic are serious business for any online-based enterprise. What promotes loyalty, earns you the adoration of your customers, and encourages your customers to return again and again to your website? The cost of acquiring a new customer is significantly higher than the cost of keeping an existing customer engaged or motivating them to return to your site in the future. So how do you maximize the value of your existing audience? Here are ### proven tactics to improve the engagement and stickiness of your website. Whether your site has been live for 10 years or 10 months, you will likely find this exercise useful in improving your site’s appeal and engagement factor.
1) Prioritize your messaging
For any given page on your site – particularly your Home page and any specific Landing Page where a significant amount of traffic is driven – determine your three most important messages. Make sure they are located in the “F-shaped” area of the page above the fold. Evaluate them for clarity and consistency.
2) Clarify the Call to Action
Ensure that it is abundantly clear exactly what you want the visitor to do. Click somewhere for more information? Buy something? Sign up for something?
3) Endeavor for Consistency and Continuity
Think of your user interface as if you were organizing a brick-and-mortar store. Provide clear directions so your visitors can find what they are looking for. And when they get to a new page, validate their action by confirming where they are and what they can do there. Lack of consistency or continuity is a leading cause of the dreaded back-button-effect. If a visitor lands on a page that doesn’t jive with what they expect, the first reaction is to simply back out of it and start over again – possibly at a different site altogether.
4) Write Content for Humans
In the interest of Search Engine Optimization, you may be tempted to load your content with keywords and unnecessary paraphrasing. But don’t forget that once a real, live human being visits your website, your primary goal is to capitalize on that traffic by engaging them in a meaningful way. Review your existing site content to ensure it is articulate, appealing, audience-appropriate, educational or informational, and compelling. If you don’t have the skill set to accomplish this, hire a professional.
5) (Re-) Consider Aesthetics
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yes. But various design and interface standards have proven to be more effective and consistently appealing than others. White type on a dark background is harder to read than dark type on a light background, and plain backgrounds tend to improve legibility. Simpler pages are more appealing and generally more effective than busy layouts crowded with images and competing elements. Avoid colors that compete and vibrate. Use images that clearly support or illustrate your message, not just to fill up space. Ask a dozen people to tell you what they like and don’t like about your site’s aesthetics.
6) Audit Your Competition
Take a good, hard look at your competitor to see what you can glean. What do you think works well? What do they do better than your site or other competitors? How do they differentiate themselves? Do they communicate a clear Unique Value Proposition – something that makes them stand out above the crowd? Now take these observations and compare them with your own site.
7) Test, Analyze and Revise
A website is an incredibly effective platform for testing and measuring the effect of various factors on visibility, acquisition, retention and engagement. Use different landing pages to test messages, graphical interface elements, offers and headlines. Just be sure to make your tests simple enough to identify clear trends and results. Try basic A/B tests (testing just 2 different elements at a time) and keep evolving from there.
These 7 simple tactics should be applied periodically to keep your site fresh and relevant for maximum engagement and ROI. Whether your website is a labor of love or your primary bread-winner, treat it to an annual dose of TLC and you’ll come out smelling like roses.
About the Author: Lyza Swearingen Latham is principal of Acute Visibility | BMO. Acute Visibility|BMO specializes in Brand Marketing Optimization – everything related to helping companies be found, recognized and profitable. Public Relations, Competitive Analysis, Content Development, Website Design, User Interface and User Experience Analysis, SEO, Social Media, Traditional Advertising, Customer Relationship Management, Branding, Events, Product Launches and maximizing conversion rates and ROI. Contact us at www.acutevisibility.com.