If that’s not a red flag to you, it should be. As digital marketers push the boundaries of delivering a truly excellent customer experience, brand websites are re-emerging as one of their most important marketing channels. After all, it’s the number one place consumers go to learn more about your brand and product offerings — and the longer you can get them to stick around, the more loyal they (and their wallets) become.
But inviting people to your website is like inviting them to a party: If it’s boring, they’re going to leave. Most of us wouldn’t invite our friends over and give them nothing to eat, nothing to drink, nothing to do and no one to talk to. And the same should apply to your website. If you want your guests to want to stay, you have to roll out the red carpet.
Here are three of the most common party fails and their surprisingly easy fixes:
There’s no one media type that appeals to everyone. Some of your visitors might be into blog posts, while others prefer reading product reviews or scrolling through photos of your product in the wild. That’s why interactive and dynamic websites that show off things like the latest trends and customer sentiment are the most effective for driving product exploration.
In order to be successful, you have to switch it up. Experiment with various kinds of media — such as videos, photos, podcasts, slideshows, infographics, social content, blog posts — and from various authors, too. Try aggregating content from experts in your industry, displaying social content from happy customers, or asking visitors on your site to share their experiences through chats, photo uploads, comments or product reviews.
More than 90 percent of consumers trust earned media over all other kinds of media, so adding some third-party voices will diversify your content, while also earning you some serious credibility.
West Elm, for example, offers visitors a bunch of different ways to get style ideas and inspiration without leaving the site. The home retailer’s blog features content from West Elm experts, as well as third-party design sites like Dwell and style bloggers.
Awhile back, a major gaming company came to me because they couldn’t figure out why this awesome interactive website they’d built wasn’t generating as many conversions as they’d expected. So I took a look at the site and realized that even though it was a really cool experience, I had to click through four different pages — including one that asked for my email address — before I even saw a glimpse of the “buy” button.
Navigation may seem like a no-brainer, but that scenario is something I see all the time. It’s critically important to understand the objective behind a given page and make sure the navigation leads the user through the appropriate phase of customer journey.
If you want users to convert, the buy button had better be easy to find. If you want them to explore your products, make sure you’re leading them in that direction. And if you want them to leave a review or register, you need to ask them to!
Conduct some basic user testing (it doesn’t have to be official, you can always ask a couple of friends or even a colleague who doesn’t touch the website to walk you through their experience on the site) to find out if you’re doing these things effectively. And if you’re not, chances are you can fix the issues with a few dev tweaks or by adding some basic calls to action.
Registered users visit your site more frequently and spend more money than those who aren’t registered. Plus, those email addresses open up direct 1:1 communication channels with your best customers, so you can keep inviting them back for more.
The only catch, as I’m sure you know, is that most people aren’t quick to give away their personal information just because you ask them to. You need a good incentive on the other side of that registration wall.
Guess what often proves to be a good enough incentive? Great content!
For example, Sears’ Craftsman (disclosure: client) sells tools. So they created the Craftsman Club, a destination for makers of all kinds to upload and discuss DIY projects, inspiration and tips. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the site each month to browse user-submitted projects. The only catch? If you want to ask a question or post a project of your own, you have to register.
But Sears doesn’t use those email addresses to exclusively sell products. They’re constantly asking their club members for feedback, featuring popular project ideas, sharing exclusive offers and launching new contests. Their email content is completely dependent on feedback from their community, and it changes all the time to ensure they’re providing the most possible value for their members.
Now what...? Now, let's do it!