Marketers who truly know their stuff should always be concerned about customer engagement and whether they’re doing enough to build relationships with their current and potential customers. To retain and acquire customers and clients, it’s important to interact and connect with them in meaningful, effective, and appropriate ways.
It’s foolish to think that customers will just make their way to your website, stay there, and take action without doing anything to engage them. And while that might sound challenging, the fact is that there are many methods used to increase client engagement, and many of them aren’t that difficult to implement. But first, the basics…
What is customer engagement?
The term “customer engagement” is a blanket term that includes all the ways you’ve chosen to interact with your customers. These methods of engagement, ideally, should help customers feel positive about your business or your brand.
Customer engagement might include a monthly email newsletter, a video posted on Facebook about a new product, or a courtesy text about an upcoming event. Truly, the possibilities are endless, but all customer engagement tools should focus on creating value. They should provide your customer with something valuable, prompting him/her to be loyal to you and to spread the word about your excellent services or products.
Ways to improve your customer engagement
When visitors come to your website, there are a variety of ways to entice them to stay and keep them engaged. Some will work for you. Others might not. It largely depends on the type of business you own. But there are certainly things all businesses can do to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
- Improve and lengthen your content – Pages with about 1,000 to 2,500 words have higher user engagement, studies show. In other words, the more text you provide for visitors to read, the longer they’ll stay. However, you need to make sure that you break up that content into palatable bites, using headings and subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, and other devices that make it easier to browse.
- Make sure your site is loading quickly – You can lose a lot of visitors simply because your site is taking a while to load. Nobody wants to wait! So, be sure your site loads quickly, and if it doesn’t, take the steps necessary to make that happen. That may mean removing some images or other elements that are causing the delay. Your website building expert can help with identifying what might be slowing you down.
- Remove the clutter from your layout – Take a close look at your design and determine whether it’s simply too “busy”. A chaotic layout confuses the eye, so if there’s too much going on opt for something simpler. In general, your menu should stand out, you should employ plenty of white space, and your font should be easy to read. Go easy on the images too, especially on your homepage.
- Improve your linking structure – Of course, all your links should work, but in addition they should help your users navigate your site more easily, eliminating the frustration that comes with problems like dead links. They should also have a descriptive anchor text, should be hyper-relevant, and must go somewhere “new”, as in a place that can’t already be easily accessed from your main navigation menu. In addition, you can put “also read” links in your text to take readers to other relevant content or put “related content” links at the bottom of each page.
- Choose one writing style and stick with it – There are basically two writing styles on the internet – formal and conversational. You’ll have to determine which is right for your business. If you’re providing serious content, the formal option might be better for you, but if your customers are laidback and quirky, an easy-going tone might fit the bill. Get to know your customers and figure out which is best.
- Make sure your design is mobile responsive – Did you know that some two-thirds of purchases made worldwide each day happen from a mobile device? And experts predict that number is likely to rise. So, it’s extra important to user engagement that your site design be mobile-friendly.
- Add a search box that’s easy to find – Have you ever gone to a website and searched and searched for that little magnifying glass so you can enter a word or phrase to search? It’s frustrating when it’s just a tiny icon buried somewhere on the page. Keep it simple but bold and put it on the top left, which is where the search box is most often found.
- Consider giveaways, rewards, or contests – Who doesn’t want to get something for nothing?? But don’t just give away your products without getting something back in return. Offer rewards if your visitors take certain actions, for example, like sharing your content a certain number of times or writing product reviews. Contests/sweepstakes can also improve your brand recognition in general, so don’t shy away from them or think that they’re trite. Your customers will love the chance to win something!
- Collect email addresses – To truly engage with your customers, you need to reach them more than once. As such, if you collect email addresses and send them new content, they’ll likely come back to your site again. Adding an “opt-in” box at the end of your relevant content works well for gathering emails.
As you consider how to increase engagement, take some of the above suggestions and test them out to see which work for you. It may not be all of these, and some may work better than others, but it’s essential to give them a try.
You can also talk to the website designers at Watershed9 about improving your existing website or building a new one that provides you with more and better ways to engage with your customers. For more information or to speak to one of our experts, call 604-337-1449.