There is a direct correlation between the amount of time someone spends on your website, and the likelihood that they will take a desired action – the action that is often hidden behind this shiny “Purchase” or “Register” button. Usually, the more engaged they are, the greater the chance that they will register, sign-up, or make a purchase. If you are able to provide a better user experience and keep your visitors engaged, you will be able to increase the conversion, and ultimately, grow your business.
The question is, in a world of increasing competition and dwindling attention spans, how do you keep users engaged on your website?
Use the following ten actionable tips to boost engagement, and turn more visitors into customers.
1. Get the basics right
With users becoming increasingly impatient, any flaws in your website’s usability will lead to missed opportunities to convert potential customers.
Pay attention to the basics such as the site speed and your navigation structure. Users aren’t going to stay long on a website that is too slow, complicated or unclear. Make it easy for them to quickly find what they are looking for, and lead them to the action you want them to take.
Also, consider how mobile friendly your website is. The fact that well over 50% of all users are now accessing the internet via mobile devices, presents both an opportunity and a challenge. On one hand, you are closer to them, on the other – engagement tends to be lower among mobile users. This means that a responsive design is now more important than ever in order to provide the best possible user experience, maintain engagement, and drive conversions.
2. Make sure users understand your offer
It may sound obvious, but to convert users into customers, they need to be able to clearly understand what you are offering and how it will benefit them.
Invest time in getting to know exactly who your target audience is, and communicate directly to them. Understand what they want to know, and use the same language and level of terminology they use, avoiding jargon and marketing speak. Remember that they may not share the excitement and visionary way you are talking about your product – it needs to hit their needs as simply as possible.
3. Communicate value
For a user to commit to buying a product or service from you as opposed to someone else, you need to present a clear and strong value proposition.
Drill down into the wants and needs of your potential customers and show them how your product or service can solve their problem. Highlight what is special about it, but also provide enough quantifiable, credible information that users can draw their own conclusions as to its value. Providing proof, such as verifiable facts and data, or customer testimonials, not only helps users to see how your product or service could work for them, but also builds trust they have for your solution and brand.
4. Tell a story
Use storytelling to develop an emotional connection with potential customers and get them excited about what you have to offer.
For storytelling to be effective, you need to tap into the needs and emotions of your users and give them a solution to their problem using a story they can identify with.
Using the experiences and successes of existing customers can be a great way to inspire new customers.
Don’t just rely on words either. Images and videos are a fantastic way of capturing your users’ imaginations.
5. Inspire confidence
Would you give your information to an unprofessional looking website, or one that was littered with spelling and grammatical errors? Probably not, and neither would your users. Building trust is an important part of increasing conversions. Fortunately, there are a few, simple things you can do to convey your professionalism and give your website credibility:
- Provide contact details, such as a physical address and phone number, plus photos of your offices or team, to show them that there is a real company behind your website.
- Invest in a website that looks professional, with good quality images and well written copy. Be especially careful to eliminate any errors, such as spelling and grammar, or broken links.
6. Provide the payment methods your customers want to use
Make buying from you as easy as possible. As your customers reach the checkout, make multiple payment methods available, and offer them the payment methods they will want to use. In some countries for example, PayPal is not commonly used. In others however, it may be preferred.
7. Use gradual engagement
While it may be tempting to send your users to a registration or sales page as soon as possible, using gradual engagement and slowly building a relationship with your visitors, can yield better results in the long run.
Gradual engagement involves giving users some value upfront, allowing them to see the benefits of your product or service, before asking them to sign up or register. At some point, they fall into an engagement trap, a situation when they have already invested a lot into the process so far that they will not want to lose it – and thus they will register. A good example of this, is the hotel booking websites that allow you to search for deals, before requiring you to create an account.
8. Support returning visitors
Recognising and supporting returning visitors to your site massively improves user experience, which in turn increases engagement.
Using a chat module such as Drift or Intercom, is a cost effective way of picking up the conversation and quickly providing answers to questions that may be standing in the way of a conversion.
Storing cookies to save the work a visitor has already done is another great way of improving user experience, for example, saving a partially completed insurance form.
9. Keep the conversation alive
Continue to strengthen your relationship with your users and keep them engaged, even when they are away. Send emails to keep your service visible and alive in the minds of your visitors.
A good approach when doing this is humanising your communication with personalisation, for example by having your CEO sign off mailings.
10. Leave the door open
Finally, always communicate your openness to your visitors coming back. You may not have converted them this time, but leaving the relationship on a good note may encourage them to return in the future.
For customers who may be coming to the end of their time with you, show you appreciate their business and reward their loyalty, for example by offering a discount for renewal.
At a time where competition is rising and users are becoming increasingly impatient, we must take every advantage of the opportunity to convert visitors into customers.
Invest in really understanding your target audience and use that information to communicate with them effectively. At the same time, make it as easy as possible for potential customers to take your desired action, by removing both the physical and mental barriers to doing so.
A focus towards keeping your visitors better engaged and improving user experience, will undoubtedly see your conversions rise and your business grow.