In this post you’ll find a few strategies you can employ today to better engage your visitors.
Visitor engagement, just like content is among the set of things that can make any content marketing strategy more or less successful. Something similar happens in business, where the quality of the product and the way the costumer interacts with the business can greatly influence de degree with which the user is more or less likely to stay with the business. Meaning become a recurrent buyer, or go out on the look for a better product/service from potential competitors.
After you spend enough time creating quality content, the next step is to find a way to engage the visitor/user, while they are in the website if your a blogger, on the channel if you have a YouTube channel or on in the app if you’re an app developer.
Ways to better engage your visitors
Just like on the subject of content creation, there are many strategies you can implement to better engage the user/visitor in your platform. There really is no best strategy ever to do this, since what works for one person, might be a complete failure or completely useless to another. So, from every thing you learn here, the best thing you can do is to test it for yourself. As the motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said: “don’t be a follower, be a student”. Meaning that for everything we learn, we should hold back the tendency to quickly become followers of the ones who present us a view of life. We should instead learn from them, and with our own judgment, come up with our own conclusions. Below are a few things you can think of.
1. Answer to comments and emails
Comments and emails from your visitors are probably the most important thing to pay attention to when it comes to visitor/user engagement. One example of a businessman who can arguably be said to have become wildly successful because of that is Jeff Bezos with Amazon. On the book The everything store by Brad Stone, the author talks about the acute interest of the CEO of Amazon for costumer complaints, such so that he made it one of the priorities of the business. In a world in which we are used to being ignored by the businesses we interact with when we have a complaint, anyone that shows how much they care is likely to get from us the rosiest of the recommendations, even if they did a poor job.
So, by answering comments and emails you get to learn from your visitors/users, the kinds of things you’re doing wrong. The user/costumer/visitor is the one who can better tell you whether their needs were met, and what you can do to improve their experience with your business.
Another benefit of answering to comments and emails you get is that you also get to add more content in the comments in the form of answers. They are another opportunity to add more value.
Google and the search engines in general are another reason why you might want to answer to your comments. The reason for this is that user engagement is another parameter they use to tell whether the content you create really is of value to the visitors or not. By answering to comments you motivate the visitors to make even more comments, and this comment back and forth tells the search engines that there might be some inherent value on the piece of content you published.
2. Give them what they ask for
Another way to improve the level of user engagement is to give to the visitor/user at least what they expect to get. The violation of the user’s expectations is often enough to make sure that what goes by the name of bounce rate not only is high, but also that the users/visitors who bet on you to give them the answers/solution they were looking for never come back.
I’m sure that we’ve all been victims of websites/YouTube pages or even apps which promised to do or teach us something, but turned out to violate their promises, by either not doing what they were supposed to do, and/or showing ads instead. Having a following of users/visitors who are fans of your content is more important than displaying ads once, and the reason for this is that this not only increases the odds that they will eventually convert into costumers, but also that they could even become recurring costumers. Meaning that if you’re selling a product that can be purchased over and over again, chances are, that due to the trust and the relationship you built with them, that they will buy your product over and over again.
The reason why giving what you promise to give and nothing less is important, as you’re probably aware by this point, is that it builds trust.
We live in a time in which most of us if not all expect businesses to be trying to take advantage of us, and as protective measure, we become more defensive and skeptic in our interactions with the businesses of today. We require trust first, before even considering any monetary transaction with any business. We look for reviews, both positive and negative, since, with the growth of the internet and the social media, businesses that scam people are more often than not exposed. Today, the way the visitor perceives your brand and the kinds of things they hear from others and tell about it is probably the most important thing of all.
We see celebrities, business people and politicians easily losing their careers when they say the wrong thing, and this is only possible because now, unlike in the past, the costumer/user/visitor, has a platform in which to display their pains and complaints to the entire planet, only with a click of a mouse. So, make sure you keep your promises.
3. Invest on user interface friendliness
The way the visitor/user interacts with your platform is another way to improve the level of engagement with your business. Today, people tend to be less and less patient towards any level of unnecessary complication/difficulties in using technology. Chances are that your competitors are investing on making their websites/apps easy to use and you should too. As people become more and more accustomed to dealing with simple and easy to use interfaces, the pressure to make our apps and websites simple and easy to use grows.
One way to accomplish this task is by avoiding the urge to add extra features. One would think that by adding extra functionality to an app or website apart from what can be considered to be its core tasks, would make the user/visitor like it more, and this is true but only to a certain extent. I’m sure we can all recall one or more instances in which the core tasks of a device where difficult to execute, and what really didn’t matter was easy to find and implement. There is a specific kind of users who enjoy finding and taking advantage of extra features in a device, but most people in general just don’t care. Think about a computer for example. They tend to have lots of commands that if you knew would make your life easier, but most of us are not aware of even one. Some people on the other hand, are familiar with those commands, and they enjoy how easy they make their lives. The basics are easy to use/implement and available to us, and the extras, such as special commands although still there, are only available for the ones who care enough to look for and learn them. So, the big take away from this point is not to avoid adding extras to your apps or websites, but to instead make at least the core actions/features easy to use and implement. If you have any extra cool features, those should certainly be added, but should by no means compete with the core ones in terms of ease of use and accessibility.
4. Eliminate bottlenecks
This is to some degree an extension to the previous point. Waiting is just like difficult interfaces is one of those things people are less and less tolerant of as time goes by. And we can’t blame them. If there is enough technology to eliminate any unnecessary waits, why should anybody waste their precious time doing that instead of doing the things they really want to do? So, just like improving the ease with which the costumer/visitor/user interacts with your platform/app/website/device, you should also strive to eliminate/reducing any kind of wait. Another reason why this is important is that while the costumer/prospect is waiting, the chances increase that a competitor will get them to switch. The competition is just like you also looking for ways to increase their market share, and another way to do just that apart from making themselves the first choice of prospects with no choice yet, is to take their competitor’s costumers. So, if the costumer itself isn’t the one going to look for a better service, chances are that your competitors will be the ones trying to lure your costumers into switching.
5. Always give your best
This one I learned from the motivational speaker Jim Rohn, and his advice goes on the lines of “always do more than you’re paid for”. We are used to the idea of giving in proportion to what we get, but the problem with this kind of mentality is that the people on the other side of the table are also thinking in the same way. As time goes by, instead of an increased level of value on the system, we get nothing but sameness. Another variant of the same kind of advice he often says on his tapes is: “you get more than you have, because you can become more than you are:. Changing it a little, we can also say that you can get more than you have because you can offer more value than you offer now.
Something special happens when someone offers their best to us: we feel the urge to do the same to them. This is the essence of what goes by the name of reciprocity bias. For the ones who don’t know, the reciprocity bias is nothing more than the tendency we humans have to feel the need to pay back any kinds of favor done to them, no matter how small. The crazy thing about it is that sometimes, we return a favor by making a bigger favor. By always trying to give your best, and keep offering value to both your partners, and costumers, you get to benefit from their bias towards reciprocity, plus the kind of increased affection we can’t help but to develop towards the ones who make our lives better.
6. Spend some time researching ways to make things better
This one comes straight from the founder of one of the biggest retail stores in the planet: Sam Walton. Sam Walton is known for his incessant curiosity towards improvement. He Spent some of his time checking out what the competitors were doing well on their stores so he could also implement on his. Another very successful businessman followed the same ideal, and as of today is one of the wealthiest people on the planet. That person is Jeff Bezos with Amazon.com.
By constantly looking for ways you can deliver more value you eventually get to deliver more value, since as the old saying goes: “you get what you look for”.
In the end of the day, user/visitors engagement just like most things in life is more of a skill to be learned and mastered. The current thinking of most of us is that the ability to engage people is one of those things you’re either born with or not. The truth is that just like the ability to speak publicly, there are some people who are somehow natural at it, but for most of us who are not, practice, can get us just where we need to get, and just like in our personal relationships, being able to engage your visitors requires from you some research on the user and his/hers taste.
It is all about knowledge and experience 😉
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