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November 30, 2010 / jasonpinto

Making it Easier for People to Stay

“You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

Is that how people feel when they visit your website? If so, you have a marketing problem. (And please, having the Semisonic tune playing as the site’s background music is not a valid reason for giving that feeling to people. If that song is playing on your site, then you have a different set of issues.)

Many businesses may verbally acknowledge the need to engage their prospects and customers. However, taking steps to truly make that happen when it comes to their online marketing activities is another story.

Think about the offline world — if we are looking to shop but have trouble finding a parking spot, that store may lose our business. No matter how bad we want what’s in the store, we may not be willing to uncomfortably drive around as we search and hope for one to open up.

If we want to engage people in the online world, we need to make them feel comfortable. We need to incite them to interact, and then make it easy for them to do so. We need to give them some control.

Accomplishing this should start with a company’s corporate website. We may be spending marketing dollars – in the form of time, money and creativity – on driving people there. However, we should never stop reviewing, testing, critiquing, and improving the user’s experience of when they actually arrive.

Tools such as Google Analytics may help us to see how long people are staying before they bail. However, what we do with that data is up to us.

If you are looking to make your website more interactive, here are three ideas:

Integrate your social media channels

Many companies are using social media channels to engage with their audience, and to promote their products or services .  However, they may neglect to integrate these channels into their corporate website.  One simple way to start doing this is by simply adding the “social badge” to your site. The badge could simply include icons of popular social media sites that you are using, with links to direct people to them.  This not only increases awareness of your other channels, but it also helps to extend the time that people spend with your company.

The integration could also be taken further. You may want to include a widget on your site that displays recent tweets directly on your home page.  You could include links to Twitter accounts of key personnel on your “Contact Us” or “About Us” pages.

Another way to integrate social media into your website is to make it easy for people to share your content on their social media pages. For example, add “Share This” links under your blog posts, or other key pages.

Tell the world you are up-to-date

If the copyright message on your site is 3 years old (or worse, if it lists the last year that Semisonic was popular), you are going to turn-off a portion of your audience. Even if your content is relevant, an old date in the footer may have a negative effect.

Encourage user-generated content

Depending on your type of business, this may take a bit of creativity. If you sell a product, encourage people to share stories, pictures, videos, and other forms of media that show or discuss how they’ve used it. If you offer a service, allow people to post their feedback and experiences.

This can have benefits for all parties. It helps to give a voice to your customer… it allows prospects to read un-biased reviews… it allows you to easily listen to what people are saying, and it also provides you with content that you may be able to use in future marketing activities.

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Ryan McAbee / Dec 1 2010 11:53 am

    The future is here… at least for parking – http://springwise.com/transportation/parksense/. An integrated markting approach across multiple channels (print, social, web, tv, radio, etc.) still needs some time to come together for most companies.

    Thanks for the post Jason!

  2. jasonpinto / Dec 1 2010 5:00 pm

    @mBossed, Thanks very much for leaving a comment.
    I loved the parking link. I’m adding “implement THAT at 21 Concord Street” on the 2011 Goal list for interlinkONE.

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