Customer Engagement: Are You Doing it with Your Website?

Guest blog by ContentBacon

5 Questions that Can Determine if You’re Kicking It…or Just Paying It Lip Service.

We interrupt this program. That used to be what marketing and advertising was all about. Back before the digital age – when there was only print, radio, and TV – you paid to break into a prospect’s attention. The effect was somewhat binary. They pardoned your interruption if they were interested in your product or service. Or, you ran the chance of their displeasure if they didn’t want what you had to offer.

That was all supposed to end with your website. Good-bye, push media. Hello interactivity. From now on, you’d be having two-way conversations with prospects to find out what they want so you can turn them into customers. It’s what you’re doing, right? Here are 5 questions to ask.

1. Do you reward website users when they engage with you?

You’ve heard all about those amazing statistics about what free samples at Costco can do for a product’s sales. Okay, you can’t push a little square of frozen pizza through your website – but you can reward visitors with a free trial subscription, an eBook, or even a simple acknowledgement.

Show them your gratitude for reading an article or watching a video. Reward them with praise for participating in a forum discussion or answering a survey question. Who doesn’t want to hear, “welcome back!”

Something else is at work here, too. Reciprocity is a strong human instinct. A free gift, or even a simple acknowledgement, generates an obligation. You’ve done something for them. What can they do for you, and that will also move them deeper into the sales funnel?

2. Do you offer live chat?

Breathe. The cost for this is not a bazillion dollars. The software is free. Sure, there’s a cost for the actual humans who will chat with your website visitors. You can look at that as an expense, or a return on investment. Here are a few statistics to help you approach it from the latter standpoint.

  • Kissmetrics reports that 44% of online consumers say having their questions answered online while in the middle of a purchase is one of the most important features a website offers.
  • Gartner predicts that by the end of this year, over 80% of companies with websites will offer some form of live chat.
  • Econsultancy says that live chat offers the highest level of satisfaction – coming in at 73% compared to 61% for email and only 44% for phone support.

3. Do you encourage and reward social media engagement?

Not so fast with putting a check mark in the box next to this question. Icons with the bird, the F, the camera, and the P sprinkled at the bottom of each page does not cut the mustard.

And, really, who cares if they go to your Facebook page and click on the “Like” icon? People who are social are people who interact. They do so because they are encouraged and made to feel comfortable about it. Sure, Google will blow you a kiss and give you a better ranking if you’ve got posts with a good number of shares on social media platforms.

The real magic, and the efforts that move prospects further down the sales funnel to become customers, happens when you take to social media to talk about the engagements you’re having with prospects and customers. It’s a form of reciprocity, too.

4. Are you anticipating and facilitating your website visitors’ journey, or just their final destination?

You can’t just talk about the value of your product or service. Some of your website visitors may not have reached the point where they are convinced you even understand their pain point. They’re entering from many different points and looking for a bunch of different perspectives.

Some may be ready to buy, and they need to be introduced the checkout area of your website. But, whoa! Not so fast. To do that, do they first have to create an account? What if they do that and it doesn’t work?

The questions aren’t to cast aspersions on how well your website functions. They’re to make you think about the many different journeys that website visitors can have as they navigate through your website. Successful journeys occur when there are multiple opportunities for engagement. They don’t see, and don’t care, about the business structure of your website. Their focus is the experience. It should be yours, too.

5.Do you question and seek to understand why your website visitors are doing what they’re doing?

You’re likely capturing a lot of data about user behavior. Software that captures this data has become sophisticated and affordable. It supposedly allows us to gain insight. We should be able to predict what will influence their buying decisions.

The problem with this data is that it’s a capture of historic actions, and those actions may not ever be repeated. Decision-making that leads to buying is not logical. It’s emotional, and it can be swayed by things your website can’t control.

All that data you’re capturing is extremely important. But, there’s another step – and it’s crucial. Observe their website behavior and use it to uncover the disconnects between their engagement with you and their purchase behavior.

This moves in symmetry with facilitating journeys, rather than final destinations. Time and pressure may work well to encourage a sale for customers who haven’t made many purchase decisions so far that day. “Decision-fatigue,” on the other hand, just might send some customers on their way.

Sometimes they’re just a gentle nudge. Other times they’re a fanfare trumpet. In all cases, they’re acknowledgement. You must engage your website visitors. Push media is dead.

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JLB was proudly voted best web design and development, made the Inc. 5000 list, is a Google Premier Partner, and offers the best full-service Marketing consultation available.

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