There are 3 components to website engagement: design, functionality and messaging.
These 3 elements, when combined as part of a well-thought-through strategy to offer visitors access to highly relevant materials and presented in a way that will make them stop and read, watch or click will improve website engagement.
People are not drawn to boring. They are drawn to pictures, video, infographics, cartoons—things that make them stop and look, make them smile, curious or speaks directly to a challenge they have in their professional life (and it could be a combination of all of the above).
On websites, where and how those images and messages are presented can directly impact engagement, and using heat mapping research we can predict the eye movements of visitors and design accordingly.
Website design crosses over with strategy when we consider how visitors go to the website in the first place, and there are many sources: online advertising, visitors to trade show booths, PR, networking and conferences to name just a few.
Imagine if someone interested in your capabilities statement is directed to your homepage and has to sort through all your service offering to finally find the information they need. Compare this to the prospective client who wants to download your capabilities statement and directly lands on a page were that’s possible with a single click. Who’s the happy prospect?
Building individual landing pages for specific events should be commonplace. But too often we see businesses limit their success because, to them, adding landing pages as part of a campaign seems difficult. If you have the right website tools, it’s not—and it shouldn’t be!
Engagement through website design considers more than pretty pictures. It’s about winning the battle for online attention. It’s the creation of a user experience that gets your clients and prospects to prefer your website—which is a reflection of the ease of doing business with your organization.
Engagement through the eyes of the website developer takes on a slightly different perspective. To the developer, this is about technology and coding!
Engagement factors of a well-developed website include:
- Cool functionality to draw attention
- Page load speed—visitors will just get fed up waiting
- Mobile-friendly pages—56% of all web interactions are on mobile devices
- Mechanisms to gather visitor information, for example, form fills, phone calls and online chat
- Mechanisms to measure online engagement, leads, and lead conversions—to demonstrate return on investment
Development combined with design and strategy draws visitors to your website which results in more leads and more information about the preferences of those visitors—which is valuable information to sales and business development teams.
We have all seen the clickbait teasers like “12 Historical Images You Won’t Believe” or more racy/nasty headlines that catch the eye. No, we don’t want to be those guys! But we can learn lessons from these tactics because, like it or not, they do get people engaged.
Things We Should Consider
- They have a headline that makes you look
- The materials are easy to read—compelling images and a short descriptions
Things We Should Avoid
- They are often tacky or downright sleazy
- They are excuses to expose you to unwanted advertisements
So how can we use this in our professional business environment with the goal of engaging our website visitors and ultimately converting them into prospects and clients?
“If you use a poor headline, it does not matter how hard you labor over your copy because your copy will not be read.” John Caples
Writing Irresistible Headlines
As far as messaging goes, writing irresistible headlines is where it’s at. Here are a few different approaches you can take:
Grab Attention: Speak directly to your customer. Have a clear headline promise and work to incorporate a problem that your product or service solves.
Example: For Less Than $10 Anyone Can Bypass Apple’s Big iPhone Security Feature (Forbes)
Define Your Audience: Who specifically are you speaking to? Often this means using the word “you” in the headline. This makes the reader feel known and named.
Example: Three Things You Can Do To Boost Customer Engagement (Inc.)
Deliver A Full Message: Tell them what your product or service does in just a few words. You have mere seconds to make an impression, make the most of them by sharing exactly what they can expect.
Example: How to Publish Regularly, Even If You Lack Writing Confidence (Copyblogger)
Create Curiosity: Get creative and entice them with a benefit or ask a question. When people only know the first part of a story, they naturally want to know the rest.
Example: Could The Breadcrumb Technique Help Boost Your Landing Page Conversions? (Unbounce)
Numbers: Headlines that include numbers are often highly engaging. People gravitate toward predictability and away from uncertainty. Numbers in a headline set expectations and give readers an idea of what they can expect to see upon clicking.
Example: Six Reasons Why Institutional Investors Could Flock to Crypto In 2019 (Forbes)
Writing Irresistible Headlines: Writing headlines is an art. It’s important to really understand and get to know your audience. What are they most interested in? What are their burning questions? How can you best serve them? If you aren’t sure, take the time to talk with your customers. Maybe send out a survey, host a focus group, or even make a few phone calls to talk to past customers.
Once you have a clear understanding of what they want and how you can best serve them, take a stab at writing your next article or ad headline using these different techniques. Incorporate A/B testing of the headlines to see what resonates best with your customers. Just remember, always keep the content customer focused and you’ll be well on your way to providing a great customer experience and opening the door for future business.
Is the federal government your target market? We have also created the Website Checklist for Government Contractors for you with a few other must-haves to consider.
If you are unsure about what to do next we are offering a FREE website assessment—we’ll let you know where you stand today and what your options are moving forward.
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