Optimize Content ____
10 Ways Your Website Stops Your Customers from Engaging and Buying
Photo by Mark Solarski on Unsplash
You may have a product that people genuinely want. You may offer a service that actually helps people. However, if your site is not optimized for your potential customers, you’re making it hard for your customers to engage, meaning they are less likely to buy or use your services. A website that’s optimized for customers has information that helps customers in their buying journey. Research shows that helping your customers with their needs and utilizing strong and easy-to-use user experience increases engagement, onboarding, and revenue.
1. First and Foremost, Make Your Website Load Fast
According to recent studies conducted by Google:
- 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load.
- When people have a negative brand experience on mobile, they are over 60% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future. And when it comes to negative mobile interactions, one of the top complaints is “slow experience.”
Consider that many users are accessing your site through cellular networks that can often be agonizingly slow. If you can give them a version of your site that loads in less than three seconds with poor cellular reception, many more people will engage with your brand in the digital space.
2. Find Content Easily
Navigating your website should be easy. Utilize great UX/UI design and users should be able to find whatever information they need within seconds, especially your site’s call-to-action. A call-to-action is just what it sounds like—it calls on the customer to act, such as:
- Sign up for newsletters and promotional updates.
- Download an informational asset such as an eBook or a trial version of your product.
- Make a purchase.
Ideally, visitors shouldn’t have to scour your site for opportunities to sign-up, share, and buy. This also applies to your site’s menu, contact forms, and any useful information such as a blog.
3. Make Buying Quick and Easy
When it comes to the buying process, it’s important that you make the checkout experience as smooth and as quick as possible. Use a third-party checkout service that already has billing info saved, or utilize pre-filling user preferences. You can also consider using simple payment solutions, such as Square or Plasso, that aim to make paying for items or services quick and easy. If your website visitors are researching to buy later, include “save-to-cart” and “wishlist” features, making buying easier for future visits.
4. Know Your Audience
In a digital world, knowing your audience allows you to better understand their customer journey. We use current web analytics to track a number of factors about your site’s visitors, such as where your users are from, how they find your website (social media, search, or email), and demographic information.
One time-tested content strategy is to develop personas, which are profiles of key users that your site attracts and serves. Based on these personas, you can craft your language and messaging to the specific sets of users, and thus better engage with those users.
While it’s important to have a mission statement, awards, and testimonials on your site in all the right places, the homepage should be primarily dedicated to helping users solve a problem or answer a particular question or help visitors find their desired product. Simply put, your site’s content should be about the users and their needs.
5. Simplify Site Navigation
Simple site navigation at the top of your page with well-organized content helps your visitors find what they need. Likewise, include a search bar to help visitors filter content.
The search bar performs very well: visitors using the search function converted at 4.63% versus the websites’ average of 2.77% – that’s 1.8 times more effective. Consequently, visitors using search contributed on average 13.8% of the revenues.
6. Understand Your Customer’s Shopping Journey
Imagine your customer’s search for a certain item or service as a journey with three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase. Some customers window shop out of curiosity (Awareness). Others are involved in a more active search, such as a mother-to-be searching for the best stroller (Consideration), or a homeowner in desperate need of a plumber (Purchasing). Those who are closer to making a purchasing decision are further along in their shopping journey.
If you can understand where customers are in their shopping journey, you can deliver relevant messaging and even features. For example, a save-to-cart feature would be especially useful to customers in the consideration phase of their journey. Place a call-to-action prominently on your homepage to get users in the Awareness stage to sign up for your newsletter, opting in on updates of new products, promotions, and events. For the customer who’s ready to buy, make it easy to find the product and checkout within seconds.
7. Make Your Brand Helpful
Currently, the brands that are the most successful are the ones that help their customers. Being helpful can mean many things: offering fast and friendly customer service via chat or phone, allowing users to quickly see if an item is in stock, and making the purchasing process as easy as possible by utilizing a find-a-store-nearby function. According to Google, “interactions with brands described as ‘helpful’ are 1.5X as likely to lead consumers to both purchase and recommend that brand…” This should apply across your marketing efforts, including all social media. Blog posts and social channels can help educate your customers as to who you are, what you offer, and how your product can help them. Social media influencers do this especially well, building their brand first and then offering products and services later.
The best companies seek to build trust and to educate customers with the confidence that their products offer the best possible solution to a specific need.
8. Use Engaging Images and Videos
The longer visitors browse your webpage, the possibility of buying increases. Use striking and branded multimedia to increase engagement and boost website interaction because video and imagery accelerate conversions. Likewise, informative videos provide your users insight into your brand and product, thereby helping your visitors. In addition, Google SEO prioritizes websites with longer visits, meaning the more time people spend on your site, the higher your ranking.
9. Create A Positive Experience
When it comes to marketing, good enough is actually not enough. In your marketing efforts you must strive to create a decidedly positive experience. Your site’s functionality, features, and design create a positive experience for your site’s users and potential customers.
It’s also worth stating that being interruptive is just as bad as being neutral or irrelevant. Forty-six percent of people say they would not purchase from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience. People specifically mentioned annoying pop-ups that block content or full-screen ads that force a user to scroll through to view content as examples of bad web experiences that drive negative brand perceptions.
10. Show Credibility
If you can, demonstrate the validity of your products. This will help your audience develop trust in your brand.
- Showcase your expertise through your content strategy. Create informative and helpful blog posts, use videos, and create content on social media that informs and helps your audience.
- Utilize testimonials and ratings! The more specific they are, the better because visitors listen to users’ reviews. Customers who say exactly what it is they like about your product or service are invaluable because they provide useful information for potential buyers to consider.
- Reviews from trusted publications or digital spaces add credibility your product, whether it be from Elle.com for jewelry/fashion, Wired for digital products and services, or a tried and true influencer. Authorities in the industry give your product credibility through their reviews and can validate the quality of the product or service.
The expectations of online buyers are higher than ever. Brand communications shift to meet these expectations and become more customer-focused, investing in a variety of digital marketing strategies to attract and convert potential leads into sales. Furthermore, the methodology behind search engines ranking evolves to bring the most helpful and engaging sites to the top of the rank. The result is a more personable landscape of customer experiences on the web. Now more than ever, customers expect an engaging, helpful, and well-designed mobile experience. By utilizing best practices, you can deliver a positive buying experience to users and, by doing so, increase your site’s engagement rate.