How engaged a customer is with your website will determine whether they can be persuaded to buy, comment, download or submit their information for you to follow up on. Customer engagement goes beyond just getting the customer's attention, you must keep their attention. This can be done by providing your visitors near immediate gratification.
To do that you have to first know who your audience is, know what they seek and then also know their purpose for being on your site. Knowing all this then lets you work toward meeting the needs of your target audience. But it also means taking things a step further and building a relationship with them. The ability to build a relationship with your visitors can be crucial to driving them through the persuasion process. Relationship building starts the moment the visitor hits the website.
Every page of your site is a landing page. From the moment visitors land on that first page you need to grab their attention. This doesn't require any gimmicks, but it does require the ability to organize your information in a compelling and visually friendly way.
Each page of your site must continue to assure your visitors that they are where they need to be to get the information they came looking for. Placement and words used in page headings, contextual links, bullet points, etc. can all be used to reassure your visitors that you have the information they need without much more than a quick glance.
What's in it for them?
If your visitors can't immediately figure out "What's in it for me?" then you will quickly lose their interest. Your visitors need to quickly find resolutions to the questions, product information, benefits and ultimately the question of why they should buy from you. If this information cannot be addressed on each page, provide obvious links to the pages that do.
SEO vs. usability
On-page SEO should enhance, rather than distract from, the visitor's engagement on the site. If your copy is poorly developed because you're trying too hard to insert keywords into the text, then your visitors will be pulled away from, rather than engaged in, the message. Good SEO considers users, not just search engines.
Textual links should be used as frequently as necessary to provide a customer-engaged navigation path. Contextual links, as opposed to standard navigation elements, allow visitors to click through finding the information that most interests them without forcing them to think about where they want to go next. Provide the path and they will follow. When you don't engage your visitors by providing them the information they want in a way that speaks to their wants and needs, then you're mostly just speaking at users rather than to customers. You want your visitors to have a personal experience as they interact with your website. Make them feel as if you developed the site just for them.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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