Is online “Engagement” something you need to strive for?

10 Rules of Online Engagement

Engagement isn’t really a bottom-line objective.  It’s actually a Strategy (a plan, or the “how”) for motivating a visitor to take some action on your website, blog, or social media page. (And it includes speaking the customer’s language, like iStockPhoto.com does . . .).

  • To engage means to maximize the value of every visitor.  We’ve got the visitor to our blog or website or Facebook page, now let’s motivate as many visitors as possible to take some action there.
  • To engage also means to deliver a valuable experience, to increase visit frequency.
  • And to engage means to motivate social sharing, to expand the reach of our Content with an implied endorsement.

10 Rules of Engagement

1. If it’s not Scan-able, it’s not Engaging

If you’re still writing one- or two-word headlines that don’t tell the scanning visitor what’s in it for them, what they’re going to learn on this page, and why they should stick around, they’ll be gone before they ever discover your fabulous Content and delicious Offers.

Headlines should deliver SPECIFIC BENEFITS that set up your brand story (i.e., the “why should you buy from us”).  Subheads should be used to “outline” your key points and let the scanning reader figure out what’s buried within your copy.

opod-before&after

 After                                                                         Before

“Our Overpromise” (the “Before”) became ”Build a Breakthrough Brand in Record Time at a Fraction of the Cost” (the “After“) — more specific, more “you-focused”, more benefit-oriented.

2.   Engage Each Type of Buyer with Content Tailored for Them 

If you know that different types of visitors are looking for different content on your website, use clear SIGNS to direct them.  The Interactive Design Association “flags” each audience right on the Home page– and includes links to the content they know each audience is most interested in.

Content by Buyer Persona

3.  Use Customer Words to “Hit the Audience Pain on the Target”

On Autocrib.com, we had dozens of great testimonials.  But how to organize them — to make them easily scanable, and help each target find exactly the story that speaks to them?  Solution: let the visitor sort by Objective they’re trying to achieve, or Industry.  And use the Customer’s own words as each Case Study headline.

Content organized by audience objective

4. Create Content for Each Stage in the Sales Process

Do you have content that helps your audience determine which overall CATEGORY of solution will solve their problem?  This type of content tends to be what your audience is looking for at early stages in the sales process — when they’re just trying to identify what solutions there are, and how they compare.

Most websites tend to assume the audience knows what overall category of solution they need — and focus on product- or service-related content.  But various studies have found that up to 70% of your audience conducts research and THEN contacts vendors they discover.  What if they never discover you during that research phase?

Content by Buying Stage

This is part of a chart for one Buyer Persona for Autocrib, that shows 2 of the 3 main Buying Stages, and how we created both Content and Offers for each specific Buying Stage.

5. Engage with an Online Tool

Does your audience need help finding the right product or service on your website?  Let your audience input some information specific to them — and guide them to the right solution.

Online Tool Engages Visitors

(Next time:  part 2 of 10 Rules of Engagement to Drive Leads and Customers . . .)

Are you using any smart engagement strategies on your website or blog or social media pages?

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