You created a website or a blog, you wrote your posts and you even got people to stop by. Amazing! But what do you do now? People stopping by online and actually returning to your site, otherwise known as retaining customers, and then engaging with your site, is a different story. How do you do this? Our guest blog breaks it down for you, below.
Getting visitors to view your website is a good measure of how well your website is designed and managed, but it’s not the best. Just because someone visited your site doesn’t mean that they read it, learned anything about your brand or are convinced that they need your product or services. In fact, they might have wound up there accidentally do to an errant click or misguided search engine suggestion (these numbers are reflected by a higher bounce rate in your analytics).
What are Engagement and Retention?
Instead, two much better metrics for tracking the actual efficiency of your website are the engagement and retention numbers. Engagement is simply how much interaction the viewer has with your website during their visit. You can set the parameters for engagement at whatever levels you want. For some, engagement is simply clicking to another page on the site after the initial page they landed on. For others, it’s commenting on a blog, sharing it on social media or entering an email address on a landing page form.
Engagement and retention go hand in hand, especially when it comes to connecting with and finding ways to reconnect with the visitors on your site. Customer retention is extremely important if only for the simple fact—made brilliantly clear by Michael C. Scott in The Office—that it costs more to bring in a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Therefore, you can see how important customer engagement and retention are to your website’s—and business’s—success.
How to Engage Viewers on your Websites
Viewer engagement really comes down to how you personally set your parameters and goals. If you have simple engagement parameters, it’s a lot easier to engage your viewers—the more difficult the goals or end game, the more difficult it is going to be to engage visitors to your website.
There’s a simple trick that we like to follow which works on both ends of the engagement spectrum, easy and difficult engagement goals. As an example, let’s pick two engagement parameters and look at ways we can meet them:
- Easy Engagement Goal. Let’s stick with our example above: simply wanting your visitor to visit another page on your website after the initial page they landed on. There are any number of ways to do this, but the best way is to create engaging content that leaves just a little bit to be desired. For example, let’s say that we are explaining how to clean a fish tank and we want the visitor to visit another page to show they are engaged. We might try embedding links to our products within the text or we might do something like a top five list where the number one way to clean a fish tank is in the call to action (meaning they must click to find out).
- Harder Engagement Goal. But what if your goal is more difficult, say, getting an email address out of a lead. People hate spam and the last thing they want to do is get a bunch of junk in their email, so they are hesitant to give it out. While this does mean that the email addresses you collect are more highly qualified leads, it also means it’s harder to engage visitors and get them to relinquish their email addresses. A great way to do this is to increase engagement by offering an opt-in or freebie on your landing pages. For example, if they enter their email address, they will receive a free eBook or discount to a product.
Other popular forms of engagement include social sharing and blogging, but let’s stick with the emails for now so we can see how this plays into customer retention.
How to Retain Customers Visiting Your Website
Customer retention is all about being able access your customers whenever you need to. Social media is the obvious way to do this, but unless your content on social sites is engaging, chances are you aren’t going to be able to retain customers without a little help. Enter the email marketing division.
Email marketing is a great way to keep in contact with your qualified leads. Qualified leads are more likely to open your emails and engage with the content, so what you really need to do is build lists. One list you already have is a customer list, so you can keep in constant contact with them, updating them on offers, sales and early bird specials. The other list is the one that you’re building on your landing pages through engagement, giving you new, highly qualified leads to engage and retain.
Bio – Dan Mill, the author of this piece writes occasionally on behalf of LiveCity.com. If you’re on the lookout to make a website for your business within minutes and within your budget, don’t forget to check his website today.
Check out examples of how to make your email marketing more effective.