When it comes to metrics you should pay attention to, engagement should be one of the big ones. Engagement is going to dictate whether or not all those followers, fans, or website visitors can actually result in a more robust, long-term work relationship.
Your website is your hub, your calling card. So it makes sense to start there when optimizing for engagement. Let’s walk through all the places on your website where you can initiate the call for engagement.
Quite frankly, everything starts with the content on your website. It will set the tone for engagement . . . or not. The exact time varies online, but you have between 7-15 seconds to capture the attention of your website visitors. To create a site that looks engaging, you should follow these simple rules:
- Make text easy to read. White text on dark backgrounds is harder on the eyes.
- Use white space strategically. Big blocks of text or a crowded and busy layout can be a huge turn off.
- Don’t use poor quality images.
- Limit fonts and colors used. Quite simply, you want a website that is beautiful to look at.
- Don’t use huge pop-ups that cover the page. There are all sorts of gurus who say you can increase subscription rates by having this on your website, but I think the key is to keep it small and to make it pop up after a certain percentage of scrolling. That way the visitor at least knows what you’re about, before an email request pops up. Also, Google will penalize you in search if a pop-up blocks your content on your mobile website, so you want to use something smaller and less obtrusive.
When it comes to words, you want to start light and engaging. Refrain from the use of industry jargon and focus on getting people to know, like, and trust you. Make sure that people can answer these from the homepage:
- Who are you?
- What product or service do you provide?
- Do you provide a solution to their issue?
- Is it worth sharing?
If you have a blog, you can do a few things to encourage engagement with your readers.
- Write in an engaging tone. We’re coming away from the strict English writing rules we all grew up with and leaning more to writing how we speak. When you think about it, writing that way plays more like a conversation with the reader. We can almost hear the dialogue in our head. Of course, know who your audience is and how they talk. This requires some familiarity with your target market, but doing so will attract the right people to your content.
- If you reference other people’s content, link to it. If they’re paying attention, it’s quite possible they will come to comment on your blog. At the least, it opens the channel for a conversation.
- Ask a question at the end of your blog to solicit a response. If people comment on your content, take the time to comment back. Try to respond in a way that can keep the conversation going.
Make sure that social sharing is a part of your engagement strategy. Pre-packaging social shares is a cool tactic. Using a tool like Click to Tweet helps to give people reasons to engage with your content by sharing it with their tribe. Creating beautiful, downloadable graphics for them to share is another way.
Make sure if you see that someone shares your content that you acknowledge it with a “like” or thank you. This will help to encourage future sharing.
Usually used to help with customer support or sales, chat is an easy way to engage with people in real-time on your website. There are all sorts of chat software, including ones that integrate with Facebook Messenger, but they break down into two types — ones that are managed by a live person, and ones that initiate via artificial intelligence (AI) or bots (short for robots).
Live chats are staffed by an individual. You can assign several staff members, certain ones or manage it yourself. They can come in both a desktop and mobile app so that you can handle website visitor questions on the fly.
With AI, you can “train” it to respond to certain keywords or ask certain questions to direct their inquiry. They can collect information and assure the visitor of a human response later or can forward to a live operator then and there.
Last but not least, you want to have a contact page or ways that people can contact you. You can’t claim you want engagement and then give no one a way to engage. A contact page says, “I want to hear from you.” Just make sure that you’re on the other end of the phone or email to continue the conversation.
Engagement is an important piece of online metrics. It’ll give you a quick look if you’re really doing this digital marketing thing right. If you’re engagement doesn’t seem to be happening, maybe making some of the tweaks above can help.
What are some engagement tweaks you can make to your website?
Janeile Cudjoe-Myers is the Digital Marketing Consultant at Zig !t Marketing, an agency she started in 2009 to support organizations with web design, social media, and email marketing. She spends her free time enjoying life with her husband and living vicariously through the people on HGTV.