The last few months have turned consumer engagement on its head. With physical shops closed and more people online than ever, and for longer, there's never been a better time to give your website a once over and ensure you're ready to capitalise on increased traffic.
Here at Candyspace, working with our clients in the automotive, publishing and FMCG sectors, we have come up with 5 key pointers to increase user engagement on your site.
Tell your story
The ultimate aim of the game is to encourage users to spend more time on your website, view more pages before leaving, share content and ultimately convert to purchase. To do this, customers must feel that the site is generating value for them and must interact and engage with what you have to say.
As consumer behaviour changes, the focus on driving to traditional conversion points has to change, even temporarily. For example, while our automotive clients can no longer point customers towards booking test drives, the current circumstances offer an unexpected opportunity to focus on building brand loyalty and interest in the heritage and longevity of their company and ethos.
This is a golden opportunity to ensure your website has plenty to focus on for those users who have more time on their hands to browse. It is vital to keep them engaged with stories that will last past this current lockdown phase into a long-standing interest in your brand and offering.
To do this, it's important to know how to use video to capture attention and connect emotionally with viewers, and it's even more true that long form content is king.
Understand your customers
Brands are accustomed to using data to understand their online customers, but with changes in government advice and in the reality of day to day life and shopping habits changing on a monthly basis, it’s all the more essential to watch what they are doing and make changes accordingly.
Are people searching for different terms or items? If so, make them more accessible on the homepage or landing pages. Are people spending more time on certain articles or pages? If so, try to identify how this changes the traditional user journey.
Conducting usability testing can show key insights into what is changing in the priorities of the consumer and most importantly, why. Ideally you will then build on these learnings and be able to deliver relevant, personalised experiences.
Design is key
High standards of UX and UI design can quickly improve user experience and reduce bounce rates; nothing puts a potential buyer off like a tricky navigation or messy layout.
Ensure you have a simplified and attractive navigation bar, an easy to spot search bar and a user-friendly checkout page. To make the experience smoother, investigate implementing sticky navigation menus or even chat bots.
To encourage longer dwell times, consider infinite scroll, where the next page of content is automatically displayed within the same page, as the user scrolls down.
By breaking up long pages of texts with images, pull out quotes and other attractive design elements you can ensure you make a strong impact and encourage users to engage in what you have to say. In this context, always consider mobile UX and the need for shorter, fast-loading pages.
The need for speed
Address site-speed issues, as design and navigation mean nothing if slow page load speed makes users drop off. Get rid of elements that are slowing down the page including tracking tools and too many images. Ensure the pages have been optimised for the most popular devices used, and remember that these may have changed since the start of the lockdown period!
Test, test, test
Regular AB testing can give real-time answers to what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to optimise the content, CTAs and navigation and also to modify strategy in line with changing circumstances. AB testing can show a different layout or alternate CTAs to different visitors. You can then use this information deduce which messaging is working for which audiences.
Don’t forget, once you’ve started to make modifications based on testing, it’s important to track performance long term. The ever-changing picture surrounding the coronavirus means what works one day might not the next, so keep an eye on the data and respond accordingly.
So, addressing these 5 key areas will help you optimise your website to build a base of engaged users who will become your brand advocates. More than ever, digital is where your business needs to be seen. With highly engaged customers, you will be best positioned to rise to the challenge of the ever-increasing demand for goods and services offered online.