I bet you’ve heard or read a marketer talk about “engaging your audience online” at least 10 times in the last few months. I know I have.
In fact, I’m probably guilty of being one of those marketers talking about it.
But, what does it actually mean?
Well, it’s the question this blog post answers, with an actual example.
Specifically, I’m going to show you how I increased the time users spent on a particular page by 2 whole minutes. And that lead to more enquiries and sales for this website.
To be even more specific, users were now spending 3 minutes 20 seconds on average on this page in the first three months of this year (Jan to Mar 2018) compared to 1 minute 35 seconds on average during the last 3 months of last year (Oct to Dec 2017).
The site I’m referring to is in the travel space but the changes could be applied to any website and niche.
And guess what Google loves?
Users loving your site so much they can’t help themselves but stay on your site – consuming everything you offer
So if you want to massively UP your user experience game and get some Google love in return, read on.
Before the change
After the change.
What You Will Learn:
- The 3 changes I made to a page to increase time on page by 2 minutes
- How you get WOW testimonials from your customers
- Creative ways to get amazingly engaging images for your site
- Why you need to give customers what they want
Introducing The Website Without Introducing The Website
Unfortunately, I cannot share the site but I will be sharing screenshots during this post.
The site is within the travel niche and targets an audience that is looking for a high-end experience as opposed to a quick “take me from A to B” straightforward journey.
I still remember the day I came up with the idea. I was watching one of those TV shows about rich kids and thought, “that would be a great online business”.
After some initial SEO and competitor research, I was excited and decided to launch.
The business model is pretty simple – get in front of customers via search and social media and then sell to them over the phone after receiving an enquiry. The suppliers we have an agreement with, then fulfil the order.
During 2016, I have seen traffic and revenue climb, mainly via search, but noticed clients were asking questions.
I realized that I needed a better way to answer their questions and trust that we will deliver exceptional service, without me or my team has to be there.
Getting website visitors to trust us was really the driver behind the changes I’ve described below.
I had a feeling visitors would spend longer on the site, but I had no idea it would be by 3mins!
Without further ado, let me take you through the changes.
Website Change #1 – Add A Gallery And Replace Stock Images With Real Customer Images
Stock images like this one make me cringe:
Why would you want to present your business like this?
I know getting images for a new business can be hard to do but at least use a site like www.unsplash.com where most of the stock images actually look great.
Or even better, invest £1,000 – £2,000 to hire a good photographer and get enough images for your entire website and social media.
Alternatively, if you’re like me, you can go find a win-win situation. 🙂
Let me explain…
We offered a few of our customers a discounted photography session in exchange for using the images on our website.
They received 30% off a normal photography session and we got a bunch of images for free.
Pretty good deal, right?
Now, offer that to 5 customers and we suddenly have more than enough images for a gallery and for the next 3 months for social media.
I understand that you may not have a business that could naturally photograph as an add so let me give you a few win-win ideas:
- Offer a photographer your service in exchange for some photos e.g. social media for one month.
- Convince a friend who also lacks quality images and find a photographer who is willing to do you both a deal.
- Find a student photographer who is looking to prove themselves and add to their portfolio.
Those are three good reasons you should now have good quality images across your site.
Website Change #2 – Add WOW Customer Testimonials
Let me introduce you, to what I like to call WOW testimonials:
That’s 350 words long!!!
Some bloggers don’t even create that much content when writing a blog post, lol.
Wanna know how you can get customers to write a WOW testimonial?
Simple. You WOW them.
What I mean by wowing them is setting expectations with what they’re going to get and then deliver above and beyond.
In our travel experience case study, that meant delivering an overall exceptional experience.
How did we do that?
Spend time listening and answering their questions.
Respond to enquiries within 1-2 hours or at least keep them updated.
Reassure customers with email follow up.
Create high-quality documentation for everything e.g. contracts, travel itinerary, maps.
Give more photos than we originally promised.
Send a free gift.
Be transparent and build a relationship.
Get to know your customers – family, pets, where they live, etc.
Follow up after the experience and ensure everything was as expected.
As you can see there’s a number of things that go into WOWing customers.
If I was to summarise this, I would say that to achieve WOW you need these three things:
- Build A Relationship
If you can do that, then you will start to get testimonials that leave you emotional and warm your heart.
Just imagine a customer who really cares about what they want and the experience they wish to have, reading a WOW testimonial. Can you see how they’ve gone from seeing my website for the first time to LIKING and TRUSTING my company?
As you build your business, start to think about how you can build your reputation as the two should go hand in hand.
Once you get great testimonials, it’s time to leverage them in every way possible to maximise your reach.
Website Change #3 – Give Customers Want They Want
It was clear there was major room for improvement online when customers were asking the same questions over and over again.
To be specific, there were three areas we could improve:
- Answering basic questions – for example, “how do we get there?”
- Inspiring our customers – for example, “you could also do this…”
- Giving customers a choice. For example, “for your budget, here’s our recommended options”
After some brainstorming, I decided to add three experience packages onto the page: bronze, silver and gold.
I know, hardly creative, but our visitors clearly appreciated it.
When you give your customers what they want, you and your customers are both saving time.
- Customers – No more searching around trying to figure things out
- You (Business Owner) – No more answering basic questions or trying to answer questions and inspire over phone and email
Four weeks after adding packages to the site, enquiries for higher priced experiences dramatically increased. There was one problem though – the majority of those enquiries were from people who didn’t have the budget to pay for the experience.
You can imagine how much time I was spending trying to sell an experience that the individual was never prepared to pay for.
So, whilst I had done a good job of inspiring and answering my customer’s questions, I had done a bad job of qualifying those customers.
I added the starting price to each package, like “Price Starts From £900”, which reduced the number of unqualified enquiries we receive.
I’m still thinking of adding a dropdown budget field to the actual enquiry. It would help to get really specific with users. On the downside, it’s another field to fill in, which may turn them off from sending an enquiry. Maybe in the future.
Wrapping It Up
While most people will focus on the latest traffic tactic, I prefer to MAXIMISE EXISTING TRAFFIC.
I admit, it’s not as fun as Pinterest or Instagram Ads but it’s a quick way to drive enquiries and sales.
But if you ask most service-based business owners, they will tell you that most of their revenue comes from their existing clients or network. I use the same concept to drive sales online.
Why spend hours testing something new, when you could be making the most of people already visiting you online.
The best thing about these recommendations is the side effects of having people spend more time on your website.
- They trust you more and therefore your chances of converting the enquiry to a sale significantly improve.
- Google sees that people are spending significant time on your site, which is a super validation indicator back to Google, which can only be a good thing.
- There are more chances the user will remember your brand and visit again (returning user) if they don’t enquire or buy now.
Now, I’m no conversion rate optimisation (CRO) expert, but those are three solid changes anyone could make to their website.
I’d love to know what changes you’ve made to your site that has had a positive impact on your users and website engagement stats?