As a Client Strategist at an Interactive Marketing Agency, I am involved with a variety of industries on a daily basis. I strategically monitor interactive marketing campaigns for companies that have sites ranging from: ecommerce to lead generation, and/or strictly informational. The goal of each site differs dramatically, but one thing remains constant – the desire to engage the visitor.
In a previous blog, I talked about how important engagement was within the interactive marketing space. The value of an engaged visitor continues to grow in importance, but the dynamic industry and cluttered atmosphere makes it harder for marketers and designers to achieve engagement. So how can you make sure that visitors to your site are as engaged as possible?
In my opinion, it is all about the experience. If I visit a site that makes my reading and/or shopping experience personal and is specifically targeted to the things that I enjoy, then I am more likely to stay on and interact with the site. If I visit a site and feel disconnected from the products and/or information given on the site, then I typically leave and search for one more in tune with my wants and needs. It is very similar to romantic relationships. If you had a partner that wasn’t in tune with what you needed out of a relationship, then the chances of it working out are very slim. However, if you have found that special someone who is willing to learn and act on what makes you smile, then the chances of it working out are much more probable. The same methodology can be applied when building your website, and/or engaging in marketing efforts.
One of the clients I work with sells cosmetics and beauty products through retail stores, as well as through their website. One of the biggest challenges that I foresee is capturing the “in store” experience and bringing it to life on the website. When a woman goes into a store to buy cosmetics, she is usually greeted with professionals who are there to answer questions about the products. She also has the chance to try on several brands and shades of the cosmetics before making a purchase. The individual attention and ability to “test before buying”, makes the experience a very personal one. Having this personal experience will more than likely guarantee the woman’s repeat business. A company that does this very well online is Sephora- a leading retail beauty chain in Europe and the United States. They understand that they cannot provide the exact “in store” experience through their website. Instead, they have encouraged website visitors to fill out a profile that enlightens Sephora about their skin type, skin tone, color preference, favorite brands, etc. Sephora then in turn, sends the visitor personal updates on products that are relevant to the visitors’ profile.
Site engagement should be pursued within any industry. The best way to engage each visitor to your site, is by making each visit a personal experience. Try this approach and see if it increases your site’s performance. I predict that it will!