How to Engage and Keep Customers on Your Website

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When push comes to shove, your business success depends on how you satisfy your customers’ needs. You can have the most detailed business plan, the smartest of offices or the chicest of boutiques, but if you fail to meet your customers’ expectations, the aforementioned will come to nothing.

Traditionally, push marketing models were the mainstream: think about sales displays in shopping centres. Products or services are literally pushed into the visibility of consumers. Common push tactics are the selling of products in large showrooms, and involve negotiations and sales incentives in exchange for increased visibility.

Now though, pull marketing is what drives businesses to success, and it is the opposite approach: pull marketing is to get the customers to come to you. Pull marketing is dependent on cross-platform media promotions and visibility, and word-of-mouth. Whereas push marketing campaigns rely on the products or services having a unique selling point to drive short-term sales, pull marketing uses brand loyalty across diverse social media platforms to keep customers returning, and the campaigns are customer-centric and set for the long term. A successful pull campaign increases brand visibility to the extent that the customers want the product or services, and it is the retailers who now want to negotiate to stock the product. There has been a shift in power.

Of course, the product or service you are providing must appeal to your customers, whether it is because of the function of the product or with the quality of expertise you provide. However, how you see your business can be very different to how your customers perceive it, and you want to make sure that their perception supports your business goals and vice versa. Here are 4 tips to ensuring that your product or service takes full advantage of the pulling power.

Information must be easy to obtain

Nowadays, there is so much competition in the marketplace and the potential for your customers to part with their money elsewhere. You must consider how your customers obtain what you are providing, and this is usually through the internet. The majority of people now access the internet via their mobile device. Is your website mobile device friendly? How can interactions occur if your site is not optimised to be accessed via smartphones?

Your web design is key to your success, and it must enhance the user experience. Make sure that your pages are easy to navigate. You may find your way around your site, but what about people who aren’t familiar with it? Always test your site on different platforms, and ask people from different age groups too – if grandma can’t fathom it out, it’s likely that groups of consumers can’t either. Your site’s information must be formatted in a way that is easy to read. Extravagant fonts on coloured backgrounds may be fine for a desktop but on a mobile device? The simpler, the better: think about how the audience is accessing your site.

Speed is of the Essence

Consumers expect to have a mobile experience that is comparable to that of their desktop. Your site needs to be able to load quickly on mobile devices and desktops. A delayed loading time is a major contributor to page abandonment, and this is exactly what you want to avoid. “The Need for Mobile Speed” research by Google found that 53% of mobile sites are abandoned if there is a delay of 3 seconds or more. You have 2 seconds to ensure that your site’s visitors stay.

You must also consider the pages other than the landing page – shopping carts can remain filled, but the customer has lost patience with your site, and abandoned their order. Every page must be tested, as you do not want to fall at the last hurdle.

Communicate with your Customers

You also need to make sure that your communication with your customers is done in an appropriate and timely manner. If you can find a solution to a customer’s query, you are keeping them happy, even if you are unable to answer a question straight away. Instead of lying, you can be honest and you can communicate to them that you will respond when you have the relevant information. By contacting customers, you are telling them that you care, and this is what consumers want to hear. Good customer service is priceless and brand affirming: think John Lewis.

An essential part of engaging with your customers is giving them the opportunity to open dialogue. Ask for their opinions and insights, and ask them to share their experiences of your product or service – even if it is negative, for this will give you the chance to make things right. Dialogue feeds the intrinsic need for people to be part of a community, and while it may only be a digital one, the benefits to your brand and business are considerable.

Opening up a conversation with your customers will allow you to retrieve valuable information. Have a signup form on your site that requests specific information from them. You do not want to request too much information from them, but enough to gain an insight into who exactly your customers are: their age, their gender and their likes and interests.

Your collated data can be used to send personalised emails that are relevant to them, and which will further engage. For example, use their date of birth to send birthday offers. Personalised emails decrease the risk of them not being opened, and they are not deemed as spam. The revenue generated from a personalised email campaign is typically greater than sales streamed via Facebook or Instagram – that is if you have ensured that they are, of course, mobile-friendly.

Follow through on Promises

Back to your customers’ expectations! If you have committed to a customer, you are obligated to fulfil your end of the bargain. If you promise next-day delivery, that is exactly what must happen. To meet your customers’ expectations, you have to think about whether you can realistically meet them on an ongoing basis. Adjust your commitment: say delivery will be within 2-3 days, when your customer receives it the next day, you will benefit from exceeding their expectation, plus it means that if they do receive it within 2-3 days, there is no damage to your reputation.