Digital agencies often don’t pay enough attention to the end-user experience of the sites they create. However, they can retain far more clients by personalizing the customer experience and inducing on-site engagement to build long-term brand-consumer relationships for them.
You can fake a lot of things in business: knowledge, skills, relationships. One thing that you cannot forge, however, is customer engagement. How deeply a customer connects with a business – be it a website, a product, or a service – is all too real and immutable.
As a web developer, you see customers’ reactions to every line of code you write for a website in black and white. No matter how beautifully designed or coded the site may be, in the end, it all boils down to whether your masterpiece succeeds in the most crucial factor – customer engagement.
A developer’s worst nightmare is a client who fumes about website visitors not clicking through to important sections of the site. Or one who makes a fuss about sky-high bounce rates. Or one who blames poor conversions on the quality of web design or development.
Now the fault may or may not lie with your agency’s work, but as every good web development company knows, helping your clients improve their customer engagement rates will not only keep them happy for now, it will also keep them coming back with more business.
Why Should You Care About Customer Engagement?
How a website makes a visitor feel is key to whether she does business with your client. An engaged audience member is one who is likely to make a purchase now and probably come back over and over again.
The value of a great customer experience, in fact, has even been quantified by researchers. A study by Medallia showed that when everything else stayed the same, people who had the best customer experience with a business spent 140% more than those who had the worst customer experiences.
So, now that we know that customer engagement can actually mean the difference between profits and losses, how can we as designers and developers help make a difference to our clients’ websites?
For starters, we can improve the user experience on clients’ websites to make life easier for the end user.
Data from a study of more than 75,000 people by the Customer Contact Council shows that, shockingly, customer delight does not lead to customer loyalty. Reducing the effort that a customer needs to put in (to navigate the site and make the purchase) does.
Make Your Design Truly Mobile-First
We’ve all heard ad nauseam about the mobile revolution and how every website we build needs to be mobile optimized. I’m not going to bore you by repeating the obvious, like designing bigger buttons or allowing more white space on all pages.
What I’m recommending here is a more of a fundamental change. Designing and building websites with desktop in mind is setting yourself up for failure. With around 50% of web traffic now coming from mobile phones, start your design with the small screen in mind. You can add features or design elements as you size up to a larger screen.
Customer engagement superstar Netflix shows its single-minded focus on conversions with a bold and simple call-to-action that’s front and center of its mobile home page.
The copy is brief and to-the-point, with content that’s easy to discover by simply swiping left or right. In fact, its mobile-first philosophy becomes even more evident when you take a peek at its desktop site.
Clearly, Netflix designers took the mobile site, stretched it to fit the desktop screen, and moved on to more important things.
Businesses should make their websites mobile-optimized.
Show Personalized, Contextual Pop Ups
You’d probably balk at carrying an umbrella when you step out on a bright, sunny day. But what if you were caught in a thunderstorm with no umbrella and a good Samaritan handed you one? You’d doubtless be profoundly grateful.
That’s the power of being in the right place at the right time.
Build such happy coincidences into your client’s website with contextual targeting. Did the user just spend five minutes reading up on the “Products and Services” section of the website? Help them make up their minds with a relevant product case study in the form of a slide-in banner.
A web design platform such as Duda can help you add rule-based personalization to come up with various calls-to-action, forms, widgets, and other conversion elements to individual visitors, depending on their location, device, browsing history, referral URL, or time of day.
For example, if you want to target consumers who live near your store while they’re searching for a product you sell, you might encourage them with a pop-up like this:
The more relevant your messaging, the higher your chances of converting a customer.
Context is not just for landing pages. You can also personalize the home page to the user with content related to what they looked at the last time. This could be related products on an e-commerce site, a specific type of service or tool on a non-e-commerce transactional site, or even a certain white page or research study related to their area of interest on a B2B lead capture website.
Get a Conversation Going
One of the best ways of getting a user to engage with your client’s website is to actually reach out to him or her proactively. Take cues from the user’s behavior on the site to choose the most appropriate course of action.
Is the user reading through multiple case studies on a site? Looks like they’re trying to make up their mind about the product or service on offer. Reach out via a pop-up or slide in banner.
Did the user spend more than a minute reading and scrolling through the home page or browsing through multiple sections of the site? Ask them if they need more information or would like to chat with a product expert to learn more.
Salesforce does this beautifully on its home page with a timed pop-up that offers to help site visitors who have been active on the site for a while and gives them multiple ways to proceed.
Clicking the “Let’s Chat” button takes you to a live chat window where you can pick from troubleshooting an existing product, getting a sales quote for a new product, or even starting a free trial.
Find a way to engage with customers based on their behaviors.
Make a Website That Engages and Appeals to Customers
Whether you’re revamping an existing client’s website or pitching for new business, showcasing all the different ways you can help raise customer engagement and grow profitability is a surefire way to earn more business for your agency.
So put aside that designer’s hat for a second and walk in the end users’ shoes to give your clients more bang for their buck with each website you build.