Engagement With Brands vs. Engagement When Converting: How to Bridge the Gap Between Connecting With an Audience and Having the Audience Connect With You
Imagine you have a site with a great blog; and you have a great social media presence. You have a community of readers leaving comments and waiting eagerly for your next post. Average time on site is up, and number of sessions and new users are increasing. So things are going well, right? The only problem is conversions are non-existent. People are very interested in the information you are providing; however, they aren’t interested in your services or products. How do you bridge the gap and fix this disconnect?
First, Take an In-Depth Look at the Content You Are Providing
The first thing to do in this situation is look at the content you are providing to your users and make sure it is relevant to your industry and services or products. It’s beneficial to have an active Facebook page that is offering users the chance to engage with your brand on a personal level, but you need to keep conversions in the back of your mind when publishing content from any platform.
One of the biggest mistakes we see small companies making when blogging or running a social media campaign is neglecting to have a content strategy when publishing content. It is much more beneficial to publish industry specific news and events through your blog or social media profiles, than the latest trends or unrelated news. Another way to effectively use your content publishing platforms (social media, blogs, etc.) would be to post information about the latest products or promotions, as well as information-based content targeted towards users in the buying cycle.
Next, Think About the Behavior Flow of Users on Your Site
Is the bounce rate (percentage of visitors coming to your site and leaving after viewing only one page) for your site incredibly high due to blog traffic? Are users coming to your site from your social media profiles and then leaving right away? Are people spending time on your blog posts but not exploring the rest of your site? These are all indicators that the content you are pushing out to your audience isn’t lining up with the products or services you sell.
In order to fix this, I would recommend looking at the behavior flow information provided by Google Analytics. You can learn a lot from looking at the behavior analysis Google provides. One of my favorite features is the ability to highlight the user flow for certain groups of pages. Once you identify how users are coming to the site and where they are going once they get to your site, you can try to improve the conversion funnel for the pages with the highest drop off rate.
Finally, Run a Conversion Rate Optimization Audit
In order to make sure users are having the ideal experience on your site, it is necessary to look at the sitemap and design from a conversion rate standpoint. You want to make sure there is a clear conversion path outlined for the user. The first step is to establish active calls-to-action on each page identifying the next step of the conversion funnel. If it is a long page, try to have a CTA at the top of the page, in the middle of the page and at the bottom of the content so users know where to go next in their discovery/conversion process. These CTAs shouldn’t always take you to the same place either. You should customize certain calls-to-action on your site to take the user to the next step as relevant to the content and his or her place in the buyer journey.
One of the easiest mistakes to make is to think a CTA is only necessary on a Contact page because other pages are built for information. In order to keep users moving and working through the conversion funnel, the next step in the CRO process is to ensure that each stage of the funnel is acknowledged and represented on each page of your site (and this includes CTAs).
3 Main Reasons for Acknowledging Each Stage
- You want users to be able to find your information, if they are in the inquiry stage.
- You want users to be able to process and weigh your information against other information out there, if they are in the consideration stage.
- You want users to be able to contact you or convert as easily as possible, if they are in the conversion-ready phase.
After you have aligned your site with the conversion flow best practices for new users, it is important to make sure the pages also have targeted content for existing clients. Often, we find that companies are so focused on marketing for new business online they forget or neglect existing clients and don’t bother to try to retain them via their site’s content, or encourage them to become brand advocates. Forgetting to re-engage and retain existing customers/clients is one of the biggest mistakes a business can make. It’s an easy fix too, you just need to keep them in mind when creating content. Try to think about what their next steps might be or what they would be looking for in terms of content. These customers can tell you so much about your product: why they buy it, how they buy it, what they are looking for on your site; and you already have their contact information!
Bridging the Gap
So how do you “bridge this gap”? In short, there are three things that can greatly help your efforts to ensure your audience is engaged and converting:
- Take a hard look at what kind of content you are publishing – you want to be seen as an authority in your industry and make sure to be publishing content that continues to uphold this image. Forget the political news and latest trends, focus solely on industry specific content and content that could help people in their buying journey.
- Analyze the traffic coming to your site and try to improve the specific pages with a large drop off rate – the behavior flow report from Google Analytics can tell you extremely useful information about the behavior and engagement with your site, and the goal is to optimize the site from a user’s perspective so they don’t have a hard time finding the information they are looking for.
- Make sure your site is conversion-friendly! There is nothing worse than going to a site you want to make a purchase purchase on, enlist their services, or contact and not being able to find that information easily. Make sure you have a clear conversion path for your users so they contact you, instead of your competitors.
It is easy to be falsely comforted by an engaged audience on social media platforms, or on your site (average visit time, pages per session, bounce rate). However, the most important metric when it comes to digital marketing is ROI. “How many conversions are you getting?” That is the question you want to always have on your mind. This is going to tell you if your marketing efforts are on point, or if there is room for improvement. On a monthly basis traffic and engagement rates are going to go up and down (due to seasonal changes, etc.), but what you want to see is a growing conversion rate based on the amount of traffic coming to the site.