We all know the scenario: you click on a link which appears attractive in some way, only to arrive at the site and find it doesn’t match your expectations. Something about the site jars with us: the aesthetic, perhaps; a too-obvious sales pitch. So we click out and go on our merry way, on the search for what we really want.
For that webmaster, however, that’s a missed opportunity. You had them on the hook, right through the doors of the website, and then something went wrong. As a result, your analytics is going to show poor engagement and, if this becomes a regular scenario, you might want to rethink a number of factors about their overall strategy.
Here are a few points of consideration if low engagement is plaguing your website.
Have you mapped out a Visitor Persona? If so, are your websites visitors a good match?
Visitor Persona‘s really just a fancy term for knowing who your audience is. Current practices allow us to use analytical tools to segment these visitors into various ‘personas’, so that we can match various landing pages with the the right type if visitor. How do we map our personas?
- The search term they use to find the site
- The terms they punch into your site’s search engine
- The content they view while visiting your site
Low Engagement suggests some aspect of this is going wrong: for example your traffic source is a Michael Jackson fan, arriving on a page which is selling Paganini CD’s. Clearly, this is not going to the right traffic source to ensure a profitable conversion.
Mapping out your personas is an important step these days for any business, and if you haven’t done so it might be worth hiring the services of a market research company to facilitate the process. Once that’s done, your job is to make sure there’s a page on your site right on the money for that audience. When the visitor persona matches the landing page, you’ll convert well. Analyse this process by creating new “segments” within the Google Analytics Advanced Segments section that map to your personas. Define the segment by the content visited.
Do your Visitors Know What to Do?
All too often when we come to work with a new client, we discover a poor or missing call to action. The client’s so used to navigating their own website, they can’t see the problem. But for an incoming visitor with zero experience on the site, it’s simply not clear where to proceed. According to data collected in 2013, the human attention span is apparently 8 seconds (one second less than a goldfish). What’s even more interesting is thirteen years before, it was recorded at 12 seconds which means that modern technology is radically shortening our focus. That’s only going to get worse as time goes by which means that, as webmasters, we have to dangle the carrot right in front of our visitors, making things so abundantly clear they cannot miss it. User Testing is a great way to ensure you’ve done this: put your website under scrutiny. User Testing specialists let you “look over the shoulder” of your target audience while they use your website, so you can see and hear where users get stuck and why they leave. It’s surprisingly cheap and incredibly valuable!
Offering Personas the right call of Action
This is really at the cutting edge and requires a very specialist approach to pull off. However, this is the future of the web, there’s no doubt about it. Big companies are now split testing to see how different personas react to different content, then displaying a tailored version of the website to each visitor, providing a highly relevant and engaging user experience. We call this sort of approach ‘big-brother marketing’ and it works because, as human animals, we respond most clearly to what appears personal to us. Offering your personas a Call to Action which appeals to their own sense of themselves may be the most profitable change any webmaster could make to their site.