Creating an Emotionally Engaging Online Experience

April 28, 2011

While you likely receive many directives as a sales or marketing professional, one goal outweighs all others – drive qualified leads that convert to sales.  After all, leads turn into sales which in turn drive revenue.  In light of this, it is critical to examine every sales and marketing initiative to ensure it has the highest likelihood of producing qualified leads.  Since websites are typically a primary source of lead generation, it is absolutely necessary to thoroughly review your sites lead generating abilities.

From online advertising and email campaigns to social networking and affiliate advertising, nearly every marketing initiative drives viewers to a website or landing page to promote conversions.  Yet optimizing your conversion rate – the ratio of visitors who perform a desired action based on requests – remains a tricky task for marketers because it requires engaging the viewer and providing a compelling reason for them to complete the desired action.

One tactic to increase engagement, and in turn conversions, is to create an emotional connection with your visitors.  The article, “Using Emotional Experience Design to Engage Customers on Your Website,” details how Ron Rogowski and his team at Forrester Research have studied the user online experience and focused on the principles of emotional experience website design.  Forrester defines emotional experience design as, “creating interactions that engage users by catering to their emotional needs.”

We’ve taken the three principles outlined in the article and added context and suggestions so you can see how they apply to your sales and marketing efforts:

1.     Address the viewers’ needs. As marketers and sales people, we oftentimes lapse into communicating a value proposition that focuses on what we think is valuable about our product or service, as opposed to what a prospect or customer finds valuable.  This company-centric thinking misses the mark of engaging a user because it doesn’t emphasize the true value of a product or service.

Keep your website clutter free to increase optimization.

Solution. Uncover what really matters to your customers by opening the lines of communication with satisfaction surveys and social media-driven communications. Both of these tactics are relatively low-cost ways to understand what your customers really find important so you can design a website experience that emphasizes them.

2.     Develop a genuine personality. With so many websites to choose from, viewers are more likely to be engaged by a voice and approach that feels personal as opposed to generic.  In addition to creating an engaging website voice and persona, you should use it consistently throughout your website so the overall feel is cohesive.

personality building, tower cranes constructing 3d word

 Solution. Perform an audit of your website content to ensure the messaging and voice is consistent with how you’re presenting your products in other sales and marketing materials.  Consider utilizing technology such as a digital character to make the visitor experience more interactive and personalized.  A digital character can perform any number of functions, from answering frequently asked questions to walking visitors through shopping carts or Contact Us forms.

3.     Engage with a multi-touch experience. The days of a static, brochure-like website driving conversions ended a long time ago.  Online viewers expect a website will provide a certain level of information, in a variety of online mediums.

Captain Picard Star Trek Engage Meme

Solution. Use more than words to convey your products or services.  Videos, surveys, social media profiles, interactive testimonials, etc. are all great ways to showcase your company while giving viewers the opportunity to engage with you in a way they choose.

As you can see, these three suggestions and solutions are practical to implement and rooted in a commonsense approach to website design.  By thoughtfully considering what visitors are really looking for, and combining those discoveries with the latest online technology, you can create a visitor experience that stimulates and engages.  This heightened engagement can lead to higher conversion rates. As sales and marketers, that’s the most engaging result of all.

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