Ten (plus) tips to reach and retain the online customer
Some of the characteristics of online customers represent challenges from our point of view as marketers. However, keeping them in mind when we structure our online content can help us craft more effective messages. Here are some suggestions for keeping the attention of your online visitors:
- Do your keyword research. The more closely your copy matches a customer’s exact concerns, the more likely he will be to pay close attention.
- Pay special attention to headlines and leads. Use powerful, compelling, benefit-driven headlines to draw your reader in. Get right to the point in your copy ; this doesn’t necessarily mean push for the sale right away, but you want to be sure to give the reader ample reason to stick with you.
- Use subheads, captions, bullets and graphics. Most web users are “power skimmers.” For max effect, use these elements to tell the outline of your story so a reader can get the gist of your message in a short amount of time.
- Avoid large blocks of text. These can intimidate the reader, and encourage him to click away.
- Provide excellent, useful information. The online reader won’t stick around if you’re not giving him something on value. He’d rather be on Facebook.
- Provide leadership in your copy and design. Have a clear idea of what you want your visitor to do, and include strong offers and calls to action in order to direct him there.
- Make it entertaining. Insert a bit of humor where appropriate. Rhyming text and alliterative language patterns are fun and can have a mesmerizing effect. (Just don’t overdo it!)
- Use clean, uncluttered design. Your customer is distracted enough without an overly busy web design adding to the mess.
- Encourage interaction. When the customer’s involved, he’s more likely to stay around.
- Hyperlink mindfully. Hyperlinking is very handy for providing credibility-building references and when you want to encourage the reader to visit a particular page. But hyperlinks can be dangerous, too. They can suck your reader right off your site. That’s why I use them sparingly and strategically. You might want to reserve them for internal links (say, to a landing page), and use footnotes for references as I did in parts 1 and 2 of this article. Why encourage attention deficit in your reader?
- Bonus! Type additional tips into the comment box below, and I’ll tweet them out. Be sure to include a link to your site!