Simply building a website isn’t enough. If you want to take advantage of the power of the web to drive results for your business, you’ve got to be creative about turning your website into your industry’s “go to” online destination!
Think of the difference between a basic website and an engaging web property as being similar to the distinction between a billboard and a thriving party.
A billboard is simple and static – it offers basic information to viewers, but little else. People look at a billboard once and then immediately forget about the content it contains as they speed past. On the other hand, parties are fun. People want to be at parties, and they’ll go out of their way to spend time with their friends in enjoyable situations.
You want your website to be like that party. You want people coming back to your website again and again – even telling their friends about the great experience they had on your site. But you can’t develop this type of atmosphere if you never move beyond your static website.
The following are a few ways you can take your website to the next level in order to drive real world sales results:
Idea #1 – Share user-generated content
One easy way to get visitors more involved in your website is to give them a hand in creating your site’s content. As an example, you could:
- Share guest blog articles from members of your community
- Install plugins that allow customers to leave reviews on your product pages
- Post customer images of your company’s products in action
- Allow customers to record video reviews of your company’s products
- Create a forum for your readers to connect with each other
All of the examples above are types of user-generated content. When you publish this type of information to your website, you’ll deepen the connection you have with your audience members, as they can actively see their contributions being valued. Over time, these connections develop into increased brand loyalty and increased sales.
Idea #2 – Post video tutorials
Depending on the products or services your company sells, your customers may have questions about how your offerings will fit into their lives. As an example, if you run a local auto detailing shop, potential customers might have questions about what exactly you do or how detailing services could fit into their lives.
Your website gives you an easy opportunity to address these questions head on in the form of video tutorials. To create your own video clips, start by brainstorming the questions your customers might have (or, for even better results, ask them using a customer survey). Once you have a few questions put together, visualize the best way to answer them – whether it’s a product demonstration, a screen cast video or a face-to-face interview with a camera.
Create your video clips, upload them to Youtube and them embed them on your website. Not only will this increase your visitors’ confidence in your ability to deliver the products and services you promise, it’ll also boost your sales by setting your website apart from others in the minds of your potential customers.
Idea #3 – Run contests
If you want people to hightail it to your website, just give them the chance to win something free!
Website contests can take a number of different forms. For example, you could create a giveaway drawing in which audience members earn contest entries by sharing a specific message on their social profiles or by sending in pictures of themselves using your company’s products for use on your website. Alternatively, you could put together an online crossword or word search puzzle for which every successful completion earns the visitor a small prize.
No matter what type of contest you decide to hold, be sure that it’s run in accordance with any gambling laws that apply to your geographic area. The last thing you want is to disappoint customers who have entered your contest, only to have it shut down by the authorities!
Idea #4 – Give visitors the inside scoop
Deep down, all of us want to have a connection with the people we do business with. We’ll go out of our way to return to shops and businesses that treat us well – even if we know that a company that’s closer offers the same products or services at a cheaper cost.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to form these connections with your online audience, as the bits and bytes of the digital experience prevent the face-to-face interactions that lead to customer loyalty. However, you can mitigate this effect to some extent by sharing information on the inner workings of your office. For example, you could:
- Add plenty of pictures to your website’s “About Us” page
- Create blog posts that feature images of your business and its employees
- Write news updates that cover changes and events within your company from the perspective of your employees
Try to have some fun with this idea! By showcasing your unique culture using these digital tools, you’ll find that your website is able to drive many of the same results as your brick and mortar location.
Idea #5 – Tie web activities to offline engagement
To bring your website and your offline location into an even closer connection, use strategies that are designed to get your web visitors away from their computers and into your store.
As an example, take Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant in Madison, WI. Every Monday, the restaurant posts two names to its website – one female first name and one male first name. Any customers whose names match those posted to the website can come in to the restaurant to claim a free lunch or dinner worth up to $10, as long as they mention the promotion to their servers.
The result? Plenty of area residents check the website every Monday to see if their names have been chosen. Not only does this bring in customers who will likely purchase drinks in addition to their free entrees, it brings in others whose names aren’t chosen but who decide that they’re in the mood for Mexican anyways.
It’s simple ideas like these that can bring your website and your offline business together in order to improve the results you experience on both. So get creative! By testing out a few fun ways to use your website to increase both customer loyalty and sales, you’ll ultimately see measurable improvements in your overall business growth.