User Engagement was Low on These Websites. See How They Changed That.

user engagement feature image

I’ve seen plenty of websites that are beautifully designed and portray a strong sense of professionalism.

And that’s great. But it’s not enough.

Many businesses are missing out on a crucial opportunity to get their visitors to actually engage with their website. Think about it. If you can get your visitors to actually do something while on your site and engage them, there’s a greater chance that you’re going to push them through the funnel.

Case Study: Increasing Homepage Engagement

Here’s a brilliant example.  Take a look at the Super Fast Funding website.

This is their original page. There was not a lot of opportunity for visitors to engage upon landing on the home page.

Super Fast Funding original website
Super Fast Funding’s original website didn’t offer many ways to engage.

The picture on the right hand side doesn’t tell us much. It’s nearly impossible to decipher or read the text on documents at which our friendly smiley faced cartoon is pointing.

There are also several other things going wrong here.

The main headline asks “Are you fundable?” There are two possible answers to that question: yes or no.

Don’t ever ask your visitors a question that could be answered negatively with a “No” response. It creates doubt and in their minds, could immediately disqualify them from further engagement with your site.

Instead, give them hope like in this new version of their home page. Kudos to this new design. Super Fast Funding has added several elements to dramatically increase visitor engagement.

Super Fast Funding site redesign
The slider bar invites the visitor to start interacting with the page and this can increase conversion rates.

They’ve preceded their phone number with the verbage “Questions?”. They’ve added a video rather than just an “Our Video” link in the main menu bar since many people opt out of watching a video if there isn’t a propelling thumbnail to get them interested.

A Live Chat link has been added at the very top of the page. A blog has been added. And they’ve also added a “Get Started” button.

Now that’s engagement.

But what I really liked about this page is the slider bar that they’ve added that allows visitors to choose the amount of funding that they’d like to receive.

Not only did they eliminate the possibility of a “No” answer, but they’ve made the experience very interactive for their visitors (while also giving them a sense of control), and by doing so, they’ve dramatically increased visitor engagement.

Do you see now why amping up the opportunities for visitor engagement is important to increasing sales, revenue, customer acquisition and a larger portion of the market share?  A website provides far greater opportunity for engagement over other marketing collateral mediums. It’s a shame if you don’t take advantage of that.

Case Study: Screen Sharing for Easier Engagement

LiveLOOK – which was acquired by Oracle last year – has added a bit of brilliance in how they’re tackling online customer service issues:  their solution makes it possible for merchants to assist their online shoppers through screen sharing.

Have you ever been in a brick and mortar store where a clerk has had to help you step by step with a transaction? I experienced it recently when a clerk had to help me through a scanning system that I had no clue how to operate. Had he not been there to help me, there would have been no transaction.

Screen sharing, in essence, does the same thing. When your visitors are completely stumped, merchants can get onto the shoppers’ screen and take actions for the visitor to assist them in the transaction.

One of the nation’s leading health insurance organizations utilized LiveLOOK’s co­-browse solution to improve upon customer service issues, and it helped guide visitors through a variety of online processes including registering, paying bills online and finding more information.  The most immediate result was the drastic reduction in call handling times. Calls that previously took up to an hour were reduced to 7­-10 minutes on average.

That 85% reduction in call times created a savings in resources and compensation for those resources.  Call center agents have also reported less visitor frustration which helps them to generate loyalty and customer satisfaction.

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Tools to Increase User Engagement

Don’t forget, there are other ways to engage visitors and – just as importantly – ways to track that engagement.

HotJar is a company that has made it really easy to track engagement by offering multiple tools in one bundled solution. Not only do they offer the engagement tools, but the solution also offers tools to track visitor engagement.

In a brick and mortar store, clerks are face to face with shoppers, so if they’re smart, they can communicate directly with those shoppers to help them through the buying process.

It’s vital that you do the same with your online store. The HotJar bundled solution includes:

  • Surveys
  • Exit Polls
  • Heat Mapping
  • Visitor Playback Sessions
  • User Tester Recruitment
  • Form & Funnel Analysis

There are other options for click tracking, session recordings, and heat maps that you can read about at MyConversionLab.com.

Surveys

In an effort to find out how knowledgeable users were on tech terms, a survey conducted by Vouchercloud.net revealed that 27% thought a “gigabyte” was an insect found in South America, 23% believed that an “MP3” was a Star Wars robot and 18% thought that a “Blu­-ray” was a marine animal.  According to the Harvard University’s 2014 Senior Survey, 13.17% of Harvard seniors admitted to cheating during their tenure at the school.

Who would have known unless the questions were asked?

Surveys are another way to obtain valuable feedback from your visitors. You can ask your visitors all of the questions you’d like to ask if you were face to face.  When you’re putting together a survey, be sure to ask open ended questions that will provide you with more information rather than yes/no questions.

For example, rather than just ask “Did you find it difficult to shop on our website?” ask “If you found it difficult to shop on our website, what were the 3 biggest issues you experienced?”

And then there’s the tracking and analysis part. If you can’t analyze visitor engagement – how will you know how to improve it?

Exit Polls

Exit polls are boxes that pop up, but this time while your visitors are leaving. They typically ask visitors what issues they experienced that kept them from making a purchase, so it’s a quick and easy way to find out what’s keeping a website’s visitors from converting.

Heat Mapping

If you’re not familiar with the technology, heat mapping is where a small piece of code is inserted into your web page so that a visual representation can be created showing where visitors are clicking. And just as importantly, where they are not.

As you can see from the graph bar in the heat map image below, colors show just how many clicks are being made in a particular area. The color coding gives a visual representation with the color red representing the most clicks.

HotJar heat mapping
An incredible number of people click on the About link in the upper right corner. What does this mean?

We know that a percentage of visitors want to learn more about the people behind a company website before they feel comfortable moving forward through the funnel, but as you can see from click-tracking, it’s a little surprising just how many people are actually clicking on the second “About” button.  Using this kind of technology may yield some interesting and unexpected results.

Visitor Playback Sessions

Visitor playback sessions take this type of tracking to another level. With visitor playback sessions you can actually watch a recorded video of visitors as they move around your site.  You can see where they stop, where they scroll and where they click which means you can see where they get stumped and what might keep them from spending money on your site.

User Tester Recruitment

I’ve had some strong debates with companies in regards to my website audit recommendations – that is until the user tests come in and back up my findings. I wait to view user tests last to see if the users agree with what I’ve recommended.

User Testing allows you to look over the shoulders of people while they browse your site.  You get a first hand glance as to where they are getting stuck or having issues.

Form and Funnel Analysis

Funnel and form analysis gives you data on where visitors are dropping out of your forms and funnels and lets you fix those issues.

Conclusion

Without tracking and analyzing your visitors engagement, it’s going to be very difficult to figure out how to improve their experiences.  You could have a site complete with copywriting, images, and design that are absolutely spectacular, but it’s that interaction and engagement that’s going to provide you with the valuable feedback you need in order to be aware of issues that are frustrating and confusing your visitors, and it’s also going to give you the opportunity to assist them in getting past those frustrations.

About the Author

Marie Dean is the Innovation Director at CoversionLifters and has been an expert in the field of conversion optimization for 12 years.  She helps clients improve their website conversions, increase revenue, lower acquisition costs and capture more of the market share through in-depth website analysis.

Feature Image Photo Credit: KayeNicole via Compfight cc and adapted for this post