Did you know? The average American’s attention span has plummeted down to 8 seconds. That’s a steep decrease from only twenty years ago when the average was twelve seconds, this according to a recent study from Microsoft.
If you’re a business owner or marketer, this is not good news. It’s hard enough to stand out above the noise and actually get people to go to your site, but once they’re there, you have to get website visitors to stay long enough to create interest that will lead to engagement that will lead to contact or a sale.
Here’s the good news:
8 seconds is enough to make an emotional connection and turn interest (land on your website) to engagement (stay on your website and want to learn more). If you do a few things right.
I have a ton of experience in this area and have picked up a few tricks along the way. Here are my top three (proven) tips that get website visitors to stay:
Here’s the unfortunate truth: Your website visitors have only one question in their minds when they land on a website, and that is: “What’s in it for me?”
It may be hard to hear, but your ideal customers don’t care a hoot about what you or your company does. They care about what you can do for them. And they will grant you just a few seconds to tell them. If your site can’t accomplish it, they’re gone.
So, the first thing you have to do is get totally clear about your ideal customers on a very deep level. By deep, I mean going way beyond demographics to include lifestyle and psychographic characteristics.
To get website visitors to stay you have to think and feel exactly the way your ideal customers do when they are searching for what you offer. In fact, I have my clients put up photos of their ideal customers around their offices, so they never forget who they’re having a conversation within their marketing.
Once you’ve built your ideal customer prototypes, then go on to Tip #2.
Global companies spend millions of dollars every year to uncover the Voice Of Customer for their brands. They know that studies have proven that when people read (or hear) their own “voice” in marketing copy, they sense that company “gets” them.
But small business owners and marketers like you don’t have to spend millions to discover the Voice Of Customer of your business. You can uncover it by employing role-play, customer interviews, surveys, and review mining.
Here’s a great example of the impact of Voice of Customer:
A business in New Jersey was disappointed in the low conversion rates of their website. In an effort to get website visitors to stay and make appointments, the company hired numerous copywriters and website designers over the years. But the best brand promise – they could come up with was, New Jersey’s #1 Top Rated Power Washing Company For Over 30 Years.
Now, this company really is the top power washing company in their area, but consumers know anyone can say it. In fact, they had competitors that were pretty much saying the same thing on their websites.
So, how did they get website visitors to stay and increase their revenue by 40% in 2019?
First, they got totally clear about their ideal customer. We did role play, customer interviews, and mined all their reviews – to get the exact language that would connect emotionally with their ideal customer.
The culmination of our work is a new brand promise for the website: Your Home May Not Be Brand New, But We’ll Make It Look Like It Is”. This is exactly what their ideal customer uttered during an interview. We used it practically verbatim.
When you deeply understand your ideal customers and how to “speak” to them, your next step is choosing the right visuals.
Words are not the only thing that you can use to get website visitors to stay on your site longer than 8 seconds.
Example: I’m currently working with a company that sells herbal health products online. They are very proud that the state where the herbs are grown produces the highest quality plants. So, they made an assumption that everyone was aware of that fact. Their entire brand strategy was built around it, including the images on the website, which were mostly landscapes. Sales on the site were dismal.
So we went back to the drawing board and built new ideal customer prototypes. Luckily, the company runs a brick and mortar retail store and it’s raking in sales. So, we did have some information about the ideal customer.
Because I am keenly aware that online customers often have different characteristics than brick and mortar customers, we also gathered all the online data we could find from studies that other companies and organizations have done.
Along the way we discovered that the company’s ideal customers don’t consider where herbs are grown as a reason to buy. It is a “nice to know” but it has very little impact on the decision to buy.
A new version of the website is about to launch. It is laden with images of people who look like their ideal customers to support the new copy we’ve created.
(Want to be kept up to date on what happens? Make sure you subscribe to my mailings over in the top right column of this page.)
Here’s what I recommend: go to your website and look at it through the eyes and heart of your ideal customer while you count to eight.
Then ask yourself, “What’s in it for me if I stay a little longer?” If your answer is, “Not much…” (Ouch!) Try my proven tips that get website visitors to stay.
Then, let me know if when sales increase!
Written by Betsy Kent for Business2Community and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by John Schnobrich