Usability And Interaction – The Importance Of An Engaging Website

When an SEO or web marketing professional hears the phrase ‘Content is King’ these days, chances are they’ll respond with a cringe, grimace or some other sign of disdain. Not because it’s no longer true, but quite to the contrary – it’s so true and such an important rule to grasp that it’s become quite colossally cliché in its own right.

These days, content is literally everything when it comes to designing and operating a successful website. Why? It’s simple really – the website used to represent a business but is now more than ever used by the overwhelming majority of would-be clients to tell them everything they need to know prior to them making their final decision. A site’s content really is the be all and end all when it comes to both securing conversions and prompting punters to head for the hills and never, ever return. The key therefore is to avoid the latter at all costs, which in turn means gunning for the former with a careful, intricate and viable engagement marketing plan.

What is Engagement Marketing?

In a nutshell, the term ‘engagement marketing’ refers to a strategy whereby those involved in managing the website seek to build authority and customer loyalty by creating or curating content that’s interesting, compelling and engaging. This makes it entirely different from most types of conventional marketing as there’s no hard sell at all involved.

Rather than saying “Buy Now or Lose Out Forever!” or “Shop With Us Because Our Rivals Are Lame!” or “Special Offer Valid Only For the Next 35 Seconds!” or anything else along similar lines, engagement marketing is about making your target market want to do business with you. This happens by earning their trust and respect by building authority in the niche – something that can be done by giving them exactly the kind of content they simply cannot get enough of.

Why it Works

In terms of why it works, it’s a little like comparing reading a book with looking at a promotional leaflet from a local electronics store. Yes, there’s some impact as far as the bright and colourful leaflet is concerned, but chances are you’ll read it once, toss it in the bin and summarily forget 99% of the information it was trying to communicate. By contrast, when you read a book that’s in-line with your interests and tastes, it’s engaging to the point where you keep going back to it over and over again. You can’t wait to see what’s coming next, you develop something of an emotional bond with the author and you remember what went on within the book’s pages for much, much longer.

This is something of an exaggerated illustration of the way engagement marketing works, though the principles remain identical. The key lies in making them want to come back and ultimately want to buy whatever it is you’re selling because they’ve developed this same kind of trust in you. Unsurprisingly, it’s not an easy balancing act to pull off and can take a serious investment of time, but once these bonds have been built you’re looking at the kinds of long-term benefits no conventional marketing strategy can come close to.

The Importance of Interaction

While giving your site’s visitors exactly what they want is crucially important, so too is nurturing consistent interaction. The reason for this is the way in which those reading into your content and building these kinds of unique bonds with your business also need to feel as if they are an integral part of what you do. Breaking the age-old barrier between client and business is extraordinarily important these days as consumers the world over are quite adamant when it comes to getting their voices heard and opinions across.

Technically speaking this isn’t a difficult task to go about – all that’s needed is something like a feedback forum, a blog on your website, an area for comments or anything else of the sort. It’s all a case of simply getting rid of that one-way communication channel standard by implementing at least one change that allows the voice of the people to be heard. And of course, true interaction doesn’t just mean gathering feedback and listening to comments – it means also responding to each and every one of them as swiftly and appropriately as possible.

So next time you find yourself heading back to a website you’ve been visiting on a regular basis for weeks, months or years, ask yourself why it is you keep going back there – chances are it’ll come down to nothing more than content and engagement.