3 Ways to Engage Your Site Visitors Connecting person to person is no less important for an online business.

By Ann Smarty

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Olu Eletu | StockSnap.io

For an ecommerce site there are two positive actions possible by visitors: (1) They buy your product or service or (2) they engage, become part of your community and, if you do everything right, your brand ambassador.

Marketers can argue which of those two actions is more important: While monetary conversions are easy to translate into ROI, repeat visitors mean more reliable web presence and, in the long run, lower marketing budgets (those brand advocates build your brand for you!)

In reality, both actions are important for a business well-being. What's essential is to never overlap the two: You risk confusing the user and see no action at all. Here are three ways to engage your users without ever distracting them from making a purchase:

1. Tell your story.

People engage with people. We want to chat with other human beings, not brands. Search engines also favor recognizable experts behind big brands: The recently released Google rating guidelines mention that human reviewers need to be constantly checking the "About" page of every website they are rating in search results.

A personal brand behind your business is a huge win. And the first step to establishing that personal brand is a thorough "About" page.

There are a few easy-to-follow best practices when it comes to creating your "About page" but the main takeaway is: Make it trustworthy and memorable. Stuffing keywords, marking sure to use every single H1 through H6 tag, and using bad grammar just to fit your pet phrase aren't going to do your page any good. Including valuable, readable and relevant information for your customer is what will help your page rank. Videos, contact information and verified social media information is really what your visitors are looking for, and so is the search engine.

Related: The Strongest Connections Come From Telling Your Story

2. Turn influencers into ambassadors.

The world is pretty small when it comes to niche marketing. Look around your industry: I am sure there are just a handful of people you see daily throughout your favorite blogs and social media feeds. You recognize their faces and you subconsciously trust the page you see them on.

That's the essence of influencer marketing: You invite recognized niche experts to contribute to your site and thus accomplish several important tasks:

  • You make your site more authoritative.
  • You increase your site traffic: Most of those influencers will bring their own communities with them.
  • You increase your site interactions: Visitors are more willing to comment and share when they can recognize the people in the article.

Influencer marketing works no matter what size your company. And by offering an ROI of 6.5:1, influencer marketing can quickly become a marketer's best friend.

"The whole concept of celebrity is very different than it was just a few years ago," said Jamie Reardon, CEO of Find Your Influence, a leading influencer marketing platform. "Today's celebrity is a micro celebrity having huge influence on a small but important community that can spread your message further.''

One of my favorite and easiest forms of influencer marketing is doing an expert interview or an expert round-up, which I usually crowd-source using MyBlogU.

Related: The 4 Digital C's Needed for Brand Ambassadors to Thrive

3. Offer your readers an immediate and interesting action.

There are tons of possible actions a user can perform on your site, including the most obvious one like signing up for your newsletter, but very few of those actions provide instant feedback.

I am currently experimenting with these two apps to try and engage my readers while still giving them something back right away:

ChatWoo is a free chat software giving your visitors an instant shout box to quickly engage with you or your readers. The best part about this one is that it has no limits and it's currently absolutely free. It also integrates easily in most popular CMS including Wordpress, Joomla, Presta Shop and others.

The app looks useful for:

  • Collecting real-time feedback.
  • Building your site community by letting your users interact with each other.

The other app, Qeryz, is an interesting survey app with a twist (you can test it right on their website).

  • Provide live help: When users head to a specific page on your site, ask if they are aware of a new cool feature. If they select "No", the quiz will tell them what to do right away. That's actually what you'll experience browsing the Qeryz site.
  • Provide related items, articles, services: Qeryz is an easy way to customize your call-to-action which is perfect for small businesses because there are no extra development costs involved: You can just use the handy visual dashboard inside Qeryz to create your surveys and calls-to-action.
  • Learn more about your user paths and struggles: Qeryz offers detailed analytics allowing you to better understand which types of users are interacting with you.

Related: 3 Critical Principles of Effective Calls to Action

Ann Smarty

Founder of MyBlogU, Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com as well as the founder of MyBlogU.com. Smarty has been into internet marketing for seven years, she is the former editor-in-chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Smarty is also a frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of regular Twitter chats #vcbuzz and #myblogu.

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