How to Interact Online
By Amy Africa
7 sure-fire techniques for creating involvement on your Web site.
Are you having trouble increasing the amount of time your users spend on your site? Do you have a difficult time building up your number of drills (clicks)? If so, here are seven proven tips you can consider.
1. Quiz your customers. One of the most effective ways to get your customers involved is still an old-fashioned quiz. Quizzes are good not only because they generate user involvement, but also because they offer an opportunity to learn more about your users without being threatening.
For example, JoAnna Brandi, dubbed "the customer care lady," offers a Customer Sensitivity Quotient quiz on her site at www.customerretention.com. Users answer 12 yes-or-no questions about customer-retention programs and awareness.
Customers who answer "yes" to all of the questions—12 for 12—get rated "Customer Service Legend." Those who score below four are put in the "penalty box." At the end of the quiz, Brandi recommends that if your score is less than 10, your customers may not be getting the care they deserve. Many sites that offer quizzes like this go a step further than Brandi's by asking the user to fill out the quiz and then type in an e-mail address to get the answers. Capturing e-mail addresses is a great way to communicate with your users on an ongoing basis.
2. Try a poll. Polls are one of the most underestimated involvement-generators. Some marketers dislike polls because they think they're superficial, that they don't give enough information. Users, however, like polls because they can give their feedback anonymously, as well as find out what other site visitors are thinking.
Polls tend to work best in the right-hand column of the site. Typically, you should ask only one question per poll and offer only three to five response choices. (Two sites that do a great job of polling users are www.cbs.com and www.aol.com.) After checking the appropriate answer box, the user hits "submit" and is presented with the results. If you decide to offer a poll, make sure it has a shelf life based around your repeat site traffic. Most B-to-C companies find polls should last about five days, and B-to-B companies find polls can remain fresh for about 10 days. Of course, if your traffic is heavy, the "live time" of your poll will be shorter. Effective polls often are based on your users' interests, not just the products you offer.