Grow engagement and revenue quickly with these 5 simple steps.
March 10, 2023
Attracting a user to your website for the first time is a big win! Yet, that’s just the start of the journey. Transforming that passing visitor into an engaged, loyal fan is far more crucial for the growth and health of your brand.
The standard term for a person coming to your website is a website visitor. That simple description is helpful in the context of analytics. There’s a hidden danger to using that type of language: it may encourage viewing your audience in passive terms.
Instead of thinking of people who come to your website as visitors or passive audience members, it’s vital to stress the value of engagement. Emphasizing engagement is vital because of the hectic, distracted digital world we all live in.
The average American checks their phone once every three minutes. Also, many people have an average of 10-20 web browser tabs open at any given time. That’s the reality - and challenge - we face when it comes to getting our audience’s attention and building online communities.
The way forward is to evolve how people interact with your website. Give your audience more opportunities to interact with you, other people and personalize the experience. In brief, you need to make your website an exciting place people look forward to using.
Social media platforms are successful for many reasons, including emphasizing user-generated content. By allowing people to create profiles, accounts, and channels where they can showcase their content, these platforms give people a sense of ownership in their contributions.
Unfortunately, several of the largest social media platforms have lost their way in recent years. Harmful content, misinformation, and a steady stream of privacy scandals have eaten away at the trust on these platforms.
That falling distrust creates an opportunity for brands and publishers to create a more engaging website experience. Users who create content and contributions on your platform are more likely to come back, buy and stay engaged. Websites can continuously evolve their offerings to maintain audience engagement.
Driving increased revenue from your user’s content is easy once you have the proper framework. The starting point is to review your technology to ensure your website offers an engaging experience.
We briefly define first-party data and why it is essential. First-party data is information you gain directly from people interacting with your website, app, and other digital experiences. There is no go-between involved. First-party data is robust because it fuels personalization and makes it easier to create compelling experiences.
Before you can grow revenue, you need the right foundation in place. You likely already have several ways of gathering first-party data in place, like your website analytics, email marketing software, and mobile app.
You need a few more tools to leverage in-depth first-party data.
With these platforms in place, your website will be equipped to delight your audience.
Persuading your audience to get into the habit of creating and posting content on your website can take time and effort. Fortunately, there are ways to lower the entry bar so your audience can contribute even when they’re busy. Start with these engagement opportunities:
As you deepen your relationship with your audience, offering additional opportunities to engage is worth the effort. For example, consider inviting social media influencers to participate or even co-host your next digital event.
Giving your audience rewards - tangible or otherwise - leverages the psychology of habit formation to keep your audience coming back for more.
The way you reward engagement will depend on the size of your audience and your resources. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Badges are a simple way to recognize your most engaged community members for websites that let users create accounts and post content. For example, Podia’s badge options include founder (i.e., for the first ten members) and other badges based on tenure (e.g., a member over one year).
Put aside automation for a moment and spend a few minutes thanking your top participants. Whether you send an email, put a letter in the mail, or send a direct message, thoughtful messages can go a long way to keeping your top community members engaged.
Inviting your top users to an event like a company conference is a powerful way to show appreciation. Quora had a Top Writers program to recognize top contributors.
Sending a small gift to your top community members is a great way to keep members engaged. A consumer company might send a discount code or offer a credit for a purchase. Sending a gift card is another way to thank your top members.
These member recognition efforts vary in terms of the effort and cost involved. It’s generally best to reserve your most expensive recognition efforts for the most engaged community members.
Regularly publishing great content is an excellent way to draw people to your website. Encouraging people to become regular contributors to your community is even more valuable. That’s where events have an essential role to play in lifting engagement.
Arena has a wealth of resources to inspire your next event. Start with the following to get your online event idea:
Once you have your event concept in mind, use the virtual events checklist to plan, promote and run your online event successfully.
Using the strategies above, you will have a growing, highly engaged audience who loves your content. Your audience will share content, social reactions, comments, and more on your website regularly. Now, it’s time to ensure you channel that engagement toward your goals.
First-party data can reveal how customers interact with your website, content, and messaging before buying. Use this data to refine your marketing efforts. If you find that conversions are linked to virtual event participation, put more emphasis on drawing your audience into those events.
Using data to drive purchases is just one way to drive action. You can also use these campaigns to spark referrals. Once again, look at the content and experiences that drive the most engagement with your audience. Based on those insights, create more campaigns that ask users to share content and bring more people to your online community.
Personalized content and marketing are more likely to be relevant. When content is relevant, people are more likely to engage, share and buy. Therefore, make it a priority to gather first-party data that you can use for personalization. For example, if you offer an enterprise product, use contact forms and other means to ask new community members if they work for a large company so that you can share relevant information with them.
Higher engagement means more first-party data, which fuels relevance and personalization - which ultimately drives up revenue. To seize those benefits, it’s crucial to have the right platform. Discover how to build an online community on your website with Arena.