How To Engage Your Users

Read Time: 4 minutes

Back in the day, all that mattered for your Page-Rank was who linked to your article and how many visitors you got. What an innocent time that was! Websites could make all kinds of irresponsible promises just to get a click, and whole websites of fake links emerged to artificially inflate one’s rank.

But now, the keyword to focus on is​ engagement. Engagement, as defined by search engines, is a much more complicated concept then merely attracting visitors, and includes things like amount of time spent on the site, and whether or not a user interacts with your content. If someone came to your website and stayed for over ten minutes, clicking around different parts, you can bet they were engaged… and Google was watching.

The bottom line is that you can’t get tricky anymore. You need to actually capture and hold the attention of the people who visit your site. So how can you do this?

Start a dialogue as soon as possible:


Remember Tom from Myspace? He really knew the importance of making users feel welcome through engagement


It’s a sad, but true, fact that most users will probably only use your website once. They’ll sign up, look around, and then they will most likely get bored and do something else, never to return. That’s why a welcome message can be so useful.

If it’s applicable to your product, make sure you send a message to the user within the first 24-48 hours after they register on your site. It’s a good idea to give them a bit of time to explore the product on their own, but make sure that you have something set up to send them a really well thought out welcome message after they have time to self explore. This message will most likely bring them back to your site, but it is also the place to start a very productive dialogue. Make sure to let each person know that you welcome responses or questions to each of your emails which will really encourage engagement and make the user feel a personal connection to both you and your service. Along this line, make sure you answer each email you receive. If you have a larger client base, make sure that their emails get filtered to a team responsible for answering them. Any time a user attempts to contact you it is a great opportunity for dialogue and engagement (which could lead to conversions!)

Deliver value quickly and consistently

You strive to make your product easy to use, but chances are there are still some users who will have a hard time discovering everything you have to offer. These users are unlikely to appreciate the value of your products simply because they haven’t maximized the full experience.

A schedule of regular messaging can help overcome this hurdle. Over the course of a users’ first two or three weeks, send periodic “intro to x” emails that briefly detail how to make the best use of some of your product’s most awesome features. Stagger these emails to ensure that you are “front of mind”, and this way your users will keep coming back to experience the many advantages of using your products or services.

Test, test, test

Before you actually send anything, however, TEST EVERYTHING! Many times. Sometimes you need tiny tweaks here and there to guarantee optimal engagement. For example, when your designer hands you a few separate designs, don’t just choose the one you think is best; let the numbers do the talking and implement all the designs in A/B tests. Get those analytics up and running quickly! Sometimes the most mundane changes, like changing the color of a button, can have a HUGE impact, and when you’re counting on user interaction and engagement, this can make all the difference in the world. Tools like​ Optimizely​ make it easy to A/B test any aspect of your website, and provide extremely thorough and revealing analytics.

Engagement is a two way street

The psychology of engagement is all about reward. Users need to be rewarded for their engagement (either with responses or some type of added value), and in turn you will be rewarded with their engagement. It’s your job not only to provide a service, but to incentivize the use of that service. This is especially important when you’re gunning to make your mark on an already established industry and/or when you are trying to outrun an established competitor. The incumbent advantage is real:​ you need to deliver even more value than your rival in order to convince people to use your services.

Once you’ve started engaging your users, you’ve hit the holy grail of SEO. A website with a large volume of heavily-engaged users will soar to the top of Google, and it will become a self-perpetuating phenomenon. Now go! And as they say in Star Trek… Engage!


​ This post was written by:​ Russel Cooke​ – A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) specialist and writer from Los Angeles, CA


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