8 ways to engage your audience
Are you listening?
Effective public speaking is a skill, a talent (and one that unfortunately I don’t possess in abundance).
They’ve got your attention, you’re focussed on what they’re saying, and you’re listening with rapt attention as they tell their story. At that point, the speaker is in a pretty powerful position.
A website needs to do the same. Like with speaking, a lot depends on personality, originality, individual flair. Having said that, there are some basic building blocks which can invariably found underneath successful, engaging websites
- Tell a story. We all like stories – and they’re a brilliant, unobtrusive way to get a message across effectively. Tell the story of your company – not how many years you’ve been established and who you worked for last, but the story of you – what your values are, what makes you of value to your clients, the story of where you’ve come from, the experiences that form the basis of your company.
- Keep it fresh! A website that remains static, with no new content, month in, month out, is going to stagnate pretty quickly. Why should readers come back? And it’ll often be obvious to new visitors too… Blogs are a great way to address the need for fresh content.
- Interaction – ask for feedback & comments, get a dialogue going. People like to be asked for their opinion – give them space to do so!
- Give people a chance to keep in touch – add a newsletter sign-up, links to your twitter feed or linkedIn profile. That way, you can push information out to people that will encourage them to come back to your site for more!
- Do something a bit different. There are thousands upon thousands of websites out there. Standing out from the crowd is therefore vital, whether that be through design, imagery, words, or something just plain quirky – have a look at this banner ad: http://www.bannersnack.com/banners/e3c24a1f291c32658182909ebb400877 or this statement on the ‘above the fold’ argument: http://www.thereisnopagefold.com/.
- Take them on a journey – don’t just show them one page, lead them from one to another. This is often part of the story-telling game…
- Fulfil a need, be relevant, provide useful information that will resonate with your reader. It’s far easier to engage someone if you’re talking about something that’s relevant & useful to them. Yes, it’s possible to engage someone in a subject that is entirely off the wall, but it takes a whole lot more talent & effort!
- Be visual – many people are more easily engaged with visual elements than they are with text. So think carefully about the images you use. Should you have a slideshow or an image gallery on your site?