Joe Dawson

Joe is the director of Creative.onl and oversees all of the design and technical work that we produce. Find him on Twitter.

Bringing your business website to life is a lot easier than it used to be. Better design and innovative features can all add to the user experience. And they don’t have to cost a lot. There are a host of different features which will help you focus the attention of visitors on your site and encourage to engage more. 

So, which ones should you be adding to your site? 

One key factor in choosing the right features for your business is to have your customer and usability at the heart of your design process.

The other is understanding what features are actually available and how they can be deployed as part of your marketing mix. 

Here, we take a closer look at five great features that are not only going to improve engagement with your audience but will also set you apart from competitors. 

1. Email data capture

With fantastic ROI friendly options such as social media nowadays, businesses could be forgiven for only giving email a cursory consideration when it comes to marketing. The response we often get is: Isn’t it a tad old-fashioned?

Talk to any marketer, however, and they’ll tell you in no uncertain terms you that email is still very important.

If you can build up a strong mailing list and get your message right in front of the people who are likely to buy from you, it is almost guaranteed to increase revenues. 

Here are some stats to convince you:

  • According to Campaign Monitor, you are six times more likely to get a click through to your site from an email than you are from a Tweet. 
  • If you have people subscribing to a newsletter, they are three times as likely to share your email message with the friends and associates than through other sources. 
  • According to DMA, 1 in 5 companies have reported a ROI with email marketing of 70 to 1. 

Email capture can take various forms. For example, getting your visitors to sign up to a regular newsletter or receive post alerts about your blog will keep you in close contact with your most valuable customers. 

And they’re the ones that are more likely to buy. 

This is a practice we use ourselves at Creative.onl: for an example of how email can be used to provide interesting and useful information to potential customers, why not sign up for our newsletter?

See also →  Turn your website into a money-making asset with these 4 steps

2. Resource downloads

Giving customers value-added extras makes you the first port of call when they need to find something out about your product or service or your industry. While it can take time to put together a really great resource list, the effort is well worth it.

You should add to this over time and ensure your customers are always up to date by providing really valuable information. 

Resource downloads can include everything from helpful booklets and brochures to white papers and tutorial videos, all of which help showcase expertise in your field while also building your reputation for helping the customer out.

Content marketing should form an important part of your digital strategy.

3. Automated appointment bookings or call-back request

How many business have you dealt with who are difficult to get hold of and book an appointment or get the information you need? 

Automated bookings and call-backs can make your business a lot more efficient, ensuring customers don’t get frustrated with your service and you don’t lose them to a competitor. They can quickly book an appointment and get an automatic confirmation via email or give their contact details so that you can give them a speedy callback when it is convenient for them. 

4. Video channel or podcast

Finding different ways to connect and engage with customers is vital in today’s competitive environment. Video and podcasting can be embedded on your site and deliver another way that people are able to engage with your business. 

Why should you invest in your own YouTube channel and embed it on your website? Here are some more stats t convince you:

  • First, 5 billion videos are watched on the platform every day. 
  • Marketers who use video get 41% more traffic to their than non-video users.
  • Putting your video on a landing page can boost conversionsby as much as 80%. 

(Source: Render Forest)

Podcasting is another way to engage using rich content that entertains and informs your customers. A lot will depend on the type of business you run, of course, but if you can find the time to create a regular podcast that gains a following, you should expect sales to grow. 

See also →  5 business cases for increasing your digital development budget

5. Use an AI chatbot

Chatbots used to be seen as impersonal, repetitive and less than intelligent, but in recent years they have become a lot more sophisticated. You may well have used one in recent times without actually realising it. Chatbots are useful for answering customer questions and queries, providing answers immediately. 

The benefit of this for businesses is customers always get a response. Your online store is open 24/7 and questions get answered without the customer hanging on. According to Chatsbotlife.com, using AI saves businesses as much as 30% on operational costs because they aren’t employing someone directly to answer a customer query. 

While chatbots have been used more often in B2B industries, B2C companies are now starting to realise their potential in delivering great support services to potential customers. 40% of customersalso don’t care whether it’s a real person or a robot on the other end of the conversation, as long as they get an answer to their question.

Improving usability for your customers and adding value

It used to be that introducing just one of all of these features to your website took a lot of planning and expense. The good thing nowadays is that the ROI for many add-ins is very good, helping to improve the user experience and create a strong connection between a company and its audience. 

Success still comes down to understanding your customerand finding ways to deliver on what they are looking for. A resource page with downloadable ebooks and whitepapers might suit one kind of business, for example, while vlogging and podcasting will be ideal for others. 

It’s important to work with your digital strategy team to find ways that set you apart from the competition while delivering on customer needs. If you can do this, and maintain it as a consistent and regular marketing process, you should expect engagement to improve and conversions to increase. 

If you’d like some advice about implementing some of these features on your website, you can get in touch or request a free consultation.

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+44 (0)116 318 0488

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University of Westminster