5 Web Strategies to Captivate Your Audience
Let’s face it. Not all industries are exciting. The glamour of being a fresh, young, app-based startup out of Silicon Valley doesn’t quite carry the same level of intrigue as a plumbing company in rural Wyoming. Yet, both companies need (and if they’re good companies, they deserve) to have a steady influx of interested consumers. Does this mean that naturally “interesting” businesses are inherently more valuable than inherently less interesting ones, or that uninteresting ones have no hope of intriguing or attracting an online customer base?
The answer is a resounding NO.
All it requires is an adjusted approach and the knowledge that you can’t just rely on your material to be interesting on its own—you have to make it interesting. To do that, you’ll need the following strategies to make your website fresher, more appealing, and more compelling:
Provide more practical content
Practical content gets the job done because it immediately gives users an associated value. In a straightforward format, like a “how to” article or tutorial, you’ll be giving users information they can then use to accomplish some goal or task, but don’t limit yourself there. As long as your material has some measurable value for your users, it’s going to make them more interested in your site and your brand. Take this article on the cost-effectiveness of storage containers, for example—because it assigns a bottom-line dollar value to the product, it immediately becomes more interesting to even marginally interested users.
Defy the industry standards
“Interesting” and “memorable” are two tightly interconnected ideas, and to achieve either, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. There are tons of other businesses in your industry, so if your website looks almost exactly like theirs, how could you possibly expect users to think of yours as inherently more interesting? To stand out, you’ll need to break some rules, push some boundaries, and defy traditional user expectations. That might mean adopting a different design, voice, or functionality—as long as it’s unique.
Use a friendly, informal voice
Traditional industries often use an identical, flat, corporate voice to describe their products and overall business model, mostly because they haven’t thought of an alternative strategy. Instead, try using a voice that’s friendly, informal, casual, and approachable. Use some colloquialisms, avoid rigid sentence structures, and write like you talk in a conversation. Will it seem less professional? Maybe to some, but to the vast majority it will make you seem more personable, and that makes you more interesting (and trustworthy, too).
Add in more visuals
It’s no secret that visual content is inherently more engaging—just take this article on DIY plumbing disasters as an example. Rather than talking about specific disasters in detail, the authors simply show the images of the events unfolding. It immediately creates a connection with your user base, giving them the core of your ideas without demanding a significant time investment. The type of visuals you use are up to you; not all industries will lend themselves to photographs or videos, so feel free to toss in some memes, charts or illustrations. Even just a handful of images can make a page or article on your site more engaging, which can do wonders for your brand reputation. And of course, over time, you’ll have the ability to produce and develop better-tailored visuals based on feedback from your audience.
Make it funny
The above plumbing article serves as a good example here, but also look at Dollar Shave Club’s monumental advertisement from 2012. Shaving and razor blades aren’t exactly interesting to most people, but with a funny spin and a memorable concept, one piece of content on the subject racked up a whopping 22 million views. Humor is important for people because it’s a marker of empathy; if a customer can laugh with you, it likely means they’ll be able to trust you, and anything that’s funny is inherently seen as more interesting. It’s hard to keep this up throughout an entire site, but do include moments of self-referential industry humor when you can.
These tips don’t apply to any single industry, business size, or situation; the vast majority of them are universal. However, don’t take that to mean that this represents some magical formula that will guarantee more traffic or conversions for your company. While practical and useful, these strategies should only serve as guidelines; since every company is unique, each company needs to experiment to find which combination of strategies and qualities work best for their needs. Commit yourself to experimentation, head in the direction outlined above, and before you know it, yours will be one of the most interesting brands in the industry.