People are online a lot.
More than 30 percent of U.S. adults say they are online almost constantly, a number that continues to climb. Whether we are logging in for work or scrolling through our feeds in the supermarket checkout line, it’s clear that we are digital-first and online-oriented.Pew Research Center
We are also navigating an increasingly crowded online ecosystem. Like a city swarming with traffic and attractions, we have endless routes to take and places to visit.
This is both a challenge and an opportunity for brands online. On the one hand, companies can connect with their customers on their websites, social media channels, and other online verticals. On the other hand, getting people to stop and take a second look at your platform or product offerings can be incredibly difficult.
What’s more, the stakes are high, and customers are ruthless. Even minor inconveniences, like slow load times or clunky page designs, can cause visitors to abandon a brand’s website forever. As one online retail survey discovered:
54 percent of U.S. adults would stop using a brand after just one bad experience.Propel Software
In this high-risk, high-reward online environment, an incredible web experience can make or break a brand. Here are three ways to update or augment your website to surprise, delight, and engage your customers right now.
#1 Make It Personal
First-time buyers and repeat customers expect a personalized customer experience (CX), making it table stakes for a compelling brand experience online.
In response, 73 percent of businesses have increased their investment in online personalization, looking to outpace the competition in this critical category.GetFeedback, State of CX Report
Since most companies already leverage big data to enhance their sales and marketing initiatives, applying these insights to website personalization is a natural next step.
By collecting and analyzing large amounts of user data, businesses can gain insights into customer preferences, needs, and purchasing behavior. These insights can be used to create targeted campaigns and personalized recommendations that cater to the specific interests and preferences of each user.
For example, McDonald’s records customer data from purchases made through its mobile app, allowing it to offer personalized recommendations and promotions. Similarly, Instagram uses big data analytics to curate content that aligns with individual user interests, ensuring a better user experience.
#2 Ensure It’s Discoverable
An effective web presence is predicated on discoverability. That’s why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to a brand’s website and resonance.
One area where our team recently made an impact was in working long-term with leading media company, Smart Meetings, the most trusted resource for meeting professionals in the meetings industry. The brand encountered this challenge when migrating its website from a custom platform built on top of Zend Framework to WordPress.
Migrating databases required a personalized and customized process to account for WordPress’s unique requirements while maintaining SEO optimization and URL mapping. The solution meant building a rewrite engine with over 30 different 301 rules, mapping the original links to the new system and extending the rewrite API that supports various functionality across the website.
This process can be challenging, often requiring expert insights and skilled professionals to achieve. Still, it’s foundational to a brand’s presence online, making a company easily discoverable to the billions of people navigating the internet every day.
#3 Keep It Reliable
Building a reliable website is not a one-off assignment. It requires regular maintenance, consistent analysis, and thoughtful maturation to ensure that websites perform optimally, run properly, and engage visitors precisely.
This might include asking questions like: do ads run properly, do signups work, and can companies better engage visitors with gamification techniques?
It also means ensuring site reliability when it matters most.
When Ticketmaster’s website infamously crashed under the crush of Taylor Swift fans clamoring for concert tickets, the outage caused explosive outrage from fans. It even activated Congress to scrutinize the platform’s practices, eroding the company’s brand image and negatively impacting its economic prospects moving forward.
Simply put, elevating brand presence and connecting with customers online requires a reliable online experience that people can count on. Continuous improvement and support make this possible, keeping websites up-to-date and ready to embrace the latest trends and technologies.
Challenges and Opportunities
The digital landscape of the moment presents challenges and opportunities for brands seeking to engage and connect with their customers. To thrive in this competitive online environment, businesses must focus on three key areas: personalization, discoverability, and reliability. By leveraging big data, ML, and AI technologies, brands can offer highly personalized experiences that cater to individual user preferences.
By addressing these three crucial aspects, brands can create an exceptional online experience that keeps customers engaged and coming back for more.