September 06, 2011

Building Captivating Conversations In A “One And Done” World


Let’s assume that your website is a place where people visit once and leave. I’m not saying it’s bad. It might be great. But it has little to do with how many links you have on your site, whether it was designed in an “L” or “Z” eye pattern or whatever other rationalization might exist from a web designer.

The new reality is this: People want YOU to come to THEM.

The days of people coming to websites over and over again are, well, over.

Don’t take down your site in a panic. You’ll see in a moment why it has more value than ever. But first, let me put this thinking into an analogy of islands because that’s often where we envision ourselves anyway.

Not long ago, it was an interesting period of time when we would ask people to come to our individual brand islands and hang out there indefinitely. Time and time again, they’d come to visit and spend some time with us. We had a ball having them. We greeted them with open arms and it was fun being their hosts.

Yet, as we know, Mark Zuckerberg built a new brand new, gigantic island resort called Facebook and many of the islanders went over there. Or they started hanging out on the other big islands of LinkedIn, Twitter, GooglePlus, StumbleUpon and more.

Did they forget about us? No. People won’t come back to our islands repeatedly like they used to, but there is good news to be had. They’re still open to transmissions from afar. So if we can provide them with content that speaks to their world, they’ll listen. And if it’s really good, they’ll share with the other natives. In other words, it’s time to tidy up that website with recurring content on a weekly basis. How about an RSS or e-mail feed for subscriptions? What do we have that’s downloadable? That’s share-able? What forms do we have so that in one answer, we can tailor things toward the one-and-done site visitor?

The great irony of all this is that we have to put more work into our websites than we ever did. Not with the goal of having people visit us repeatedly but wanting to receive our content repeatedly. We have to transform our static websites into fountains of information. Because when we do, our customers and potential customers find value in what we’re sharing – as long as it isn’t merely about the sale we’re having next Sunday.

Suddenly, you have to stop and think to yourself, “Wait a minute. If they’re appreciating our content and sharing it with others who share their characteristics and beliefs, what are we stressing out over? Does it matter that they have that relationship with us primarily on a social media channel instead of our website?”

Exactly. So why do some people put so much stock in traffic to a website? Maybe because now and then they’re measuring things they shouldn’t – or they shouldn’t look solely at that metric. For example, if several people are talking positively about us on Facebook, should we be alarmed that the traffic to our main website is slightly down? No. Because we’re already in front of them and in their conversation stream. If these people are Fans who are commenting on what we post or at the very least, “Liking” us, don’t we have something just as good as a site visit? In actuality, we have something better – an indication of content that the person prefers as opposed to a pair of eyeballs.

See, in reality, one-and-dones aren’t really gone. They’re just stopping by to let us know that, at the very least, they’re interested in what we have to say. Now it’s up to us to use smart strategic planning in order to keep in touch with them – where they are, on their terms.