Driving Sales Through Interactive Technology
One of the biggest benefits of online marketing is the enormous depth and breadth of information that can be communicated to prospects — material far more robust than can be presented in a 30 second radio or television spot, or through full-page advertisements in print publications. Add to this the multimedia capabilities of the online realm and top it off with the one thing that online sales offer that no other medium (with the exception of dealing with in-person sales staff) can match: total interactivity — and it’s easy to see the possibilities of online interactivity.
With such power at our fingertips, however, it’s surprising more website operators do not make full use of interactive techniques and technologies to boost their sales.
Key to understanding this process is to realize that adult website interactivity is only a means to an end — in this case, an increase in sales. In this simple context, it is customer engagement that is the goal of enhanced website interactivity.
Think of it like fishing: you can bait your hook and toss it in a pond full of fish, but it’s easier to catch one if you jiggle the line a little — doing whatever it takes to get the fish’s attention and make him want to bite — or in our case, the customer’s attention.
Exit chats are an easy example. With these tools, a visitor either exiting or spending a predetermined amount of time on a website is greeted by a popup “chat” dialog window, ostensibly having a live operator on the other, ready to answer the prospect’s questions — or to offer a special discount. Some systems use “bots,” others rely on live operators, others will take a hybrid approach that seamlessly transfers users that the “bot” is unable to cope with to a live operator.
Part of the goal here is to not make the customer feel that he is alone at your website.
How many times have you become angered while wandering through the aisles of a large store, needing some sales help, but finding no staff to assist you in a timely manner?
Don’t do the same thing to the customers on your website.
Beyond live operators and other easily accessible “help” resources, other steps can be taken to breathe life into a site and engage its users.
While perhaps a bit passé, IM pop-ups lend a sense of activity to a site; a feeling that someone is there, on the other end of the computer.
Likewise, “models online” listings provide a sense of action elsewhere on the site, encouraging further clicks; while calendars, “coming soon” preview clips and site update schedules, can give customers something to look forward to.