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Three Rules of Engagement ““ Your Content and Your Audience

Click-through: it’s that wonderful moment when a searcher, a potential visitor, becomes a visitor in fact. They click through to the landing page, site page, article, etc. There’s a lot to the click-through, however, which is why it’s called the “click-through process”.



Below is a snippet from the Google SERPs for “Miami golf shoes“. What you see is the first four results and a whole bunch more.

Paid ads on top, paid ads on the right (with eye-catching star ratings and interesting checkout symbols), shopping results (with pricing already visible) in the middle”¦ at what point do you decide which result ““ or even which type of result – to click on?

Think about the click-through process. How does it work for you? If you’re like most people, you click through because you’re;

  • curious about the teaser you’re reading or
  • intent on filling an impulse.

You’ve put in a search term, are looking for something specific and click because you expect the given link to have what you’re looking for.

The beginning of a click-through really only has two endings. The first is a happy ending; you’ve been attracted because of the teaser. The second is a not-so-happy-ending; the teaser simply doesn’t appeal to your requirements, and your attention wanders elsewhere.

This is why we track, tweak and test. At any point, the process can go wrong, but you never know which point unless you study results. If what you currently have fails to impress, find out why. Tweak and refine to get measurable results.


Rule #1 ““ Offer Something Real & Worthwhile

Every image you use should reinforce your goal, but should also be something that makes sense. If you put a picture of an orange in an ad for photography, you’d better have a darn good reason why.

Your content outline should be just as targeted. Use the outline to make sure you stay on track. Select a strong title; make sure your headline is catchy. Keep your Meta descriptions consistent with the page content.

Here’s a little nugget of truth: crappy content means crappy visitor quality. Keep it clear; keep it simple; keep it engaging.


Rule #2 ““ Offer Less to Get More

While you may or may not have ten hours or more to peruse the Internet, most don’t. Most have a brief time to find what they’re looking for or move on. Give your visitors six offers or less to look at. Don’t combine them into twenty different packages, either.

Don’t treat your page as a hidden object game. You don’t want visitors to guess what you’re selling out of fifteen offers. Each page should be concise and focused. You want your services and products to be clearly outlined.


Rule #3 ““ Stand Out from the Rest

Do you have a brand statement? What’s your selling point? Every company has something that sets them apart from the competition; if you don’t, it just means you haven’t found one yet.

The right call to action can be a brand statement, for example. Images, words or links can all go into developing brand recognition, passing on your statement or highlighting your selling point.

The value you offer, the way you engage your audience, the familiarity you can build”¦ all of this can go into creating brand awareness. So, does your website have what it would take for you to fill out a form or go searching for more information?


Make an impression!

Every title and snippet gives a strong impression to potential visitors. What do these areas say about you? Do they keep your brand intact? Do they give a completely different idea of your brand? Is visiting your site a pleasant experience?

Go through your website and ask yourself ““ “does this site fill the three rules of audience engagement?“ If so, hoorah for you! If not, get to making changes!


One Comment

  1. Craig Daniels December 9, 2010

    you touched on the important points, always good to see a reminder, especially the last item, “make an impression” With so many things to do it can be easy to just fill in the space forgetting that people are really looking at what is on the site..

    I put Janis Joplin on when something needs attention, she always reminds me to pay attention.


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