How to keep your website customers coming back

Encouraging your customers back to your website regularly is an important way of maintaining a relationship; it keeps them engaged cognitively (you are in their thoughts) and behaviourally (you become habituated).

Here are some crafty methods three companies are using to maintain engagement and lure their customers back again and again.

1. MailChimp

I’ve written before about some of the great ways MailChimp engages their customers and works towards an upgrade from free to paid.

One of the things they also do well is confirm when something has happened. Sounds simple, but letting your customer know what they expected to happen has actually happened is a powerful way of reducing anxiety and building trust.

Here are two examples from MailChimp that happen at different stages of the customer experience. First, an email you get when your email campaign has been sent.

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Figure 1 MailChimp campaign confirmation

And second, an email confirming when your payment has gone through. Note the language is different from just about every receipt I’ve ever received – ‘processed without a hitch’ evokes a sense of relief rather than resentment that I’ve just paid a bill. Very clever wordsmiths.

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Figure 2 MailChimp payment confirmation

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn use many techniques to maintain engagement. One is letting their customers know how many people have viewed their profile, tapping into our sense of self-worth and piquing curiosity.  They also now use first names in emails for news, for example ‘Top news for Bri’, which makes the recipient feel the email has been curated explicitly for their needs, increasing the perception of relevance and expectation that it is worth opening.

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Figure 3 LinkedIn techniques

3. Go!Animate

One of my favourites is from the GoAnimate team. GoAnimate is a service where you use pre-drawn characters and voice recordings to animate a script that you write. You can see mine here, Flash required. Here’s the email they sent me to entice me back to the site:

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Wow, I have fans! Can’t disappoint the fans. Go!Animate do a great job here of tapping into my desire to please and my ego. It becomes pretty compelling when the two factors are combined!  Note also in the email how they make suggestions about what I might like to do and hyperlink them.  Straight forward, isn’t it? But too many emails to customers forget this basic task: give your customer something to do.

The lessons are in your inbox

The best news about the techniques I’ve covered is that you probably have your own good, bad and ugly examples sitting in your inbox right now. The takeaway is to stop and reflect on how that business is trying to engage you and whether they are being successful. Turn your experience as a customer into lessons about the customer experience you are creating for your business and you’ll be well on the way to increasing the conversions you generate.

Bri Williams runs People Patterns Pty Ltd, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues.

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