High bounce rates. Low conversions from readers to leads. Plenty of social media activity, but little engagement. No comments in the blog posts.
What do all these symptoms have in common? Simple: your business website is so boring that no one wants to engage with you.
It all starts with the most basic unit of your site, the bricks in your pyramid: words. If you’re not an engaging or even entertaining read, why should someone keep reading what you have to say when it’s just as easy to click “back” and find another business?
If you want to boost your chances at online success, you should be—at the very least—somewhat entertaining. If that means getting outside the proverbial box, so be it. Here are a few (unconventional) ways to make your site more interesting:
Get Just a Little Bit Controversial
When’s the last time you heard about anything Kmart was doing? Yet you might have heard about their now-infamous “I shipped my pants” campaign several years back. The tagline was an obvious play on words—bordering on the obscene—and it rose a few eyebrows, to say the least.
The result? Kmart became relevant again, with a boost in web traffic.
Look at many of the big fast food brands on social media these days and you’ll see a casual-yet-professional approach that fully embraces the meme-heavy culture that is the Internet. By making themselves worth following on Twitter, brands like Taco Bell and Charmin (two brands I chose at random, I assure you) hit their target demographic by giving their social media managers some leeway when it comes to actual content.
Sometimes this borders on the controversial—but if you do it right, controversial can be entertaining, too.
Use Time and Energy as a Substitute for Money
When Dollar Shave Club produced a fun viral video introducing themselves to America, they didn’t have the ad and marketing budget they have now. So instead they worked on a self-produced video that they could publish online for free.
The video is fun and entertaining to watch because of the creative forces behind it, not the immense marketing budget. And while brands like Old Spice are able to infuse both into their marketing, small businesses and entrepreneurs can create a similar effect without buying up the time of a massive marketing team.
In other words: if you don’t have anything to invest in your marketing except energy and time, it can be worth it—right off the bat.
Drop the Stuffy Content
“Brand Y is a digital conglomerate of synthetic marketing, fully branded to aid clients in the development of new business paradigms.”
Yikes. Even I wish I hadn’t written that sentence.
While it’s perfectly acceptable to write professional content, make sure that your tone isn’t so stuffy that you forget that your website is meant for real human eyes. Ultimately, it’s not for search engines, it’s not to look pretty, it’s not to serve as a business card.
It’s there to be experienced by someone who might be interested in your small business.
Whether you write the content yourself or hire a writer to handle it for you, make sure that the goal is to engage your readers, not talk at them.
Have Something Worth Writing About
Let’s say your business is in a niche that’s…well, a little less exciting than others and you have absolutely no idea how your site could possibly be a more entertaining read.
Well, is your business more interesting than taxidermy? Because Chuck Testa found a way to make it fun.
The complaint that you have nothing entertaining worth writing about is due to a simple unwillingness to indulge in a proper brainstorming session. Dig deeper. There’s something in your business that’s worth having a chuckle about. Sometimes it simply takes seeing an old business from a new angle to make your content fresh.
Dig Deep for Answers
Why do people go to websites? They go to be entertained, sure. But as the rise of Google has demonstrated to us, we ultimately go online in search of answers.
Neil Patel of Quick Sprout, an expert digital marketer, creates content that’s willing to go the extra mile. He’s willing to dig deep—even writing guides the length of novels—to give original and insightful answers for his readers.
Somewhere in your niche, there’s a potential customer asking a question. What can you do to answer it?
Digging deep for your own answers makes for compelling blog posts, because asking the right questions forces you to go beneath the surface answers to discover those little gems and insights that make your blog worth reading. Keep digging, even if it doesn’t always work, and your blog will become more compelling.
Do Something Most Businesses Wouldn’t Do: Be Vulnerable
The Internet can be a little harsh sometimes. But it can also reward vulnerability. By sharing the challenges that you’re going through as a business, you show that you’re not just another stuffed shirt factory looking to bore the world with another blog post with “five tips for digital marketing.”
By expressing the problems you have—and what insights you’ve gathered in the search for solutions—you open yourself up to something that’s immediately accessible: our collective human experience. And that’s always more interesting than superficial fluff and cursory research.
Engage to Be Engaging
As Captain Picard of the Enterprise-D might say: “engage.” Nothing happens to make your site more engaging unless you engage with your audience. That means being willing to respond to blog posts and Twitter mentions. It means opening up a dialogue by asking important questions, or offering new tidbits that you’ve discovered.
Making your site more engaging and entertaining means making it a worthwhile place to visit. And that means giving just a little bit more than you can expect to get. It means knowing your audience and thinking about their experience—not just what you might think they want to read.