Web traffic is people! (Well, that’s not entirely true. Some web traffic is comprised of search bots, but people traffic should always be a website owner’s main focus). Despite this, when we talk about the people who visit our websites, we often use terminology that takes the human-factor out of the equation. We talk about “increasing hits,” “getting more visits,” “growing traffic,” “reducing bounces,” and other somewhat abstract terminology.
Thinking of website traffic as a phenomenon (rather than just people looking at your website) can cause us to make bad decisions about our website design and online marketing. For instance, just because you put a 4 page survey on your website–doesn’t mean anyone is going to fill it out. Why? Because people don’t like filling out long surveys.
Sometimes we forget to ask ourselves, “How would I respond to this?” Chances are, you wouldn’t fill out a 4 page survey unless you knew you were going to get something worthwhile out of it. Now that you have an idea of how a real person might respond to your survey, you can create a shorter survey and perhaps offer a discount, a freebie, or other perk in exchange for the work you’re asking people to do for you.
We know a bit about people right? This is how we’ve all learned to be adults and navigate the world around us. You’ve got to meet other people’s needs in order to fulfill your own. It’s the barter system, and it’s what the internet is all about. You scratch my back, and I’ll fill out your survey.
Empathy: The ultimate web marketing strategy
Remember empathy? That’s when you climb into someone else’s shoes and take a walk around the virtual block. Empathy is how we understand that someone else has needs different from our own. Now, try to apply your empathetic skills to your online audience. What do they want? How can your website satisfy their desires? If your website is not offering something valuable for other people, then it’s not going to succeed. It’s that simple. Forget trying to hard-sell your new single. Instead, try giving it away for free.
Put aside your dreams of wild success for a moment. Think of your website as a virtual soup kitchen. What are you providing that will nourish the hearts and minds of your visitors?
The importance of fans
When you employ empathy: you create fans. And fans are your biggest asset, because fans don’t always act in a self-interested way. Fans feel they have received so much from you already, that they are willing to go above and beyond to give back to you. Fans harbor such a warm and fuzzy feeling about you and what you create, that they’re willing to do work for you and buy your stuff without any hesitation. This is why you should always be thinking about how you can give more to your visitors, in hopes that they will someday become fans.
In order to create fans, you need to give generously. But what do you give?
People love personal attention. If someone writes you a short email, write them a full page response and throw in a free download or surprise them with a phone call. Spend extra time with your attendees at events and follow up with them down the line.
Good art creates a cathartic experience for people. It allows us to see the world in a different way. When you create a song or any other kind of art, you are giving your audience an experience. Pay attention to the experiences that people have when they listen to your music. Try employing generosity and empathy in your creative process.
What do you love to read and view online? What kind of content would your fans respond to? What photos, videos, and blog posts can you share? Get in the habit of publishing things on your blog that you think will delight your visitors. Pay close attention to what gets shared and commented on and create more of it.
Occasionally it can be effective to give special offers to those who support you. If a fan shares a concert announcement on Facebook or Twitter, make sure you reward them. Win over fans by showing them how grateful you are for any little thing they do to help you out.
So next time you work on your website, write a blog post, or send a social media update. ask yourself: How will this inspire and delight the living breathing people that visit my site–you fans will thank you for it. :)
Do you have any tips for using empathy to motivate your online fanbase? Let us know in the comments below.