Engage your audience in 3 key steps

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Connecting with your readers through personalisation

 

In today’s online climate, developing a connection with your audience that is more permanent than passive is critical to every publisher. How many of your consumers are drifters, passing through for a visit, and how many are inspired to get involved with your community?

 

Influencing a more engaged audience means higher retention, leading to lower marketing costs, better conversion rates and most of all a consistent reminder that you are doing something right. The key lies in being aware of the main factors that influence the results you are looking for.

 

We have decided to dish out our two cents with 3 Key Steps to help you get a head start on engaging your audience. From how to choose the right headline to where you can fall at the first hurdle with the wrong UX.

 

1. PERSONALISATION

 

We at Readersight believe personalisation is the future for publishers. Strengthening the bond between brand and consumer by delighting them with articles they’re willing to read, in particular without your suggestion, is a unique experience for any reader. Publishers we have worked with found their click-through rates grow by 50% after implementing personalisation strategies.

 

With the vast amount of information it can be easy to get swallowed by choice fatigue, a state caused by being overwhelmed by too many options. As a reaction to this, sites that produce great amounts of content daily are remedying this through personalisation. By using machine learning, brands like Netflix and Spotify generate tailored suggestions for their users. This has lead to more than 80% of the shows watched on Netflix having been discovered through their recommendation system and to over 1.7 billion streams on Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, generated for each individual through algorithms.

 

But achieving personalized content doesn’t mean starting with an overly-complex machine learning algorithm. You can begin by using data that already exists, and implementing it into your marketing strategies. For instance, segmenting emails based on your user profiles to create dynamic content can drive your click-through rates by 14% and conversions by 10%. Or by creating user-targeted calls to action on your homepage can drive up to 42% more leads than un-targeted CTAs.

 

When Netflix US pushed out a comedic tongue and cheek Tweet, concerned about the 53 people who had over-watched one of their original movies, they were using basic data information. By doing so they managed to start a media debate, highlight their audience awareness, establish a personal connection with their users and market pre-existing content in one foul swoop.

 

2. UX

 

User Experience is a pivotal part of communicating with your audience, immediately setting the tone for their experience and interactions with you.

 

Why should you invest in quality UX? A study made by Forrester Research in 2016 highlighted that better UX design could lead to conversion rates of up to 400%. Separately, research was found that for every dollar invested in usability the return can give from $10 – $100 in benefits.

 

A good User Experience equates to focusing on how it feels to interact with your digital platform. The goal is making your audience’s life easier. If your load time is too long for not optimizing your media or if you create the task of scouting for relevant content, you’ve most likely lost the attention of a possible conversion. There should always be a goal you are helping your readers achieve without a series of hoops to jump through and distractions along the way.

 

For a site like Feedly, who assist you in discovering and keeping up to date with relevant content across the web, UX is a hugely important factor in their success. Using a simple grey navigation bar and leaving adequate space between content creates a zen experience where you don’t feel overwhelmed. Searches are organised into an easily comparable list, negating the issue of scrolling through a hodgepodge of content. Each step of the process is made to feel intuitive, spacious and simplistic.

 

Feedly Dashboard: https://feedly.com/i/welcome

Source: Feedly

 

When you’re looking for your page’s success in relation to UX, the suggested rule is to take the number of tasks successfully completed and divide them by the number of tasks you have. If you’re hitting a lower percentage you’re probably making the task journey a little too complicated. This could be remedied by asking questions like “at what point are they dropping off when completing a task?” and “how can I adapt that task to lead to more completions?”

 

3. CHOOSING THE RIGHT HEADLINE

 

What makes headlines so important? They are the teaser trailers of the content you create and if they don’t inspire intrigue, people won’t watch the movie. When it comes to online content, attention spans falls short with 59% of people sharing articles without even reading the content within, damaging your click-through rate. Overcoming this obstacle is a system of analyzing your data from previous campaigns, strategizing using your key performance indicators, and from there experimentation and an ability to adapt to your audience’s preferences.

 

A/B testing is a vital hand in experimentation, as you can compare two variations of the same content to see which one gives the best results by tracking your clicks, engagements and conversion rates in “real-time”. What you choose to produce still needs to be developed based on your audience data – are there keywords that your readers previously reacted to? What images worked before? Are you including the right metadata? A/B testing is not simply a way of driving Click Through Rates, it is a tool you can use to produce the best results from your own preconceived creative ideas. 

 

With Buzzfeed, the success of their content relies heavily on their image & headline optimization and A/B testing. Within the first couple hours of releasing content they will have several different variations targeting each viewer randomly, whichever one shows the most promising CTR and engagement rates will be selected and pushed out to the masses.

 

Readersight A/B Testing Dashboard

Source: Readersight A/B testing

 

Though the success of each campaign may fluctuate, it’s important to see each test as a constant learning curve. Integrating a system of headline testing into your campaign launch process would be a great way to drive conversion on your site. Part of what we do at Readersight is provide A/B testing tools, like the one shown above. This is to help produce the best results for a diverse range of publishing needs, each one with its own identity and individual voice. A/B testing is a way in which to walk into multiple rooms at the same time, deliver your unique opening lines to each crowd, and then take the most successful opener to the big stage.

 

TO SUM IT UP

 

The overall message we are communicating through the 3 key steps is listen, listen, listen. Deep personalisation and audience understanding are about taking in the data and reacting to the desires of your readers. Starting with the basic data you already have, you can initiate a flowing conversation with those who value your content. Proving you’re invested in your reader preferences is the way forward for driving loyalty, engagement and conversions.

 

Knowing who you are speaking to is what will inform any personalisation tweaks you may need to make. Adjusting your User Experience to be intuitive or choosing the right headlines to inspire click-through rates, best works when it comes from a place of audience understanding.

 

Most of us have a specific place, whether it’s for coffee, food or something else that we once fell in love with and return to over and over. Though there are many great factors that entice you back; the hosts, the quality, the environment, its the overall sense of being connected to a space which is at the heart of why you keep going back. Taking this mentality and applying it to our online communities through personalisation is what we should be looking to when we imagine the future of audience to brand communication.






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