Website Visitors are People Too

I visit quite a few websites over the course of the day, and I’m amazed at how bad most of them are. I’m not very picky about design (although I appreciate good design), but instead, I’m dumbfounded at how pushy they are from the very beginning.

Buy this! Sign up for my ebook! Don’t think about leaving this window, or I’ll put another pop-up to convince you to stay.

As a marketer, I desperately want to turn a visitor into a sale or newsletter subscriber, yet for some reason we tend to forget that **online visitors are people too. **It’s easy to look at metrics and simply see numbers, instead of people. Sure, your new widget might increase signups, but what about the people that visit your website and leave instantly?

Offline vs. Online

The more and more I do online marketing, the more I realize that **a visit to a website shouldn’t be  much different than an offline interaction. **For example, there are times when I go shopping (I hate shopping), and the minute I walk into the door, I’m hounded by a sales associate. I understand this might be company policy, and most of the time my response is “I’m just looking, thanks.”

Likewise, many people visit your website – you have the opportunity to fill a need. You have the opportunity to build a brand, yet instead, it’s easier to yell and shout, instead of providing value, and building a relationship for the long term. Sure, it might move the needle to have a pop-up when someone first visits your site, but is that the way you want to be treated when browsing the web? It sure isn’t for me…

How far do I go?

Over the past six months I’ve decided to start a newsletter – it’s put quite a few things into perspective. Should I bombard visitors with calls-to-action encouraging them to signup? I currently have two spots  – one is at the bottom of the post, and another is the orange bar across the top. Is that too pushy? Is that a distraction from my goal to provide relevant, evergreen content that interests me (and hopefully others), and  does it help individuals stay updated? Many businesses must answer the same questions.

Quality over Quantity

Content marketing has taken off, yet I personally reject the notion to blog as often as possible. “If you blog X times a week it will help you gain traffic.” In my opinion, this is a terrible idea and leads to lackluster posts full of fluff. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. My approach is to only write if I have something I feel compelled to say. I don’t have a particular schedule, and my last post was over a month ago. Likewise, your business should operate on quality over quantity. Treat visitors the way you want to be treated – this isn’t rocket science, just a little common sense.

In my situation, I shouldn’t spam my list of  newsletter contacts with less than my best, but instead should only deliver relevant content that is useful.

The most Important Metric is the one you can’t Measure

I recently went to get my car inspected. I went to a local car shop for the first time, and was prepared for a terrible experience. It was the exact opposite. The owner was down-to-earth, and knew how to run a business. He understood what struggles his customers had (like the need to drop off a car early on weekdays), and I left amazed at how awesome the experience was.

Since that experience I have recommended this businesses to a few friends – I didn’t tweet about the experience or post it on Facebook. In the online world, my experience cannot be measured, **but it still happened. **

Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing – it’s something that can make or break your business. I can spend hours looking at metrics and completely forget about how I still can’t measure word-of-mouth interactions. This is a scary thought, but not if you treat your customers right.

Stop Growth Hacking

I’ve read quite a few case studies on growth hacking, and there’s been a few that are brilliant implementations, while others are red flags. Do good to your customers, and you will reap rewards. Sure, you might not achieve overnight success, but you also won’t be permeating the web with spam either.  Once again, your visitors are not only a metric, but a real individual. Treat them like it.