Warning: Make Web Visitors Insiders, Or They Won’t Buy
Ian Lurie Feb 21 2008
If you can make visitors to your website feel like they’re insiders, they’ll buy, vote, read or otherwise convert into a great audience.
I proved that to myself, today, at Disneyland.
I hate Disneyland. It’s the antithesis of everything I like: It’s big, commercial, crowded, expensive and exhausting. Yet I spent the day at Disneyland today, and had a good time. Why?
My wife found this great book, the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.
Basically, it gives you the ideal schedule for a day at the park. When to show up, which gate to use to get in, which rides to go to first, etc.. It also includes information about which rides kids of various ages might like.
The result: We got here at 8:30 AM. At 1 PM we were feeling pretty dang smug: We’d hit all our favorite rides, had a nice lunch in quiet restaurant (I didn’t even know there was such a thing here), and the kids never descended into tired grumpiness.
We knew all the secrets to having a good day here.
In short, this book made us feel like insiders. It’s like a secret cache of information. I’ll recommend it again and again, because it let us in on a few secrets. We felt like members of a special club. Stuff we’d never noticed before jumped out at us and made our day much more fun.
Invite Your Visitors Into The Club
You can do the same thing on your web site.
- Give them one piece of information they couldn’t get anywhere else. It could be anything: How to accomplish a specific task; a recipe; some breaking news.
- Give them a special deal: A 1-hour sale on an item; a free whitepaper (no registration required) because they went to a specific page on the site; faster shipping because they bought a certain product.
- Talk to them. If they buy, call them. Not to pester or sell more, but to simply say ‘hi’ and ask if they were satisfied. Don’t use a call center for this. Do it yourself, or build a team to do it. Personal contact creates an unbeatable sense of belonging. You can’t get that with an e-mail or a bored telemarketer reading from a script.
- Start a cult. Not the sinister kind – create your own lexicon, or story, or something else, and give it to your audience. Then give them a chance to use it among themselves.
- Introduce them. Facilitate discussions amongst your audience. Be careful with this option. Folks don’t like the idea that you’re introducing them to strangers via the internet. Ideally, let them communicate online, via forums or something similar.
In short, make your visitors feel special, and they’ll elevate you from commodity to secret weapon.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More