There was a time when people bought from those people who knew them.
You went to the local butcher or baker, and he knew your name, and your kids names. Personal interaction was a valuable sales and marketing tool.
We can apply this strategy to the web, too.
Interaction marketing, as the name suggests, is about the marketing benefit that can be had from engaging with a visitor in a more personalized way.
It works well in an environment of anonymous, mee-too sameness, because people still crave uniqueness and personal attention. This startegy isn't limited to commerce, either. It applies to all kinds of sites, including blogs.
What Are The Benefits Of Encouraging Interaction?
Encouraging interaction can result in more repeat visits, more sales, more loyalty, and more attention. In many cases, it's quite a simple thing to do, and the pay-offs can be enormous.
A well-known example is: "Do you want fries with that?". McDonald's upsell is an example of interaction marketing. They're asking the right question at just the right time, and they're personalizing the service. And it works, to the tune of billions in extra revenue per year.
The Blogs Squeaky Wheel
One of the problems with blogs, this one included, is that the audience isn't just one audience. There are many audiences.
Some people are experienced SEOs and have been reading here for a long time. Others might have only just learned what the phrase SEO means. Most people are spread across the continuum.
How do you deliver an experience that works well for everyone?
Distinguish Between New And Returning Visitors
Seth Godin advocates distinguishing between new and returning visitors to your site, and targeting them with slightly different messages.
For example, new commentors could be delivered to a special welcome page, informing them about various, important areas of your site. You wouldn't necessarily want to do this for long-time users of the site, because it would slow them down, and might be seen as condesending rather than helpful.
One opportunity that's underused is the idea of using cookies to treat returning visitors differently than newbies. It's more work at first, but it can offer two experiences to two different sorts of people.
Here is a Wordpress plugin that will do just that: Wordpress Commentor PlugIn.
By default, new visitors to your blog will see a small box above each post containing the words "If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!" After 5 visits the message disappears. You can customize this message, its lifespan, and its location."
You could also try this one: Comment Redirect PlugIn
Another way to achieve the same thing is to send an email to new commentors upon registration, outlining the top posts and welcoming them.
You're customizing the experience only slightly, but the payoffs in terms of relationship building could be considerable. The user are more likely to perceive the interaction as helpful and personalized.
Ask For A Link In The Order Confirmation E-mail
That is certainly one of those "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" moments.
You could ask customers, or new sign ups, to link to you. Your customers are prime candidates to approach for links, because they are already familiar with you, presumably like you, and the relationship has already been established.
Amazon-Style Feedback Reminder
Amazon, and their partners, ask for a review a few days after you buy something.
Not only is this a great way to get feedback, customers may also provide you with content. Make it easy for them to do so.
Advertising can annoy visitors, and compromise your brand. You can give people added value by removing advertising for those who join up.
Similarly, you could leave advertising off new content. Create a different template, that includes ads, for your archived content. By doing so, you can monetarize most of your content without annoying your regular readers.
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