The way that consumers interact with companies and their brands is rapidly evolving. No longer is it enough for a business to bring out a new product or service, then book some advertising airtime to promote their offering and sit back as the sales come in.

In the digital age, people are increasingly aware of what they want and how they want to consume it. If a business is not offering content online that is both relevant and interesting, they will face significant challenges in converting visitors to customers.

Ensure a consistent experience on all devices

One of the most common mistakes New Zealand businesses can make when it comes to developing their website relates to not delivering a consistent experience across all channels. If a visitor starts their digital journey on their mobile on the commute to work and finishes it at home on their PC, they want to see the same content delivered in a manner fitting the device they are using. If they are not able to do this, they feel a degree of disconnection with the content you are providing them.

Imagine you are shopping for that special gift for a loved one on your mobile device and want to complete your purchase at lunchtime on your work laptop. The online store should make this as easy as possible for you, not have you rummaging around on their site again to find the same item. You would probably give up and go somewhere else.

Shorten the path to content

A good rule of thumb when developing a business website is that the shorter the path to the content an online visitor needs, the better. This means businesses need to think about how consumers can discover content through the website’s menu, the CTAs that are present on pages, the ease of the checkout process or how the search function works.

And don’t forget the content itself; writing complex text is going to send visitors away. Consumers need text that is clearly aimed at the reader first and that’s easy to consume. Overloading visitors with numerous CTAs and too much content will confuse and frustrate them – and could ultimately overshadow any work that has been put into personalising a website, costing the business potential sales.

Personalise content for different customers

Personalisation is key to earning the respect and trust of online visitors. Businesses that only offer static content on their website, which fails to take into consideration who they are as individuals based on location, demographics, site history and interests, risk losing potential customers forever. However, those businesses that deliver personalised, dynamic content across all digital channels, not just their website, keep visitors on their pages longer, which in turn increases their conversion rate and a business’ all-important Google ranking.

Through this increased activity, Google gets a better understanding of the type of content your business is delivering, which will help increase organic traffic. Additionally, when visitors reach a website and discover that there is new, tailored content available they are more likely to return, generating even more traffic.

Create a sense of community

While personalised content should be the key pillar of any business’ digital strategy, there are other considerations that need to be factored in. Consumers of content respond positively when they feel there is a sense of community – reviews of products and services, social media share buttons, forums, a blog with the possibility to add comments are especially important. Because if a consumer wants to talk about a business, and they feel they can connect with other likeminded people around a brand to discuss topics and products that are relevant to them, the level of engagement and the way that company is perceived in the community are enhanced. This should be the ultimate goal of creating a personalised online experience for consumers – happy, engaged customers that become brand advocates in their own right.

New Zealand businesses today are dealing with consumers who are digitally savvy and, because they don’t have a lot of time to waste, rather unforgiving. If a business doesn’t deliver a website that connects with its visitors, they are missing a huge opportunity.

Wayne Jasek is the Director of APAC Operations for Kentico. 

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