Every page of your site should have a “call to action”–a button or link somewhere that directs your visitor to what you want them to do. It could be to cal, to enroll, to register, to put something in a cart, or add themselves to a mailing list. But if your page’s call to action involves going to a different website to buy or sign up for something, It’s likely they will not manually go back to your site to pick up where they left off.
The visit is over when your guest says it is.
When we build a custom site from scratch at Turbine, or even a widget for a CMS like WordPress, we keep those transactions behind the scenes so guests are not ambushed by suddenly getting taken to some other site.
Does it matter?
We spend so much energy on marketing and search engine optimization–why are we sending our guest away on purpose? We strive to keep the guest on your website for their entire visit. Why?
- It’s polite. In fact, in the early days of online shopping, it used to be best practice to let people know when you were going to redirect them somewhere.
- It’s more visually consistent. Your website has its own attitude and vibe, but your platform probably looks generic or has its own attitude. Most don’t even let you adjust the colors.
- You lose your branding. Like a good glass of wine, we want each sip to be rich with the experience your website works so hard to achieve–with no bad aftertaste. Will the platform even let you upload your logo?
- Your guest may trust you, but they may not feel that way about the platform you sent them to. There are tons of platforms out there, and it’s likely your guest has never heard of the one you’re using. Thus, you’ve asked them to do business with a stranger. All of the sudden your header and footer are gone, and your navigation with it. It can be disorienting to some of your guests, and even worrying. Was this redirection supposed to happen, or were bad actors involved? Don’t assume your guest is fine with this.
- Lost opportunity. What else could the guest have done on your site? If they chose a less profitable button to click, then you’ll likely miss out on any other clicks, and the platform you just sent them to may distract them enough to catch their attention. At that point, you’ve lost them./li>
- The “thank you” experience is yours and wrapped in the look and feel of your business, instead of the platform’s. Controlling how the “goodbye” feels can help ensure the guest has a great experience on your website from first click to last.
- You invested a lot getting guests to come to your site. It seems counter-intuitive to intentionally send them away. Your “sign up”, “register” or “buy now” button is perhaps serving the other platform’s “call to action” more than yours
- You can gain helpful tracking information by tracking what happens after the sale, registration or enrollment. Since you likely have their contact info at this point that they’ve opted into (thus making things GDPR compliant), you could send them a follow-up email later about the other things they were checking out on the site. When you send them to a platform, you likely only get a log or report at the other end, which can be difficult to tie to the rest of your analytics and workflow. Next time you shop on Amazon, take note of how they try to get you to stay a bit longer.
What Do We Do About It?
So how do we remedy this? How can we give our guests this additional level of kindness and customer service?
- Use platforms that redirect the guest back to a link on your own site, especially if they let you control the looks and messaging of their “thank you” page. This option is called a “redirect” or a “callback”.
- If you must use plugins, use ones that don’t take the guest away from the page, but do whatever they do behind the scenes.
- Do something custom. A properly written piece of custom code is integrated more smoothly with your site–you can theme it your way to keep your site looking 100% yours. You can shorten the transaction or ask more specific questions, and send the information wherever it needs to go without making you re-enter it into separate systems later.
There is more to maximizing your site’s effectiveness than search engine optimization and tracking page counts, and customer service is more than a good return policy. If you’d like to give your guests a better experience than your current site or your competitor’s, we’d be glad to help you make that happen.