People who get involved tend to be more committed to a particular path than those who are just visiting. This is true whether you are doing retail sales or online sales. However, in a face-to-face presentation people are naturally involved because a social interaction is taking place and they usually give you their full attention. Online, people may be surfing the web and be multitasking on their PCs. You don’t know if you have their attention or not since you’re not directly there to give them eye contact. So, how do you get them involved in your site if you can’t reach out through their terminal and put the product in their hands?
Well, the solution is a lot easier than you think since social networking sites are now more predominant. Blogs, discussion groups, forums, and even surveys and games can be a way to engage the person to stop a moment and interact with your site. Once you’ve engaged their participation, they will start to identify with your site more.
Now, if you get them to become a regular visitor who comments on your blog or has tried out some of your products, they start to feel like this is their home. They start to take pride in being part of your site and it can give them feelings like pride of ownership.
Direct sales like mail marketing use something called an “involvement device” to get people involved over a long distance. That is something that they can touch and feel and that asks for some participation on their part. The one involvement device that comes to mind is some of the advertisements that ask you to peel a sticker from a particular part of the advertisement and place it somewhere else to signal your acceptance of the offer.
It seems very simplistic that having someone place a sticker or add a business card or drop something into a slot could ever increase sales, but it does. Once a person becomes involved in the sales process, they are more apt to pay attention and buy. Any device that engages the reader brings them into the buying process and reduces their resistance to the offer.
You don’t just want to use any involvement device, you typically want to use something that ties into what you are selling. That’s why Facebook applications are so popular because they are a great involvement devise that typically tie into the product or company and provide a way for people to associate their participation with some company or product. Then, if there is a link available back to the website, you are already primed to consider this a part of your virtual heritage.
Another type of involvement device is like the advertisements that ask you to draw a picture to see if you qualify for drawing lessons. You find that you get so involved in getting the picture done right, that you can hardly wait to mail it off and receive an offer for classes in the mail. Not only did those advertisers correctly identify people who might have an interest in buying art classes, but they also got them so involved they probably waited by the mailbox to see if they were accepted for this offer. That’s very clever marketing!
The key there is that involvement device used was directly related to the product or services being sold. You can still use an involvement device that merely gets a person to participate, and online that would be like getting a comment on a blog. A person has taken some action that has gotten them involved in your community. But, did it make a sale? Not really, it might later, but not right away. So, the best involvement devices are those that are tied directly to the product or service you are trying to market.