Driving Engagement and Revenue Through Your Website

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SIPA member Oil & Gas Innovation Center lists a series of inspiring quotes at the top of their homepage. I like this one by Albert Einstein: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Although this one byLinus Pauling is good, too: “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”

Here are five new and interesting ideas that SIPA members are using on their websites:

farmequipment1. Ads and videos can blend in nicely. There’s a lot to like about Lessiter Publications’ new Farm Equipment website:

– a lead story with a big, attractive photo and several side stories above the fold to engage, inform and give depth; – several appealing ads that bring in revenue and don’t distract;

– many free resources such as videos and blogs;

– a promotion for an upcoming sponsored webinar;

– Dealers on the Move. People like news about their colleagues.

I also like that they list their Editorial Advisory Board on the homepage. It gives the site even more gravitas knowing that respected people in the industry are contributing. And it gives a nice shout-out to those folks. Joseph Musacchio, CEO of the successful People Ticker, told me that, “We all need advisory committees.” (I wrote a how-to piece on advisory committees in May with Lindsay Konzak of 3 Aspens Media.)

2. Or you can offer an ad alternative. MIT Technology Review has a big ad from IBM at the top of their site. Just below, it asks “Want to go ad free?” When you click on that it reads, “Want to remove ads? To experience MIT Technology Review without advertisements, become an Insider at the Plus or Premium level.” It’s definitely a different approach. I also like a feature they do called Reader Questions. They also have sponsored content.

3. Have customer service at the ready. When you click on a video about growth stocks from Cabot Investing Advice, you get a pop-up of a customer service manager’s smiling face asking if there’s anything he can help with. I recall one CEO telling me that their customer service is now called customer success. I also like the big number 5 they have in their right rail. It’s eye-catching and it leads me into their story on Five Market Drivers That Are Much More Important Than the Fed.

decisionhealth4. Mix free and paid. UCG’s DecisionHealth lists three excellent resources for their audience. One is a free report instructing how your documents need to change to meet an upcoming deadline; next is “Experts on Demand,” which is how they list their paid webinar library (interesting choice of words, library over archives); and third is their free Forums group. They have more than 20 communities.

5. Add in some gamification. EB Medicine has a Visual Diagnosis Challenge that is not for the weak of heart. Farm Equipment has an engaging poll—”What is the single most important factor when it comes to your choice of a parts supplier?” When you click on an answer it gives what people have answered. (Consistent availability & delivery is an overwhelming winner.) And Chesapeake Family has aWin Something section. I went for the Disney on Ice. edCirrus will help you make a board game, and CredSpark will help you with quizzes.

At the upcoming Business Information & Media Summit, two sessions will directly instruct how you can get more out of your website: Planning for Profitability: Creating a Website Roadmap for Success with Ed Coburn, senior vice president & chief strategy advisor, Mequoda Group, LLC, and Kim Mateus, their executive VP, planning team leader; and Ideas Worth Stealing: 10 Revenue-Generating Email & Website Tips You Can Implement Immediately withStephanie Williford, CEO & publisher, EB Medicine, and Susan Woodard, director of business development.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…