Three rules of cultural attraction: inform, showcase, engage

Learn how to create a memorable first encounter for visitors by following these three simple rules in your content

To avoid feeling overwhelmed by an endless list of marketing options, we suggest focusing on three core rules of attraction that consistently generate interest and provide value to customers.

Inform

Humans are curious creatures. Everyone wants to learn about something, whether it’s hidden treasures in an area they’re visiting or the story behind a culturally significant artwork.

By informing people about things they care about, organisations and businesses provide a compelling reason for audiences to engage with what they do.

Understand your audience

Many organisations assume that they know their audience well enough already. Yet by failing to learn the things that interest customers, these companies risk wasting resources on content that fails to engage.

Don’t make the same mistake by guessing what your customers or visitors want to hear. Instead, take a user-first approach. Whether it’s through surveys, social media or speaking to customers in person, taking the time to learn about your audience’s interests will reap rewards when it comes to producing content that attracts.

For example, it’s common for organisations to include a ‘meet the team’ section on their websites. While people who run businesses understandably want to introduce themselves and their team, customers are usually more interested in the service or experience that drew them to a website in the first place.

Plan the user journey through your ideal customer’s eyes, placing particular emphasis on content that provides value and informs customers about the things they want to know. This not only helps to establish trust between the customer and your organisation; it also educates visitors about the importance of the work you do, making them more likely to engage with you.

Focus on the story

Long lists of previous projects or directories of businesses you associate with will rarely leave a lasting impression. A better approach is to tell the stories behind the projects via engaging articles and multimedia content.

Your aim should be to capture the visitor’s imagination, inspiring them to do business with you. Tell interesting stories that inform customers about things that matter to them, and you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling the first rule of attraction.

Case study: Visit Saint Paul

The tourism organisation behind Minnesota’s capital city has produced a content series showing what Saint Paul looks like through the eyes of its inhabitants. From cultural figureheads to young families, visitors to the website gain an authentic glimpse into Saint Paul’s unique culture via simple Q&A interviews, packed with valuable and unbiased recommendations of how to enjoy the city.

Showcase

The overused phrase stands true: an image paints a thousand words. Whether it’s stylishly-shot videos or immersive photo galleries, using multimedia to showcase what your organisation does is a powerful way to attract customers.

By using live footage from events or giving your audience a peek behind the scenes via professionally crafted video blogs, your website has the potential to attract interest from the moment people discover it.

Image galleries featuring a range of diverse and relevant photographs provide a similarly compelling hook.

Use authentic imagery

Authenticity is key when choosing which images and videos to share. Using generic stock images or old photos that no longer reflect what you do is a common mistake, and can end up repelling audiences instead of attracting them.

Aim instead to provide an authentic, unfiltered view of the sights, sounds and activities associated with your organisation (for example, a lively photo from a music festival that took place last night, or an exclusive look at the new programme you’re about to launch). This leaves your audience with an authentic taste of what they can expect when visiting your organisation.

Embrace user generated content

If you don’t have capacity to regularly produce your own images and videos, user generated content could be the answer. Embedding social media posts from platforms like Instagram and Twitter allows you to showcase timely and relevant images, while celebrating your community and inviting new visitors to join it.

To make the most of user generated content, we suggest using a third party social media aggregator that offers fast loading speeds and customisation. Loading speed is a factor that can influence both user experience and SEO, while customisation will allow you to arrange content elegantly without resorting to the unremarkable default options offered by some social media platforms.

Case study: UNStudio

Architectural design network UNStudio showcases the lasting legacy of its future-proof designs by aggregating user generated content on its home page. Using the tool Curator.io, the organisation has embedded a selection of images from around the world, shared via Instagram by real people who have encountered and interacted with architecture designed by UNStudio.

Although your goal is to engage customers through images and video content, you should avoid overwhelming website visitors with excessive detail.

A carefully planned website gets around this by using tiered content, with interactive elements like accordions and pop-ups that reveal detail according to the user’s actions. This allows visitors to travel through your website at their own pace, without feeling bombarded by attention-stealing content.

Engage

When you’ve informed your audience about things that matter to them and showcased the experiences that make your organisation appealing, there’s every chance that they’ll want to take the engagement a step further.

This is your opportunity to create an ongoing relationship with your audience, capturing new leads and valuable data about customers via polls, competitions and free downloadable resources.

Offer value to customers

Despite common concerns surrounding GDPR legislation, it’s possible to keep your audience engaged and interested without breaking data privacy laws or resorting to cheap marketing tactics.

A great customer relationship provides value on both sides, allowing you to keep your followers informed about events and offers while they benefit from helpful content, special discounts and opportunities to take part in community events.

Persuading visitors to engage in the first instance will require careful consideration of your website design and the content you choose to share.

Small details like the position, colour and scale of call to action buttons can make all the difference when it comes to convincing someone to take the first step, as can the free content you offer as an incentive to subscribe to your mailing list.

Team up with influencers

As part of your overall content and engagement strategy, consider sourcing guest blog posts from thought leaders and influencers within your industry.

Positioning your brand with an influential figure can be a fast way to dramatically increase social engagement, build brand awareness and drive new traffic to your website.

Repeat

Thinking about these rules of attraction on a one-off basis isn’t enough. To consistently attract your audience, it’s important to continually reassess your strategy and maintain the conversations you’re having with customers.

Measuring your success using tools like analytics software, phone number tracking and dedicated mailboxes for web forms will help you to make informed decisions about which approaches are working best.

If you need a website that fulfils all three rules of attraction and helps your organisation reach its goals, Touchpoint Design can help. Contact us today for a friendly chat about your project.

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