How Your Website Can Create Evangelists

Learn how to make your website a powerful expression of your company's vision, goals and mission.
Founder, Passive Panda
August 13, 2012

Two weeks ago, I attended the World Domination Summit. It’s a conference attended by more than 1,000 people from 20 different countries. They all gather in one place because of a single blog written by a single guy.

Imagine if your website or blog had the power to get 1,000 people to show up in the same place from all over the world. That’s a type of engagement that is typically reserved for the Amazons and Googles of the world.

How can you get to that level of engagement? How can your website turn visitors into customers and customers into evangelists? How can your online presence work for you to spread your message, ideas, brand, and products? Here are a few ideas.

1. Know why you do what you do. The number-one way to make your website work for you is to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Have a cause, a mission, a vision, a message, a belief. Give your visitors a reason to care. Give them something to rally around. You’ll find that each post, each tweet and each e-mail will resonate more strongly with them and then they’ll do the sharing for you.

Your goal should be to find customers who believe what you believe. And when you do find that, your site will take on a life of its own because it’s more than a website; it’s a cause.

2. Make it easy for people to get involved. Once you have visitors hooked on your message and your idea, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to get involved.

The best way to do this is to have one clear call to action that dominates your website. Don’t leave it up to them to decide where they should spend their time. Make it incredibly clear about what you want them to do next.

Personally, I believe that building an e-mail list is the absolute best way to get people involved. Once you have permission to e-mail someone, you can show them the next steps—sharing on Facebook, leaving a review, commenting on a blog post, purchasing a product using your latest coupon and so on. So decide on the next step and make it easy for visitors to know what it is.

3. Know what your website is not. The conference I attended was filled with entrepreneurs, but had very few corporate employees (I met two in three days).

This wasn’t by coincidence. All of these people came to the same place because of a website and it’s pretty clear that the blog that brought them there is not a place for the average worker.

And guess what? That’s fine.

You don’t need to plan for every visitor and have tabs and options and sidebars “just in case” person X or company Y stops by the site. Know who your most important visitors are and talk to them and them alone.

4. Automate the sharing process. Last week, I learned about a brilliant strategy for getting people to share your website on Twitter or Facebook.

Here’s how it works: You make joining your e-mail list the primary goal of your website. Once someone joins your list, the first e-mail they get includes a link that they can click to tweet out your landing page, website, blog, etc.

You can set this link up with Click to Tweet.

The trick, however, is that you don’t ask them to tweet it as a favor. Instead, you draw upon your common beliefs.

For example, if you are a green energy company you can say something like, “We believe in making the world a cleaner place for everyone. If you feel the same way, then we would love for you to share that message. Click here to share our website on Twitter.”

This setup allows you to keep a single call to action throughout your website, but still leverage the value of Facebook and Twitter sharing.

5. Test things. Successful websites aren’t all branding and strategy; there are real metrics to look at as well. Specifically, split testing your titles, calls to action and landing pages.

If you’re looking for a free (and pretty simple) option, then try out Google’s new Content Experiments, which is now bundled with Google Analytics.

Start by knowing why you do what you do. But after that? Test, adjust, repeat. That’s the only way to know where your website time is best spent.

James Clear is the founder of Passive Panda. He is an award-winning writer on business strategy and entrepreneurship and has delivered speeches in the United States, the UK, and Switzerland.