The cold, hard reality of technology is that it’s ruining our attention spans — quantifiably. Thanks to the Internet, we have infinite resources and ‘brain break’ material at our disposal.

This unlimited supply of entertainment, learning, and communication makes it difficult to focus, which is why average human attention spans decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds between 2000 and 2013. In comparison — this same study clocked the attention span of goldfish at 9 seconds.


To compete in this ecosystem of infinite distractions, sales and marketing leaders need to build websites that accomplish more than the bare minimum — you need to deliver a highly compelling value proposition that encourages audiences to stick around and dig deeper. The longer you’re able to keep audiences on your website, the higher the likelihood that you’ll convert them. Here are 4 tactics to guide you:

1. Optimize Page Load Times

Nothing is more frustrating than a website that takes forever to load. And yet, far too many websites are running on old technology.

The consequences of high page-load times present more than a “mild inconvenience.” Slow websites ding SEO performance in search rankings and increase bounce rates — both of which can kill your conversions and hurt your company’s bottom line.

A recent infographic from KISSmetrics points out, for instance, that there is a direct correlation between high page load times and shopping cart abandonment. Not to mention, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

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Slow websites are a business risk, so don’t make the all-to-common mistake of a slow website. Use Google’s PageSpeed tools to measure and optimize performance.

2. Ask Engaging, Interactive Questions

Gone are the days when content marketing is 100% reliant on static content. Marketers know how important it is to create compelling, in-depth content — but there’s more to the story: the follow-up discussion that you’re generating.

The challenge with commenting systems is that they aren’t for every type of user. It takes time and effort to write a comment, and some readers prefer to lurk.

One low-touch strategy for keeping audiences engaged is to host a quiz using a tool like Quizzr. Check out the following example from the KISSmetrics blog as an example.

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3. Launch Retargeting Campaigns

People will inevitably leave your site before they have an opportunity to fully engage with your brand. Thanks to retargeting technologies on Facebook, Adsense, and a variety of other ad networks, you’re fully empowered to bring them back.

Retargeting campaigns use a company’s first-party CRM or website visitor data to engage with audiences across channels. For instance, you can run a campaign to match audiences with items that match their past buying behaviors -- you can also target users with abandon shopping carts, items they’ve expressed interest in buying, and others.

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Keep people on your website longer by consistently bringing them back.

4. Optimize Internal Links

This tactic is especially important for blog content and product pages. Marketing and product leads must make it excruciatingly easy for audiences to consume more information and browse more products that they love. In an optimal world, listings would be personalized to precise user interests based on the information that they’re browsing or past interactions with your brand.

As a marketing leader, your role is to be a guide -- to continuously introduce users to things that they are likely to love. For inspiration, look no further than two much-loved digital giants -- Ebay and Wikipedia, which both connect audiences to new information at multiple browsing touchpoints:

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The key to keeping audiences on your website is to catch them as soon as they’re hooked. Walk them through a deeper experience through the content and brand assets that are already on your site.

Final Thoughts

What these tactics share in common is that they’re extremely subtle -- they complement any strategic direction and don’t require significant overhead (or buy-in) to implement. They’re small actions that have the potential ripple effect to yield big results.