This is the psychological trigger that will increase user engagement on your site

If you want to increase sales on your e-commerce store, increasing user engagement should be you main concern.

What does engagement mean, though?

Well, it depends on your site, but these are the common metrics:

  1. Time on site
  2. Returning customers vs. gaining new ones
  3. Bounce rate
  4. Product pages viewed per visit / per user
  5. Conversion rate

There are other metrics you can follow, but you get the point.

Most people will focus only on conversion rate. That would be a mistake.

Understanding your engagement rate is what holds the key to a larger win.

Why engagement is the real key to increasing sales.

While conversion rate is the actual sell, engagement is first and foremost a social behavior.

[bctt tweet=”Engagement is what builds habits around your product – it builds a community within your site.”]

Engagement is what builds habits around your site and product – it’s what builds a community within your site. Since we are programmed to be consistent with our behavior, engagement also holds the key to recurring engagement.

Engaging real people on your site shows credibility and confidence in the service you provide, products you sell and suppliers you work with.

It opens a means of communication that leaves your customers in site. It creates brand loyalty, as customers feel the brand truly cares for them.

There are many ways you can attract engagement on your site, but gamification is one of the most notable frameworks.

Because it’s personalized, rewarding and acknowledging your visitors’ behavior.

More importantly, it’s a door to a deeper psychological process we all share as human beings.

When you tap into the deeper core of a person’s behavior, you can move and thrill them in a much more meaningful way, because you have access to what makes them passionate and excited.

The thing is, getting people passionate about something is an extremely challenging task, but definitely one possible to achieve.

The trigger to engaging with your visitors’ core passion

As a child in Europe post World War II, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi watched as people around him struggled to overcome the horrors and succeeded in building new lives for themselves.

He was intrigued by the human ability to regain happiness and decided to dedicate his life to finding out what makes life worth living.

Csikszentmihalyi started his research about 50 years ago, by looking at creative individuals – from artists and scientists to athletes and CEOs.

He was trying to understand what was it that made them dedicate their lives to something that they did not expect to bring them any fame or fortune, but made their life worth living.

He found that many of the individuals he and his student interviewed described the feeling of taking part in a successful creative process as a feeling of ecstasy.

Something that is separated from the day-to-day routine and placed them in a different state of mind.

This state of ecstasy creates an experience that Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow”: when you find whatever you came to do, just flowing out of you.

Use “the flow”, Luke.

People described how in the state of flow, they were totally immersed in what they were doing.

They experienced great clarity and found it easier to make instinctive decisions.

They felt confident because they knew their skills were adequate to the task at hand.
They also described a feeling of serenity and calmness, with no ego involved in the process.

Time just slipped by, hours passed like minutes and they were so motivated that the process became its own reward.

Needless to say, that reaching this flow in the state of ecstasy during a creative process demands years of technical training in that specific field, that allows the person to just forget himself and go with that flow.

The good news is, that Csikszentmihalyi also found that the state of flow is not reserved for a chosen few.

It can actually become a part of our everyday lives.

This situation occurs when we perform a task we really like to do, in which the challenge we take matches our skill level, so we feel satisfaction and confidence while performing it.

As you can see in the chart, the state of flow comes when the challenge level and skill level are higher than average. This is where we find the sweet spot of fun!

Screenshot 2015-11-02 13.09.02

Reward users to make them feel skillful enough

What makes us feel we’re good enough? Being reassured that the skills and efforts we demonstrate are getting us the reward we crave.

Nir Eyal Talks about 3 forms of reward that have a deep connection to our basic human needs:

  1. Reward of the tribe – the feeling of empathy is based on our basic need to depend on each other in order to survive as a species. We’re meant to be part of a tribe so our brains seek out rewards that make us feel accepted, important, attractive and included.
  2. Reward of the hunt – although we’re social creatures, we’re still individuals who also need to take care of ourselves. Prehistorical hunters probably enjoyed a thrill chasing after animals to eat, and today we still get a thrill when we feel we’re “chasing” after something – even if it’s just a virtual pat on the back.
  3. Reward of the self – personal gratification is great, we love it! We love feeling stimulated by nice new things and we like owning them. It makes us feel accomplished, it makes us feel we won.

Gamification is a great way to reward social skills and personal achievement.

It uses Nir Eyal’s model and helps consumers get their flow going.

By giving rewards throughout the customer’s user experience, you’re giving them a sense of accomplishment and skill acquisition – potentially bringing them into flow.

Here are a few examples for ways you can reward user engagement on your site and increase the sense of ‘Flow’:

  1. Badges – think of a “Top Contributor” badge, for example, as a community-oriented award. Positioning a user as an authority provides the community with a person to turn to and gives the user a feeling of power, knowledge, and popularity.
  2. Levels – you don’t only want to have “quick wins”, but a sense of progression over time. Levels are a great way to reward someone not only for their action, but the progression and loyalty.
  3. Leaderboards – what’s a better personal reward than seeing yourself on the top of a leaderboard. You’re a winner, winners don’t walk away, they keep engaging.

If you’re looking at this list and wondering if you need to hire a psychologist that also writes code to implement these techniques into your website, you can relax – Captain Up will do it for you.

Motivate your users, make them feel good – and they will do more and spend more.

When you focus only on conversion rate, you’re missing out on some great opportunities to make your visitors truly engaged and empowered. By missing out on that, you are actually losing loyal users and purchase opportunities.

Help your users feel they are super successful and they will give back passion, loyalty, and yes, revenue.