The ultimate guide to a more customer focused website: Part 6 the on ramp

This is part 6 in a 7 part series on how to have a truly customer focused website. One that engages customers, existing or potential! If you would like to read the first 5 blogs in this series, click here.

So what is ‘on ramp’? Good question. On ramping is a term that many of us, who work in the e-commerce sector, have adopted from our colleagues in the States. Some people also call it the ‘Transitional Call To Action’ .

In short, on ramping, is engaging with customers, keeping them interested in your business and your website, before they are ready to press the call to action button.

Examples of customer engagement could include: getting their e-mail address, watching a video tutorial or have a free trial of one of your products or services.

There are companies that are already doing this really well. It is always worth having a look around to see what can be gleaned from organisations with a successful on ramp strategy. A couple of examples that I like include:

  1. Abel and Cole
  2. Spotify

Both of these companies seem to really understand customer engagement and have several clever on ramp strategies.

Blog Image Wheelchair Ramp-01

1. Abel and Cole

Abel and Cole is an organic food delivery service. The headline on their home page is ‘A healthy and happy way to eat’ and the subheadline is ‘We bring boxes of organic brilliance to your door’. There are clearly people that just like organic food and want to shop with A&C for a variety of reasons. They are already convinced. The group A&C are targeting, via the on ramp, are those that like the sound of what they do, but perhaps have reservations on price, (they are more expensive than a supermarket) value for money, or just need to know a bit more before they place an order. A&C’s on ramp strategies include:

Give away free stuff

There is a tab on their navigation called ‘Inspire me‘. This link takes you a range of free video tutorials on different cooking methods, such as pickling, mashing and smoking (food not cigarettes!). Each video only lasts around 1.5 minutes, so the visitor is unlikely to abandon the tutorial before the end.
- ### Get email addresses

They regularly offer 50% off your first box. To get the discounted box you have to submit your email address. Having done this myself, I know that the follow-up process is second to none. Initially, you receive an email asking if you enjoyed the service. This is then followed by a phone call from a friendly member of their team. They ask what you liked about the box and service and whether you would consider ordering again. It isn’t pushy and, to me, it felt quite personal.

Go further

Once you have some initial data from your new customer, e.g. they have used a free trial or sample. You can use this information to maximise your on ramp strategy. Any communication with the customer can be personalised, depending on the product or service they have used. For example, if you have received a mixed fruit and vegetables box, A&C might email you with recipe ideas for the products included or offers of other products that customer who also purchased this box have enjoyed. Once a customer has bought more than one product, customer personas begin to emerge. You start to build up a picture of the customer’s preferences, and offers, emails and the content they see on your site can then be targeted accordingly.

2. Spotify

Spotify I am generally an Apple man. However, a do make a bit of an exception for Spotify. They have a great website and they do on ramp really well. There are two call to action buttons on the home page: ‘Get Spotify Free’ or ‘Go Premium’. If you click ‘Get Spotify Free’, you receive their music streaming service free. In order to sign up to this service you have to submit your email address. This then allows Spotify to use on ramp strategies to target you for their premium service. Once again, they follow the three step process, i) give something away for free ii) get your email address in the process iii) use the email address provided to capitalise on customer engagement and sell the premium service.

On ramping is a simple way to increase customer engagement and draw in those website visitors that aren’t quite ready to hit the main CTA button. As we have discussed, the three main strategies that seem to work well are:

  1. give something away for free
  2. get their email address, so you can continue the conversation and engagement
  3. go further, make your on ramp specific to each customer persona

Don’t delay, see what happens when you put some of these techniques into practise on your website. My next blog is the final part in this series and I will be looking at ‘the scroll’.