Are you looking for a way to skyrocket engagement, boost sales, and get more email subscribers? If so, you should think about optimizing the sidebar space on your website.
Simply put, sidebars are places where business owners and marketers can put extra information that’s not always connected to each page's main content. Of course, there are times where it makes sense to follow a theme between the sidebar and primary content.
The primary purpose of a sidebar is to provide more value for your readers. If you’re able to give users a reason to stay invested in your brand, you'll have an easier time improving your retention rate while improving customer loyalty.
Today we are going to go over several ways you can get more value from your sidebar space. You can use one or all of these tactics to give your site visitors something to do after they are done reading a blog post or checking out your sales page.
Show off popular content.
Odds are, most of the people visiting your website are there to read blog content. A surprising 77% of internet users read blogs, making content marketing one of the best ways to grow your audience.
When someone is done reading a piece of content, do you have clear links to other posts on your site? If not, you can include links to some of your most popular posts right on your sidebar. Now, there's a better chance that the user will continue to spend time reading your articles, which could encourage them to subscribe or buy a product from your online store.
The best part about this tactic is you can adjust what posts appear on each page. This is a situation where it can pay to link your main page content to the links on the sidebar space.
For example, if you run a marketing SaaS, you probably have several categories on your blog, such as email marketing, social media marketing, and SEO. If a person reads your posts on email marketing, you can suggest more related content on the sidebar to keep them engaged in your brand. Now readers can continue their journey and don’t have to worry about scrolling through your blog to find what they want to read.
Add an option to subscribe.
Are you trying to find a way to grow your stagnant email list? There's a chance that you’re missing out on subscribers because visitors don't know that you have a newsletter or email discount program.
Adding an option to subscribe to your sidebar could drastically improve your conversions, subscribers, and email engagement. You'll want to focus on this area of your campaign because email marketing yields big results for most marketing teams. In fact, the average ROI on an email marketing campaign is 4,400%.
Your email opt-in form will vary depending on your goals. If you want to get more people to make purchases, you could show an offer where new users get 25% off their first order if they subscribe by providing their email address.
But if your goal is to get more subscribers and general engagement, you should consider offering a content upgrade or telling users that if they sign up, they will get the latest blog posts delivered to their inbox.
We suggest including your form above the fold so people can see as soon as they land on your page that subscribing is an option. They'll keep this in mind as they read through your post. If they end up enjoying what you wrote, there’s a good chance they will subscribe to your email list.
Display social proof.
Next, let's talk about the value of adding social proof to your sidebar. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people are likely to buy something from a brand if they see that other people have found success when using the product or service.
Reviews, testimonials, and positive feedback all go towards building a concrete social proof strategy. Including key positive testimonials on your website's sidebar can help you win customers over if they are on the fence.
There's evidence that adding social proof can have a significant impact on sales. Research shows that adding testimonials to your sales page can boost conversions on that page by 34%. Now think about the effect that feedback might have on the rest of your website.
Let's say someone is reading a blog post that showcases a tutorial for your product. The user will likely read through the post and decide whether your brand can help them reach their goals. Including a testimonial on that sidebar that resonates with the same pain point that the user is facing could help them ultimately decide to sign up with your company.
Include ways to reach your business.
Most businesses have a contact page for customers to reach out if they have questions or concerns. Unfortunately, some people are not willing to take this extra step to get in touch, leading to a loss in sales and traffic.
You can catch the attention of these prospects and plenty of your existing customers by including a way to reach your business from your website's sidebar. There are several things you can do to make it easier for people to contact your brand.
We suggest including an option to email or chat with support from the sidebar for your desktop users. You'll reduce the number of steps it takes for consumers to speak with someone at your company, which means you have a better chance to win them over.
If someone's browsing your website from their mobile device, you'll want to include a click-to-call feature. The ability to call a company within seconds from the sidebar will speed up your support times and lead to delighted customers.
Add a search bar.
Finally, we suggest adding a search bar to your website's sidebar. Adding a search bar to your storefront can have a significant impact on customer UX. If someone is browsing your online store, a search bar can help them quickly find the products or services they want. As a result, customers get a smoother shopping experience and are likely to return.
Your blog visitors can also benefit from a search bar. The ability to quickly search through posts makes it easier for people to find that content that's relevant to their pain points or goals. Many large websites feature search bars on their blogs, so consumers come to expect this feature with all businesses. If you can meet these expectations, you'll see a steady rise in page traffic and a lower bounce rate.
Back to You
There’s no question that adding a sidebar to your website can help you grow your business. The key is to find the tools that fit your business model. Prioritize your company’s goals and think about how you can use these resources to grow your email list, connect with customers, and generate more conversions.
These seemingly small conveniences all amount to a stellar experience for first-time customers or people who’ve shopped with your brand for months. As you grow, you can change the positioning of specific widgets and add new ones entirely. Your sidebar space is yours to use, and the possibilities are virtually endless.