Return Traffic consists primarily of two factors: 1) making sure the person that visits your site sees something they like so that they enjoy their first visit, and 2) giving them a reason to come back.
Do not neglect the benefit of return traffic. It is a key element in virtually all successful web sites and should be included in the basic web site design. The design of the website should give the visitor what he or she is looking for without creating unnecessary confusion and ideally make the experience pleasant enough that they will want to come back.
Does your site include all of the information the visitor will need? If a visitor has questions that come up before purchasing your product or service, you may lose them as they go somewhere else to find that information. Any information you provide will also be included in the major search engines as their programs go through your site. This will give people more relevant search terms to use in order to find you.
Action Step: Find at least one piece of information relating to your product or service that is missing from your web site and add it. Cover the topic as completely and as straightforwardly as possible. Then be sure the visitor has a prominent link to select for returning to your product(s).If possible, continue you this process over and over to add content to your site. If you get to the point where you feel that you’ve covered everything, go back to the content you’ve already created to see if you can provide additional pages to further detail items you’ve covered. Become the expert site on your topic(s).
Put yourself in your visitors shoes and be brutally critical of your web site. Would you buy for that site? Would you come back?
Try to follow these guidelines:
- Navigating your site should be easy to understand
- Give the visitor a number of ways to contact you
- Provide online documents for your goods or services
- Provide background information related to your goods or service
Visitor Interaction can be very successful in building repeat traffic. Some popular visitor interaction methods include discussion boards, Q & A knowledge bases, live support chat, and contests. Some web site hosting companies (such as many of those in our recommendation list include installation of many of these items.
Email Marketing is a more active method of encouraging return traffic and can be very effective when used properly. It is important however to avoid spam at all costs. Today’s internet user is becoming more sophisticated and more likely to be annoyed when they need to close unwanted windows. This is important to understand because internet users are becoming leery of supplying their email addresses because of the likely hood of receiving more spam. On the other hand, if email marketing did not work it would not be so prevalent. We suspect, however, that the people making money from mass email marketing are the companies that are able to sell the mass email concept and sell email lists.
A good example of this is tvguide.com’s new requirement of signing up for their advertisement rich service. We’ve spoke with a number of people who have stopped using tvguide.com when they started requiring that email addresses be supplied even though it remains a free service. Though there may be some benign reasons for collecting this information, the impression is that it will generate more spam.
You do, however, want to collect this information if possible, but you also want to do it in a manner that gives the user what they want and nothing more while making sure that they are comfortable that you will not share their information with other entities. This means having a form on your site asking whether or not the visitor would like to receive more information or if they would like to be on your mailing list and once you have their contact information, use it exclusively for what they are expecting. A good method for raising visitor’s confidence is to provide your phone number as an alternate means for them to get more information.
The state of mass email marketing in today’s internet is making email less valuable and in many cases unproductive. Spam blockers are going into place everywhere and probability that your mailing will not be seen is rising daily. We will not go into more detail than this because since you are on the internet, you are well aware of the problems spam is causing.
One of the best methods for using email is to write personal responses to inquiries. This may take time, but for higher priced goods and services it can be profitable for you and helpful for your web site visitor.
Don’t spam. You don’t like it and other people don’t like it. Mass mailing can also get your site blocked from major service providers.
Give people a reason to come back. Ask them if they want to be notified of updates. Send thank you notices for order purchases. Ask them for feedback (“Is there something you were not able to find?”). Can you host a discussion board that you can get visitors involved in?
Make sure your main site design leaves the visitor with a good impression. Navigating your site should be simple and the number of clicks to find desired information should be few. Consider purchasing a well built log program where you can see where you might be losing visitors.