So many times I am asked, “How do I keep people coming back to my site?” My clients not only want to keep their current clients informed of news, resources and updates, but they want the opportunity to reach potential clients that are still “on the fence” in their decision. They want those potential clients to keep their site top of mind so they will eventually return to them and not their competitors when they are ready to make a purchase.
The key to getting people back to your site is simply offering them a reason to return. I don’t mean to make it sound simple because it will take work, but here are seven things you can implement in your website “maintenance” system that will keep customers coming back to your website:
- Keep it fresh and update your content regularly. Why would a user want to return to a website that rarely changes? Keeping your information up-to-date sends a message to visitors that your company is current and serious about doing business. It also helps with Google search engine ranking when your content is continually updated.
- Stay informed of local, national and international headlines and make your site topical. The internet has opened the doors for us to find out about anything, anytime from anywhere. Creating a link between your business and a hot news story can be a great way to attract visitors to your site. This is a common tactic used by public relations firms to get media coverage, and could work equally well for you. Take a current news story (especially one that is ranking high in Google searches) and give it your business spin. If you have a valid opinion on a hot topic, don’t be afraid to share it, especially if it is within your expertise. For example, health industry – widespread obesity, legal experts – legal issues, financial advisors – recession advice.
- Hold a contest. This is a great way to get visitors excited about your website and what you do. There are several ways to run these contest and competitions and you can do this right on your website, on your blog or even on a Facebook Fanpage. The best ways to run a contest is to ask users for feedback on a certain topic or current event, this can also double as a market research tool. Prizes don’t need to be extravagant, but should be fun and appropriate for your target market. Perhaps you can even offer a free product or trial of your services as a way to get others talking about your business.
- Send out an e-mail newsletter such as this one. This popular promotional tactic is an effective one, but one that many don’t invest the time in. The key is realizing that you don’t need to build a list of thousands of subscribers, but instead focus on building a high quality list of targeted readers. When sending a newsletter, keep it short and informative and always give them a reason to visit your site, pass the newsletter on to a friend and/or join you on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Join niche e-mail groups or on-line forums. If you have the time, participating in a targeted e-mail list is a great way to connect with potential customers and keep reminding them about your business. You can remind them about your business by participating and answering questions that show your expertise. For example, the owner of a pet store might join a mailing list for pet owners and begin answering their questions about their pets. This shows his expertise, builds his credibility and ultimately drives people to want to learn more about the pet store owner’s business. Remember that you can subtly direct people to your website by including a simple link in your signature line (just remember to review the rules of you email group or forum).
No matter which of these strategies you choose to implement, remember that it is important for you to know your customers. An understanding of the needs and goals of your clients is the best way to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective and you are driving the “right” traffic to your site. Statistics and tracking reports will help you gauge the interests of visitors to your website. Website usage statistics will help you understand how people come to your site, and what they do once they have arrived. Are they finding what they want, or do certain pages on your site trigger them to leave? Was the contest you ran successful? This understanding will help you hone your online marketing efforts and ensure that the right people are returning consistently.