It seems like we spend almost all of our trying to drive new traffic to our websites. We craft content carefully, optimize our pages to rank well in search engines, are constantly seeking new quality back links pointing to the site and in general spending the bulk of our time trying to get a new visitor to land are page. This new traffic is obviously important, but just as important is repeat visits.
Repeat visits are really where the gold is. The more complex or costly your product or service is the more times a person has to be exposed to it before they'll make a buying decision. The more times you can entice a visitor to return to your site the better the odds of converting that visitor into a sale.
Look at the guys who are raking in the dough today. Daily offer sites like Groupon and Woot get in front of you via your e-mail box every single day. Websites that become masters at capturing e-mail addresses from first-time visitors have a tremendous opportunity to build a solid list that will result in sales and repeat sales.
Ryan Allis is the CEO of an e-mail list management service called icontact.com. I had the pleasure to interview Ryan on my "coffee talk" podcast some time ago and he revealed a startling statistic about new visitors. His company has determined that 70% of all new visitors will never return.
What that means is that all of that work you do to drive those thousand new visits a day really results in only 300 that have the potential of becoming customers. This is particularly true if the product or service that you're promoting is either complex or priced on the high side.
So what this means is if you are promoting things like TV stands, piano lessons, washers and dryers, golf clubs, sporting apparel or just about anything that costs over $20 you need your visitors to make repeat visits in order to convert. People need to be exposed to these kinds of offers several times before they’ll make up their minds about buying.
So repeat visits become exceptionally important. Listed below are five strategies that I use to work my list to ensure I get a steady flow of repeat visits.
1. Never missing a weekly contact.
Like most people I try to stay in touch with my list at least once a week and mostly I do that through our newsletter. Just like so many other people I have an autoresponder and the best intentions to create a killer newsletter every week. However "life happens" and many times I find myself with no time to create the newsletter.
I solved that problem however, when I found a software tool called “RSS to E-mail” within the aWeber.com email interface. This nifty little device saves a ton of time. I schedule it to crawl my website once a week where it identifies new content and assembles it as an attractive news bulletin. It automatically sends me a copy to approve and if I like it I pushed a button and it sent to my entire list.
Using this tool does two things. First it gets the news bulletin into my list’s e-mail boxes once a week without fail and the links in that newsletter drive repeat visits. Secondly, you can skip a scheduled communication with your list once or twice but if you do more than that people will start to lose interest in you because it appears that you lost interest in them. Using RSS to e-mail ensures that you always have that weekly contact.
I'm the founder and co-host of the longest-running podcast show dealing exclusively with affiliate marketing (the "Affiliate Buzz") so I'm obviously biased about the effectiveness of a podcast in deepening the relationship between the website and the visitor.
If you're like me you have your smiling face somewhere on the website. By adding an audio message you put a voice to the face and make this a much more personal experience for the visitor. We all like to do business with people we know.
Advances in podcast technology have made these audio files so simple to do. Today using those technologies you can on average create a half-hour podcast in about 60 minutes. You can use them on your site or you can your weekly contact to your list, either way is a great technique for keeping people engaged with the site.
3. Reward participation.
You most likely have a blog and occasionally, providing you got some great content, you'll get comments from your visitors. Those comments can be a great way to drive repeat visitors. Think of the hundreds of visitors that come to your blog and never leave a comment and then think about that person who takes the time to share their views. Reward that person for participating on your blog by responding to the comment in a timely fashion.
If you're asking a question, answer it. If you're just expressing an opinion, thank them for posting to your blog. By responding to comments you’re cementing the relationship between you and your visitors. Stay involved.
4. Chat up your audience.
Way back in the 1990s chat rooms or chat forums absolutely rule the Internet. But time marches on and the chat room is something of a rarity today replaced by instant messaging (which is really just a way of chatting) and one-sided chat like Twitter. Personally I think it's time to bring check back to the website.
My wife Arlene has a very successful website called epilepsy moms.com and she uses a chat forum on the site to promote communication between site members and herself. Her membership consists of moms who all have children with epilepsy, and having a form where they can share their challenges and successes with other moms in the same boat is a tremendous service for them.
These bombs are vibrant and motivated people and their return to that chat forum almost every day. You simply can't purchase this kind of repeat visits. Adding a chat forum to your website can brief then a new sense of vitality and involvement with your audience.
5. Always stay in the game.
I know I've often talked about and promoted automating marketing tasks and they certainly have their place. But never forget that there's a human being who's visiting your site and was more likely to interact with the page if you keep yourself involved. Don't become an absentee landlord for your virtual real estate.
Stay in the game. Stay available, be interested in what your visitors are asking or stating and always try to help by providing informative content and responded personally to comments.
Virtual real estate developer vs. virtual property management
In a sense you are both a real estate developer and a property manager. Party your efforts are put into creating new real estate and driving traffic to it but an equally important task is managing what you have and optimizing your investment.
If you want to increase your conversion rates then you need to increase your repeat visits and that holds true regardless what topic your website covers. You can be promoting kitchen barstools, online piano lessons, children's books or even something off-the-wall like arc welding it doesn't matter, you have to devote the time to keep those visitors engaged and coming back.
James Martell discovered the lucrative world of affiliate marketing in 1999. He is a self-taught Internet entrepreneur and a recognized expert in affiliate marketing, outsourcing and search engine optimization. James is the host of the “Affiliate Buzz”, the first and longest running affiliate marketing podcast in the industry. James is the host of the “Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp”, a continually updated affiliate marketing video training very well known for turning affiliate newbies into success stories. James resides in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada with Arlene and their four children.