Having been closely involved in Internet marketing for more than a decade, I’ve seen a lot of changes. One of the major ones has to do with what was the former focus, which was on driving a lot of traffic to your site every day. This is still important, but what has become essential is ensuring that those initial visitors return. That’s where your real income is vested and the secret to increased web traffic.
The fact is you can blow your competitors out of the water if you develop a following that is focused on your product and comes back to your site regularly. Consider the popularity of daily deal sites such as TeeFury, Groupon and others.
Why Focus on Returning Visitors?
A while back for my Coffee Talk podcast, I interviewed the CEO of iContact.com, Ryan Allis. iContact.com is an email list management service. During the interview he revealed an important stat. He noted that 70% of visitors to your website will simply never come back unless you manage to get them on your member’s list. That means you can drive a lot of initial traffic to your site only to lose it forever. That’s a waste of your resources and time.
Just driving traffic means little. Why? It’s connected to that basic sales belief that the more complex and expensive your service or merchandise, the more time a person needs to become familiar with it. You are not going to convert much traffic if they visit your site just once.
Then there are the search engines, such as Google. These engines watch who visits your site, how long they are there and how they found you. If you’re looking to rank higher in a search engine (including Google) for any type of area, from Cuisinart toasters, to sofa beds, canoes, bar stools, doll houses, even MIG welders, you must make sure people stay on your site and that you’re able to entice them back again and again.
Below you’ll discover five key strategies that will keep people coming back to your site and keep them connected to your product or service.
1) RSS to Email Saves Time
There is some easy-to-use software for email automation that you can use to make sure your list members know about any new information that appears on your website.
Each of us has the best intentions when it comes to creating email autoresponders, newsletters and connecting with those on our list. But the truth is it is hard to find the time to do everything we need and want to do.
There is good news in the form of the automated service RSS to Email. You can use this service to let people know about any new content on your website. When visitors find out there’s something new online, they’ll go check it out, spend more time at your site and get to know your product a bit better.
With RSS to Email, you can utilize their scheduling tool, which will easily allow you to send out a weekly newsletter. Simply set it to run and crawl your sites for new content, which it will then put together in a newsletter. Before hitting the send button, I always proof read the document to make sure the content is correct. It can be set to do this weekly, thus enabling you to get a newsletter out to your members in a timely fashion.
2) Podcasting Defines You
Podcasting is a powerful tool that is underused. Podcasts can define you to your visitors and they are a fine way to keep people connected to your site and product.
I use two different podcasts, the first and longest running podcast focusing on affiliate marketing (the “Affiliate Buzz”) and my informative Internet marketing series (“Coffee Talk with James Martell”) to generate interest and repeat visits by people who come to my sites.
Podcast publishing, which can be automated, is effective in making sure those on your list stay current on happenings at your site. And it does not take a lot of time. In less than one-hour and using new technology that gives you professional-grade audio, you can create a weekly 30-minute podcast.
3) Take Time for Blog Commenting
One way to get visitors to return to your site is by getting and keeping people involved. That means you need to stay connected to your site. A great way to do this that is simple is by responding to visitor comments.
When you consider that thousands of people may read one of your posts and never post a comment, when someone does that’s an important event. That post is special because someone took the time to write it, and that means you should respond in a thoughtful manner.
I use a great, simple-to-use free WordPress plug-in that’s called “Subscribe To Comments” that emails a notice to commenters when anybody, including me, has replied to that comment. This plug-in is extremely useful in building a feeling of community or creating investment in those who visit your site.
4) Chat Forums Work Wonders
There was a time when chat forums were known as Bulletin Boards. That was back in the 1990s when these tools were a massive influence. Over the years, some Internet marketers have allowed this amazing tool to fall into disuse. However, chat forums can do a lot for your site, including creating a communicative link between you and your visitors. Plus, those on your site can interact with one another.
Over the years, my wife Arlene and I have utilized forums with success on various sites. Arlene’s website, EpilepsyMoms.com, sees thousands of members communicate with one another as they exchange information about raising children who have epilepsy. This is a bright, focused and reactive group who return to the site regularly. That type of traffic is priceless.
5) Can You Help Someone?
It is possible to allow automation to take over or to simply throw content onto your site to get something on there regularly. But don’t do these things. They will not serve you.
One of the things that I do is I always make sure that I am focused on and willing to help those who come to my website. Through articles, video and audio, I work at providing useful and informative content and directing people to answers to their questions. I offer advice specific to the person.
Invest in Your Own Investment
There is nothing more important than retaining visitors by making sure they come back to your site as often as possible. Increasing your traffic and search engine rankings for any and all subjects from phone cards, to tables saws, Cuisinart food processors, child car seats, doll houses, even dental services, does not mean that you should focus on simply driving traffic. Be sure to make time to cultivate your relationships with those who have shown an interest in your website.
Over to You!
Do you have a strategy to keep visitors returning to your site? Do use one of the 5 strategies above? I would love to hear about your experiences.