As marketing specialists are painfully aware, luring first-time visitors to your website is no easy task. While the average cost of getting a new visitor to browse your website varies greatly between industries and advertising platforms, trust us — it’s rarely peanuts. And on top of the price, the figure reported in the cost per visit metric doesn’t account for the full investment, including all the time and effort marketers pour into attracting each new prospect. (Also of note here — it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one, but we digress.)
Adding to the marketer’s challenge, getting new visitors to your website is just the beginning of the path to purchase. It’s extremely rare that website visitors convert to customers on their first visit, as the journey through the marketing funnel is typically a much longer one. This is especially true for larger purchases, for which the average consumer might spend days, weeks or even months researching their options before pulling the trigger and buying.
Once you’ve attracted a prospect for an initial visit, it’s critical that you find ways to continue engaging with that potential customer and inspire additional website visits so that purchase consideration can continue. So, how can this be accomplished? Fortunately, savvy marketers have quite a few options in the playbook.
The routes to revisits
The good news for brands is that, once a potential customer visits their website, marketers have a foot in the door. From here, the keys to conversion involve maintaining their visitor’s interest and, after the visitor leaves the site, keeping their brand top of mind for the consumer. The top ways to do this primarily fall into a pair of categories with significant potential for success — content/design strategy and retargeting.
Consider these 12 ways, broken into two sections, to get your website visitors to stay on your site and to keep them coming back:
Content/design strategy-based tactics
1. Provide strong content — The saying that “content is king” rings true for a reason. At the very root of the question of how to retain site visitors and keep them coming back is strong content — as at the end of the day, the single most powerful way to drive lengthy visits and regular returns is to offer compelling reasons for site visitors to stay and come back. Whether your content includes fun videos, informative articles, interesting podcasts or a mix of all of these and more, if you can offer true value to consumers, they’ll keep coming back. So take a hard look at your brand and its offerings, and try to think of unique and helpful ways to share your expertise in the subject area. If your content is truly valuable to visitors and is updated regularly, you can develop a loyal audience over time.
2. Stay sharp on social — Creating strong content is a powerful first step toward gaining a loyal following, and an effective social media strategy can help spread the word that it’s there. From a marketing perspective, perhaps the most powerful aspect of social networks is the potential for social sharing to lead to exponential exposure — and the better the content, the more likely it is to get shared. So when you’ve created a piece of compelling content for your brand, be sure to let your audience members know by sharing the news on social media — and across any and all of your social media accounts for which news of the content would be a fit. Further, regular engagement with your followers on social media is a powerful way to build a rapport with your audience and a sense of trust in your brand.
3. Establish an e-newsletter — While social media is a powerful tool, there’s a substantial number of holdouts who either don’t have social media accounts or rarely review them. Email, on the other hand, is used nearly universally used by today’s consumers. It’s also a powerful marketing tool. According to a 2016 survey by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric, email marketing boasts a median ROI of 122% — more than four times higher than the ROI reported for social media, paid search and direct mail.
When you do attract new visitors to your website, be sure to have a strategy in place to harvest their email addresses for your email database. And — once they’ve opted in on receiving emails from you, of course — send your list members regular updates about your brand and its offering via an email newsletter. The contents of your newsletter doesn’t have to be a big endeavor: It can consist largely of repurposed versions of the content and social media items mentioned above, along with pertinent reminders and updates. And to add value to your e-newsletter, consider occasionally including special offers and discounts for your subscribers.
4. Personalize your site — When your website can offer return visitors a personalized experience tailored specifically to them, you stand a better chance of making a strong connection and fostering repeat visits, conversion and even brand advocacy. Among the ways to create a personalized experience for repeat visitors is to offer customized content recommendations and on-page calls to action based on what visitors have engaged with in the past on your site. There are some great tech tools out there for doing just this — and among the top ones are Alter for adding personalized, AI-driven content recommendations to your site, and Finteza for creating customized conversion funnels and on-page CTAs based on engagement history.
5. Showcase the new and popular — To make some of your most attractive offerings stand out for both new and return visitors — and to increase the potential for a hook that inspires more visits — consider strategically adding a featured section to some or all of the pages on your site. In doing so, you can shine a spotlight on the products and services that you believe might spark the most interest among potential consumers. Popular website tools provider AddThis offers a great mechanism for doing this with its Link Promotion tool.
6. Ensure a good user experience — While providing a user-friendly website experience may not guarantee repeat visitors, making visitors suffer though a poor user experience is a surefire way to keep them from staying long or returning. If you’d like to cultivate extended site visits and return traffic, it is critical that your website be well-designed, easy to navigate and highly usable. And this applies to both computers and mobile devices — as more and more web traffic moves to smartphones, responsive or mobile-friendly is an absolute must.
7. Retargeting campaigns — Once a visitor has expressed interest in a product or service on your site, retargeting ads — which often include images of the product or service the consumer investigated (and/or similar ones) and appear on sites the consumer subsequently visits — can be an effective way to keep the potential purchase top of mind and bring the consumer back. One word of warning about these ads, though: Be sure to set an expiration date for their appearance, as you don’t want to annoy consumers by pushing the ads for too long, and the consumer is likely to move past consideration after a short length of time anyway.
8. Cart abandonment campaigns — When website visitors go so far as to place an item in their online shopping carts, it’s a good bet they’re farther along the path to purchase than the typical visitor. For this reason, sending a reminder about the near-purchase can be an effective way to get these consumers, who are often still open to considering the item, to complete the transaction — especially if their reason for abandonment was simply due to distraction. Consider this encouraging fact about such efforts: According to eMarketer, cart abandonment emails see an open rate of just over 40% globally — which is about twice as high as the typical retail email.
9. Email marketing — As mentioned earlier, nearly all modern consumers use email — and email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach them. Consider this: While the overall engagement rate for a social media post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is less than 0.6%, the average email open rate is nearly 23% — and the click-through rate is over 3.5%. Needless to say, the rumors of email’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and email campaigns can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. If you’re not making attempts to harvest the email addresses of your site visitors, you should start making efforts to do so soon.
10. Offer a loyalty program — Everyone loves to be rewarded, and not only will a loyalty program keep your top customers coming back with rewards, discounts and other repeat-purchase incentives — it’ll also go a long way toward turning them into true brand advocates, who will spread news about your brand through powerful word-of-mouth recommendations. Loyalty programs can come in an array of types, any of which can be effective in bringing customers back and making them ambassadors for your brand.
11. Make an offer they can’t refuse — One of the most powerful ways to keep visitors coming back is to incentivize their return with discounts, coupons, contests and other attractive offers. Consider using such compelling, interest-catching offers to make some of the tactics mentioned above — such as retargeting efforts, cart-abandonment campaigns and marketing emails — all the more effective. In fact, according to digital voucher and discount platform vouchercloud, 57% of consumers say they’ve made purchases with a discount code that they wouldn’t have made otherwise, and 91% say they’d repurchase from a brand after making a purchase with a coupon.
12. Employ analytics — To achieve real business success, it’s vital to know your target audience and, further, to be constantly improving retail tools such as your website. Contributing greatly in both of these areas, web analytics can offer numerous insights regarding your site visitors (where they’re coming from, how long they’re staying, what offerings they’re most interested in, etc.) and your website itself (what pages visitors are and aren’t looking at, their online path to purchase, where they’re leaving, etc.) — helping you to better understand the audience that’s most likely to buy from you (so that you can direct your marketing efforts toward these prospects) and to know where your site could use improvements moving forward. Using a tool like Google Analytics can help your business to improve the usability and user friendliness of your website, measure your marketing ROI, improve your site’s performance, learn more about your returning visitors, and more.
Could your brand use some expert help in attracting, retaining and converting website visitors? At The Brandon Agency, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists who can cover digital marketing efforts and plenty more — including web design, brand strategy, creative, interactive, social media, analytics, conversion rate optimization and SEO — all in one place. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.