In 10 Costly Assumptions, point #10 touched on a topic I’d like to explore in more depth: attracting repeat traffic. First of all, why do we like repeat visitors?
- They convert better
- They spend more
- They’re more likely to tell others
- They’re free (you already paid to acquire them)
Here’s 10 ideas for creating loyal visitors by creating a magnetic website:
- Consistency: If customers know that content is updated at a certain time consistently, you’ll train them to return to the same place at the same time.
- Get Email Opt-ins: An obvious point, but I can’t overemphasize its importance. Consider an email opt-in almost as important as a purchase. (or whatever your primary conversion goal is) Browse through your site with an eye for this secondary conversion action, asking yourself how you can better encourage email opt-ins. Can you offer an incentive such as a freebie or a contest? Maybe you just need to place your sign up form in more places?
- Trigger Based Emails: Event triggered emails, in contrast with regularly scheduled marketing emails, are a great tactic for bringing in highly targeted traffic. Here’s a few trigger based email examples. You can email customers (who have opted in) notifications when:
- A Certain product is re-stocked
- Before a product sells out
- Similar products are added
- Someone abandons a shopping cart
- Someone abandons a wish list
- Order confirmations
- Shipping confirmations
- Daily Specials: Wouldn’t it be cool if part of your customers’ daily routine was checking your “daily deal” page every morning? By offering item of the day (or week) special, you’ll consistently attract curious deal shoppers.
- Social Communities: Allowing your customers to interact with each other creates an automated mechanism for repeat traffic. By yourself, you probably can’t create enough content to keep visitors coming back daily, but a self-sufficient community can. Forums, mini-social networks, & online street teams are great ways to attract and keep a loyal following.
- What’s New Section: Your loyal visitors don’t like digging to discover what’s changed since their last visit. Ensure that your homepage, category pages, and product pages all clearly label new items and allow visitors to sort or filter by newness. Having dedicated section highlighting new products or website features would be ideal.
- Freebies: Free branded content such as wallpapers, screen savers, myspace layouts, and web banners provide sticky content and great viral branding tools. If content such as this doesn’t fit your brand, consider posting useful “how to” videos or articles.
- Blogs: The benefits of blogging are numerous, even for eCommerce retailers. It’s sometimes hard for customers to see real people behind a website, but not so with a blog, which allows your personality to shine through. By allowing customers to comment on posts, you’ll create two way conversations that will keep them coming back.
- RSS: RSS can be used not just for blog updates, but also to keep customers current with new products, company news, or sales. CompUSA lets customers subscribe to over 30 RSS categories, creating a truly personalized data feed from company to customer. Using RSS in combination with a Daily special (see #4 above) can be especially powerful.
- Make Customers Part of R & D: We often think of customers as the last link in the chain of business processes. But why not make them apart of research and development as well, ensuring that your products are made by customers for customers? Threadless pioneered this approach with community based product development, allowing their community to submit and vote on t-shirt designs. C28 asks their street teamers to vote on new clothing designs and uses the feedback to modify designs and production quantities. Allowing customers to influence product development creates an incredibly interactive experience that customers won’t be able to get enough of.
- Ask for a Bookmark: If all else fails, just flat out ask customers to bookmark your site. In addition to browser bookmarking, suggest other popular social bookmarking sites such as Delicious.
Before you make any changes, delve into your analytics to determine just how well you’re doing with attracting repeat visitors. Take a look at your ratio of new vs. returning visitors, and make this your benchmark to improve upon.
What other tactics can be used to attract repeat traffic? Leave a comment with some tips of your own.