How to Gain Returning Visitors in 5 Steps

Today’s guest post about returning visitors is written by marketing veteran James Martell.

If you want to keep visitors returning to your site, read this carefully. It contains some great advice!

Enjoy!

 

The world of Internet marketing has been in a constant state of changed since I entered the game back in 1999.  

It has always been a primary focus to attract a steady stream of new visitors to the site, but today with increased competition, it is equally important to have plans and strategies in place to keep visitors returning with regularity.  

Today, the most popular websites are ones that have their visitors return regularly.
Think about how this has led daily “deal” website such as Groupon.com to meteoric success. They did just turn down Google’s 6 Billion dollar offer. Not bad for a company that was started in November 2008.

The secrets of return traffic

In an interview I did with Ryan Allis, a co-founder of iContact, a leading provider of email marketing services boasting more than 700,000 users mentioned “that you will never see a whopping 70% of your traffic ever again if you don’t get them on your list”.
A stunning number and a great example why it’s so important to develop incentives and methods to keep visitors returning.

And don’t forget about search engines, especially Google, who if you’re using their free Analytics software are already carefully monitoring who visits your website, where they found you, and how many returning visitors you have.
If you want to rank higher in Google for any topic from Cuisinart toasters, to lift chairs, ride on cars, even woodworking router tables you need to give your visitors solid reasons to keep them coming back.

These are 5 strategies I use to develop return traffic.

  1. Use RSS to Email

    This email automation software allows you to keep your list members apprised of any new content added to your site without you ever having to lift a finger.
    We all have good intentions of creating weekly newsletters, sending out email auto-responders, and really getting involved with our list members but I know just how hard it is to find time to do all that.

    Thankfully, there’s RSS to Email.  I use the feature to send out a regular newsletter and RSS to Email makes that easy.  I set it to run weekly to crawls my site, pick up the new content, and compile it into a newsletter and it does it all automatically.

    James Martell at Affiliate Summit East 2010
    Photo Credit: affiliatesummit
  2. Podcasting

    Podcasts are a relatively unexploited tool in the world of online marketing. However, podcasts remain one of the most effective and overlooked tools for engaging your visitors with your website.

    As the host of two podcasts and have personally seen how podcasts can be utilized to get your visitors engaged and turn them into loyal followers. These podcasts have increased my web traffic and revenue stream significantly, and they aren’t terribly difficult to create.

    And with modern audio technology, it’s easy to create professional sounding podcasts, even with relatively inexpensive equipment.

  3. Make use of blog commenting

    If you can get visitors involved they’re much more likely to return. A simple way to do this is to ask them to comment about the post they just read.

    TIP: You can ask visitors to “check the box” to subscribe to the comments to be instantly alerted by email to responses bringing them back to the site. You’ll need the “Subscribe To Comments” WordPress plugin to add this functionality, but it is free and takes seconds to install.

  4. Add a chat forum

    Do you have a chat forum you frequent? Personally, I am a member of a number of popular forums and a visit and contribute to them often.
    My wife Arlene hosts a chat forum on her website EpilepsyMoms.com. It features a growing community of moms who regularly share stories and information about raising kids with epilepsy.

    You may want to set-up and host a chat forum on your site. It is yet another great way to keep visitors coming back.

  5. Be helpful to your visitors

    When you’re creating content for your visitors, try to ensure that the content is well-written, informative, and above all, helpful.

    If you can regularly provide helpful information on your website, your visitors will be much more likely to return to your website on a regular basis.

Reap the benefits of returning visitors

Put a plan in place to keep your visitors coming back is a investment in your online future, and it doesn’t much matter what the topic of your website is about.

You may be non-profit agency looking for new donors, an online retailer of children’s educational products looking to increase sales, a travel agent in need of new prospects, an advocacy site looking to get the word out about an important cause, or site a review site featuring wood router reviews, in all cases, it’s critically important to keep those visitors coming back for more.

James Martell is a successful author, podcaster, and speaker. James is host of the Affiliate Buzz podcast on WebmasterRadio.FM, and host of the Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp, a popular affiliate marketing video training, best known for training newbies into affiliate marketing success stories.



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One thought on “How to Gain Returning Visitors in 5 Steps

  1. Mike Byrne says:

    James,

    I agree with your points on getting return visitors to your site. There’s one other point I’d like to add – the importance of getting people to stick around long enough to read your content to begin with.

    I’ve been doing a lot of work on the search process and have distilled it into five steps:

    1. Search Engine Query
    2. Search Engine Result Displays
    3. Click SERP Result Link
    4. Evaluate Page for Relevance – Reject and to back to step 2 or go to step 5
    5. Read Content

    Until they get to step 5, there’s little chance they will ever return. When we entice them initially with engaging well structured content, they’re much more likely to want more.

    Now, if we can combine getting visitors to stick the first time and then keep them coming back, we’ve really accomplished something.

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