If you’re selling a service, high-ticket item, or a commitment, potential customers don’t arrive at your website, take one look, and write you a check. (If they do, please call me – I want in on that action.)
Users will visit a website several times before making a decision to act. In fact, there is often a direct correlation between the cost of your services and the amount of time a customer will spend doing research.
You put in the effort to get people to your website. You network. You optimize for search engines. You have a regular email newsletter. (You do have an email newsletter, right?) But what happens when users get to your website?
What if your potential customers visit once and never come back? What if they check out your home page and never dig deeper?
You can’t afford to lose potential leads because your website isn’t sticky. You need potential customers to be repeat visitors. But how? How do you get your website visitors to come back?
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to get repeat visitors to your website.
1) Make Your Website Easy to Use
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Is your site loading quickly enough?
Who are you? What do you do? How can I contact you? These are questions we want answered. Can we find the answers to those three questions within seconds?
Make sure your website’s navigation is horizontal, near the top of your home page, and simple. Don’t use clever words when common words will do. We look for “Blog”, not “Witty Words”.
Put your phone number on the home page and give us a way to contact you via email. Not everyone wants to pick up the phone.
Keep your website, especially your home page, clean and clutter-free. No one wants to sort through a dozen buttons, paragraphs, links, photos, and text buckets. Just give us what we need to know to determine if you’re a good fit. If you overwhelm us, we will leave.
2) Be Helpful
People don’t care about you. They care about themselves. There’s either a problem they have and don’t want, or a result they want and don’t have.
Yes, we know you’re proud of your experience and your accomplishments. That’s great. How can you help me?
Better yet, can you help me right now? Here? While I’m on your site? Right now?
If you can solve a small problem for me now, there’s a better chance I’ll pay you to solve a larger problem for me later.
Do you have tips and insights on your website? An educational blog? Tutorials? Valuable links?
Is there a white paper or How-To Guide I can download? Can I chat with a customer service rep while I’m here?
If you’re going to be helpful, be genuinely helpful. Users can tell when you’re being sneaky or insincere. Don’t waste your time or ours.
3) Make It Relevant
If I’m in need of your services to solve my problem, is the content on your site relevant to my problem? Do you clearly articulate what you do and how you can help?
Are you using language your customers use? If your customers are looking for “how to deal with difficult employees”, don’t tell them how you “provide personnel training and conflict resolution to management professionals”. Tell them how to deal with difficult employees.
Is your site current? Hint: check your copyright line. If it says 2007, stop right now and fix it. (Seriously, go check your copyright line and come back. I’ll wait.)
What’s the date of your last blog post? If it’s older than a month, add a new one, make it less prominent, or simply remove the dates from your posts.
Are you an expert? Are you certified or licensed? If so, do you have easily identifiable signs, seals, logos, or links to prove it?
4) Make Your Website Dynamic
Gone are the days of putting your brochure online. Users want interaction. There’s a reason the whole world is on Facebook. It’s not because Facebook has an amazing blog. People use Facebook to connect with people.
Your site visitors are used to commenting, sharing, adding, posting, and reviewing. Is there a way for them to engage on your site?
Can I connect with you on LinkedIn? Can I check out your Twitter feed or Flickr photos while I’m on your website? Can I comment on your blog posts via Facebook?
Don’t make it cluttered. Don’t add social features that are irrelevant. But do show some signs of life, and give us a way to connect.
5) Hook ’em
Want people to come back? Hook ’em.
Get them to give you their email address. Write up a helpful tip sheet, relevant to the problem you solve or the solution you offer. Post it to your site and give it away. Have them give you their name and email before they can download the pdf.
Create a video tutorial. Post the intro or short version on your site and offer to send a link to the full, 20 minute tutorial. Get their info and send them the video. Follow up a week later and see if they have any questions.
If it’s really helpful, and you’ve done 1-4 above, they’ll gladly give you their contact info in the exchange.
You now have a way to invite them back and be proactive in the process. Don’t waste it!
*Photo by Las