If you have been reading our articles for awhile, you already know how important it is to drive qualified prospects to your web site. Whats even more important, though, is finding ways to keep them there once they have arrived. After all, whats the use of spending all that time and money on securing top rankings on search engines, setting up a network of affiliates, and building a 200-page site if nobody stays once they arrive? That’s the hard way to learn the value of “sticky” content.
The easy way is to keep reading. The information I am about to share with you will show you how to USE CONTENT TO TURN VISITORS INTO SHOPPERS and shoppers into repeat buyers! We have boiled it down to 7 simple ways to keep your visitors coming back for more. Put these tips into practice, and watch your sales
start climbing almost immediately.
Its important to spend a few minutes thinking about how often you really need to update your content. If your site sells reports on housing trends, your visitors may expect new content about the housing market on a fairly regular basis. If you are selling nails and screws, your content probably will not need updating nearly as often.
If your site is not going to need content changes on a regular basis, think about writing the content yourself. Nobody knows your product or service as well as you do, so who better to write about it? Of course, you will want the content to have a strong FOCUS ON THE FEATURES AND BENEFITS of your product, so here are a few ideas for articles you could post on your site:
- Three ways your product can save your customers time.
- Three ways your product has saved your customers money.
- Interesting or unique applications for your product.
Okay, okay… I can already hear some of you saying “I am an entrepreneur — I am not a writer!” My answer: Why do not you give it a try? You will probably surprise yourself. Even if your writing is not as clear and flowing as something crafted by a professional copywriter, your enthusiasm for your product will go a really long way.
There are a couple of situations where I would recommend hiring the services of a professional writer. If you
simply are not comfortable writing your own content, then this is definitely the way to go. You will also probably want to look into the services of a professional if your site is going to require frequent content updates. Writing can be very time-consuming, and as a business owner, you will need to decide on THE MOST PROFITABLE way to spend your time.
NOTE: Top-notch copywriters can charge up to $250 per hour, so you will not want to hire one just to proofread
your web site. A writer, editor, or proofreader can be hired for between $17 and $75 per hour. Make sure to check references and establish deadlines!
Lets face it nobody spends even close to as much time hanging around your web site as you do. Your visitors
may spend just a few minutes a month at your web site, so you would better be sure that their attention is immediately drawn to where you want it.
If you are introducing a new product or service, its important to make sure that your visitors know its new.
Remember, people scan web pages, they do not read them. They are more likely to pay attention to an item with a “NEW” icon beside it, or something labeled with the current date.
Unless you label new content as being special or important, your customers have no way of knowing that they should bother paying attention to it. But keep in mind that its just as important to remove those “NEW” labels every so often. Your customers will not be very impressed by a flashing “NEW” banner next to an item about
last years Super Bowl.
Want a great way to tell your customers whats new while BUILDING YOUR OPT-IN E-MAIL LIST and CUSTOMER BASE at the same time? Offer to e-mail your customers new content on a monthly basis in the form of a newsletter. Of course, you will want to include information about new products, upcoming specials, and current sale-priced items.
Place a box somewhere on your front page with a small blurb explaining that, by entering their e-mail address in the space provided, they will be e-mailed exciting new content on a monthly basis, along with exclusive offers available only to subscribers. The best part is, it’s MUCH easier than you might think to set up this kind of monthly newsletter. You have already got the content, since its up on your web site, so its just a matter of making a few formatting changes and then mailing it out to your customers!
Its a proven fact that the more your visitors interact with your web site, the more comfortable they become. And the more comfortable they become, the more likely they are to make purchases. Here are three tried-and-true ways to get your visitors to interact with your site:
- SET UP AN ONLINE SUGGESTION BOX. This is a great way to get your customers involved with your products or services. Let them suggest products they would like to see featured, recommend ways to improve your product, or tell you what they think of your merchandise.
- RUN A CONTEST. Ask your customers to submit a short blurb about why they love your product, and offer a cash or merchandise prize to the weekly or monthly winners. Not only will you be getting your customers involved, you will be collecting testimonials to post on your site.
- CONDUCT AN ONLINE SURVEY. They will be able to voice their opinions about your business, and you will learn a lot about what they like (and do not like) about your products or service.
Remember, when we talk about content, we are not just talking about the text on your site. We are talking about
every single word, image, link, logo, and e-mail address. One of the most important things you can do to keep your site current (and drive sales) is to ROTATE YOUR FEATURES AND SPECIALS. Is your best-selling product featured prominently on your site? If not, visitors will not find what they came for and that’s costing you
Always keep your catalog up-to-date. Nothing will drive customers away faster than receiving an e-mail from your company saying that the product they ordered yesterday is no longer available. It never ceases to amaze me how often I come across sites with outdated, unavailable products still posted online. Check all of your
And while you are at it, make sure that
anything labeled “Coming Soon” will be actually coming soon. If it’s not going to be ready within a week, take it down. I would also recommend going through your web site on a computer other than your own. Its amazing what you will learn. That image that looks so great on your computer may actually be broken when viewed on someone elses!
Make sure you take note of how long content and images are taking to come up, If it takes more than 10 seconds for the image of your product to appear, you are probably losing customers by the truckload! The idea here is to MAKE YOUR VISITORS COMFORTABLE enough to make a purchase from you. There is a direct correlation between how comfortable people are and how likely they are to make a purchase. And a web site where everything works is a comfortable place to be.
CHECK OUT FREE CONTENT PROVIDERS
Believe it or not, there are actually a number of places to find content on just about every topic imaginable that
you can post on your site at no cost. Of course, the quality of this content varies tremendously, so be sure to choose carefully. You should be aware that some free content providers will try to take visitors away from
your site. You may find, for example, that the news headlines you ave posted on your site whisk visitors away as soon as they click on them. Obviously, this is not what you want.
And, do not forget, you can always use the content you read in this article at your own site or in your own newsletter.
Want to know an almost effortless way to MAKE YOUR SITE 50% MORE USEFUL to your visitors? Archive your content. A study by online usability guru Jakob Nielsen showed that an archive of past content increases a sites usefulness by about 50%. And since you have already produced the content, its no hassle to simply
index all of those articles in an archive. And, believe me, your customers will be glad you did.
As your archive grows, you will ADD CREDIBILITY to your business, because your customers will be able to see how long you have been around. With all those extra pages, your customers should be hanging out at your site a little longer — making them more comfortable and more likely to buy.
So now that you have spent all of this time getting your web site as current as it should be, you need to find out
what kind of impact you have made. Of course, if you have done everything right, you will start seeing results right where it counts — in your bankbook!
There are, however, a couple of other great ways to judge the success of all your hard work. Invest some time in going through your server logs (provided by your web host), and see how much time people are actually
spending looking at your content.
If, for whatever reason, people are not using your “Weekly Updates” page, you probably should not waste too much time writing content for it. The online suggestion box that you set up is also a great way to measure the usefulness of your content. If nobody EVER comments on your “Monthly News” section, its probably not worth your while to slave over it at the beginning of every month.
Having fresh content is not about having today’s news headlines scrolling across the top of your homepage. As always, keep your eye on the bottom line and ask yourself, “Is this content helping my sales”? If the answer is YES, you know you are on the right track. REMEMBER: Marketing a product online means that your web site is probably the ONLY way your customers will ever interact with you. What you have posted on your site will speak volumes about the kind of company you are running: a site with relevant and current information will deliver instant credibility to you and your products.
Keep your site current and your content relevant, and I guarantee that your visitors will start spending more time there. And the longer they stay, the more dramatic the impact will be on your profits!