Guest Post by James Martell.
With over a decade’s experience in the online marketing business, I can tell you that things have changed. Just a few years ago, the best way to have success online was to get a high volume of unique visitors on a regular basis. To an extent, this is still important, but the key to success today is to have your visitors come back to your site on a regular basis.
Websites with a devoted following of users are among the most successful today, with a prominent example being daily deal sites such Woot or Groupon.
The significance of return traffic
In a recent interview I did for my Coffee Talk series with Ryan Allis, co-founder and CEO of iContact, a leading provider of email marketing software boasting more than 700,000 users, he told me that you will never see a whopping 70% of your traffic ever again if you don’t get them on your list. In other words, your time and effort would be best spent on getting your visitors to return to your website on a regular basis.
In general, if a product or service is expensive or complicated, a consumer must be exposed time and time again to the product or service before they will truly consider purchasing it. If a visitor to your website never comes back, they will not likely result in a sale or increased advertising revenue for you.
Search engines also play a very large part in this equation. Google and other search engines continue to monitor information about your website’s visitors, including how many times they return. Ranking highly in search engines for topics such as car insurance quotes, lift chairs, inflatable boats, wood routers, or doll houses requires you to get your users to come back.
In this article, I will discuss the five best strategies for creating effective return traffic.
1) Make use of RSS to Email
This is a fantastic piece of email automation software that can inform members on your list about the new content that you post. Best of all, you never have to lift a finger, with many options for automation.
Creating a weekly or monthly newsletter or sending email auto-responders can be incredibly difficult and time-consuming.
Fortunately, RSS to Email allows you to send out newsletters and auto-responders, but in a much simpler and easier way. Their automated service can allow you to notify your list members every single time you add new content to your website. This is a fantastic way to get your readers to return to your website and check out the new content you have posted.
My favorite feature on this program, however, is the scheduling tool. This allows you to send out a regular newsletter automatically with little to no work on your part. The scheduling tool can run as little or as often as you want, and it can crawl a number of websites, effectively combining different pages of content into one handy newsletter. It can even send out a newsletter to your list automatically, but you can also have it send you a preview newsletter so that you can approve its content yourself.
2) Release podcast updates
Considering the amount of people with online businesses today, very few marketers are making use of podcasts. However, they are easily one of the best ways to engage your visitors and have them return to your website.
Currently, I am the host of one of the longest running podcasts about affiliate marketing (The Affiliate Buzz) as well as my own series (Coffee Talk with James Martell). I use these podcasts to pique my visitor’s interest and convert them into devoted followers.
You could put together a 30-minute podcast in under an hour fairly easily. However, shorter podcasts (5 to 10 minutes) are becoming more and more popular. It is also very easy to automate your podcast publishing, allowing you to update your list members with very little work on your part.
3) Comment on your own blog
Users that are involved in your website will return regularly. One of the best ways to get your users involved on your website is to reply to comments on your own blog.
Thousands of visitors might read a post on your blog, but it’s typically quite rare for a reader to get involved and post a comment. For this reason, it’s important to write out thoughtful replies when someone takes the time to write a comment on your blog.
If you’re having trouble keeping track of comments on your blog, I would recommend WordPress plug-in called “Subscribe To Comments“. This plug-in can notify your website’s visitors when someone responds to their comment. It doesn’t cost anything, and it can be a fantastic way to deepen your website’s sense of community and get your visitors involved.
4) Utilize chat forums
Bulletin boards and chat forums have played a large role online since the birth of the internet. However, many online marketers tend to neglect internet forums. However, they remain one of the most effective tools for building a community on your website and getting your visitors invested. They also allow you to communicate with your visitors and have your visitors interact with each other, giving them valid reasons for returning on a regular basis.
My wife Arlene and I have had great success in building online communities with chat forums. Arlene’s website, EpilepsyMoms.com, has thousands of chat forum members that regularly participate in discussions about parenting children with epilepsy. These are the type of invested returning visitors that I consider to be the most valuable type of traffic.
5) Provide useful information
In today’s world, content is king. However, it is important to provide your users with well-written, informative content.
Try to remain open and interested to your community members, and provide useful information to all of your visitors. Through various forms of media, such as video, audio, or simple written articles, you can provide helpful advice, useful information, and fun, interesting content to your users, prompting them to come back on a regular basis.
Keep the visitors you have
If you wish to increase the traffic of your website and rank high in search engines for topics like car insurance quotes, Pride lift chairs, inflatable boats, wood routers, doll houses, and arc welders, it is likely a good idea to shift your focus from new visitors to return traffic.
James Martell is a successful author, podcaster, and speaker. He’s a leading expert in affiliate marketing and outsourcing as well as a specialist in SEO. James is host of the Affiliate Buzz podcast on WebmasterRadio.FM (the first ever and longest running podcast about the affiliate industry), and creator of the Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp where he teaches others how to make money with affiliate marketing. He lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene.