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How to make visitors come back

Last updated: March 2017

A family getting distracted.

Your visitors’ browsing sessions get can sidetracked by real life. This family, for example, could possibly get distracted by eating, parenting, or the inevitable breakdown of their relationships.

Your visitors aren’t all sitting in a usability testing lab in isolation. They are real people living real lives:

  • Their kids might ask to be fed, and they have to abandon their online shopping to go and “cook” a bowl of Cheerios.
  • Their taxi driver might arrive to take them to line dancing.
  • Their dog might knock a glass of Snapple Mango Madness onto the floor, and so they hurriedly abandon the life insurance form they were completing, and instead spend the next 20 minutes mopping the Best Stuff on Earth® out of their rug.

Stuff like that. Real lives can be distracting.

Once your visitors are distracted, they may never come back. How can you, as a web marketer, overcome those problems? You can’t make breakfasts. You can’t postpone line dancing. You can’t absorb Snapple Mango Madness. So how can you make those visitors come back?

Solution 1: Be memorable enough so that they return:

There are many ways to be memorable. Here are just three examples:

  • Have a memorable name: Once someone has heard the name SurveyMonkey, they are likely to remember it. That’s a conversion benefit that many of SurveyMonkey’s competitors—TypeForm, for example—don’t have. If you want to create a great, memorable name for your product or company, we highly recommend this free PDF and this not-free book from EatMyWords.
  • Have an entertaining message: Dollar Shave Club became famous overnight with a video ad that went viral. Within four years, it sold to Unilever for $1 billion.
  • Be different: LingsCars is a real business. It’s much larger than it appears. It achieves memorability by looking absolutely crazy.

EatMyWords’ PDF on naming things is excellent—as is its book.

Dollar Shave Club became successful off the back of its entertaining explainer video.

Screenshot from LingsCars.com

You probably wouldn’t want to replicate it, but Lings Cars shows how successful a company can be just by standing out.

Solution 2: Establish ways to communicate with the visitors on an ongoing basis

If you can get your visitors’ contact details, or get them to follow you, then the pressure’s off. You no longer need to persuade them in a single session; you can do it over a period of days, weeks, months or years.

  • Offer a no-brainer deal with a tiny commitment. Consider how you could greatly increase the conversion rate of the first visit by greatly reducing the commitment your visitors need to make. We described this in detail in our section “Step 2: Try to reduce how many words you need, by reducing the commitment. And then use as many words as you need.”
  • Persuade your visitors to follow you on…
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • Or whichever social network is used most in your industry.
  • Use ad retargeting to persuade the visitors to come back. Retargeted ads are particularly effective. Visitors who visited once tend to be extremely likely to visit again.
  • Capture your visitors’ contact details—their email addresses, postal addresses and/or phone numbers—and then create a follow-up flow that keeps their attention and persuades them to proceed. In many industries—such as education—this beats everything else.
  • Use shopping-cart abandonment campaigns. By the time a visitor adds something to their shopping cart, they are highly likely to convert. Software like BounceX, SAP Hybris Marketing Convert and VE Interactive allows you to create timely email campaigns that get them back into the checkout process.
Example of an email capture overlay.

Groupon asks for contact details within the first two words. How’s that for getting to the point?

An application form for a university, asking for the visitor's phone number and address

The university-degrees niche is highly competitive. The winning call to action tends to be to gather contact details and then follow up via email and phone.

All of the techniques above are effective at turning the relationship into more than a one-night stand.

By using them, your business becomes resilient to Cheerios, taxis, Snapple, and whatever else life throws at your visitors.


What you should do now

1. If you’d like us to work on your website—to dramatically improve your conversion rate and profits (like we did for all these companies), then claim your FREE website strategy session. On this free phone consultation, one of our experts will discuss your conversion goals and suggest strategies to double your sales.

2. If you’d like to learn conversion for free, go to our “Learning Zone” page, where you can download templates of million-dollar winning pages. Or, if you’d like us to build your company’s in-house capabilities (not for free), then contact us and we’ll discuss your requirements.

3. If you’d like to work for us—or see why our team members love working for us—then see our “Careers” pages.

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