You've built a website. Wonderful! The next question to ask is this: Once you get a visitor's attention, how can you bring them back?
Of course, you don't want every visitor returning, but rather customers and potential customers. Articles and other content published on your site should be relevant, interesting and well written. Unique content will give your site a better chance of reaching targeted visitors through search engines.
Here are seven ways to keep customers coming back to your website:
1. Run short-term specials. Internet users love a bargain, and sales are a sure way to capture attention. Use short sales periods to motivate people to act — giving them three months to make a decision will just help them avoid making the decision to buy. Let users know that the items on offer are always changing to encourage them to visit your site regularly. And get creative with your specials. For example, consider giving away a free gift rather than just cutting the price.
2. Make your site topical. Internet users often look online to learn more about interesting topics in the news. Creating a link between your business and a hot news story can be a great way to attract visitors to your site. This is a common tactic used by public relations firms to get media coverage, and could work equally well for you.
3. Update information regularly. Why would a user want to return to a website that rarely changes? Keeping your information up-to-date sends a message to visitors that your company is current and serious about doing business.
4. Hold a competition. This is a great way to get visitors excited about your website and what you do. Consider asking users for feedback, so that it doubles as a market research tool. Prizes don't need to be extravagant, but should be fun and appropriate for your target market.
5. Send out an e-mail newsletter. This popular promotional tactic is an effective one. Don't expect to build a list of thousands of subscribers, but focus instead on building a high quality list of targeted readers. When sending a newsletter, keep it short and informative. Promotions are expected, but don't overdo it.
6. Join niche e-mail groups. If you have the time, participating in a targeted e-mail list is a great way to connect with potential customers and keep reminding them about your business. Participation in a group works best when your company services a niche market. For example, the owner of a pet store might join a mailing list for pet owners. By participating as an expert, the storeowner is able to promote his business to a community of prospective clients.
7. Know your customers. An understanding of the needs and goals of your clients is the best way to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective. Statistics and tracking reports will help you gauge the interests of visitors to your website. Website usage statistics will help you understand how people come to your site, and what they do once they have arrived. Are they finding what they want, or do certain pages on your site trigger them to leave? Was the contest you ran successful? This understanding will help you hone your online marketing efforts.