We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years re-analysing clients’ web data and measuring the performance of their website(s) against their competitors, business objectives and plans set out for the forth coming year in preparation for the next. Mining through the data to find the insights which will enable me to answer real business questions such as:
- “Is my website attracting quality traffic?”
- “Are visitors, and in particular Architects, engaging with my website?”
- “How many visitors entered my website via my key product pages?”
- “Is my website converting traffic into leads?”
- “Which sources are performing the best in attracting traffic and then converting?”
- “Why do people leave the site from the homepage?”
- “Which search terms are performing the best against their rankings in Google?” (Hint: Ranking first in Google does not always produce results)
The one question many marketers miss or ignore is “How many of my visitors come back for more?”
Why should anyone have to come back to your website? Really!
I can guarantee when you look at your ‘Visitor Loyalty’ report within Google Analytics, you will see that most of your visitors visit your website just the one time (twice if your lucky!). These are what I like to call ‘One night stands’.
One night stands are the visitors who come to your site, have a browse and then leave and never come back. What marketers should be aiming for is to ‘build loyalty‘. For example, a product manufacturer who can build loyalty by providing their audience or target market with content which is of value will keep those visitors coming back for more and building long-term relationships and loyalty. I’m not talking about fluffy news stories which nobody reads, I’m talking about content which helps your audience with the specification, design or installation of those products you have to offer.
Building loyalty does not just happen overnight, it takes careful implementation and a lot of research to understand what it is your visitors are looking for when they visit your website. You need to understand that they have come to your site with expectations and if you cannot fulfill those expectations, well they will leave and this then answers the question “Why do people leave the site from the homepage?”.
Your website should be a valuable resource to your audience. As marketers we need to understand what it is that our audience wants from us (expectations) and what we need to do to meet and satisfy those expectations. I’ll say it again, “gone are the days where your website is just a shop window”. If it still is, then you will continue to attract window shoppers, instead of actual buyers or influencers.
Task: Look at your website. Ask yourself “Why do I need to come back to this website?”
If you can answer the above question, then promote and shout about the things on your website which people come back for. If you cannot answer the question then start thinking about creating the tools and content which will increase loyalty. Start a blog, create applications or publish more case studies which demonstrate your expertise time and time again.
View your ‘Visitor Loyalty’ report in Google Analytics, look at the bottom of the chart and you will see a small percentage of visitors who come to your website 10 times, 15 times, 30 times. Segment these visitors and view the pages they visit most frequently. What do they come back for? What pages are they viewing? How can I get other visitors to come back more often?
A couple of examples include a CAD drawing portal for Architects and Designers where you can upload a new drawing every month so architects can simply ‘drag and drop’ your products into their drawings, calculation tools to help designers and engineers do their job more accurately or specification tools and product builders to make it easier for specifiers to specify your product (although many just do a performance based specification anyway).
So, what are you going to do in 2011 to build a loyal visitor base? What new channels are you going to explore to ensure that your visitors stay loyal to your website for information? What resources are you going to provide to your market/audience so that new visitors keep coming back to your website? What content are your visitors looking for when they hit your site? How can you meet, and exceed their expectations?
Over to you…….how will you reduce the number of one night stands your website is currently attracting?