Creating a “sticky” web presence

Many people spend their resources and energy trying to attract visitors to their sites. That seems reasonable and achievable. However, there are two aspects to “site power” that often defeat site owners who are investing heavily to attract visitors. In fact, we have one word for it: retention.

It’s insufficient to merely attract people, you need to retain them. Not for hours or days, but fore minutes and for repeats visits. We call this a “sticky” web presence, because people don’t want to leave (and, yes, we make it difficult for them to leave—to get rid of us—because we’re offering so much value, so many options, so much interest).

Here are a different type of “sticky keys”:

a.    Site must be responsive and quick to load and display pages. Otherwise visitor will quickly grow impatient and leave. We once say a site with the “floating head” of the owner, which took over a minute to make its message and clear!

b.    Interesting, fresh and dynamic content, such as diagnostics and self-scoring tests and challenges for the visitor.

c.    Make sure the landing page answers what they came there to do with minimal amount of clicks or clutter. In other words, what are the typical results for the client or customer?

d.    Reduce stagnation. Three strikes and you are out.  Keep it fresh and review your content for timeliness and relevance. If there are three things that are dated, the visitor is probably out.

e.    Enable visitor interaction though email, contact forms, comments, sharing with others. Don’t play hide-and-seek, or protect yourself more from prospects than you do from spam. For goodness’ sake, list your physical address in case someone wants to mail you something!

f.     Community connections with peers and successful colleagues. Demonstrate that you’re connected to the profession and the community.

g.    Others’ recommendations.  Include video and print testimonials and not merely on a “testimonial page.”

h.   Ability to subscribe to newsletters, email notification alerts and RSS feeds.  Allow people to gain a continuous access vial other platforms.

i.     Create incentives such as: “You will receive instantly… Let people download text, audio, and video.

j.     Promote your best content “The best of …” This can often be a list of Twitter posts you’ve made on common subjects, recycling and repurposing your intellectual property in new ways.

k.    Show them additional resources on each page and what other visitors have liked. Amazon is great for this: “Others who read this book have also purchased….”

l.     When people leave comments, respond as quickly as possible and also thank them for stopping by and for their feedback. No inquiry should go unanswered for more than 24hours.

m.  Create a continuing series (sequels) that builds on interest, suspense, and more intense future knowledge. Such as episode #1, #2, #3 …  or Part 1 of 3.

n.   Repurpose older content by adding new life to it. Include videos, or graphics, or case studies of how you’ve since applied it.

o.    Easy way to access the latest announcements, what’s new and upcoming events. Margin real estate is quite effective for this.

p.    Upsell products and services during the checkout process by offering related items and other bundles.  This is the checkout line at your local Staples or Best Buy with all kinds of impulse items for sale as you stand on line.

Customer engagement and relationship building should continue long after a site or non-site purchase. Keep them aware of current and future promotions. We capture every single book, video, audio, workshop, and related buyer and mail to them once a month. Here’s an example below.

One of the slippery slope, stickiness removers, is overly complex design and difficult navigation. Also, too many “orphan” pages, which require no action at all, and go nowhere, tend to turn visitors toward the door. Make sure the visitor is compelled to do something. But keep it local. We generally use no links directing the buyer elsewhere (to another site). We want our sites to be cul-de-sacs where the buyer can stay put.

This is an excerpt from my new and upcoming book Million Dollar Web Presence Leverage technology to build your brand and transform your business, which I am coauthoring with Dr. Alan Weiss and which will be published by Entrepreneur Press.

© Chad Barr 2011. All rights reserved

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