You have three seconds. Snap. Snap. Snap. And they’re gone. How can you get your visitors to linger longer? The technical Internet word for enticing surfers to hang around your blog is stickiness. Stickiness is usually associated with three factors:
1. Duration: How long do your visitors spend at your site?
2. Depth: How deep will they go exploring?
3. Frequency: How often do your visitors return?
Those wanting to increase stickiness need to offer a “mix of the four C’s: community, content, communication and commerce.” Of the mix, content is definitely the most important factor. Forrester Research’s Media Field Study in 2007 reveals 75% of users return to their favourite sites for the strong content and a regular churn of information.
In reality, the concept of stickiness actually runs counter to the advantages of the Internet. When you think of the Internet, don’t you think of speed? What people really want from the Internet is fast solutions to their problems. The kind of customers you’re looking for don’t want a sticky experience. They want fast results, immediate delivery, and instant gratification, mixed with some one-on-one interactivity. Fast. Free. Frequent. Hot tips. If you build your business around these advantages, you’ll have all the business that you can handle.
“Quick”-iness versus Stickiness
Eventually, you will seek to add stickiness to your site. But at first you’re most concerned with “quick”-iness, the speed at which people agree to give you their e-mail addresses or sign up via RSS. Here are nine ways to improve the “quick”-iness and the stickiness of your site.
Become an Expert on Instant Gratification
In all of your marketing you should offer people an ethical bribe (a special report or some other goodies) to persuade them to take a peek at your site. When people hit your site, you only have three to five seconds to get them to stick. So you’d better make sure that the promised “free bonus” is immediately accessible. Spend a few short, enticing sentences reselling them on the value of your free gift. The more they sense the value of the gift you are offering them, the more you tap into the power of reciprocity.
Remember, your first and most important task is to entice your visitors to leave their e-mail address or sign up for your RSS feed. The more valuable your free gift, the less resistant they will be.
Designing Your Irresistible Bundle of Goodies
Everything on your site should point toward the bundle of goodies your visitors receive for signing up. Here are a few things you could offer your visitors for the privilege of giving you permission to send them updates:
Welcome Basket of Goodies
- Free Newsletter
- Free E-Book or Special Report
- Free Coupons
- Anything else you can think of
Your goal is to instantly gratify your guests. If they sign up for your newsletter, send them an instant e-mail by auto responder confirming their brilliant decision. Then reward them again! Give them another free gift. If they purchase a product, instantly surprise them with a first-time-customer gift. When they receive their product, reward them again for their wise decision. Keep rewarding them for investing their precious time with you. This generosity will pay huge dividends.
Transform Your Site into a Treasure Trove
Visitors to your site should feel as though they just stumbled onto Ali Baba’s cave of treasures. “Open, Sesame,” and the cave opens. They are free to pick through the jewels of wisdom that you have assembled there for them. From the first day you launch your blog, you should be providing the quality information your users are seeking. Most of your visitors are in a Yellow Pages kind of searching mood, so your information will be welcomed. Give your visitors a good reason to add your site to their “favourites” list— and to tell others about their good fortune in finding you. If you are stingy with your free information, your visitors will be stingy with their their recommendations.
Fresh and Deep
There are two kinds of information that your visitors will seek: (1) fresh, new, hot information—to keep them coming back for more—and (2) in-depth, timeless information. The more you offer of both, the stickier your site will become.
Give Your Visitors a Rich Experience
Once you know that your marketing is working and that you are able to attract a steady stream of visitors, you can add some extra features to your site.
- Quote of the day. People love quotes. A new quote of the day would be very easy to program into your site. The wisdom of the ages can lend credibility to your offerings.
- Joke/cartoon of the day. Everyone loves a good laugh. With a little research you should be able to gather an archive of good, clean humor to fit into the overall theme of your business.
- Hall of fame for success stories. People love to see their name in lights. Actively gather success stories of people benefiting from your products and services. It not only builds credibility, it gives your customers an excuse to send other people to your site. Make a big deal of your satisfied customers and they will make a big deal of you.
- Useful links to journalistic magazines and news sources. At first these links can be offered as a convenient listing of reputable news and information sources. Eventually, as your traffic grows, these links might even become paid advertising links.
Provide an Easy Way for Visitors to Recommend Your Site to Others
A growing list of companies on the Internet offer plug-in tools to make it easy for people to instantly recommend your site to their friends. Your visitors simply click on a convenient button and up pops an instant message box ready to shoot off a recommendation to a friend or an associate.
That’s why your site needs the “wow” factor—not fancy flash graphics but fabulous, in-depth, free content. Here are two possibilities for you to check out:
Recommend-it.com automatically enters the person making the recommendation into a drawing for a $10,000 cash prize. The downside is that it also encourages that person to sign up for one of several opt-in free newsletters. Letemknow.com is a little less intrusive. Check out both these sites for yourself.
In tomorrow’s post, we look at the additional methods you can employ to increase stickiness on your website. Such methods include not giving away too much information in your email communications, reducing the distance between your visitor and a live person at your site, and what we can learn from the hotmail story.