In the real world, the term “stickiness” usually applies only when we’re deciding whether or not to sit down on a particularly grungy seat on the subway.
In the world of Internet marketing, to be sticky is to be successful. If your website is sticky, it means that visitors aren’t clicking on it and then clicking away; instead, they’re finding something of use or interest in your content. Not only are they staying to check it out, but they are also visiting other pages on your site to see what else you have to offer or say.
Websites are the great balancing tool in the world of business and advertising. Budweiser might spend $45 million in advertisements that air during the Super Bowl, but if the local brewery hosts a funny commercial that ends up going viral, guess who’s going to get a lot more beer business in that community?
Big companies and corporations might be able to spend more money on web design, copywriting, branding, and multimedia interaction, but that doesn’t mean that their message is going to affect the customer more significantly than yours will.
This level playing field is one of the great truths of Internet marketing, and advertising – the real judge of a website’s worth, will always be in the customer’s response to it, not in the amount of money thrown around to create it.
Whether you’re building your website from the friendly confines of your home office or you’ve paid it forward and hired a small business of your own to make it for you, the fact remains that your website can occupy just as much space on the Internet as the largest corporation on the planet. That gives you an equal shot at capturing leads and bringing in business.
The flip side of those facts is that most small businesses have no idea how to use this unique gift to transform their websites into an effective means to generate leads and gain repeat business from your customers.
Here are six strategies to draw visitors to your site and keep them there and interested.
1) Content matters most.
Flashy graphics and animations are great, but they ultimately have nothing to do with your product or service. What you say about your product, your service, your company and yourself are what will keep customers on the site. Don’t hide your content, don’t make visitors search for it. Make it very visible from the moment someone clicks your page. Make sure your content is original and organic and perhaps most importantly, make sure it changes over time. Give your customers tips and tricks and hacks and trivia about the products they find interesting. Make your content have value, and customers will return to your site, again and again, eventually transforming from visitors to customers.
2) Be consistent.
Just because your word processor has a thesaurus doesn’t mean you have to use it every time you start a new paragraph. If you’re offering someone a free handbook on homeowner insurance if they fill out a form, don’t call the handbook a “guide” or a “brochure” on other parts of your website. Confused visitors aren’t going to stick around to ask questions; they’re going to look for easier answers elsewhere.
3) Stay organized.
Your website needs to be simple and direct. The objective of every page should be clear-cut within five seconds of it loading. The contact page should have a form to contact you; the newsletter page should have a signup form. If a page is about your product, have a link that allows people to purchase it. If you make it clear to your site’s visitors what they are supposed to do on each page, it’s far more likely they’ll do so. Once people have made the conscious effort to search for a product or service and click on your webpage from the results, they are expecting a guide to lead them through the website to decide on a purchase.
4) Linking it all together.
The odds are minuscule that a visitor is going to click through every page of your website systematically. To get them where you want them to go – i.e., to the pages where you’re selling your product or asking them to provide your contact information, use hyperlinks in your content to propel the user along to other parts of the site. For example, if your product or service is frequently upgraded, you can mention this on the home page with a link to your email newsletter, which is sent out each to customer emails each time an upgrade occurs.
5) Highlight what works best.
Your company might offer 50 products, but perhaps just 2 of them make up 80% of your sales. Don’t flood your home page with pictures of every single product – this will confuse and disinterest potential customers. Focus on what you want to accomplish on the site and make that its focal point: Selling your main products and engaging leads by offering valuable information in exchange for contacts.
6) Charge your copy with direct response.
While you want to engage leads and customers with information that will make them value your website and consider it a resource, don’t forget that you also want them to go from being visitors to the website to customers of your business. Employ direct response copy to help them make this transition. Your headlines, sub-heads, reviews from satisfied customers, special offers and business guarantees are all ways to reinforce the worth of your products and services. However, it’s a fine line between respectable and obnoxious. Talk to the customer through your website the same way you would if they walked into your office. This advice means nothing written in all capital letters; no strings of “*****” or “!!!!!!” to get their attention and no ridiculous claims like “Best Store in America!” Customers appreciate honesty. Tell them the truth and enjoy the results.
Even if you employ all six of these tactics, there are no guarantees when it comes to attracting visitors to your website. That’s where your creative mind must begin to work. Be bold, be risky, take chances, and be funny. And pour all that same effort into the product or service you are providing, so that the steak does match the sizzle.