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The Power of a Return Visitor—Cultivating Relationships That Lead to Conversion

When you’re looking for a partner, a first date is great, but will it lead to marriage? Anyone celebrating their golden anniversary will tell you, building a lasting relationship is a whole different ball game.

Just as with personal relationships, developing a long-term relationship with site visitors takes time and communication. And it’s definitely worth the effort. Regularly returning visitors are not only much easier to convert into customers, they’re also more likely to become amazing brand advocates.

Four Ways to Attract Visitors to Your Site

The first step to to cultivating relationships is getting visitors to come back for more. Here are four ways to entice them to return:

1. Create High Quality Content

Your site content is what draws your audience to you and should differentiate you from the pack. As Rand Fishkin of Moz puts it, you should be striving to create 10x content—that’s content that’s 10 times better than anything out there today. Phenomenal content will both drive traffic to your site and make your visitors more likely to hit that “Share” or “Follow” button.

2. Get the Word Out

You’ve put the work into developing amazing content, now you need to spread the news. External sharing will help you gain followers and increase exposure for your content. Promoting your site with external sources is not the same as sharing on social media. Some ideas to consider are online discussion groups, retargeting campaigns, customer-focused e-mail promotions, or hosting a contest offering (one entry per social media share).

3. Participate in Your Community

Guest blogging is both a great way to attract new visitors to your site, and to encourage return visits. You gain credibility when your audience sees your brand referenced in other forums. Another way to get your name and brand out there is by commenting on other blogs. Make sure your comments are thoughtful, and use them to start conversations, which, over time, may develop into new relationships in the industry.

4. Get Analytics Savvy

Now that you’ve done all of this work, you’ll want to make sure it’s paying off! Your site’s sharing and clicking patterns can show you what’s strong on your site, and what’s not. Quick fixes such as rearranging your page layout or revising copy can greatly impact your key site metrics like conversions and newsletter signups.

Engaging Visitors Once They Land

Once you’ve gotten visitors to to your site, there are a few tactics you should use to engage them during their visit. Be sure to:

1. Ask for Feedback

One of the easiest ways to engage visitors is by asking them their opinion. Solicit comments and encourage feedback. Fitness tech company Fitbit had quite a bit of success with social listening, asking users to participate in a Facebook poll about the colors of their new product.

Asking your audience at the end of articles or before they exit if they found your site and its content useful is another great way to encourage engagement and start conversations. The key here is to give them time to experience your site before you solicit that feedback. You’ll also want to acknowledge their feedback with a confirmation screen or a follow up email, if possible. Starting the conversation is the first step toward building your digital relationships.

2. Use Digital Tools to Boost Engagement

Soliciting feedback from your audience is one way to boost engagement and create followers. Another way is through the use of digital marketing tools. Digital marketing tools can encourage sharing and site browsing.

  • Promote sharing on social media with a tool like AddThis Share Bar. Something as simple as a share bar gives your visitors an easy way to interact with your content.
  • Related Posts tools are another popular way to increase engagement. A tool such as AddThis Related Posts provides visitors with personalized, relevant content based on their digital profile.
  • Personalization is key to engaging return visitors. Consider a tool such as AddThis Audience Targeting to be able to customize messages to return visitors.

The goal of these tools is to drive conversions by delivering the right message to each visitor.

Three Tactics to Turn Visitors into Customers

Congratulations, you’ve done the legwork to bring visitors to your site and you’re seeing success in building a loyal audience. So, what’s the next step?

Now it’s time to talk about converting your return visitors into customers. Research shows it takes connecting with a prospect an average of seven times before they’ll purchase… so you need to make sure you’ve got lots of ways to proactively stay in touch! Here are three tactics we’ve found can make all the difference:

1. Encourage return visitors to join your email newsletter.

Make that contact. Facilitate conversations with your audience by asking them to join your email newsletter. Create customized and personalized content for them so they feel compelled to share and comment. According to AddThis data, returning visitors are 10x more likely than a first time visitor to leave an email address.

2. Incentivize return visitors.

Consider incentivizing return visitors to facilitate conversions. Using the AddThis Audience Targeting tool, create a specific message for just your return visitors, offering them a discount or a special promotional offer. Because they’re return visitors they’re more familiar and comfortable with your brand and something like a little incentive might just be the tiny push they need to make it happen. For example, design and print company Moo offers return visitors a discount on the products their visitors perused during their last visit to the site.

3. Retarget your website visitors.

Another way to boost conversions and turn your audience into customers is a retargeting campaign. Through retargeting (aka remarketing) you’re able to advertise—whether on social media or through Google and other platforms—to individuals who once visited your site but left before converting. A retargeting campaign can be a low-cost, high-effective way to boost your website’s business.

Now that you have the visitor engagement playbook, it’s up to you to work on cultivating those long-term relationships! We look forward to hearing all about your success.

Last modified:  August 4th, 2016