It’s what they do on their NEXT visit – and the one after that – that will determine whether you’ve gained a new customer.
Makes sense, but it never ceases to amaze me how many businesses don’t focus on repeat traffic. But, that’s about to change.
Here are 5 foolproof ways to get those first-time visitors BACK to your website so you can make some money.
#1: Get Them to Opt In to Your Mailing List
I know, I just said it was asking a lot to get a first-time visitor to your site to subscribe to your mailing list. But I didn’t say it was impossible!
The key, of course, is to give them a compelling reason to subscribe. Here are some ways you can do that:
#2: Prioritize the User Experience
If people aren’t coming back to your website, it could be because they didn’t enjoy their experience the first time they visited. That means that prioritizing usability is one of the best ways to encourage repeat visits.
Some of the things to think about when it comes to usability are:
#3: Make the Content on Your Site Relevant to Your Target Audience
Are people finding what they expect to find on your site? If a customer comes to you because they’re searching for art supplies, for example, think about what you can offer them that will add value to the products you sell. Can you provide a video tutorial on painting technique? A link to the website of an artist who uses that product?
The idea is to make sure that the content on your site – whatever it is – is directly relevant to the people you most want to attract. If you’re selling Human Resources software, have blog posts about topics that are relevant to HR professionals.
#4: Retarget Visitors with Advertising
Because it’s rare for first-time visitors to convert, it’s essential to have a way to connect with them again even if they don’t opt-in to your mailing list. That’s where retargeting comes in.
As you probably know, retargeting is a kind of advertising that targets individual visitors to your site based on their behavior when they’re there. For example, you can:
#5: Offer Solutions to Common Problems
The final thing you can do is to make the content on your website solution-oriented. Most people who type a keyword into Google do so because they’re looking for answers. That means that if you want them to bookmark your site, you need to provide them with what they need.
Focusing on solutions can also help you improve your site’s rank for keywords in voice search. Given the increase in the use of “Ok Google” as well as virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, it makes sense to think about the questions that searchers are likely to ask when looking for sites like yours. Then, you can optimize your useful content for those questions.
Your solutions may come in any format you choose. You might create a blog post with a response to one question or produce a video or even a short webinar for another. The key is to focus on the visitor’s needs instead of promoting your company or brand. There’ll be time enough for that later.
Visitors need an excuse to return to your site…
The five things I’ve listed here can help you give them one. Remember, it’s less about promoting the awesomeness of your brand and products, and more about providing visitors to your site with reasons to return – as well as giving yourself the tools (like opt-ins and retargeting) to connect with them after they’ve navigated away.
People watch a huge amount of video on Facebook:
How to Capture Your Audience with Video Advertising on Facebook
So, you know you need to be using video to appeal to your audience. What you may not know is that there are some specific qualities your video most have to work on Facebook. Here are some of the things your video should do if you want your campaign to be successful.
Grab the Viewer’s Attention Quickly
A recent Nielsen survey found that as much as 70% of an advertising video’s impact can be felt in the first 10 seconds. That means you’ve got only a limited time to grab your audience’s attention.
Video ads on Facebook play automatically in the feed – we’ll talk more about that later. That means that you have a unique opportunity to grab a viewer’s attention as they scroll past.
The key is to use powerful visuals right at the beginning of your video. You’ll need something that is visually engaging, surprising, and gets your point across quickly.
One example we like comes from Purple Mattress. This video features two Sumo wrestlers on top of a Purple mattress and it’s designed to demonstrate the strength of the mattress pad.
When you watch it, you’ll notice that the Sumo wrestlers appear at about 9 seconds. I think it might have been even more effective if they’d started with the Sumo wrestlers and then cut to the announcer. But as it is, the colorful video with its surprising visuals captured viewers’ attention.
To make the most of your Facebook marketing video, think of a strong visual story that demonstrates the uniqueness of your product. Then, introduce the story at the beginning of the video, ideally within the first 5 seconds.
Allow Viewers to Watch without Sound
The next thing your video must do is work without sound. Facebook videos in the feed play automatically, but viewers must opt to use sound. You can (and should) make it clear that they can click for sound, but your video should make its point even if a viewer doesn’t do that.
There are, of course, several ways that you can get by without sound:
Here’s an example we like from the website Tastemade, which features recipes, cooking advice, travel videos, and more. They created their Tiny Kitchen series to capture attention on Facebook – and they did it without any sound.
Here’s one video they created. It shows a human chef preparing food in a tiny kitchen. The only sound is incidental. With the hands there for scale, it grabs attention immediately and kept viewers watching all 13 minutes of the demo – showing that a Facebook video doesn’t need to be short to be compelling.
This was a Facebook Live video that grabbed more than 3.8 million view and was shared more than 17,000 times. Why? Because its surprising content and visually compelling style made people stop and pay attention.
Tell a Story
There’s plenty of evidence to show that stories are an effective form of marketing. Stories engage our brains by triggering an emotional response. An effective advertising story may be moving or humorous. It can be long or short.
One of the most effective things you can do is to find ways to tell a story that supports your brand’s personality and message. You don’t necessarily need a lot of time to do that, but you do need imagination.
Here’s an example I like from the company MeUndies. They claim to sell the most comfortable underwear in the world, but their story is not just about comfort. On their website, they say, “Finding underwear that makes you feel good is an easy way to boost your mood and your confidence.”
How do they get that across in a video? Check out this short video – it’s only 21 seconds long – that features a man wearing the company’s glow-in-the-dark Star Wars briefs to act out his fantasy of being Darth Vader:
This video gets is message across quickly. It uses a pop culture reference to one of the most successful film franchises of all time with a dash of humor as the man in the video realizes that his towel looks like Darth Vader’s helmet.
MeUndie’s Facebook video campaigns ultimately reached more than 1.4 million viewers and garnered them a 97% increase in incremental purchases.
Capturing your audience on Facebook might not be easy…
But, it’s achievable if you follow these three key tips. Compelling visuals and an interesting story will ensure that people can appreciate your video even if they choose not to turn on the sound. And since most people will see your ad as they scroll down their feed, grabbing their attention in the first five seconds is a must.
And, considering that Facebook ads get a whopping 9.21% conversion rate across all industries, it’s time to stop pretending that you can afford not to create video campaigns on Facebook. Your customers are waiting for you on Facebook – and the right kind of marketing video can help you find them.
Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t some potential downsides to using AI. The most natural application of the technology for small business owners is a chatbot that can augment and improve your customer service. That means the bot would be interacting directly with your customers.
Scary? Maybe a little. But there are some serious benefits to using AI to go along with the risks. It’s important for you to understand both, so you can make an informed decision about whether AI is a worthwhile investment for your business.
The Pros of AI
Let’s start with the good news. Finding ways to have artificial intelligence interact directly with your customers can offer you some big rewards. Here’s what you need to know.
No Holidays or Time Off
The first plus of using AI for customer service is that AI isn’t human. That means it doesn’t need time off. It can be available to your customers around the clock, 365 days a year. If a customer needs help, your chatbot or virtual assistant can be there to offer it.
In the long run, you can save money on customer service because a chatbot can be programmed to handle a high volume of incoming requests and you won’t need to pay it a salary or benefits.
No Human Error
Another big benefit of incorporating AI into your customer service is that it can, if programmed properly, eliminate human error and make your customer interactions completely consistent across the board. That means no more flustered employees or inaccurate responses.
Even the best employee can be forgetful or have a bad day. A chatbot won’t have a bad day because they’re not programmed to have one. You can be sure that every customer who uses your chatbot will get the same professional, accurate information, every time.
Arguably the biggest positive associated with using artificial intelligence is that it can help you collect accurate and actionable data from your customers in real time. Since traditional customer research can take a huge amount of time, this is a huge plus and one that you can definitely use to your advantage.
You can learn which issues are causing trouble for your customers, which products they like the most, and at what times they’re most likely to buy from you. You can also use the data you collect to improve the programming of your chatbots and make your customer service even better than it already is.
What’s your brand’s personality? Whether you’re formal or casual, funny or low-key, you can program your AI solutions with the language and personality that fits your brand. Since it can be difficult to screen employees and figure out how they’ll cope in a high-pressure situation, chatbots can be a good way to even things out.
The beauty of AI programming is that you can build variety and personality in with the right scriptwriters and programmers. You might not be able to imagine a chatbot with personality, but I also think you’ll be surprised by how much can be done with good programming.
These benefits are no joke. If you properly design and program your chatbots, they can help you elevate your customer service, build loyalty, and increase sales.
The Cons of AI
The pros are undeniable, but what are the downsides of having AI interact with your customers? There are several, and not surprisingly, they correlate with the pros I’ve already mentioned.
Round the Clock Monitoring
The first potential downside is related to the 24/7 nature of chatbots. A chatbot, even a well-programmed one, can’t handle ever potential customer problem. In fact, part of proper chatbot programming is making sure that the bot knows when and how to get human assistance.
Reading between the lines, then, there’s a need to have a human agent on call to back up the chatbot. That means that you’ll still need some human support and people who are willing to be on call even after hours.
Lack of Improvisation
Chatbot programming can do a lot – but it can’t do everything. In fact, one of the biggest downsides of using AI for customer service is that AI can’t improvise. It can only do what it’s been programmed to do.
In nine out of ten cases, that’s probably going to be fine. But what happens if a customer isn’t fluent in English or asks a question in a way that’s unfamiliar to the bot? You’ve got to be prepared for the likelihood that some customers, some of the time, will find dealing with a bot to be frustrating.
I already told you that AI can collect data and that can be a huge benefit. But, of course, any time you collect data you’ve also got to store data – and that can leave you vulnerable to hacking.
This isn’t really a downside so much as it is a warning. If you are going to use chatbots for your business, make sure to take appropriate security measures and use encryption to protect your valuable data.
The final potential downside is the sort of worst-case scenario that we all think of when we think of AI. It’s that a bad actor could find a way to manipulate your chatbots or virtual agents to make them work in a way that is contrary to your interests.
Some manipulations may be relatively harmless, but the danger is that, since chatbots use machine learning to improve their performance, they may pick up bad habits from some users. You’ll need to be prepared to be on the lookout for problems and correct them immediately.
You’re not hiring HAL…
Using AI to interact with customers can do a great deal to help your business grow. The key is to put yourself in a position to reap the benefits while also protecting yourself from the potential downsides associated with AI.
If you’re familiar with Google’s methods, then you know that they hardly ever comment on updates or share relevant information about them. That means that marketers and SEOs have to guess what’s going on.
That can be tricky, but it turns out that this latest update can be summed up with three letters: EAT. Let’s talk about what they mean.
What Does E.A.T. Stand For?
Google’s E.A.T. algorithm has been given that name because of the three key things it prioritizes. They are:
The trick, of course, is knowing what things Google’s looking at and what you can do to improve your results. Chasing organic traffic was already difficult. In fact, only about 9% of content gets any organic traffic from Google.
How to Demonstrate Your Expertise
The best way to demonstrate your expertise is to update and optimize your author biography and About Us pages. These pages give you the opportunity to let readers (and Google) know who you are and why you’re an expert.
You should have a biography page for every contributor to your blog. Their byline should link to their bio. The bio should include:
The same thing goes for your About Us page. On the page, you can still explain the usual things like how and why you started your business. In addition, make sure to mention:
How to Demonstrate Your Authoritativeness
The next element of E.A.T. is authority. Here are the most important things you can do to signal your authoritativeness to Google.
How to Demonstrate Your Trustworthiness
It’s a common saying that trust needs to be earned. That applies to marketing as much as it does to anything else. In other words, trust isn’t something you can wish into being. You must give people reasons to trust you.
Reputation management plays a big role in trust. When people review your company on sites like Yelp or Google My Business, what do they say about you? How do you handle negative reviews? Do you have quality testimonials on your site? Each of these things plays a role in establishing your reputation online.
The same is true of social mentions. It’s essential to keep track of when and how your business is mentioned on social media.
Finally, you can build trust by having proper security on your site. That means installing a security certificate and using encryption to protect your most important data.
Other Quick Fixes for E.A.T.
In addition to the things I’ve mentioned above, there are some other important steps you can take to make the most of Google’s latest update.
You are what you E.A.T.
It’s natural to be nervous about a major update like E.A.T., but my takeaway is this. E.A.T. is a huge opportunity for local businesses to build their brands and provide their customers with the best possible content while also building trust and authority. In other words, E.A.T. updates can help you attract new customers and make your existing customers appreciate you in a whole new way.
And, if you’ve been ignoring all trends in favor of the tried and true, then guess what? 2019 is the year to shake things up.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to jump on every trend as soon as you become aware of it. I am saying that I’ve noticed that a lot of small businesses aren’t taking advantage of the big trends – the ones that, for better or worse, aren’t going anywhere. And with that in mind, here are 7 trends that you can no longer afford to ignore in 2019.
#1: Artificial Intelligence
I wrote about artificial intelligence last month, so you already know I think it’s important for small businesses to embrace this technology.
In marketing, the use of AI in the form of chatbots has taken root and many small businesses are adopting it. The bottom line is that a well-programmed chatbot can improve your customer service and increase sales.
AI is also becoming increasingly important in the field of marketing analytics. You can use it to make market predictions and get ahead of the curve as your audience’s preferences change and develop. And, let’s not forget that programmatic advertising – which uses AI to automate ad buying – is on the rise.
One-size-fits-all marketing is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. While there’s still some benefit to targeting ads to a large audience, the trend increasingly is toward the kind of one-to-one marketing that Amazon has done brilliantly for years.
If every visitor to your website is seeing the same content, it’s time to think about how to personalize it. You can do that using cookies that make recommendations based on a user’s previous activity on your site. Or, you can allow users to choose the type of content that they want to see. Either way, the goal is to make every customer feel that you’re speaking directly to them.
Incidentally, the same trend should be applied to email marketing. Sending emails that are triggered by a customer’s behavior is three times more effective than sending batch emails – something to keep in mind in the new year.
#3: Influencer Marketing
Ad blocking has been a challenge for marketers for years now, but the recent stats show that it’s now impacting mobile advertising as well as desktop. What can you do to get around it?
I’ve written about influencer marketing before, but it really has proven to be one of the best ways to engage with potential customers without needing to worry about ad blockers. It uses influential social media accounts that appeal to your audience.
It can take a bit of trial and error to find the right influencers but once you do, influencer marketing can be a cost-effective way of attracting new customers to your business.
#4: Video Marketing
If you’re not making marketing videos to share with your audience, it’s time to stop pretending that video is too expensive (or too technical) to be worth your while. Research shows that businesses who use video marketing grow 49% faster than businesses that don’t. How can you ignore that?
The good news is that video doesn’t need to be expensive and you don’t need to be Spike Lee to make a terrific marketing video that will attract new customers. Even a simple Facebook Live session where you take questions from your followers can help you grow your business.
#5: Social Messaging Apps
Did you know that every month, businesses exchange 2 billion (that’s with a B!) Facebook Messenger apps with their customers? That’s not just a trend – it’s a tsunami.
Using social messaging tools like Messenger or WhatsApp can help you connect with customers on a personal level. And – hearkening back to the first trend I mentioned – artificial intelligence can help you do it.
Creating a chatbot for Messenger or any other app is a relatively easy (and affordable) thing to do. A lot of companies use chatbots to suggest products or answer simple questions. That means that using messenger apps is an extremely effective way to connect with your existing audience and attract new potential buyers for your products and services.
#6: Voice Search – smart speaker
If you’ve said “Okay Google” or asked Siri, Alexa, or Cortana to find something for you online, then you know that voice search is here to stay. In fact, researchers estimate that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 – and that means that it’s time to optimize your web content for voice search now.
You can start by using the language of voice search – optimizing for the terminology that your audience is most likely to use. You may also want to start thinking about audio-only ads. It’s probable that you’ll start hearing sponsored content on Alexa before long. This is an opportunity for you to beat out your competitors who may be lagging in this area.
#7: Social Media Stories
If you’ve logged onto any social media account lately, you’ve probably noticed something: stories. Facebook may prompt you to add to your story, and other platforms – including YouTube – have jumped on the trend.
A social media story is temporary content that can be used to trigger your customers’ FOMO (that’s fear of missing out.) It’s ideal for seasonal promotions and deals, and it can be a great way to engage your audience. If you’re not already using social media stories to connect with your customers, 2019 is the year to start.
Trends aren’t all fleeting…
It’s one thing to avoid jumping on a trend bandwagon at the first opportunity. But ignoring the 7 key trends I’ve outlined here in 2019 will put you in a tricky position if your competitors are using them.