Trick or Treat: how to attract and delight your online visitors
Halloween is my favorite holiday. I think because it reminds me of being a kid: choosing what costume to wear, watching scary movies, and of course, planning “the route”. This involved plotting the best houses to hit first, (the ones with the elaborate décor and the haunted house sound effects). Those neighbors would have the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers—we just sensed it in our molars.
These houses weren’t everywhere, of course. They were scattered among the houses with a dim porch lights, maybe a sad skeleton hanging in the window, and fall leaves hiding the walkway… no doubt, they’d be handing out the gum, licorice or other uninspired candy.
Of course, the worst of all was the house with all the lights out, no invitation to approach, no Halloween spirit, no regard for the joy of children on a sugar high. These were the houses you walked right by—the ones your older brother and his friends visited later in the night with a carton of eggs and a few rolls of toilet paper.
Is your website one of the favored Halloween houses in the neighborhood, lights on with an uninviting look, or are your lights out entirely with nobody home? By applying these tricks, you will treat yourself to increased visitorship and, ultimately, more sales.
Let them Know You’re Home
You want visitors. But you also want the right visitors. From the start, be sure your porch light is on for the search engines: this means you are showing up prominently when a customer performs a search for your type of product or service on Google or Bing or Yahoo.
How? Strategically choose keywords that search engines will easily find. Optimize your pages and create content, links, and alt tags for your images that include the words and phrases your type of buyer is looking for. Also, periodically monitor Google Analytics for trouble spots, bounces and drop-off rates. A broken link, slow-loading content or confusing navigation can discourage visitors from actually reaching your door.
Hand Out the “Good” Candy
Once the right visitor has reached your site, be sure to treat them to dynamic, rewarding content—information that captivates, engages, and educates. With easy Content Management Systems, it is easy to embed fast-loading videos, social feeds, and blogs to keep your content fresh. And, be sure your general content and online store offerings are seasonally appropriate. A recent study by Limelight Networks found that fresh content was the first or second requirement of websites by 68% of people. That’s almost seven in every ten of your website visitors who feel that fresh content is vital.
Take an hour to review your site content and note all tired or expired copy. If you still have a ‘Summer Sippers’ offer in your online shop, you’re handing out stale circus peanuts.
Encourage them to tell the other kids in the neighborhood
As you drop two or three Kit Kats into their plastic pumpkin, tell your visitors to spread the word. Don’t be shy to ask for online reviews and social media shares. Not only will customer reviews provide fresh content for search engines, according to Reevoo, reviews lift your sales by an average of 18%. And, customers who review your product are 105% more likely to make a purchase from you while visiting your site (Bazaarvoice, Conversation Index, Q2 2011).
- Ask for reviews on your product pages. Make the process as simple as possible—even a star rating offers buying confidence to perspective customers.
- Ask for reviews post-purchase. Timing is key here. Be sure you have given your buyer enough time to receive and potentially sample your product. Send an email that asks if the product was delivered as expected. Thank your customer for their purchase and ask them to rate the product. UK retailer Marks & Spencer discovered a 400% increase in customer reviews when they launched a post-purchase email campaign.
- Remind your social media followers to leave reviews. This can be done in creative ways such as asking for photos of your wine being enjoyed or anecdotes about how your wine made for a memorable occasion.
Halloween all year long
The beauty of online presence is that your potential buyers trick-or-treat every day. Keep the lights on, stock up on the good candy and be ready for that doorbell to ring over and over again.