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Have you ever walked into a party, and within minutes (maybe even seconds), wanted to leave? Most of us have been there — we were invited to an event, but it ended up not being what we expected. Maybe the food didn’t look appetizing, the people weren’t very friendly, or it just didn’t give you good vibes.
Your website visitors go through the same kind of “vibe check” when they land on your site for the first time, and let’s face it, first impressions are everything. How your website functions, what it looks like, and its content are all crucial factors that help the visitor decide whether they are staying or going.
I’m here to tell you from my decades working in marketing that there actually is a lot you can do to lower your bounce rates (a visitor arriving and leaving instantly), increase your visitors’ time on site and convert more prospects into leads and customers. Here are the main reasons I’ve found people leave a website quickly and how you can remedy them.
1. They didn’t find the information they were looking for
Consumers are only going to tolerate a certain amount of confusion when they first encounter a new website. No one wants to waste time trying to figure out what your company sells, how they can buy it or other essential information. They won’t stick around to solve the mystery; they will leave and find someone else who makes it easy for them.
Solve this by:
Visiting your own website as if you’ve never seen it and have no idea what your business does: I’m serious. You need to completely be willing to vary your viewpoint. Be the potential customer. Think about what you would want to see and learn (along with what you’d need to see and learn) right away in order to take the next step in the buying journey, whether that’s picking up the phone or filling out a form.
Providing plenty of decision-making information: Sure, spontaneous purchases exist — but in general, we research before we buy. We want info. We compare one product or service to another before making a buying decision. Generally, your site should prompt the visitor to take the next step, whatever that is. So, you want to provide the necessary info in order to make that happen. If you sell real estate, you need the visitor to reach out, to fill out your form and to call you. Think about that. What would make you pick up the phone?
Make information about who you are and what you do accessible. You can add more content to your website by starting a blog, adding more web pages and ensuring all the essential information a customer needs is there. Further, ensure your website is easy to read and engaging so they want to keep browsing and reading your content.
2. They didn’t feel like they could trust you
There are more scammers than ever on the internet, and they are getting smarter every day. This has led the average consumer to think twice every time they engage with a brand or a business online. The best way to solve a prospect’s distrust is to be as authentic as possible.
Solve this by:
Personalizing your website with real photos and details: If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer, take photos of your staff, office and products using what you have at your disposal — even if that’s just your cell phone camera. Real photos (as long as they’re clear and not blurry or pixelated) are always better than canned images because most consumers know a stock photo when they see it, and many put their guard up. Adding personal details like photos of yourself as the owner, a street view of your location, etc. will elicit more trust from online shoppers.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and personable with how you tell the personal journey behind starting your business, show off your staff and inform consumers about what you offer. Bland template copy is too easy to replicate. The more authentic your content, the better.
Following up with them using direct mail: If you’ve ever moved or been to the DMV lately, you know that mail is a mainstay among our nation’s most trusted forms of identity and residency proof. You can’t even get a library card without it. Mail’s enduring status literally has trust built into it, and it can be a powerful tool for any business that wants to build credibility and legitimacy.
Sending website visitors a postcard, brochure, catalog or other kind of mailer will help establish you are a real person with a real business and products/services to offer. Make sure to include an address, phone number and even a map on the card to elicit trust.
But how do you get a website visitor’s address? Firstly, ask them! Utilize pop-ups and well-placed forms that offer something good in exchange for their information. A free guide, samples or a small gift card are good offers that require more than just an email to redeem.
Secondly, develop a direct mail retargeting campaign. Automatically sending a postcard to a website visitor or other prospect who has shown interest is a perfect way to remind them they were interested in the first place and position your company as credible. Look for a good direct mail company to work with that can run your direct mail retargeting campaign entirely on your behalf. Ideally, they should be able to design a quality mailer for you and take care of the printing in-house to ensure quality.
Keep in mind, not all direct mail marketing companies are tailored to deliver results for you. However, there are companies that can even capture website visitors’ addresses using geo-location tracking technology installed on a website. After a visitor’s address is matched, a postcard is automatically mailed to them.
You might need to do some research first before finding these more high-tech, results-driven direct mail marketing companies, but it will pay off when your phone starts ringing.
Adding reviews: Positive reviews can easily be added to your website and marketing materials. Most consumers care about what real buyers have to say about their experience, so make it easy for them to access your best feedback.
With my business, we don’t shy away from reviews and always encourage small businesses to get as many as possible. Business owners often worry about negative responses, but the key is to get more positive ones than negative ones. It’s the ratio you need to focus on, not the one bad review you got 10 years ago from a disgruntled individual.
3. They needed more time to make a decision
Some consumers are simply harder to sway than others. And according to the latest reports, younger generations like Gen Z are the most likely to spend lots of time browsing competitors and making informed buying decisions. So, you need to launch a fairly aggressive marketing strategy to keep them interested.
Solve this by:
Taking a holistic, multi-channel marketing approach to increase engagement: Coordinate your advertisements across social media, direct mail and email marketing to follow up with website visitors. Focus on establishing first-party cookies and running ads on Facebook, Instagram and Google to keep your product top of mind.
Including offers in your content — like on a postcard or in a Facebook ad — will encourage them to make a decision and take action.
Keeping your marketing consistent (and never giving up!): Along with diversifying your marketing channels, you need to stay consistent. Anyone who lands on your website can be converted into a sale, but it will take time and effort.
By sending visitors monthly or even seasonal postcards, increasing impressions on social media, and routinely communicating through email newsletters or other content, you’ll be able to establish real relationships with website visitors — and that will turn more and more of them into loyal customers.