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Nov. 30th, 2005 | 04:42 pm
posted by: mikedelight in makepeacemedia
How to make your website "sticky"
By the Entrepreneur Business Centre
Any strategy which ensures that a visitor stays within your site can be said to increase the site's "stickiness". The stickier the site, the more you increase your chances of raising revenue from it.
Likewise, strategies that encourage your visitors to return to your website are just as valuable.
These strategies can range from the simple links that help your visitor bookmark your site to a well-planned operation, which includes building a customer database and marketing directly to those customers.
Adding an online section to your business calls for a specialised marketing strategy. This is because the Internet is a totally different medium in which to conduct business, and conventional marketing strategies just don't work.
In a "bricks and mortar" business, for example, you can draw up a profile of your customers, work out what attracts them to your business and fine tune your product, advertising and marketing strategies accordingly.
With a potential global audience, however, it is hard to determine who will see your website unless you design your site to attract a certain type of customer. Your marketing strategies, therefore, will have to be reassessed.
You should use every opportunity to market and promote your online and offline business ventures simultaneously. For example, always include your "real world" details and your web address on all of your advertising.
Knowing where to start
If you have a direct sales catalogue, for instance, you should include your website address in it and also have information about the catalogue on your website.
Your website is a powerful marketing tool and should be used as such. It can reach millions of people, so take advantage and promote your offline store too.
You will need to develop a strategy that uses your existing marketing to promote your online venture, as well as develop a totally new strategy to attract people to your business via the Internet.
This adjustment to your current marketing doesn't need to be expensive, but will require more than simply incorporating your web address on all your existing promotional products and advertisements.
It is important to consider what is required for marketing on the web - often called e-marketing or electronic marketing.
For e-marketing, you will need to know how search engines work so that you can gear your website to take advantage of them.
This also means that you will have to understand why and how people use the search engines to get information, and as a result, how to use them to your own advantage.
In addition to this, you will need to investigate your other e-marketing options. Selling products is not the only way of raising revenue through your website. There are other opportunities such as affiliate programs, linking and banner advertising.
At the same time, you should consider the benefits of collaborating with other businesses. Once you have worked out how to get people to your site, how do you get them to stay or even come back?
E-mail programs, chat rooms and bulletin boards are all effective marketing tools which will help you attract and keep customers.
Of equal importance is your ability to track customer visits and their behaviour once at your site. In order to enhance your site and build an effective marketing strategy, you need to know how people came to your site (through search engines, banner ads etc) and what they found most or least interesting once they were there.
Using bookmarks to bring people back
Giving customers to ability to bookmark your website is frequently overlooked by web designers.
Obviously you would like your visitors to return to your page as frequently as possible. Browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer enable the visitor to "Bookmark" or add your site to their "Favourites" very easily. However, your visitor has to remember to do this.
If you add a special feature where the visitor is prompted to bookmark your site, you may well increase your number of return customers.
If you use web tracking programs, you will be able to identify your most used web pages. Alternatively, try to identify which page you feel is most likely to interest your viewers.
Ideally, this will be the one that contains the most information, and provides strong links to your revenue raising pages.
Position your "Bookmark this site" instructions at the top right hand side of these pages. Clicking on this link will cause their Favourites or Bookmark window to open, facilitating the bookmarking operation.
You can then track how effective this feature is through your web analysis software.
If visitors have entered your site at one of your "bookmark" pages and not through the home page or a search engine, you know the bookmarking is not only working but also that page is proving interesting to your customers.
Disclaimer: This information article on the ninemsn web site is provided as a general information service only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for the advice of a properly qualified professional. Neither ninemsn or the Entrepreneur Business Centre assume or accept any responsibility for, and neither shall be liable for, the accuracy or appropriate application of any information on the site.