Visitor Retention - The Key to Online Success!

32 replies
Hey Warriors. I don't get in here to contribute nearly enough these days, so when I do I want to make it count.

I want to talk about something that I've mentioned over and over and over again on my blog, to my list, in forums and elsewhere. Something so vitally important that no matter how many people tell me to shut the he** up, I'm going to KEEP saying it over and over again!

And that is the importance of "Visitor Retention!"

You know, this is something that seems so basic and easy to understand that people get tired of hearing it. People complain about products that talk about it, calling it "rehashed material" etc. Yet 99% of all Internet Marketers in their first year or two online either don't get it, don't believe it or completely just ignore it. These same people make very little money online.

If you are one of those people, READ THIS!

So what is "Visitor Retention" anyway?

Visitor retention is a very simple concept. Instead of working your butt off day in and day out to get new visitors and more traffic to your site(s) you RETAIN the visitors you do have!

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. Let's say you have a new site with no visitors at all. Obviously you need traffic so you do everything that everyone tells you that you should be doing in order to get traffic.

You write and submit articles to article directories. You work out some link deals and get some links pointing to your site for increased search engine ranking. You comment on popular blogs in your niche. You participate in forums like you are doing now. etc. etc. etc.

And guess what? You start to see traffic coming in. It's great isn't it? But guess what. As soon as you stop doing all of those things that traffic is going to decrease. Sure, those articles and links are going to drive long-term traffic, but it's not a large number.

In other words, you have to keep doing it day after day after day in order to maintain and possibly increase that traffic.

Now, think of this. What if somehow you were able to contact each and every one of those visitors the second you have new content that they would be interested in? What if you could get them to come back to your site over and over and over and over and over again? Would you have to keep fighting that uphill battle?

NO, you wouldn't! Let's say you only get 30 visitors a day from article marketing or however it is you promote your site. Now lets say you retain only 10% of that, which would be somewhat of a realistic figure.

In reality, that would be like adding 3 visitors to your site every single day! Let's do the math. If you retained 3 visitors each day you would have over 1,000 EXTRA visitors to your site every day after one year!!!!

And that's only if your site consistently gets 30 visitors a day. What if you do a little more and increase that number to 50, 100 or even 1,000? That's ALOT of traffic!!

How do you retain them?

The #1, most popular, effective and powerful ways to retain traffic is to build an email list. Yep, I'm going to say it. The money is in the list.

However, getting any kind of contact information from your traffic is better than nothing. Using RSS on blogs is another way to retain traffic. It isn't quite as effective as an actual email list because it's limited to just your blog, but it's better than nothing.

I highly suggest getting an account with Aweber.com or GetResponse.com if you haven't already. Start retaining that traffic today!

Listen folks, I know this is something that is "rehashed" over and over and over again. You've probably heard this same thing being said a hundred times. LISTEN TO IT! It hasn't been rehashed so much for no reason! It WORKS!

When I realized these facts is when I broke through online and pushed my business from a little extra money generator to a 6-figure powerhouse!

The "key" is right there folks. It's up to you to take it!
#key #list building #online #retention #success #visitor
  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    Building your lists is one of the most important things anyone can do to insure the future viability of their online business.

    TL
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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    Originally Posted by Razer Rage View Post

    And I disagree with RSS not being as effective as email. You will probably get a much higher response, and not only that but blog posts go viral much more easily than emails.
    That depends completely on the niche.

    I'm in one where the average customer can barely handle email. RSS might do better than email in a niche comprised of a more technical crowd, but certainly not in every niche (or even most, I'd suspect).
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    I just had a piece of code created that doesn't let them out of my site. The back button doesn't work and they can't close the browser. Once they are on my site, they are stuck. I lose less visitors that way.



    I have to stop drinking that tea.
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    • Profile picture of the author pilotjoe
      I have to absolutely agree. I'm no where near raking in the big bucks, but since I have been caring for my lists I have seen a dramatic increase in retention and income.

      thanks for the awesome post!
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      • Profile picture of the author Michelle Adams
        Totally agree.

        There are so many ways to connect with your visitors via your list and I feel it builds on the relationship as opposed to when they just read a feed. Of course it goes without saying that your subscribers will more likely be retained if you manage your email marketing with their best interests in mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
    Originally Posted by Josh Spaulding View Post

    Sure, those articles and links are going to drive long-term traffic, but it's not a large number.
    Then you are doing it wrong.
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Spaulding
      Originally Posted by bgmacaw View Post

      Then you are doing it wrong.
      Good catch I should have said "Sure, those articles and links are going to drive long-term traffic, but most will be one-time visitors unless you retain them.
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      • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
        Originally Posted by Josh Spaulding View Post

        Good catch I should have said "Sure, those articles and links are going to drive long-term traffic, but most will be one-time visitors unless you retain them.
        It depends on your goal for site.

        The search based niche model I use in most cases doesn't require retaining visitors. I usually see about 10% returning visitors, based on the Statcounter cookie. The other 90% are first time visitors with 99% of the traffic coming from Google, Yahoo or Bing.

        The basic squeeze page and sales page models are also designed around the one time visitor although there will need to be some retention effort on the list or membership site.

        For an authority or ecommerce site, your concept of retaining visitors is correct. Better yet, you want these retained visitors to be linking to your site from their sites which will help improve your search engine traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrwoods
    I appreciate the heads up. I am in the process of building a list now and would appreciate your take on how you drive free or low cost traffic to get new visitors. Do you use articles, PPC, adwords, etc? What have you found to be most time and cost effective?
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    • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
      Originally Posted by mrwoods View Post

      I appreciate the heads up. I am in the process of building a list now and would appreciate your take on how you drive free or low cost traffic to get new visitors. Do you use articles, PPC, adwords, etc? What have you found to be most time and cost effective?
      Wow! Another macaw. It could get loud here.

      What's worked for me is having content that fits the needs of my target audience and getting links to my sites that match this targeting. Usually this targeting is intended for someone who is wanting to buy a particular good or service and not someone who's looking to socialize or seeking infotainment. This targeting gets me good placement in Google search results most of the time and I get traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author rhino72
    Great stuff as always, Josh. I wish this approach was the standard we were all shooting for instead of "churn and burn."
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  • Profile picture of the author nekrozon
    wow, good stuff!

    Building a list is an asset in which can be used to increase the value of your business ... traffic can go away, but prospects don't (not all of them at least haha!)
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    • Profile picture of the author Marilynj55
      Originally Posted by nekrozon View Post

      wow, good stuff!

      Building a list is an asset in which can be used to increase the value of your business ... traffic can go away, but prospects don't (not all of them at least haha!)
      If if am any indication of what prospects do, I can tell you that prospects DO go away -- with regularity!

      I keep hearing this, "The money is in the list." I am just judging from myself, and I consider myself a pretty typical consumer, and I unsubscribe from lists all the time. I'm sure other people sign up to be on lists as there are fantastic offerings out there -- free stuff if you sign up for my list -- only to receive email after email thereafter, and because there really is no value to staying subscribed in this age of information overload, we unsubscribe.

      I subscribe to IM'ers who seem to have great wisdom, but because my time is such a precious commodity (to me), even when I am receiving absolute GEMS, pearls of wisdom from these folks, when it becomes too much to digest, I unsubscribe.

      I must have subscribed to more than 75 lists in the past five years, and there are only three I am currently subscribed to (Chris Farrell, Josh Spaulding and Chad Kimball).

      That is why, whenever I hear, "It's in the list," I take it with a HUGE grain of salt.
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      • Profile picture of the author summer07
        I've been list-building on a small scale for about a year now. People join my lists voluntarily with no forced opt in, they don't get spammed and less than 5% have unsubscribed over the past year.

        And I have to agree with what you say, Josh. I'd much rather create a product and write an email to my lists than spend days churning out articles to plaster around the internet!

        Maybe the hard core message about list building has been preached so many times by spammer gurus that the real message gets lost in the shuffle -- list building doesn't have to be a blood sport! It really can be easy and pain free...and bigger is not always better.

        Thanks for the post, and keep spreading the word.

        Cheers,
        Audre
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        • Profile picture of the author benlauren
          I am on your list Josh and wish to add my comment in that if you and anyone else who wants to keep people on their list should not be constantly trying to sell you something. I have opted out of a number of lists just for that reason.
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      • Profile picture of the author Josh Spaulding
        Originally Posted by Marilynj55 View Post

        If if am any indication of what prospects do, I can tell you that prospects DO go away -- with regularity!

        I keep hearing this, "The money is in the list." I am just judging from myself, and I consider myself a pretty typical consumer, and I unsubscribe from lists all the time. I'm sure other people sign up to be on lists as there are fantastic offerings out there -- free stuff if you sign up for my list -- only to receive email after email thereafter, and because there really is no value to staying subscribed in this age of information overload, we unsubscribe.

        I subscribe to IM'ers who seem to have great wisdom, but because my time is such a precious commodity (to me), even when I am receiving absolute GEMS, pearls of wisdom from these folks, when it becomes too much to digest, I unsubscribe.

        I must have subscribed to more than 75 lists in the past five years, and there are only three I am currently subscribed to (Chris Farrell, Josh Spaulding and Chad Kimball).

        That is why, whenever I hear, "It's in the list," I take it with a HUGE grain of salt.
        Yep, they definitely go away. No matter who you are... no matter how much you help. There will always be people who unsubscribe for whatever reason and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you lose a few each time you send out a mailer, but you're getting more new leads than that every day, you're still growing.

        Don't let that "idea" detour you from helping people and helping yourself!!!!
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        • Profile picture of the author Kingshouse
          I think if your material is what people want then they will read your email even if it ends up in the trash!

          There are certain emails I do not want to miss, dare I say here Josh's is one of them.

          If you are not building a list then you really are not using your traffic to maximum effect.

          While I am at it there are 3 things really important

          Generate Traffic

          Capture Traffic

          Convert Traffic

          If you can keep people on your list you can get them to see what you have over and over again rather than that one shot deal of asking someone to visit your website sales page.

          Just my little bit.

          Cheers Josh


          Will D
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  • Profile picture of the author guzie
    I have a large gardening niche subscriber list. Most of these subscribers follow me through thick and thin. I do my best not to feed them IM crap, hypish garden links or things I consider unrelevant to their needs. They come visit my webiste often and usually find my garden tips helpful.

    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Spaulding
      I see many Warriors seem to have a one-track mind What I mean by that is people start off with one model online and don't realize just how many effective business models there are.

      This causes alot of confusion and many heated debates. All because they believe what they are doing, or trying to do in most cases, is the only model.

      The advice I'm offering here isn't what I believe. It's what I know. Are there different ways of doing it? Absolutely! Are there other online business models out there that don't require visitor retention? Absolutely!

      Just a little advice to those who are a little confused
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  • Profile picture of the author milan
    Originally Posted by Razer Rage View Post

    However, I believe the true key to retaining visitors is to simply provide them with high quality content, without making them jump through hoops to get it.
    You're right, however, I don't see Josh talking about making people jump through the hoops to get the content. He's rather talking about tools which allow you to retain visitors and show them your (future) high quality content.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr Money Maker
    The best way to keep people coming back is to get them excited and keep post new info that can help them in life on a blog or website
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  • Profile picture of the author johntan
    Hi Josh,

    I totally agree with you that visitor retention is very important in our online business. One way that we can increase our visitor retention is to provide the visitors the content that they need.

    Be it paid or free.
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    • Profile picture of the author jimn10
      Josh,

      I completely agree. There are not many markets, if any, where maintaining contact with customers or potential customers will not add to your bottom line.
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  • Profile picture of the author Implementer
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    • Profile picture of the author Nicholas Mancini
      Josh,

      It is true, it took me more then 3 years to realize that an email list with responsive subscribers is one of the keys and an important one.

      Also recently have been playing around with RSS and it works well if posted to many aggregators, as well as the FeedBurner from Google works when adding a subscriber box to the RSS feed.

      I am getting a lot of traffic this way and I am also monetizing the RSS with Adsense. But most important thing is to provide real & original content in those RSS feeds (entire article with pictures and targeted keywords) for best results.

      Josh, thanks for the GREAT insight as usual. YOU are between the very few I did not unsubscribe from. Most "Gurus" will have to reinvent themselves to get attention nowadays ... a tough thing to do braking old habits eh? Their "Crapolla" no longer works even with newbies LOL ...end of rant... Be well and get your feeds burned not your wallet ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author wellymulia
    Hey Josh,

    Nice tips.

    Retaining visitors is certainly important as we don't have to always be going out there to find new visitors.

    Well, we still need to be finding new visitors all the time, but if we can add EXTRA visitors to our site by retaining some of them, then it's much better.

    Thanks for reminding us again about the importance of retaining your existing visitors.

    Cheers!
    Welly Mulia
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Annand
    Hey Josh

    I've been on your list for awhile and always read what you post . You usually have something good to say without trying to sell me a clickbank product I can get myself

    This is the first time I have commented though . Do you think this counts as one of the nine comments before I get a do-follow ?

    Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author Kirahster
    Funnily enough, this notion just struck true for me. In the last week probably.

    I built a website. It is a market that I was easily able to get decent rankings in google for keyword with a good amount of searches.

    I have my website getting about 50 visitors a day with no extra effort on my part. I Plan to try and rank on the 1st page for a few more keyword, to increase traffic.

    I was getting frustrated because, I seemed to be getting this traffic and then losing it. So I thought, hey, why not build a list??

    I wrote up a quick free report and teamed it with a free 7 day e-course.

    Now I am capturing leads and eventually I may make some money from this list rather than just letting them escape.
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  • Profile picture of the author UBotBuddy
    Awesome post Josh! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!
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  • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
    Josh, thanks for the post. I do believe the list is important, but would like to also acknowledge the comments that if you're going to retain visitors, you need to have something worthwhile for them to come back to read. Add good informative content to an email list, and you're on the ball.
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