By Helen Armour, Marketing Manager at Really Simple Systems

You may look at your website analytics, sit back and give yourself a pat on the back. You can see the number of sessions and page visits increasing each week and think that you have finally got your web strategy on-track.

Whilst increasing visitor numbers is a good thing, it can be like running a shop where many people come in a browse your stock - they are interested in what you sell but they do not identify themselves in any way and may leave without buying.

If only you could encourage some to stop, give you a piece of information about themselves and indicate they are open to hearing more about your offering - this would really change your marketing. This is why the growth of store loyalty cards has been so important for retail businesses. Being able to give customers something they value in exchange for their contact details changed the way we shop, and the same is relevant online.

Getting them to stop

Give your visitors a reason to stop and enter into communication with you. Signpost interesting articles, offer free things or discounts, downloads of educational information or other valuable content.

More than likely they are passing through your website as they have been directed from a search engine which has picked up a keyword from some of your site content, maybe an interesting blog entry. As they skim through your blog post it’s your opportunity to offer up something more, something they weren’t expecting, something of real interest, for example, something they can download and read later.

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These ‘Calls To Action’ or 'Adverts' can be placed in your sidebar, or in the middle or bottom of your web page, and could contain text and images. You might even use pop-up messages that appear on the page after the visitor has stayed on the page for a set period of time. Don’t overdo it though, try and keep it to one message and one advert per page, and make your message very relevant to the main page content. Also, if possible, try different versions of the same advert, test them, and use the one that works best.

What to do when a visitor clicks your advert

A visitor who clicks on your 'Advert' is showing more interest in you than one that just reads your page and leaves. But you don’t want to give your content away for free, you want them to identify themselves by leaving their contact details.

To do this, take your visitor to a Landing Page (also called a Squeeze Page) when they click on the 'Advert'. The secret here is to give the visitor less and less options to distract them. To do this try using a simple page that has all the main navigation hidden, a clear reinforcement of the value of the offer, and a short form for them to complete. Again, try and test different versions of the page as well as different headlines and text, to see which works best.

Now You Know Them

By showing this further interest your visitor has just turned themselves into a prospect, and even better, you now know who they are, you have their email address, and you know what interests them.

So what’s next? Well that depends on the type of product you are selling, but most likely they’ll need more warming up, so add them to your email subscription list, where they continue to get relevant and targeted information from you.

In Summary

1. Plan your campaign carefully
2. Create offers, free trials, or write downloadable guides that can be offered to visitors
3. Create Calls To Action that advertise your offers and place these on relevant web pages
4. Link these adverts to Landing Pages which encourage the visitor to give you their details in return for your offer
5. Gain the visitor's permission to mail subsequent articles of interest by including a subscriber check box
6. Use these details to swell your subscriber lists, and send other targeted messages