In the marketing industry, we all spend a lot of time and effort trying to get our content in front of new visitors, to expand our reach as much as possible. Sometimes, in doing this, we can forget that it’s just as important to get regular readers.
The story is often the same. You spend hours creating content which should be great, and should perform really, really well. You publish it, share it on social, and wait for the users to come rolling in.
Then you go back, look at the analytics, and you’re faced with something like this:
Admittedly, it’s great to be getting new users coming in, and showing interest in your brand, but what about all the new users who read the last article? Why didn’t they come back after reading the great content you gave them last week?
This is such a common problem, and one that can be addressed in so many different ways. So you’ve already got a great website, and you’re producing content. Now it’s time to turn your new visitors into regular readers, and taking action on these 10 points is a great place to start.
Retargeting is a super effective way to get users to re engage with your website. Essentially, this is when you show your users ads which are directly linked to their previous behaviour on your site. It’s done via inserting a piece of code onto a page which then places a cookie in the user’s browser.
This means you can make your ads hyper targeted towards these users. These are far more likely to catch the user’s eye, and bring them back over to your site. The stats for conversions from retargeting are great too.
2. Focus on quality
Yes, it sounds obvious, but the most basic, fundamental thing that you really need to nail is the quality of your content.
If you visit a blog (like ours), and don’t enjoy what you’re reading, are you likely to go back?
Realistically, no. So put yourself in your audience’s shoes, and give them the best possible content you can. Think about what they would want to spend their time reading, and what they would value.
Focus on the style and tone of your writing too. If you’re going for more serious, business oriented, keep it formal. If you’re targeting young start ups, then you can probably be more casual and light hearted. Tailor your content to your intended audience.
Importantly, though, use your own, unique voice. Everyone can write, but no one can write quite like you, so stand out from the crowd.
3. Be Consistent
If you want to get an audience committed to reading your output, they need to know when and where they can find it. It helps if you map out a schedule, and publish on regular days every week.
At first, you’ll have to reach out to your audience and let them know when something new is up, but if you’re consistent, and they’re interested enough, they should naturally come back on the days when you usually publish.
The quality needs to be just as consistent too, of course. In general, when trying to grow your readership, consistency with everything is a good idea.
4. Make it easy to get updates
Now you’re producing great content, and every single time you’re getting in front of more and more new users. So now make it really easy for them to see each and every piece of content you produce in the future.
This means putting the option to subscribe right in front of them. Whether that’s on the sidebar, within the content, or if a box appears in front of the content after a user spends a certain amount of time on your page, it needs to be obvious. It may be best to avoid pop-ups if possible, though, as Google have recently decided that they will negatively affect your SEO.
Also, keep it really simple. Just ask for an email address, and tell them how often they can expect emails. You could even let the audience choose the frequency of the emails, which is great for engagement.
5. Take the user on a journey
One fantastic way to keep your users engaged, and in turn more likely to return, is to guide them through your content. Writing one great piece is only the first step. Now you have to guide them through the rest of your carefully crafted content.
The best way to do this is to have related articles shown to the side of the one the user is reading, or having a small pop-in at the bottom right of the screen which is shown when they get close to the end of the article.
If the article they are reading is engaging enough, then of course the natural thing for the user to want is to read more about it. This is where you need to make it easy for them.
6. Stay in touch with email
Hopefully, you have already implemented an easy-to-find subscribe function, which means you’re beginning to build up a subscriber base. Now you need to make sure you’re keeping them updated, as they gave you their email address for a reason.
There’s a delicate balance between nailing this and making it a catastrophe. If you email too often, or with irrelevant content, you’ll be hit with unsubscribers. If you get in touch too rarely, people will forget about your content and not bother reading the email.
If you’ve given the option to the user for the frequency of emails, then you don’t need to worry as you just stick to that. If not, getting in touch once a week is probably ideal, or even every fortnight. Of course, this varies from business to business, so test and see which works for you.
Also, make sure your subject lines are enticing enough for them to open the mail, and make sure the content within is irresistible. Easier said than done, but this is what re-engagement is all about.
7. Tell them a story
Never underestimate the power of a good, personal story. If someone visits once, and just reads a standard blog or article, it’s unlikely to stick in the memory. If you start with a story, however, it’s proven to be far more engaging for the reader.
You should always write about the things you know, so why not start with a first hand experience that the reader can relate to. Instead of talking about a well known problem, talk about how you or your business had this problem, and what you did to overcome it.
This will stick in the reader’s mind more, and make them more likely to come back, or at the very least, subscribe to the blog or website.
8. Focus on UX
There are few things more irritating when browsing than a poor user experience. It can be a case of having too many ads, which slow the site down to crawl. Some sites are just poorly designed, with walls of text, no white space and poor graphic design. These are all hurdles for the user, and will all potentially put them off coming back.
If you want your readers to come back time and again, you need to make your site a great place to browse. For every design decision, you need to put yourself in the user’s shoes. If they enjoy spending time on your website, and find your articles easy to read and navigate, they are far more likely to return and subscribe.
9. Stay social, be where they are – also share other related content
A vast majority of your readers will be on social media in one form or another, and probably spend more time there than anywhere else online. With this in mind, in order to get them coming back to your site, you need to be where they are. It’s super straightforward to set up pages on any of the major platforms and share your content, but there’s more to social than that.
Ideally, you shouldn’t just use your pages to push your own content, but also share stories from other sources that your audience will find interesting. This shows your audience that you’re not just looking at them as a statistic, or a potential customer, but instead a person that you care about.
This should also lead to them engaging with your own content more, as they will trust your brand more than if you exclusively share your own content.
10. Give them something to look forward to
Creating a sense of anticipation for the next piece of content can be a challenge, especially if you’re fairly flexible in what you write about, but in doing so you have a great chance of turning your new users into regular readers.
Whether you do this through email, or through a preview at the foot of your recently published article, you should let your readers know what they can expect next, and when. Also, encourage them to come to you with what they’d like to read about in the future. This can be a great source of ideas for you, and again encourages users to come back to see if their ideas have made it into your writing.
There’s no single way to guarantee that new users are going to turn into regular readers, and so much of it depends on your market, as well as your content. If you take these points into consideration, though, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of growing your audience week by week, and re-engaging those new users you’ve worked so hard to attract.