Psst! Stop having a linear relationship with your traffic!

by Jennifer Osborne March 5th, 2008 

Think about the path that people take when they hit your site. Perhaps the visitor enters from:

Keyword Search -> Blog Post -> Another Blog Post

or

Direct Search -> Home Page -> Products Page

Regardless of the scenario, they all have one thing in common. It's a linear relationship that ultimately leads to a dead end.

Enter the Loop Strategy

The premise of the loop strategy is that we never want to leave the visitor without telling them what the next step is. There are no dead ends because each page leads to another page.

Maybe they follow the planned path, more than likely they don't :)

But the point is that we keep the visitor engaged in the site's content until they find something that they want to buy.

In the scenario pictured above, your visitor could enter on any point. Let's say they landed on an article that was relevant to a long tail keyword search. In a linear relationship, once they read the article, they usually leave.

In this case, the article points them to a related blog post. They read the post and decide to register for a newsletter. Upon registration they're asked if they'd like to take a brief survey. If they do we'll give them a white paper. In the white paper we reference (link to) other articles. And away we go.

Your traffic isn't stupid.

They just aren't as familiar with your site, business, or products as you are. Consider the experience of a first time visitor. They happen to find your site through a keyword search, social media, maybe even because of an off line advertisement.

The visitor may be interested in your content/product/service but they have little or no loyalty at this point.

The propensity to exit is high. I entered your site. I enjoyed your content. I'm done.

unless

you tell them where to go (not there).

How do I employ the Loop Strategy?

1) This strategy is not for every website. A content rich site is necessary to successfully employ this strategy.

  • Enjoyed this post? try this one
  • Like this article? look at this white paper.
  • People who like this topic love this product/article/paper (whatever your call to action is).

Always tell your traffic where to go next. Keep them in a perpetual loop.

Content doesn't have to be articles though. Let's say you have an electronics site. So long as the site is content rich with product descriptions, testimnials etc, you can employ this strategy.

  • Like this iPod? try this carrying case
  • Need a carrying case? what about external speakers?
  • Which external speakers are best? here's what other consumers had to say…

2) Think about the most logical path for the consumer to take. If I enjoy this content then I'll probably like that too.

3) Build the next step into your template. Don't add new content without thinking about what it relates to. Link it to the next step.

Is this just usability and calls to action?

maybe

But it works.

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7 Responses to “Psst! Stop having a linear relationship with your traffic!”

  1. Nick James says:

    This is great stuff Jenn. We are so concentrated on the external path to our website, that we often forget the importance of keeping our traffic engaged once inside, and carrying out calls to action.
    Thanks Jenn, I'll certainly be paying it more mind than I do in the future.

  2. Nathania says:

    I like this strategy. I don't implement it nearly enough.

    But i have a question: When does the Loop end? At what point is the user overwhelmed?

  3. Troy says:

    A unique thought, I have to be thinking more about making my blog "sticky". This reminds me of this story you run into all the time on StumbleUpon:
    http://www.wocka.com/745.html

  4. Thank you Nick!

    @Nathania – Very good point! It is very important that this is done in a non intrusive (not obnoxious) way so that when they do leave they have a higher potential to come back because they were exposed to more great content.

    @Troy – have not seen that one on SU yet, love it! Tx for the laugh!

  5. This is great, I'm just going to add some more links to my site and blog posts.

  6. Utah SEO says:

    This is a good strategy.