Have a website? Turn that visitor into a listener!

How many websites have you visited just once, scanned the page quickly, didn’t click anything and then never returned? I know that I do this dozens, if not hundreds of times each week. You probably do too. I’ll show you how you can use two simple tools (both free) to convert your visitor into a future listener.

NOOO… Please Don’t Leave Me!

Most websites, regardless of industry or type, have traffic that visits, scans quickly and doesn’t read, click, listen or share anything. The percentage differs depending on the industry but for media sites, the range is 25% on the low end, and 80% on the high end. If you have a poor bounce rate, only 20 people of that 100 are going to stick around and do anything with your website. For reference, at PRX our bounce rate is about 40%.

There are all sorts of things that might be done to improve your bounce rate, and you should look at ways to improve that, but we’re going to focus on what to do with those people that are going to leave anyway.

There are a tools, services and entire companies that are devoted to helping address this problem. The label that I’ve seen applied to this class of problem is called “Exit Intent” technology. Figuring out ways to keep the conversation going with the visitor, encouraging them to stick around just a bit longer, and if they are intent on leaving, trying one last time to establish a dialog with them.

These tools typically display a prompt to the visitor as they are leaving your website, or as they scroll down the page. More advanced tools can detect the placement and movement of the visitors mouse while on your website, and as they move their mouse up to the browser close button, wanting to close the tab or window, a prompt is shown asking the exiting visitor to do something, try another story, read another article or most typically, join their email newsletter.

At PRX, we’ve been using a service called SumoMe, which if you are using WordPress, is dead simple to install and get started. SumoMe has a free plan so you can get started right away. We pay for it so we can get a few extra features (removes their branding). There are a number of other tools and services out there too, from BounceExchange which costs several thousand dollars per month, to free and open source tools. Google search “exit intent” and you’ll get a sense of your options.

Again, the primary purpose of these tools is to convert people that were going to leave your site, most likely never to return, into someone that will come back again in the future.

OK, I’ve Got Them. Now What?

Use email. That’s it. Sorry, no magical new tool, potion or formula here. Once a visitor has decided to provide you with their email address you now have a way to encourage them to come back, to hear your stories, to come to your live event or donate and support your work.

You need to build your mailing list and keep in touch with that visitor. Did you post a new story on PRX? Add a link to the story on PRX and let that mailing list know. Were you licensed by a station? Tell people on your mailing list who live in that area of the country.

Managing and communicating with a small list, maybe less than 100 people could probably be done with your existing email tool, like Gmail. If your list grows though, or you want to segment the list so that you can target specific messages to people, you’ll want to use a Email Provider like MailChimp.

MailChimp offers a free account to get you started. As of this writing, the free plan allows you to send 12,000 emails to 2,000 people per month. The SumoMe tool works with MailChip (and others) so that when someone signs up on your website they are automatically added to MailChimp for you.

Bottom Line

The combination of tools like SumoMe and MailChimp have helped PRX add thousands of people to our mailing lists each month and encourage them to come back and listen to more stories. If you have your own website I recommend that you look at both “exit intent” tools and a mailing list provider as ways to encourage more people to hear your work.

Have a great day!
Matt – Chief Product Officer at PRX