opinion

One Last Shot

Stephen Yagielowicz
The old saying that “it’s not what you make, but what you get to keep,” applies as well to the arena of website traffic management as it does anywhere else — especially when viewed in the context of maximizing the profitability of your traffic investment.

For example, the thoughtful handling of the traffic exiting your website can make a dramatic improvement in your site’s profitability, providing “another bite at the apple,” with which you — or someone else — might make a sale. Let us take a closer look:

Internal monetization. When visitors to your website will not bite on your primary offer, the first thing that should happen is the presentation of an alternative offer under your control; for example, if a paysite prospect clicks away from your join page, a special offer for a discounted membership could save the sale and keep that prospect within the fold. This allows for further marketing and the development of brand loyalty — a chance that you might not have otherwise had and which can be leveraged through “network pass” offers, etc.

Present discounted offers to folks “exiting” their membership as well, with loyalty discounts for returning members and other internal offers, such as a free trial to another site within your network. The use of cancellation confirmation emails is a great way to present this offer — with a time-limited offer an effective means of spurring action.

External monetization. When a prospect declines your own offers, not all is yet lost, as he or she may still be interested in the offers of your advertisers and affiliate sponsors.

Exit consoles and banner farms along with other ad vehicles perform this type of online marketing, but approaches that are more sophisticated will yield better results from today’s ad- and click-weary consumers.

For example, carefully targeting external offers to be reasonably close to your own offers will help focus qualified traffic, which may be responsive to “recommendations” rather than a straight sales pitch — with profitability being found in the distinction, i.e., instead of a banner farm, a pseudo-review page promoting those same sites could be a better choice for many marketers.

A hybrid approach. Most adult websites will benefit from a hybrid approach that presents both internal and external offers to exiting visitors, directly targeted to the site’s niche and beyond. Since internal offers provide more and longer-lasting control over the surfer, it only makes sense to present them first.

In our paysite example, interactive chat agents that can provide information and offers tailored to the individual site may effectively enhance or replace the common use of standard exit consoles or other traditional ad types. For this purpose, services such as Exit-Chat.com and intellichat’s Automated Virtual Sales Agent (www.intellichat.com), which can reportedly increase sales by as much as 25 percent, maximize the value of targeted traffic flows by saving otherwise lost sales. Other sites require other approaches.

Once your internal offers are exhausted, presenting external offers is the next step.

While straight advertising, such as an exit console full of links to sponsor sites, is a staple of the exit traffic handling process, sites with more effective branding positions may find sending traffic to branded white label sites and theatres may be more profitable.

To extend your own offers, next send traffic to your online advertising networks of choice; earning direct revenues or substantially offsetting the cost of purchased traffic — obtained from and then later sold back to the same networks.

Switch it up if possible so as not to buy and sell the same visitor on the same ad network to avoid purchasing the very same “exhausted” surfer that you just sold to them…

Although the concepts and techniques listed here are by no means all encompassing, they illustrate the basic idea that sites need to hold and carefully market to visitors for as long as possible. Remember, their rejection of your initial offer does not mean they will reject all offers — it is simply up to you to find the right button and to push it.

One of the worst things that any merchant can do is to let visitors simply leave their store without a pleasant “are you sure we can’t help you find something?” The online world is no different.

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