In order to maximise sales I want my visitor's website addresses

This is another common question I am asked by customers. As small business owners we all are constantly trying to think of new ways to maximise the effectiveness of our websites. After all, you pay good money for your website and it is often the main showcase that exists to attract new customers.

It is not surprising then that if your website is receiving 100 visits per day but attracting one enquiry per week, you want to find a way of improving this ratio.

If you have a shop on the hight street and you have a lot of customers looking in your window but very few of them coming into the shop, there are two ways you can handle this. Either make your shop-front more inviting or pop out onto the street and start selling to them.

Brick Lane and Mediterranean Resorts

The latter trick is something I have seen before on Brick Lane in London and in some Mediterranean resorts. The number of restaurants is too large for the number of customers and so most of the restaurants have "touts" outside to try and tempt you in. The tactics vary from the mildly amusing to annoying pester power that is a result of their desperation.

It is not a satisfactory way of doing business but if all your competitors are doing it then it is something you might have to consider.

So how do I get their email addresses?

You have two choices. You can encourage visitors to enter it on your website by offering an incentive such as a competition or free download. This is a passive form of doing so and will inevitably be limited in its success, unless your incentive is amazing of course.

The second choice is to block the visitor from getting into your website by forcing them to provide an email address. This is a very aggressive method and will probably result in turning away the vast majority of visitors.

Treat your customers as you would want other companies to treat you

To decide how you want to do this then put yourself in the shoes of your website visitor. If you went onto a website and you were blocked from using it before you gave up your email address to them, would you proceed further? For the vast majority of you I suspect the answer is an emphatic "no". If this is the case, why would you expect your visitors to behave differently?

Come on in, the water's lovely

My advice is to make your website look and content as attractive as you can to lure customers rather than trying to "grab" them. Add in an incentive to type in an email address and you suddenly find yourself with a very effective website indeed.

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