In both basketball and Internet marketing, conversions on your first attempt are great, but statistically you're going to miss more than you hit. Having your players in position for the offensive rebound means getting a second (or third or fourth) chance to score. As Internet marketers, the longer we can maintain possession of the ball, the more opportunities we have to score (and the fewer chances your competition gets).
It's been 20 years since I played on a basketball team, but it was a formative time in my life in regards to self-worth, teamwork and competition. I was small, and not especially talented or athletic, but I was tenacious (a label often used by small, clumsy and talentless people). Over the season my stats showed I had an unexpected aptitude for rebounds, steals and assists. Truth be told, I was only good at stealing the ball (apparently stripping someone attempting a rebound counts as a rebound. The assists resulted from getting rid of the ball as quickly as possible because I sucked at dribbling - see "talentless" above). The point was, despite some obvious shortcomings, I found a way to participate that contributed to our likelihood of winning
Holding to the basketball analogy, when we attempt to score in our Internet marketing attempts, do we launch the ball in the air and hope for the best, or do we follow the shot and hustle for position with the intent of creating another opportunity? We've put a lot of time toward attracting, engaging and enrolling our audience, so why do some of us make so little effort to maintain possession of the ball? You may have offered exactly what I'm looking for, but the time, place, device, etc. may have prevented me from following through (it's hard to enter credit card information while on a treadmill). Rather than leaving me to find my way back later and running the risk of mis-remembering the path that brought me to you in the first place, or getting distracted by some other shiny object, you ought to hustle for a followup.
Here are a few examples of how to grab the offensive rebound with your inbound marketing and keep the ball in play.
- Give - If I like what you've said so far, I might be willing to hear what you'll say next, but I can't give you my email address if you don't ask for it. Newsletters, updates, special offers - lists provide both an insight to visitor interests as well as opportunity to nudge them down the road. Depending on your audience, sales cycles may be months, and friendly reminders go a long way to keeping you top of mind. One of my favorite tactics is when a lightbox layover pops up when my cursor leaves the body area (to click back or type an address) and asks if I'd like to bookmark this page for later, or subscribe to updates via email.
- Share - We all want more follows, likes and pluses, as they benefit us on so many levels, but what really matters is mindspace. My primary sources of visual entertainment are Hulu and Netflix via my iPhone. The problem is, neither of these services allow me to share mindspace with others. It is impossible to pass a clip, link to a video etc. On the other hand, Spotify does it right - I can easily share a link to a song via email, Twitter or Facebook, and I can also lists albums or create playlists to share with others (who can then sign up for a free account). Social provides a combination of benefits, both for people and robots (i.e. search), but sharing has to be easy to be effective.
- Stalk - Retargeting is about exposing a user to brands to which they have previously (and voluntarily) been exposed. The concept is simple: (1) a visitor comes to your website. (2) They read about your products/services but don't purchase or engage. (3) When they visit other websites, they see ads for the products/services they were viewing. The value is in the program's ability to bring them back and keep your brand top of mind. Retargeting allows you that rebound opportunity for window shoppers, cart abandon-ers and various instances of "consumus interruptus".
The opportunities for rebounds in Internet marketing are endless, and in many cases cost-effective and easy to implement. All that is required is some thinking-through of the attention/engagement/enrollment process from the perspective of the people with whom you're trying to build a relationship. Make it clear, make it easy, and make it count.
** I would love to hear/see other examples of effective techniques of "rebound marketing" below **