Friday, December 02, 2005

How do you keep people coming back?













In late 2002 my website went live. My webmaster, Chad Kouse, asked me an important question: do you want to include a counter at the bottom of each page?

And I thought, "Does anyone really care how many thousands of people have viewed my site?" Probably not.

But then I thought about McDonald's. You see, when I was a kid, every Sunday my Grampa would take my brother, cousins and I to McDonald's for breakfast. It was our favorite tradition. And every week the best part about our trip was pulling into the parking lot, looking up at that enormous yellow and red sign and wondering, "Hey, let's see what the 'number of people served' is NOW!"

Do you remember when McDonald's used to do this? As a kid, it was the coolest thing. I remember when it was 70 million, 89 million, 100 million, and eventually, a billion! (Obviously, McDonald's has now served more people than can fit on a sign.)

Ok, back to the website. So in 2002, I thought that in the spirit of the McCounter, I would come up with MY OWN way to bring people back. Something different from any other site on the web. So Chad and I came up with this:

Now, keep in mind that in August of 2002, my streak was somewhere around 700 days wearing a nametag. But having that daily-increasing number at the bottom of every page served many purposes.

First of all, interviewers from TV, radio and print could cite the "number of days wearing a nametag." This added a sense of credibility AND remarkability to their stories.

Next, I would use that number in my daily nametag-related conversations in two ways. First, when I'd explain the back story, i.e., "875 days ago..." it would enhance the believability of my story. And secondly, when people would ask, "Hey Scott, how many days is it now...?" I'd simply throw out a quick number like '906.' And most people were amazed, although some of them thought I was Rainman.

Yeah. Definitely 906.

Lastly, it helped develop word of mouth online, first from people who blogged or linked to the site. It seemed to make their posts more interesting (and clickable) when they put a specific number of days by them. And then WOM developed from people who would start coming back to the site on a regular basis thinking, "I wonder how many days it's been NOW!"

The key is: this is a number that brings people back. And it's been working well for 3 years. So whether you have a store, and organization or a website, you've gotta find a way to bring people back. You've gotta keep them interested, intrigued and wondering to themselves, "I wonder what they're up to NOW?"

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

How do you keep people coming back?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com