Getting to know your audience: 5 strategies to convert anonymous site visitors into known leads

    Last updated: May 13, 2024

    Unlocking the full potential of your website requires more than just visibility; it demands a strategic approach to converting your elusive audience. Navigating the intricacies of the digital landscape without falling back on generic solutions can be challenging but rewarding. 

    We work with 100+ media companies who know this challenge all too well: So how are they able to engage and convert their anonymous site visitors? And what takeaways can you apply to your strategy?

    Learn how to convert your unknown audience into known leads and subscribers below: 

    Streamline your tech stack: Boost efficiency, unify data & retain talent! Get expert tips now:

    Prioritize your lead magnets 

    The more valuable your gated content is, the less you’ll need to rely on pop-ups and separate campaigns to convert your unknown audience. 

    So if you’re struggling to convert your website visitors, start by assessing your gated content. Some tweaks to consider: 

    • Minimize the number of required fields on lead forms: To maximize responses, keep your lead forms to five fields or less. If you’re still short on responses, use different fields on each of your forms so you can build up your audience profiles over time. 
    • Focus on tactics over strategy: Your audience can Google “ultimate guide to X” and get 100 different free articles with general advice about a topic. But it’s a lot harder to find practical, battle-tested advice on how to put that advice into action. Fill that gap with your gated content and you’ll be swimming in submissions. 
    • Supplement your print assets with downloadable templates and checklists: Besides being easier to digest visually, they help readers commit your insights to memory and apply them to their own lives. Because anyone can tell someone what to do. But only the best creators can help readers put that plan into action, step by step, piece by piece. 

    Build up your audience profiles with gamified polls and surveys 

    Audience data helps you identify the topics, channels and formats that’ll engage and convert your audience. 

    But people are becoming more skeptical of how companies are using their personal information — and more selective about when they’ll disclose it. 

    You need to respect your audience’s privacy — but you need enough information to give each person the customized, personalized experiences they expect.  

    So how can you strike that balance? Incorporate polls, quizzes and surveys into your content strategy. Compared to gated content like eBooks and whitepaper, polls and quizzes demand less cognitive energy from the reader — so they’re more likely to click through and complete it on a lark. 

    The format is also more interactive than your standard white paper. So if you’re not getting enough responses from your gated content, interactive polls and quizzes are a great place to start. (That’s why we integrate with CredSpark, an interactive poll and survey maker!) 

    For best results, use a form builder that connects to the rest of your database (like Omeda). This way, each response is automatically applied to the person’s pre-existing audience profile — and they’re automatically added to any new marketing segments or campaigns. Your team can reach them with the content and offers they’re most likely to enjoy — and everybody wins. 

    Display a exit-intent pop-up with a newsletter sign-up form on your website 

    We’ve all been there. You click onto an article, but before you can see the lede, it gets covered up by a display ad, a support widget, a pop-up asking you to subscribe to the newsletter, etc. And by the time you’ve closed all the boxes, you’ve forgotten why you came in the first place. 

    Annoying as this is from a user perspective, many media operators see this as an unfortunate cost of business. 

    The solution: Use exit-intent pop-ups to ask for email sign-ups and registrations. These pop-ups display when someone is navigating away from the page, rather than upon arrival. This way, first-time website visitors can see all that you have to offer without getting bombarded with excessive pop-ups. So by the time they’re about to leave, and they see your exit-intent pop-up, they’re more likely to see your value and sign up. 

    To maximize responses, target your personalizations to groups of your audience (this way, you’re not asking someone that’s been on your list for 5 years to sign up for your list). 

    Say that you want to increase sign-ups for your email newsletter. While you need new subscribers, you don’t want to risk irritating your first-time visitors with too many pop-ups, either. 

    With Omeda, you can target these pop-ups to specific audience segments, or custom audiences that you’ve already built within your database. So if you don’t want to distract your first-time visitors from your site content, you can trigger your personalization so it displays only to non-subscribers with more than one previous site visit. 

    Also monitor each pop-up to see what format (exit intent v. standard and scroll trigger), design, copy, display position and firing frequency yields the most responses. For instance, you might see that your exit-intent pop-ups get more conversions when they’re triggered once a day rather than once a week or once every three hours — or that they’re more effective when displayed on the upper-left v. the bottom-right corner of the screen. No two audiences are the same, so dig into your data to see what combination is best for you.  

    Increase premium content visibility 

    Traffic doesn’t pay the bills. And on its own, it doesn’t give you the information you need to personalize content to each person’s needs. 

    More than anything, you want to avoid the situation where you’ve got a lot of site traffic., but nothing to show for it. Avoid this by linking to premium content — like eBooks, white papers, webinars and any other piece of content requiring a sign-up — within your ungated articles.

    This creates a nice win-win situation: Besides giving your audience more resources about topics they already care about, you’re encouraging them to exchange their information in a way that’s more respectful and organic. 

    For best results, start by creating your premium assets, then repurpose them into a series of articles that don’t require registration. This way, you can link back to the premium assets and generate more sign-ups and audience data without needing to duplicate work (and save time on content creation to boot). 

    Increase time on site through content recommendations  

    Some people just aren’t going to submit their information on the first, second, or even 5th website visit. 

    But if you can give someone content that’s highly personalized to their needs, they’ll keep coming back and choose to engage further. From there, it’s a matter of time before they sign up for your newsletter or download a whitepaper — and you can build a profile around their needs  

    One of the best ways to do this is through personalized content recommendations, either through on-page widgets or in-line “readers also enjoyed” links. This allows you to build up your credibility with viewers over time, rather than asking them 

    On Omeda, these recommendations are personalized to each visitor based on a collaborative filtering model to compare that person to similar visitors and give them recommended links. So even brand-new visitors get an experience that’s geared to their demographic and interests. 

    And on subsequent visits, recommendations are targeted to the individual’s specific viewing and purchase history. The algorithm gets stronger over time, the recommendations get more precise, and from there, your readers become more and more likely to engage further and become known. 

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