How to get more information from your Web site visitors

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How to offer your visitors something of value to get more information about them

There are two approaches worth considering if you want more than a minimum of information from your Web site visitors: give them something special in return for giving you more information about themselves; or try what I call the “dating” approach.

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The “give them something special” approach means that in order to qualify for the special offer (a free gift, demo disk, newsletter, invitation to a special event, VIP service, special discounts, etc.) they have to tell you more than their email address. Many people will gladly give you this additional contact and qualifying information if they perceive that what’s in it for them is worth it. I yawned when the manufacturer of my car sent me an announcement to visit their Web site and tossed it in the wastebasket. However, when they later offered me a pair of high-quality binoculars just for registering as an owner at their site, I found myself digging in the glove box of my car for the requested vehicle identification number!

The “dating” approach means waiting for the right time and circumstance to ask for more information about your visitors. Just like asking someone to marry you during the first date is unlikely to result in a yes, asking someone on a first visit to your Web site to tell you everything about themselves can be asking for too much too soon. Instead, consider a “dating” approach like offering to send them additional information right away, along with an offer for more (see the offers mentioned earlier) if they tell you more about themselves.

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