Lurkers With Benefits

How do I get lurkers to act?

Lurkers are people who visit your website, social media or other forms of content but don’t take any further action. Before you worry about persuading lurkers to do something, realize that they account for 90% of  your audience. As such, they yield significant benefits that deserve to be recognized.

As your great silent majority, lurkers are key to your social media and/or content marketing success. Here are seven ways lurkers contribute to your content offering.

  1. Lurkers are visitors that increase your counts every time one of them stops by your site. It’s even better if they return without an invitation since it shows they’re involved and actively seek your content.
  2. Lurkers spend time on your site, an important indicator that they’re engaged and find your content offering valuable since it meets their needs.
  3. Lurkers generate page views as they quietly slip from page to page consuming your content.
  4. Lurkers click through content links to other areas of your offering, showing what they think is important.
  5. Lurkers expand your brand awareness to a wider audience.
  6. Lurkers check company and/or product information pre-purchase before they may be considered part of your purchase funnel.
  7. Lurkers seek post-purchase support information to help them use your products better.

For many lurkers, the one key element they need to rouse them from their digital inaction is a call-to-action. If you’re implementing a social media marketing program where your goal is to get your readers to participate in a more dynamic way, determine what the next step you want readers to take and a related call-to-action to get them involved.

Often more is needed to get your audience to stir. Here are five suggestions that can help motivate your readers to act.

  1. Make it easy for them to accomplish. “Don’t make me think” if you really want me to do something. Think in terms of straightforward, simple actions. Opt for a click of a button rather than a complex commenting activity.
  2. Give them a special offer or discount. The less thinking involved the better such as free shipping and handling, save $10 or take 15% off promotions are good enticements.
  3. Reward them for their participation. Offer visitors something of value that’s closely aligned with your content and is tailored to their interests.  To help get their online community jump started, Jet Blue offered bonus points to people who commented three times by a specific deadline.
  4. Have a contest. The goal has to have value for them. As with other options, it needs to be uncomplicated to follow.
  5. Recognize your readers. Since everyone wants their fifteen seconds of fame, give it to them and let them bask in the joy and adulatiom. It can be a special listing or a reader of the week. When considering this alternative, assess how your readers will want to be recognized. Will they want their name or photo publically revealed? Remember lurkers may not want to have their identity exposed.

Before you rush to drive lurkers to act, remember that they provide lots of value just by showing up and consuming your social media and content marketing. While they may not be willing to step out and raise their hands, they are there for you. If you want to coax them to the next step think in terms of how you can make it worth their effort. Bear in mind their reasons may go beyond a monetary enticement.

Do you have any suggestions that you can add to this list? If so, please add them to the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo credit:  stuartpilbrow via Flickr

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5 Responses to Lurkers With Benefits

  1. OwnStLucia says:

    Superb article! Your article highlights a rather important aspect of marketing. These too often underestimated fans and followers, the lurkers. It brings to the forefront the question of who are your customers and consumers and how they behave. Lurkers may be quiet on your web platform or even social media platforms but outside of of these platforms they may be some of your most loyal consumers and most vocal brand advocates. They may not need your product in that moment but they may know someone else who does. They may not even be paying customers but they may be actively recommending your products to other consumers who will. It may be years before they need and purchase your product but when your product does become relevant to them and with the right incentive they will. So its important to court and nurture relationships with lurkers. Understanding the reasons why they remain lurkers and not paying customers may be important in better tailoring your products or marketing message to your target customers.

  2. Suzie Farthing says:

    I decided not to simply lurk but to also leave a comment. You have a great perspective, Heidi. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kolayah says:

    Heidi, thank you for sharing these tips. I am such a person that loves the call and response of a conversation. After reading this I have a new outlook for people that lurk around my website and social media platforms.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Kolayah-It’s important to remember that not everyone has something to say. Sometimes everything that you give them is complete. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  4. Kelly says:

    Thank you for this great reminder.