When someone logins to your website via links on a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo expecting to land on a specific post to get the information looking for. But, what happens if the page is unavailable for some reasons? What actually happens when a historical 404 error page welcomes them instead of the post they had specifically looked for? Well to make it clear-cut, the visitor will often leave your site without having a second thought. Their chances of returning are very rare since the content isn’t there anymore.
It’s common that every site has issues with 404. It’s more or less nature of the business. This definitely doesn’t mean that you should sit idle and let 404 ruin your business, and cost you conversions and potential revenue. Since you are running a business, it’s your prime responsibility to look after your visitors, else you will leave a bad impression on them, which is not good. No one likes to get disappointed when they click any link online. We all want the relevant information ASAP. That gives a 404 error page a great potential to leave a lasting impression on your visitors.
If your visitors recognize that they have landed on a 404 error page, it is likely that they will not return the second time. So, how to prevent this? Hopefully, there are ways you can use 404 error page to benefit your sales. You can turn a disaster into an opportunity for you. This article includes those very techniques with best examples to turn your 404 error page profitable for you. So, let’s have a look at the historical 404 error page first.
What is 404 error page and why is it a matter of concern ??
What exactly is a “404 error page” and why is it so considerable for your traffic? Overall, 404 error is an HTTP status code that means the server couldn’t locate the page you were expecting to land on. Basically, the page doesn’t exist on a given website. That’s why, when a user lands on it, (might be via a misspelt or broken link) an error page greets them. “OOps, page not found” is the probable message you would encounter with on that page. This is a terrible strategy.
The very first thing visitor would do is close the window, and move to another site. It’s very rare that they would return to the previous page. If you leave your 404 page like this, you will be missing out on sales and traffic as well. It is a matter of concern since it happens very often beyond your imagination. It’s very easy to misspell links when linking back to someone. It happens most of the time, even a single character could cause your link to return a 404 error.
Another possible cause is when you remove old web pages or posts on your site without using a 301 redirect. Which simply means that people are encountering those old, deleted link via referrals or old pages on your site without being redirected, resulting in a 404 error. This happens in several ways, and a few simple implications could drive an increase in a sale on your site.
Here are 5 unique tricks to turn those annoying 404 error into profitable opportunity.
#1: Turn it into a Search Box:
Among several ways users prefer to carry out searches, the On-site search is still a popular method among them. While browsing a blog site, sometimes it gets confusing what exactly you are looking for. In that case, an on-site search is a handy function one can use to browse for the right content. It helps in shortening your visit and accomplishing the goal is lesser time. Also, it works in a similar way for a 404 error page. For example, have a look at “MailChimp”, how they keep their user on the site by helping them.
#2: Turn it into a Lead Magnet:
Lead magnets are the important factors for online businesses. It’s certain that many people won’t convert on their first visit. They are simply not ready to buy from you. People may find you over a blog post or even if they like your content, they might still won’t give you any information. That indicates you need to use a lead magnet at some point to capture email addresses. We use such strategies very often on our site. Remarketing do aid in driving leads with lead magnets. And guess what, it comes in all shape and sizes.
A lead magnet could anything until it is valuable to your visitors. For example, an e-book could be an awesome lead magnet for the visitors who are curious to learn about SEO, or video tutorial or free games/ software and many more to the corresponding users. Using your 404 error page into lead magnets is a sure shot way to capture emails and converting those visitors into easy sales.
#3: Offer Discount Coupons on Exit:
404 error page could be used to offer incentives to the user to keep them around. It’s a challenging task to keep people on your site, and to get them to purchase is even harder. According to AdRoll, 97% of first-time visitors rarely buy from you. Which basically means only a little 3% of your traffic converts on the very first visit. Imagine a case where the first visitors accidentally lands o a 404 error page; the probability of conversion is even lower than 3%.
You may hold on to the fact that you would get fewer conversions when someone lands on an error page, instead of a useful page that attracted them to your brand. Keeping this in mind, you should think of a way of creating this pitiful situation into a sale opportunity. The question arises, How?? Well, you can make use of exit intent. This is an idea of providing a discount or coupon to the customers who are to leave your site.
These popups function by analyzing user behaviour and offering them coupon right before they exit. And this is a perfect way of making benefit out of 404 error page. This is a more or less a kind of compensation to your annoyed user landed on the 404 page. And offering them coupons might engage them longer on your site, benefit in your sales. Have a look at Land’s End.
#4: Direct visitors to your Product or Homepage:
Another fantastic use of 404 page is to redirect the user to your product or homepage. A common 404 error page might annoy the user and leave immediately. A simple message displaying “The page you were looking for doesn’t exist” isn’t going to help you, Sale is not a piece of cake. Adding simple navigation could be a game changer for sales since it provides related suggestions rather than leaving them in frustration. Make sure you give enough option to your users who landed on the 404 error page. Thus they will stay longer on your site, resulting in chances of increasing sale. Consider the example by Planscope.
#5: Leave an Impression:
If your site hasn’t got a tremendous amount of 404 errors, you can take a slightly less marketing-focused approach. Lead magnets, exit intent, and search box are great for 404 error page. In case you don’t have enough, there are still other options, and one of the interesting ways is to leave a great impression on users. You can make their time enjoyable on your site. It barely takes one second to form an impression online. You have got a very small fraction of the time to build trust and good relation with a customer. Blizzard Entertainment has done it artistically.
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