Using Your 404 Page
Your 404 page doesn’t have to be a negative aspect to your website or business. You can turn a negative into a positive by using your 404 page to your advantage. How do you use your 404 page to your advantage? Well, your 404 page is usually where people arrive when there is a broken link in your website. It’s inevitable to have those sometimes. Posts can get deleted, or they can get moved. Now, you’re supposed to clean all of this up, but missing links aren’t the only way to end up at a 404 page. Sometimes, people will copy and paste your link in their browser, but they won’t do it properly. They end up copying only part of the link, which isn’t something that you can control, but they still arrive at your 404 page. So how do you use your 404 page to your advantage?
It’s simple. There is no real way to tell what they were looking for when they came to your site originally, so a general page that should appeal to a wide range of audiences should work. One common, but effective practice is to offer a freebie or giveaway on your 404 page. You can convert roughly 2-4% of visitors this way. Leadpages has one of the best ways to handle this, and even has a 404 page template set up that you can integrate in your WordPress site. You simply use their plugin, integrated with their service, to offer a free download in exchange for their email address. Let’s take a look at a real-world example of how this works.
Case Study: Creative Beacon
CreativeBeacon.com is my main website. It’s been around a few years, but I’ve only been using this technique of using my 404 page to convert for about a year now. The example above is my simple 404 page, with a striped background and a simple opt-in form. The way this works, is that you say something of the effect of: I’m sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for, but maybe you’ll enjoy this awesome freebie!
This is a tough sale, but that is because the person visiting your site is at their coldest. This means that they are already most likely upset, because they didn’t find what they were looking for. What you’re essentially doing is what I call damage control. As you can see from the example above, 4751 people have landed on the site via the 404 page. Out of those visitors, 72 opted in, which is a 2% conversion rate.
While this may not be ground-breaking, stop and consider the numbers in sales. Let’s say that you’re selling a product that earns you $40 for every sale. You have 72 people that have opted in, which is great. If roughly 10% of these visitors make a purchase, that’s 7 sales. Seven times $40 is $280 in sales. Now imagine if you made $400 per sale. What about $4000? Depending on what you’re marketing, combined with your opt-in rate, these numbers can really add up.
Conclusion: Using Your 404 Page
Your 404 page can be a valuable asset to gaining new subscribers. Why not start using your 404 page to gain subscribers? They’re already arriving to your site anyway, so use this to your advantage to turn a negative into a positive for your business. 2% is still better than nothing.
Are you using your 404 page to get subscribers? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. If you have any tips or questions, leave them in the comments section below.