404 Page: How to Make Money From Lost Visitors

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What if you could make money from your 404 page?

We’ve all experienced the frustration of landing on a 404 page when browsing the web. It’s annoying, and normally leaves us feeling like we want to find another website–not open our wallets and spend money.

But what if I told you that a well-designed 404 page could actually create a positive experience and even lead to new customers?

In this blog post, we’ll explore how to capture the attention of lost visitors and convert them into happy customers.

And the best part? It’s all on auto-pilot once we set it up! Here’s how:

Capture their attention

The first step in turning a 404 error into an opportunity is to capture your visitor’s attention.

The last thing you want them to do is close your website because they didn’t immediately find what they were looking for. We can’t convert them into customers if they leave our website!

Here’s how to capture your visitors’ attention:

Use fun visuals

Consider incorporating engaging graphics or animations.

Your 404 page is a place where you can be creative and humorous–even if your brand is more serious. (Within reason, of course, you still want to be on-brand. But use your 404 page to lean into the more creative or humorous aspects of your brand.)

Use animated GIFS, unexpected images, or pops of color to capture the attention of your lost visitors and keep them from closing out of your website.

Pro tip: You can find all kinds of GIFs from movies or TV shows at giphy.com or even make your own at makeagif.com!

Add some personality to your copy

Inject some fun and personality into your 404 page to make the experience enjoyable rather than frustrating.

Include a friendly and humorous message to lighten the mood. Think about how you can tie your page copy into your brand or offers.

For example, if you offer organizational services, you could say, “Oh no! It looks like we got a little too overzealous with our decluttering and threw that page away.”

Or, if you’re a web designer, you might say, “Broken link?! Someone call a web designer! Oh, wait… that’s me. Awkward.”

If you can’t think of anything specific to your offers, that’s okay. You can use movie quotes or just keep your copy light-hearted. For example, “Oops! Looks like something broke!”

Once you’ve got their attention, make your visitors an offer they can’t refuse.

Make an offer

Tell your visitors what you’ve got for them! You may no longer be offering the product or service at the link they followed, but you can show them what you do have.

(This also works if you’re a content creator. You can showcase new or popular content from your blog that lost visitors may enjoy.)

Showcase one offer

Show your visitors what you’ve got!

Whether you offer products or services, you can use your 404 page to create a mini-sales page.

Give visitors a compelling headline and blurb about your offer. For example:

“Sorry, we can’t find that page. But we CAN find you more local customers. Give us a call today to learn more about our marketing services.”

Or maybe, “Oops, I can’t find that page! While you’re here, check out my new book…”

You can either make sales directly from your 404 page or give a short blurb and direct visitors to visit your full sales page to learn more.

Showcase multiple products

If you’ve got multiple offers you want to share, you can create a mini-shop page as your 404 page!

Encourage visitors to browse your best sellers or new releases.

Show off a specific shop category or collection of complementary products.

For example: “This looks bad: This page can’t be found. This looks good: Our newest clothing collection on you.”

Pique your visitors’ interest and get them shopping!

Offer a discount

Turn the 404 mishap into a win-win situation by offering a special discount.

This can turn someone who might have simply left your website into a paying customer or client, totally on auto-pilot!

Here’s how to offer a discount:

Acknowledge the inconvenience

Show empathy by acknowledging the inconvenience of landing on a 404 page. A simple apology and a genuine expression of understanding can go a long way in creating a positive interaction. For example, “We’re sorry for the detour! Let’s make it up to you.”

Give a coupon code

Sweeten the deal by offering an exclusive discount with a coupon code. Make it unmissable, and consider using playful language to tie it back to the 404 experience. “Use code OOPS404 for a 10% discount. Because getting lost deserves a reward!”

Pro tip: Make the code something you can track–so you know how many lost visitors are using a code from your 404 page. This can be as simple as the example above, where the code includes”404.” Depending on your sales software, you can simply look up how many customers used this code and how effective your 404 page is!

Create urgency

Create a sense of urgency by making the discount time-sensitive. Phrases like “Valid for the next 24 hours” or “Unlock your reward before you find your way back” can motivate users to take immediate action, turning a potential bounce into a conversion.

Pro tip: You can use software like Deadline Funnel or ConvertBox to offer limited-time discounts.

Not only does offering a coupon code show your appreciation for their patience, but it also encourages visitors to explore your products or services with a little extra incentive.

Tl;dr:

Transforming a 404 error into an opportunity to capture and convert visitors into customers is not only possible, but can be a fun and creative process.

Capture your visitors’ attention, and then offer make an offer! Show off what you have to offer instead of focusing on what’s missing, and you’ll start to make more sales. Offer a discount to encourage more sales.

Remember, a well-handled 404 page not only retains visitors but may also turn them into loyal customers in the long run.

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    About Erin Flynn

    Erin Flynn is the founder of Design Bread and has been making websites professionally since 2012. Erin has made it her mission to help web designers raise their rates and create profitable web design businesses that support the life of their dreams!