5 Questions to Ask Yourself when Unique Visitors Drop

Working with statistics is all about asking the right questions. It was Mark Twain that said,

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”

It’s human nature to relax when things are improving, and panic when it looks like things are getting worse. Statistics tell a story.  A downswing in visitation numbers begs several questions to ask yourself before coming up with a response.

1. Have the Open Hours or WiFi Hours changed?

Open hours have the most significant impact on how many people visit your organization. If you have multiple locations, cutting hours on smaller branches can have a big effect on visitation throughout a year.  Also, if you normally leave your WiFi on 24 hours a day, and have recently changed this to only being available during Open Hours, you should also expect a decrease in users.

2. Did you change the WiFi Setup?

Technology is always moving quickly, and upgrades happen all the time. It’s important to keep in mind that your network configuration affects how and when people will use it. For example, you may have:

    1. Added a splash page. Splash pages force visitors to sign-in to use the WiFI. Just adding this simple step will lose users. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Often the users who drop are residents and employees in the nearby area. Forcing them to log in means most won’t bother. In that case, adding a Splash Page is a great idea, and means you can focus on your patrons.
    2. Changed internet providers. Switching Internet Providers can save you money, but it might also add headaches. Some providers are better than others, and if patrons have to deal with slow speeds and frequent interruptions, many of them will leave.
    3. Changed the WiFi password.  If you recently changed the WiFi password, is the new password clearly visible?  If visitors are required to speak to a staff member to get the new password, this increased friction can also decrease your user counts.

3. Has your staff changed?

The people who work for you are the face of your organization, and they make a huge impact. Have any great employees recently moved on? Unfortunately losing warm and friendly people can result in a lower return rate for regular visitors.

4. Has programming shifted?

Are there any regular events that have been recently discontinued? Some communities rely on public spaces to meet up, and even a few small events that meet regularly will be a noticeable loss over time. If there are some gaps in your programming, find some new communities that are looking for a home.

5. How’s the weather?

Never underestimate Mother Nature’s ability to surprise you. Pleasant weather brings people out into the sun, while extreme conditions have us sheltering in our caves. A seasonal downturn can be exacerbated by inclement weather, so hang in there and hold out for Sun!  In a future post we’ll discuss seasonality and its effect on your visitor rates as well.  Also be sure to consider other environmental factors like sidewalk construction or other distractions that might cause visitors to choose not to stop by.