Once your Website has been found through the web, it is important that everything is done to retain that visitor and convert him or her into a valued customer.
There are 3 major considerations to achieving customer retention :
Duration : Ensure your customers stay on your Website as long as possible.
Frequency : Ensure they come back as often as possible.
Data: Get some information off them, even it is just their email address. A feedback form is ideal for this. If you have a major e-commerce site, you may wish to consider using advance personalization features to learn about the habits of your visitors. This acquired data can be used to optimize the site for that visitor's return visit. A highly recommended feedback form called FormMail is employed here, on this site.
As regards Duration and Frequency, you need to provide your visitors with added value . Here are some techniques that can be used.
Regular updates/Email Newsletters : Having obtained a customer's email address via registration or their feedback, keep them updated regarding updates to the Website or new product information, special offers etc. Sending out Newsletters is a recommended technique.
Trade news feeds: There are many rolling (or static) news feed packages available. Include one on your site to provide up to the minute information, about the latest events in your industry or in the world. Here's a fine example of a site providing such a feature : Free News Feed
E-advice: Many companies offer an email based advice service for their customers.
Free Software: You could offer your visitors free software. Attach your company name and logo. Consider asking them to sign-up in order to receive an access code.
Free Electronic Greeting Cards: The idea is that recipients of such e-cards will visit your web site to collect them.
Free articles and reports: Establish yourself as an authority in your own subject area, and maintain your customers interest by putting relevant articles and reports on your site for them to download
Chat rooms: Another excellent way of increasing your customer satisfaction and retentions as long as your hosting arrangement will support the high baud-rate that is required.
Discussion Forum: Suggest to the customer that if they can't find the information they require directly from the site, they can always post a message in your forum. Alcander can recommend this free forum for inclusion on your site.
All these techniques are commonly referred to as 'sticky factors'.
You are invited to browse the WebMasters Resources section, in particular the selection of Customer Retention resources.
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