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Seven steps to building e-loyalty.(electronic commerce, customer loyalty)(Column)  

Medical Marketing & Media  March 1, 2001 | Smith, Ellen Reid | Copyright

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Building loyalty on the web is not about tactics. It's about understanding your customers' eloyalty drivers, and offering content and benefits that meet those expectations. Here's some advice on how to develop and e-loyalty strategy to retain viewers. In these days of Web mania, every Web site would have loyal customers if mastering e-loyalty were simple. Many defunct Web sites realized too late that keeping customers, not just acquiring them, is the key to profitability. Nevertheless, there are still Web sires that throw together a few e-loyalty "tactics," with no clue on how to actually engender loyalty from their customers. It seems the "e" rage permeating business has gotten in the way of "L" -- loyalty. And while achieving customer e-loyalty is tough work, keeping customers loyal is even tougher. The bottom line is, if you didn't build a relationship, you don't have loyalty. If you cant prove that your loyalty marketing program generated incremental revenues in excess of your program costs, the e-loyalty strategy was a failure. It doesn't require a lot of resources to build a relationship program on the Web, it requires talent in both the art and science of engendering e-loyalty. Therefore, your smallest competitors are nor only establishing relationship marketing programs, they frequently build better relationships because they are closer to the customer. The small guys know your customers better and focus on what is most important to them.

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What is e-loyalty? Some Web sites boast that they have one million registered visitors, and they think that growth proves they have e-loyalty. But the true measure of e-loyalty is in return visits and viewer interaction. To determine how well your site generates e-loyalty, examine the answers to these measurement questions: * How often do visitors return? Measures top of mind awareness, but not always e-loyalty, since e-loyalty requires a transaction on the site. * How much time did visitors spend on your site? Measures loyalty in terms of meeting visitor needs or relevance of information. * What's the churn rate of return versus first-time visitors? Measures growth through customer retention. * Do visitors respond or transact? Measures first-time user interest in your product/service, but not loyalty. Only a second transaction indicates loyalty, and it is the most meaningful measure. * Do they refer friends or colleagues to your site? Measures the ultimate loyalty action that only comes with trust and value. Let's assume a viewer came to your Web site and signed up for your newsletter. You may think that you built a relationship, but your customer probably doesn't think so. It is a one-way dialogue. There isn't a relationship if viewers don't return to interact with your company by using interactive tools, providing data, or asking for more of what you offer. …   To read the full text of this article and others like it, try us out for 7 days, FREE!

   

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