educational

Increasing Surfer Retention

Ayrora Temple
It's no secret that one of the main reasons many amateur websites retain members far longer than typical mainstream adult websites is because they tend to focus on providing a highly personalized, interactive experience for their members. From personal emails to text messages, live cams, chat or member forums, girls who run their own websites figure out early on that building a relationship with members is the best way to keep them around.

That's all very well and fine for a model who's entire life is built on running one website, but what about larger operations running multiple sites featuring many models? Are there techniques they can adopt from the amateur world that will add the same degree of personality and interaction? Absolutely. Let's take a closer look:

Like many adult mega sites, AllOver30.com features a wide variety of models, but taking a note from the solo-girl playbook, the site has personalized the surfer experience through such things as displaying handwritten bios that have been scanned and uploaded. Made up information or not, this adds a personal touch to the site and helps develop a connection between member and model through the sharing of personal interests, hobbies, sexual fantasies and more.

But interactivity and personalization don't necessarily require the development of a pseudo relationship between members and models. Sometimes simply providing the viewer with tools that enable him or her to access exactly what they want as quickly as possible will do the trick.

"The concept is simple: We designed the site from the customer's point of view," Jamie Wentz, CEO of CraziesCash, said. "Make the content easy to find and easy to use, offer them as many options as possible, and the viewer is happy."

For example, AllOver30 features an enhanced model search tool that allows members to enter a variety of parameters through simple drop-down lists on details such as their preferences on age, hair color, body type, breast size and eye color, as well as whether or not the model shaves, is tanned, has piercings, tattoos or wears glasses. This type of "concern" over the ability of the user to easily find the girl of his dreams is not lost on experienced users and does not go unnoticed by newer users as a distinguishing element that separates this site from its competitors.

"Bios and search engines on a paysite are nothing new," Wentz said. "But at AllOver30.com, we've taken it to a more refined level. With real, scanned bios and a much more refined search engine, we give the members a sense of control and involvement that most sites don't offer. When members feel they have a sense of control, they're much less likely to leave the site to go somewhere else."

Further separating AllOver30 from its competitors is its conversational tone, which delivers a high level of information to prospective members, letting them know exactly what's in store for them.

"We intentionally wrote our promo text in the first person," Wentz said. "The words 'we' and 'you' go a long way to make the surfer feel like they're more than just another credit card number."

Contrast this level of specific detail to typical adult sites offering "thousands of pics" and it comes as no surprise that providing real information on many fronts can add a much more personal touch — since the reader sees himself treated as a person who is spoken to directly, rather than as an anonymous prospect viewing an advertisement.

"It really boils down to a simple concept," Wentz said. "Customers are what keep us in business. We need to meet their needs. In this day and age of the online adult industry, many people are wary to pull out their credit cards to join a site. They want to know exactly what they're getting into, complete with detailed descriptions, photos and screen caps."

Personalization?
While many surfers are now used to seeing personalized greetings upon their use of (or return to) their favorite mainstream shopping sites, it's important to remember that adult and mainstream surfing patterns are very different. So while mainstream e-commerce shoppers might prefer the comfort of acknowledgement, most adult website visitors may prefer the comfort of anonymity. This is where the balance of personalization and privacy needs to be considered.

For example, one of the hottest trends in adult marketing involves personalization based on geo-IP location techniques. While it might seem coincidental (especially for large-population urban dwellers) to be greeted with a "meet these horny girls in your town" ad featuring thumbnails of "women ready for action" conveniently located in and around their town, this can be more disturbing than coincidental, since the visitor could be thinking, "Wow, that's too close to home.'"

Consider the use of automated "fan signs" that greet visitors based upon their location. Adult webmaster affiliate program MayorsMoney.com has made widespread use of this technique on its free-hosted galleries, as well as on the landing page of its latest website, AlwaysPamela.com. This site, while offering a tease of the type of interactivity in store for its members by describing custom shoots, private emails and custom fan signs that will be available once they join, also greets visitors to AlwaysPamela holding a sign saying that she loves your particular town.

But that raises the question of whether most surfers are thinking, "Wow, Pamela loves East Podunk!" or "Wow, this website knows where I live. What else does it know about me?" — and in fear of their privacy or security, they close the window and seek their thrills elsewhere.

Measurable Impact
To help answer this question, Jimmy, aka "Wizzo," from Mayor's Money weighed in on the site's use of personalized fan signs and whether they have a measurable impact on signups and retention.

"They have quite a measurable effect," Wizzo said. "In the early stages of BrookeSkye.com and KatYoung.com, we tested the difference between having it on the tours and not, and the difference in ratios was quite remarkable. We found that most surfers appreciate personalized touches."

Another one of the personalized offerings from Mayor's Money is the live 24/7 chat support it offers in addition to a toll-free 800 number and standard email support.

"Having 24/7 support gives surfers and members a sense of legitimacy to the site and lets them know that if they have issues, they can talk to a real person and get them resolved," Wizzo said. "We have had many callers, and we have helped resolve their issues and retained them as members, so we know it works."

Whether it's as simple as an automated greeting such as "Hello Ayrora" when returning to a favorite website, or as useful as an Amazon.com-style user profile system that suggests popular items that other shoppers with similar tastes have ordered, adding that personal touch and increasing the level of customer interaction doesn't have to rely on furthering the fantasy that models are real and accessible.

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