Interaction: a big challenge for e-commerce

Everybody and their brother has a Web site so companies must develop unique ways to attract visitors. Ettractions debuted a service at the Demo 2003 conference in the US that brings customers straight to a site's doorstep.

Ettractions, self-labeled as a developer of sales and marketing campaigns, launched its EnterAct software, which lets companies draw attention via multimedia-rich campaigns. Ettractions develops the campaign, targets it to potential customer in-boxes and then tracks the response so companies know exactly what is happening.

Some of you may already be familiar with Ettractions, which jumped into the spotlight with its ubiquitous "Whack-a-Flack" program that circled the Web. I know it made its way around our office.

But the company has also done campaigns for large companies such as insurance provider ASU International. For that campaign, the company created the "Perfect Match" online travel promotion where contestants, in this case wedding planners, chose seven of their favorite destinations. They were entered into a random drawing to see if their picks were right. According to Ettractions, 8% of those who received the e-mail clicked through to play. Some 73% of those who registered completed the game. These are fantastic numbers.

The official term this is viral marketing - a concept that was all the rage a few years ago. However, the onslaught of spam chilled recipients' reaction and companies turned to other means to find visitors.

Ettractions survives because of its compelling content. The trick is the use of Macromedia Flash to create attractive, interesting campaigns - almost diversions from everyday e-mail. And, of course, a prize at the end doesn't hurt. The tracking of customer reaction to this content and the overall message of the client are also key. Ettractions creates a database of feedback for its clients. Recipients of the Flash e-mail feel less like they're reading spam and more like they are getting information pertinent to them.