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Monday, November 26, 2007

Whether you are an Internet marketer or generalist, turning prospects into buyers is a top priority. Many marketers are continually testing the success of various media and integrated campaigns. One of the most frequently asked questions is the effectiveness of "off-line marketing" as it related to driving traffic and conversions on your website of landing page.

With so many difference across products, services, industries, and price points, its hard to develop a simple yes or no answer when considering whether or not direct mail will drive online traffic for you. The key is to develop a compelling direct mail piece, choosing the right list, and creating an offer that resonates with your target market. Also, consider the following:

1. Package planning is essential for making your mail a success. Before you begin, plan your direct mail package. Will it include a letter, sell sheet, coupon, and business reply envelope? Perhaps you'll be using a postcard. How big? How small? What creative direction will you take?

2. Effective envelope creative motivates consumers to open your piece. Your offer is no good unless it is seen by your target market. Spend a lot of time on your envelope, giving consumers a reason to open it and learn more about your offer. Create a swipe file of other direct marketing pieces you've personally received and opened. What was it about these offers that compelled you to take the next step?

3. Alternative formats can help you qualify for lower postage rates. Manage your budget carefully as large mail campaigns can have a high cost and negatively impact your ROI. One great avenue for lowering costs and increasing response rates is by experimenting with alternative direct mail formats. Learn more at the USPS website.

4. Value-added postcards can help mail get attention. To avoid the issues associated with unopened mail, test a postcard or two. Although much simpler than a direct mail promotion using an envelope and multiple response mechanisms, post cards can be great for driving people online at a low cost. Be sure to have a compelling reason for them to visit your website and a method for tracking results. Defining specific URLs to consumers, to help them locate a special offer, is a great way to track activity.

So perhaps you're still wondering if direct mail can help you achieve your online goals. Begin with a simple goal that is easily defined and measurable. Choose a preferred direct mail technique and test it. You may find that the best way to find consumers online is to drive them with your direct marketing campaign!


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