4 Tips for Online Acquisition
While many New Yorkers were navigating the snow and freezing rain, circulation and marketing professionals were swapping acquisition tactics at the Marriott Marquis last month during the Direct Marketing Association’s Circulation Day. The conference provided a peek at trends publishers are using to generate revenue and build circulation, and between sessions the halls were buzzing with circulators sharing tips for integrating direct mail and Web-based marketing. During the panel discussion, “Online: E-marketing, New Business and Acquisition Tactics,” Cary S. Zel, president of ProCirc Circulation Management, highlighted tools marketers are using for e-mail marketing, SEO and crafting Web-based offers. Here, Zel discusses the strategies covered by the panel and provides four tips for marketers to generate new business:
For online acquisition, positioning is paramount when working to maximize orders and generate new business. According to Zel, once the traffic is there, it is the circulation director’s job to convert as many consumers as possible using the available real estate to generate orders. For example, he says, “When Maxim moved the test link on the top of the page navigation bar from the right to the left, they got a 25 percent response.” Positioning is operational, Zel says. “For example, a test link on the far right may not show up on all screens,” and when determining subscriber ad placement, a placement above the fold is more effective.
Keep up with rapidly emerging technology trends for online acquisition. According to Zel, technologies such as one-click ordering save ordering information, thus providing ample opportunities to cross-sell. A multi-title publisher easily has “the ability to cross-sell using one-click ordering,” Zel says. For example, he cited an example from Conde Nast, which had a 40 percent take on the upsell when they started using one click ordering. One-click ordering temporarily saves consumer’s credit card information for cross sells, eliminating the need to enter credit card information move than once. He adds, “I haven’t seen other magazines employ that technology before. Magazines are starting to catch up with e-tailers like Amazon.”
Test and re-test, then zero in on a few streamlined strategies to maximize your results. Zel says, “For the Wine Enthusiast, we are doing search word sponsorships that are generating traffic directly to the main order page. We are not driving huge volume there, but the volume we do get is profitable for us and we are not spending a huge amount of money on sponsorship words. It’s good to include the search word sponsorship mix because the volume we are getting there is gravy, and something we probably wouldn’t get otherwise. It’s one thing to convert people who already come to your site, but generating this outside traffic is incremental.”
On the paid search side, Zel says his company has worked with Google, Yahoo and smaller sites such as Ask.com, which he says are less competitive, “so you can get higher on the rankings.” For example, according to Zel, “For Arthritis Today, we categorized search terms, conducted brand name testing, then used another topic-specific test section such as “rheumatoid arthritis.” We also tested overall health terms, such as “healthy living.” As we got further and further out, the click-to-conversion rates would come down so we just rolled out with brand-specific and arthritis-specific terms. The overall health terms generated very little traffic and the traffic that came in did not convert very well.”
Leverage direct mail tools when creating Web-based offers. “Anything you learned in direct mail should be rolled out on the Web,” Zel says. “The medium is different [in that] you don’t have an outer envelope, but it will often translate well.” He suggests that when testing using a headline similar to that on your outer envelope, run it with a control to gauge its effectiveness. For Weight Watchers Magazine, Zel explains the direct mail outer envelope includes questions and tips. “These tips are what people come to Weight Watchers Magazine for,” he says. “So, we tested putting those tips on the Web site, and it worked well—if someone is on your Web site they understand what your brand is about.” He adds, “You should learn from your best insert cards; the methods you use in direct mail to convert people from content readers to content buyers translates directly to the Web.”