But consistency must not be confused with replication. Bloom mentions that one of the worst things you will see is the marketer that takes the same content from a direct mail piece and basically slams it onto a Web site without modifying anything—content, text, even the layout itself.
2. Go beyond simply calling out the URL in the mail piece.
In addition to prominently calling out the URL multiple times in the direct mail piece, Bloom mentions that there are many effective strategies for promoting Web site traffic. "Offering desirable Web site-only 'rewards' certainly captures everyone's attention," he says. Such rewards could be discounts, coupons or exclusive offers available only on the Internet. "What's really happening here is that the companies are using their Web sites as a real draw to get consumers excited in coming to them and then reward them [for their visit]," he describes.
Also, Bloom suggests teasing consumers with informative excerpts from Web site pages to promote interest and incorporating universal Web site icons—like the pointing finger, hourglass or other recognizable "moticons"—into the direct mail creative to demonstrate that you are an Internet-friendly multichannel marketer.
3. Understand the growing and vital role of the Web site in direct mail.
"Not long ago, I would have said that a Web site supports direct mail," says Gary Hennerberg, a copywriter and direct marketing consultant based in Colleyville, Texas. "Today, I think direct mail supports a Web site. I'm not sure you can 'integrate' direct mail and your Web site, but there certainly must be continuity and consistency of offers."
Bloom agrees and states that Web sites at the very least should deliver an additional and convenient channel for consumers to engage with companies. "It was a common misconception in the early years of the Internet that the consumers who shopped and purchased via the Internet were a completely disparate group from the consumers who shopped and purchased via direct mail. That is certainly not the case anymore, and traditional direct mail buyers are clearly the very same consumers who are now also shopping online via Web sites," he explains.