List Prospecting? Try the Internet!
Here's something you already know: The Internet is an incredibly powerful direct marketing medium. Here's something you probably know: Today's most sophisticated direct marketers are successfully integrating traditional and online mediums. And here's something you may not know: The Internet can help you to be more effective in traditional list prospecting. "What's that?" you ask. Yes, the Internet can lift your postal mail response and reduce your costs!
Clearly, the Internet is a powerful, new business medium. For some direct marketers, retailers and e-tailers, it stands apart from the traditional marketing fanfare and serves as a company's sole marketing domain. Its function is to attract new customers and service existing ones-and it's particularly wonderful at building customer relations. Today's Internet offers a broad range of stand-alone or potentially integrated online tools such as e-mail, video broadcast, banner advertising, search engine marketing and optimization, newsletter sponsorships, and affiliate networks.
For others, the Internet remains a powerful youngster—full of potential but difficult to manage; incredible energy but often out of control. It plays a more strategic and tactical role every day. The goal for all is to leverage the online and offline investments to fully support and enhance one another. Here are some simple ideas to take advantage of your online investment.
Use the Web to build terrestrial prospect lists. One thing is for certain; the Internet excels at capturing self-reported information from customers and prospects. There are a number of ways to capture customer and prospect information. The simplest, is to extend visitors the opportunity to add their names to your mailing list. If and when they complete your form, you can ask relevant questions that can help you identify their shopping behaviors and their willingness to receive future promotional efforts. For example, a prospect might be interested in receiving seasonal catalogs, special sales catalogs or specific offers relating to her area of interest via postal mail. The smartest marketers actually run post-transactional marketing programs that reward current customers while capturing actionable marketing data. The data helps you better understand the customer and aids in list selection for postal prospect files. Collect the right information, and you'll be making smarter list selections and even testing files in secondary or tertiary markets that you wouldn't have considered before.