#2: Continue “the Conversation” With Customers
Over the years, URLs evolved in direct mail packages; they began to include a more sophisticated use of microsites and improved the pre-population of data on these sites to optimize conversion rates, while allowing for an increase of behavior tracking to drive content delivery, according to Kern.
“Today, advertisers are much more savvy and use URLs in direct mail pieces to start a conversation with potential customers,” says Figueredo. Indeed, the power of the direct mail/Web-to-market combination is only beginning to be tapped.
Feinstein relates that the first company for which he used URLs in direct mail was Prudential Securities. The company was proud of the fact it was so “progressive” that it had a Web site, and it was making it easy for customers to get information. Now, URL usage must go way beyond information supply.
Simply dumping the prospect onto a Web site or homepage is not enough. “It doesn’t answer anything. You need to realize that whatever driver you’re using to the Web site, like an event, direct mail or TV, it’s going to set up some kind of mindset in the prospect. You need to deliver on that when they get to that Web page,” says Feinstein, who helped Hachette Filipacchi build its first renewal program using URLs in its control packages, which lifted response.
Using a URL in a direct mail package also allows the marketer to further the sales message. Feinstein gives an illustration of a B-to-B lead generation package that asks the prospect to spend thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment. “They’re not going to make a decision on a direct mail package; they’re going to decide they want more and typically they’re going online. If I can send them to a Web site or I’ve established a microsite that I know will answer their questions, I’m more likely to get that lead and ultimately close the sale,” he asserts.