Internet Marketing with Postcards
 

By Joy Gendusa
On-Line Marketing Strategies
 
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These days an internet marketing strategy plays a vital role in the overall marketing plan of any small business. Getting your website viewed is important for any size business - large or small.
Remember: You can't put up a terrific web site on-line and hopethat people will just arrive. You have to let your prospects know, IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY, that your web site is there. This HAS to be part of any Internet Marketing Strategy you develop. This is actually a basic marketing principle. Unless you have something as needed and wanted as the original and authentic Fountain of Youth, your customers are not going to look for you; you have to look for them.
There is a lot of hullabaloo about promoting your web site. In fact, building traffic to your web site is the subject of thousands of web sites, e-zines, books, courses and seminars. Using the web to promote your site, however, still assumes that your customers are surfers. Even though you may be an avid internet user, there is a large percentage of our population that are not as savvy with the internet as we would like them to be
So, what do you do about this large percentage of the population who are not internet adept? They will only find out about you through traditional marketing and public relations media. This is particularly true if you serve a fairly local market. Fortunately these are the easiest and cheapest prospects for you to reach off-line.
Off-Line Marketing Strategies
Off-Line Internet Marketing Strategies are still alive. I recently read a statistic of the US Postal Service that stated that consumers spend an average of 25 minutes with Direct Mail and 30 minutes with catalogs. (There are more facts in the Mail Moment series of free white papers form the USPS.) Yes, they may go through their mail like Speed Racer and cull through the mail they want and the mail they don't want at record velocity; but those that catch their eye and grab their attention, they actually read and spend time doing so.
You need to tap into that market and utilize that statistic. Become part of that pile of mail that your prospective consumer spends time reading. Direct Mail should be a pivotal point of your on-line marketing strategy. You need to ensure that you have a direct mail marketing campaign to drive traffic to your web site.
Other Marketing Avenues
Below is a small list of some of the ways to make your web site known (this list was taken directly from the Traffic Building Volume of Ken Evoy's brilliant book, Make Your Site Sell!):
TV, print and other advertising
· Stationary and business cards
Catalogs, fliers, billboards, blimps, etc.
Direct mail (prominently on every document)
Telemarketing (make it part of the script)
News releases to targeted media.
The main principle, to which you can add all your imagination, is:
AN INTERNET MARKETING STRATEGY INCLUDES ANY AND ALL MEANS OF GETTING YOUR WEB SITE KNOWN AND VISITED BY TARGETED PROSPECTS.
Unless you have a high budget, the TV, radio, classified ad route is not recommended but if you do run ads, be sure to mention your web site everywhere. Make it part of your Internet Marketing Strategy.
Another guiding principle is that your off-line internet marketing activities should make it easy for your prospect to go straight to your site. One of the best ways to market your website off-line is direct mail postcards. 
What's So Great About Postcards?
If your prospect sees your website on a billboard as she's driving home, she probably won't look you up when she gets to the office the next day.
This is not the only medium that has problems like this. Newspapers are bulky, radio has to spell it out and with billboards most people are driving at the time. On the other hand, if your prospect is sitting at her computer and a postcard comes in the mail announcing your web site, she can just turn around and type in your URL and she's at your web site.
Now, if someone is in the office reading a trade journal and comes across an article about you in the magazine, it's not difficult for him to copy your URL into his browser and pay your site a visit. If they are not in the office, there will be a lag time in logging into your web site. Also a percentage of those journal readers may not write the web address down or even remember to check out your site.
I don't mean to say that those other avenues won't drive traffic to your site, but it will take numerous impressions and repetition to get them to remember your address.
On the other hand, direct mail postcards are generally received at the home or office where a computer is present, and if received somewhere else they are small enough to keep with you until you can get to a computer. This way, your prospective customer will be able to take the postcard right over to their desk top computer, type in your address and go right to your site. Brilliant!
I have seen the greatest success in off-line web site promotion with direct mail, and specifically direct mail postcards. The most successful people on the internet market with Direct Mail to drive traffic to their site. The virtual world is just that- virtual. It really is not the real world so if you want your virtual business to be creditable in the real world, apply real world principles. Direct Mail Postcard Marketing will give you the credibility that you seek and will drive copious amounts of traffic to your web site. Ah, nirvan .
Forget direct email marketing for a second, and tell me if this has ever happened to you. You go outside and open your mailbox. You get the usual: bills, bank statements, maybe a phoney million-dollar offer. But then, in the middle of it all, you see an envelope from your favourite restaurant. "Thanks for being a loyal customer," it says. "Next time you come by, let us treat you to a free dessert." 

Now I'm not exactly the coupon-clipping kind of guy, but when I run into an offer that's so relevant to me, I simply can't resist it. Millions of you are like that too. And guess what? Millions of you check your email more often than your actual mailboxes.

That's where direct email marketing comes in. Forget spam. Spam's just the phoney million-dollar offer, and direct email marketing is miles away from that. Direct email marketing is reaching the right customers, with the right offers.

Let's go back to that coupon you received from your favourite restaurant, and let's think about it from the restaurant's point of view. If you clip that coupon and come into the restaurant, their direct marketing efforts were successful.

However, to get that coupon into your hands, the restaurant had to pay for printing, buy and stuff envelopes, address them to you and then pay for postage. And chances are the restaurant hired someone to do the
printing, maybe someone else to the design, the envelope stuffing, etc. If you've ever sent flyers or coupons in the mail, you'll know it's both expensive and time-consuming.

Here's the beauty of direct email marketing. First of all, direct email marketing programs are packaged so you can do it yourself. The emails are all pre-designed, and the backend is already taken care of for you. All you have to do is sit on your computer for about 10 minutes and click a few buttons. There's no postage, no stuffing, no expensive printing fees.

And as small business owners have begun to discover the power of email, many direct email marketing programs are now built for non-technical folk. So even if all you can do on your computer is check your email and browse the web, you can still be an expert in these programs right away.

What's more is you'll still get access to the most advanced functionality. Let's get back into the restaurant owner's shoes. We've just sent a Free Dessert email coupon to all the customers who filled out our customer satisfaction survey and gave us their email addresses. We also included a "Forward to a Friend" link, so our customers can email the Free Dessert coupon to their friends.

Now (and here comes my favorite part about direct email marketing), we can go into the Reports and Stats section of our direct email marketing program and get deep into our campaign. We can see exactly who opened our messages, and when they did it. We can even see who forwarded their coupons to their friends.

And we don't have to stop there. We can group all our readers who forwarded their coupons to a friend and offer them an extra incentive (We know they like to tell their friends about us, so why not offer them 25% Off when they bring in two or more friends?).

Information is power, and direct email marketing is one of the most effective ways to gather that information and put it to good use. So next time you get that flyer for your favorite restaurant, think about how much unnecessary money and time that restaurant owner is spending. Think about how much information he's missing out on, and think about how much better things would be if he sent that flyer through direct email marketing.


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