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Published on August 16th, 2005 | by Janine Popick


6 Tips to Help Convert Your Offline Buyers Online with Old School Direct Mail

Do you have a retail shop or an online store? Trying to get people to come in and “buy” not “browse”? At VerticalResponse we have tons of retailers and retailers and thought it might be a good idea to show some examples of how we see our customers use different forms of marketing.

The growth in online consumer spending is always an indicator of how important it will be for all retailers to be communicating with their customers and prospects through multiple marketing channels. Yep, that’s right I said it, not just EMAIL.

I once chatted with a cataloger and he told me that if he got an offline customer to buy from him online that customer was worth 35 times more in value than one that purchases offline. THAT’s pretty big.

Old school is new school – direct mail

If you have an online store then converting your offline customers online can result in savings of thousands and thousands of bucks in marketing spend. This has the potential to increase sales, customer loyalty and the lifetime value of your customer.

Below are tips, ideas and practices that might help in the conversion of offline customers to online using direct mail.

1. Use promotion codes -Direct mail or postcards to your retail and catalog customers with a special offer that can only be redeemed from your site is a great way to introduce your customers to your online offerings.

Once they’re there the #1 goal should be to obtain their permission to email them in an attempt to convert them. Providing the ability to “opt-in” to email newsletters is must. Use a exit pop up when they leave. In addition, clearly explaining that you won’t sell their email address can mean an even higher conversion rate since you have made it clear that you value their business and will protect their privacy.

2. Get the email in the store – If your customers are used to purchasing at a store location and you are having difficulties converting them to the web, you might want to try setting up kiosk in your store encouraging them to register for web-only offers, or even leaving a fishbowl at the checkout counter where they can fill out a form to opt-in. Then you can initiate a campaign outlining all the positive features of your site.

3. Clearance – Why not announce an overstocked item or a surplus of last season’s product using a postcard? You can even make the offer “web-only” to help your chances in the online conversion process.

4. Free Gift – Try a direct mailing to anyone whose email address you don’t currently have. You can give them an incentive to go to your site to opt-in. A sweepstakes or a free gift for being a valued customer may be the catalyst that converts them..

5. Pre-Catalog Announcement – Send a postcard to announce a catalog that will be arriving in the mail. The postcard should call out special items on sale or those that might be of interest to that particular customer. This should always contain your URL as well as your phone number.

6. Inactive Email Addresses – You may have email addresses for customers that have been shown to be unresponsive. That is, they have neither bounced nor unsubscribed but you’ve noticed that they haven’t clicked on a link or opened your email in the last 6 months. Since email communication to date has not proved effective with these customers, try sending them a postcard in the mail to “re-activate” them with a special offer.

As you’ve seen above, there are definitely specific marketing practices you can implement to help turn your offline customers into online customers. Just remember simply driving traffic to your site is only half the battle. It’s your job to convince them that they will actually gain something from their visit. Make sure that once you get them there that what you offer will be worth their time.

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.

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