Friday, April 20, 2007

The Power of Selling Across Marketing Channels

If you think of your customers as online buyers versus traditional brick-and-mortar shoppers, it’s time to rethink your customer relationships. The distinction between these two groups of customers has become increasingly artificial.

Many of today’s customers research and shop both online and offline. They could be anywhere! Therein lies the power of integrating your offline and online direct marketing efforts to reach customers and prospects where they want to be reached. Crossing over marketing channels allows customers to research and shop on their own terms.

There are two ways to cross over:
1. Reach customers offline and bring them online.
2. Reach customers online and bring them offline.

Examples of going from OFFLINE to ONLINE:
• Direct mail to Web: Send a direct mail package or postcard that gives your audience the opportunity to go to a landing page, then visit your Web site for more information or to respond to your offer.
• Catalog to Web: Send a catalog that prominently displays your Web site. Customers can browse the catalog and then go online to order, using a “quick order” search box to enter item numbers.
• Direct mail followed by email: Send a direct mail package and follow up with an email providing the same offer and linking to a custom landing page.
• Shop traditional store and drive to Web: Send in-store customers online with coupons on their store receipt or flyers that promote special online savings.
• Broadcast to Web: Include a custom URL on TV or radio advertising to encourage viewers to get more relevant information about your product or service online.

How to drive from ONLINE to OFFLINE:
• Email to store or meeting: Send an email with special offers and relevant information to encourage customers to visit your brick-and-mortar location or meet with you to talk further.
• Web site to store or meeting: Make special offers on your Web site or place search advertising that encourages customers to visit your brick-and-mortar location or meet with you.

Consumers cross over many marketing channels to research and make purchases both online and offline. Integrating your online and offline direct marketing programs will help you reach customers and prospects—where and when they want to hear from you—with consistent, relevant marketing messages.