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Grabbing Online Customers, Offline

by Monique Harris
Online Sales Power!

Although 'automation' has been a key advantage for doing business on the Internet - (Web sites, follow-up autoresponders, mailing list management, etc) - there are still several advantages to maintaining contact with your wired customers in an offline en- vironment as well.

Now why would any sane netpreneur want to leave the comfy confines of the online world, to venture into a more expense-filled marketing arena? I mean let's face it, not only is it easier to market and do business online, it's also cheaper. However, maintaining an off-line strategy allows you to...

  1. Increase the distribution of your marketing message in a way that prospects aren't expecting.
    I've been to several Web sites where I've dilligently filled out response forms, complete with name, street address, and more. I've also kept track of whom among these vendors has sent me any direct mail pieces via snail mail.

    Believe it or not, with a prime piece of personal information like my street address, not a single one followed up from this method.

    Always remember that if a prospect is just starting to know about you and your company, it could take seven or more deliveries of your marketing message in order for them to feel comfortable about purchasing from you. Although the Internet does offer many ways to reach your prospect online, following up offline is an excellent way to re-inforce your message. And since many online vendors do not use this particular gameplan, your chances for being noticed are greatly increased.

    Something as simple as a postcard can be sent every week, for a month, or twice a month for 3-6 months. Use yours to announce new features on your site, or even to publicize a new e-zine. You can even try a quarterly 4-8 page newsletter that offers tips and ideas not available on the Net.

  2. Reach wired prospects who haven't been to your site yet
    I currently have a database of over 1,000 names and street addresses for potential customers, all culled directly from the Internet. Every day I mine the search engines for sites in the following categories: writers, trainers, and small business.

    After briefly examining the site for compatibility with what I offer, I enter a few details about it; the address, telephone/fax numbers, and the owners (if available). I then begin a series of direct mail pieces to the prospect which leads them to my Web site, products and services.

    As a result, I've picked up over $10,000 worth of new clients and customers who might have never known about me otherwise.


    Follow in my footsteps. Knowing which types of people you wish to target, visit your favorite search engine or directory, and enter keywords for the types of sites they may own. Visit a selection of these sites on a regular basis, and build your own database of info about each one, including: name of the site, URL, what they sell/offer, street address, phone/fax number, e-mail address.

    Have direct mail pieces that you can send on a regular basis. Be sure to track your results by comparing new customer names with the ones in your database. This way you can see exactly who's buying as a result of your campaign, as well as 'when.'

  3. Build a mailing list for major promotions
    You're getting ready to roll out a new product or service. You're sure it's going to bury the competition. This requires an all out marketing campaign, which means pulling every trick out of your arsenal.

    Start building your mailing list from wired prospects you locate online, and you'll be eliminating a huge part of your costs. Renting a 'quality' mailing list from a broker can cost anywhere from $60 per thousand, to $200+ per thousand, depending on the type of list it is. Plus, many brokers require you to order a minimum of 5,000 names, or more. That's more than a pretty penny when you're on a tight budget.


    As I've said previously, it's just a matter of taking the time to collect names in order to build your database. Once you incorporate the process as part of your daily Net biz routine, you'll have built up a priceless marketing tool for nothing more than a few hours each week.
    �1999 by Monique Harris. All rights reserved.

    Monique Harris is the author of "How to Make $50,000 a Year (or more) Creating and Selling Information Products Online," which offers dozens of ideas for selling books, manuals, audio/video cassettes, e-books and other brain food on the Net. Get your FREE 12-page excerpt by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or see her Web site at

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