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5 Simple Steps to Adding Offline Marketing to Your Online Business

By Alicia M Forest

Taking my struggling consulting business online and following the business model I now do turned everything around for me, financially and otherwise. So when I started hearing from my mentors that I might want to add some offline marketing tactics back into the mix, I was hesitant to say the least.

But then I started studying and learning more about some specific direct mail strategies, and recognizing the power they have, I started wondering in maybe I wasn't missing an important piece of the puzzle to take my business up another notch.

Then I started seeing some amazing results from my colleagues who were using direct mail in addition to their online marketing efforts - things as simple as a postcard - and I decided I needed to get into this game myself. (I'll keep you posted on my own results in a future article.)

How do you get started adding direct mail marketing to your mix? Here are 5 simple steps:

1. Start collecting physical addresses

You may have the addresses of those clients and customers who have purchased from you already, which is a great start. But you also want to start collecting snail mail addresses from those people who sign up for your list. This way, when you're ready to send a physical mailing out, you'll have all the information you need. AND, as email deliverability gets muddier, you'll always have this other option of reaching your audience.

2. Plan a campaign

I always tell my clients to plan an online promotion campaign when they are ready to market a specific product, program or service, instead of sending out a single announcement. The campaign I recommend typically includes a minimum of three emails.

Same goes for an offline mailing. You need to plan a campaign, with more than one mailing, in order to truly get and discern a return on your investment.

3. Go cheap the first time

Something I learned when I was the PR director for a university was NOT to do an expensive mailing until we had cleaned our list. Peoples' addresses change for a variety of reasons and you may not always have the most up-to-date ones when you're ready to send your mailing.

So, here's a tip to clean your list before you start investing in some higher-end mailers. Send a postcard that has your return address on it to your current list. Then update your list via the returned postcards you get. Then make sure you have your return address on every mailing you do to keep your list as up-to-date as possible.

4. Keep it simple

Do a postcard, which gets read right away, with a simple, direct, compelling message and an immediate call to action, with graphics that don't distract but support your message.

5. Track your mailings

The easiest way to do this is to send your readers to a simple website address (URL) that you only use for the purposes of that mailing. All you have to do is redirect that URL to your existing web page (where your offer resides) using the tracking link feature in your shopping cart. That way you can tell how many people typed in the URL and how many people took advantage of your offer. This is how you measure your return on your investment.

Getting started with adding direct mail to your marketing mix isn't difficult. And by combining your online strategies with offline ones, you'll be gaining a lot more clients and customers and bringing in a lot more income.

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© Copyright 2007, Alicia M Forest