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Friday, Jul. 22, 2005 at 2:54 pm

Optimize Online Lead-Gen for Offline Sales

By Bryan Eisenberg
July 22nd, 2005

Internet Retailer reports Internet retail sales in the U.S. are ballooning at a very healthy rate, about 25 percent in 2004. But as I reported last year, the Internet still influences more offline spending. When the transaction is completed somewhere other than an online shopping cart, how do you measure and optimize your site’s role in the conversion process?

With the new marketing and advertising landscape, companies are demanding greater accountability for their ad spend. Current technology and better persuasive planning can help a company not only increase the lead/cross-channel pipeline but also to measure and optimize it.

Drive Mass Media to Your Site

If your company spends a significant amount of money buying mass media, tracking effectiveness can be tricky. It may not be completely accurate, but you can likely measure which channel generates the most traffic for your site:

  • Use friendly, easy-to-remember URLs in mass-media campaigns. If you want to compare campaigns by using a unique URL for each, use differentiating URLs, such as “go.clickz.com” or “read.clickz.com” rather than “www.clickz.com/tv/1234.html.” If you use a forward slash (“/”), it generally won’t work. If mass-media visitors actually remember the URL, they’ll likely just go to your home page and forego anything after the slash.
  • Create a different offer for each campaign. Or, track campaigns with a coupon code on a printed piece. Beware: only certain customer types will actually participate in an offer.
  • Realize mass media is mass media. Judging mass-media campaign effectiveness on a cost-per-lead basis is almost impossible. When you buy any mass media, reaching a bunch of people who will never buy from you is unavoidable. It’s also extremely difficult to funnel mass-media activity into a specific channel (e.g., a landing page) and measure it with any degree of accuracy. You’ll likely send traffic to some of your other channels, too (e.g., a call center or a brick-and-mortar store).

Continue reading my column at ClickZ…

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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