How to Test Direct Mail Offers to Web Buyers

For many multichannel merchants, profitably using traditional direct mail to market to their Web buyers remains a challenge, says Jim Coogan, president of Sante Fe, NM-based Catalog Marketing Economics. One way to meet the challenge: testing the potential response of Web buyers to traditional direct mail by sending a postcard or direct mail piece instead of a catalog. “A postcard to your Web buyers will tell you whether your customers will respond to a direct mail offer,” Coogan says. “If the response is profitable to the best segments of your house file, you can explore producing a longer-lived, more merchandise-packed catalog as a second step. Will traditional direct mail outpull follow-up e-mails? Often the answer is yes because the spam filters eliminate a larger portion of e-mails all the time, and customers tend to tune out e-mails.” Here are the metrics of a sample postcard campaign to Web buyers:

“Multichannel merchants almost always find that a certain portion of their house file of Web buyers will respond profitably to direct mail offers,” Coogan says. “Smart Web merchants are mailing to their buyer file regularly to turn ‘tryers’ into ‘buyers,’ to keep their buyer file active, and to follow up recent buyers with bounce-back offers both in the mail and inside their package.”

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