Warning: 59% of Your Prospects Check the Internet Before Responding

Marketers must manage the basics before advancing to unproven moneymakers. Why focus on the new while ignoring proven approaches?

Don't follow the siren call of new shiny objects. This stops you from leveraging the few dollars you have for effective marketing.

Failing to integrate your direct mail with the Internet displays that fact like no other.

Skillfully merging your direct mail (a traditional medium) with digital can mean the difference between failure and success.

AIS Media’s latest survey titled, “2010 Insurance Customer Interactive Media Usage Survey" shows how digital and print merge to form an effective synergy for increasing response.

...when consumers are contacted through traditional direct-mail channels, 59% of consumers who look at the mailing are more likely to go first to the insurance company’s or agent’s website rather than call the number provided... 

The Rochester Institute of Technology confirm this behavior. They found that after receiving a direct mail kit, consumers will take one or more of the following actions.

44% visit a brands’ website
34% search online for more information about the product
26% keep the mailing for future reference.
Still not convinced? Consider this research from McKinsey and Company’s 3013 Report “iConsumers: Life online."
The number of consumers who use their computers to conduct online research within certain purchase categories has already seen a significant rise from 41 percent in 2010 to 50 percent in 2012. Over that same period, the number of consumers using mobile devices for product research has nearly doubled – from 12 to 21 percent.

Ignoring the Internet when creating your direct mail or any other channel communication will significantly reduce your response rates. Test this by doing a keyword and company name search on your company. The result may shock you. In some cases, the first things that show up are the negative reports from your disenchanted customers.

Don't put your direct mail prospects in the hands of serch engines. Lead them to your landing page or microsite. Consider providing them some reward for doing so.

Here's another penalty for ignoring the Internet when creating your direct mail project. You risk losing your potential customers to competitors seeking the same things you are in an easily accessible format. Why sell your competitors' products rather than your own. Do all you can to lead the prospect through due diligence process.

Do not try to change customer-buying behavior. Embrace it for strong response.

Another point to remember, 20-50% of Landing Page Traffic is now mobile where recipients use smart phones and tablets to do their direct mail offer research. So make your Internet content mobile responsive and easily read on a smart phone.

Don't shortchange your ability to track response. Inserting a QR code or a PURL will not only help the recipient to respond, but makes tracking the success of your direct mail tests easier. Track all response through all available channels as best you can. How can you fund expansion or reduce expenses if you don't track? With advance planning, almost everything you do today allows for detailed tracking.

On a final note, make sure your prospect does not get conflicting offers, inconsistent terminology or contradictory statements when they read your message in other channels. Such confusing messaging will not only depress your direct mail response but damage your brand if you don't address it.

Let me know what other ways you have found that improve response and build your brand. I'd be interested in hearing from you. I'll also respond here to any of your comments.