Online consumer behavior is becoming invaluable to online marketers, but has been primarily missed with respect to offline entities. Many companies who have retail stores, as well as online stores, treat the two audiences separately, missing an excellent opportunity to target and track the other.
Advanced analytics applications such as WebTrends, Coremetrics, and Omniture have largely been treated as reporting systems but hold valuable consumer data that can be segmented and applied to specific visitors within your data.
Email Service Providers also hold volumes of behavioral data. Combined with Analytics these systems can track a consumer's behavior from click-through to conversion. Pushing your visitors online provides a simple path to collect this data. In your offers, it's beneficial to include a unique key for each of your customers.
Just as you might include a campaign code on a direct mail piece, building a landing page to collect a unique customer key is an effective means of tracking that subscriber. That landing page can provide a permission-based opt-in to additional marketing. The key can then be appended to the end of a web address (URL) via a querystring (http://mycompany.com/'s=12345) and saved in a cookie where it can be uniquely tracked throughout your site.
Households with increased online behavior can be segmented from your direct mail and telemarketing lists, and instead, be emailed – providing a targeted, timely message at a much lower cost. It's important to note that CAN-SPAM federal regulations apply and the best advice is to collect email addresses voluntarily and work with a reputable Email Service Provider that offers deliverability and unsubscribe services to keep you out of trouble.
Don't forget that your marketing efforts can also piggy-back your transactional emails. Transactional emails are any emails that are expected as a response from a vendor. A couple examples are billing and/or purchase confirmation messages. If your company is doing online billing, you're missing a prime opportunity with premium real estate to make an upsell or additional offer!
If the message is primarily transactional, CAN-SPAM need not apply. Just be sure not to mix up your priorities as you could end up with quite a fine. Email Marketing also offers dynamic content based on consumer segmentation. This allows you to vary the message or the imagery of an email based on your subscriber.
A message to a family as opposed to a college student can have totally different verbiage and images – but still go out in the same exact email! Links in your email can be tracked back to a landing page or site where content management systems are offering dynamic content as well. This data can be extremely valuable to Advertisers as well!
The ability to merge your online visitors with demographic data is a tremendous opportunity to provide prospective advertisers with fantastic demographic profiles and analysis – and will be less expensive and more accurate than the online services that pretend to offer the same.
Give some thought to two additional sources of data for your datamart: Web Analytics and Email Marketing. Leverage that data in your offline marketing as well as integrating it into your Email Marketing efforts! You'll save a ton of money on growing postage and be able to measure instantaneous results online.