Chinaberry’s Web Strategies
For smaller catalogers like Chinaberry, the Web can certainly be the great equalizer. Here are some tactics used by Chinaberry’s namesake children’s books and toys catalog and its spiritual gifts catalog Isabella.
Search engine marketing: Both catalogs use Google AdWords for prospecting. “Google is the most compatible for us in sending us our types of prospects,” he explains. “MSN is starting to do well, and everyone is waiting for the Yahoo! paid search relaunch. We’ve had Yahoo! on hold for a few months until its ‘Project Panama’ has its full rollout.”
Affiliate marketing program: Using Performics’ tracking system, Chinaberry can monitor the online relationships it makes with other entities. For instance, the company has a relationship with the Natural Child Project, a nonprofit parenting organization on whose site Chinaberry advertises. “We establish a relationship with someone online and use the affiliate program as a trusted third-party tracking system,” Fuller-Rowell says.
Catalog portals: The company is very active in providing data to such Web portals as Shop.com.
Liberal investment in the site: Whatever is working on its Web sites “we’ll do more of,” proclaims Chinaberry Director of E-commerce Stephen Fuller-Rowell. “Because Web sales come in so soon after marketing expenses are made, Web sales pay for more of what works so we don’t hold back on Web marketing.”
E-mail: However, consistent with its delicate, personal approach to customers, the company doesn’t do any e-mail marketing. “We won’t use e-mail for prospecting or marketing,” Fuller-Rowell says; “only for customer relationships.”
He adds that because Web-fueled cash flow is immediately linked to Web sales, “we don’t need to be restricted in our Web budget,” he adds. “We’re always finding new things to try, and can immediately stop what doesn’t work.” —Paul Miller