E-commerce: Plot Out Your Online Programs
Some simple techniques that Pfaltzgraff uses include e-mail reminders to alert housefile customers their print catalogs are on the way. “It not only generates excitement,” Blumenthal said, “but e-mails also can be tailored for different types of customers, whereas print catalogs can not. E-mails can tell different consumers to look for catalog pages that suit their needs.”
Consider electronic alternatives to print catalog mailings. For instance, an e-mailed online catalog designed for customer reactivation purposes can replace the mailing of a reactivation print catalog, Blumenthal said. Or consider mailing a reminder e-mail to customers who recently received print catalogs rather than mailing a second catalog.
What’s more, Pfaltzgraff uses e-mails that focus on different channels, such as its stores, specific catalog offers or multichannel offers. “Experiment with a mix of e-mails,” he advised.
Tap Outside Resources
Whether it’s SEM or affiliate marketing, consider outsourcing portions of Web-based programs. Lisa Riolo, vice president of client development for affiliate marketing firm Commission Junction, said catalogers whose sales peak at certain periods of the year can find it’s not cost-effective to have in-house employees devoted to affiliate marketing year-round. “Hence, components of Web marketing programs should be outsourced,” she said.
Harness the expertise of someone who has a bird’s-eye view of how to take advantage of SEM and affiliate marketing. “Your strengths can come into conflict with one another,” Riolo said, “so a partner can help by taking a look at what your objectives are, and how they affect your costs. Outsourcing both affiliate and SEM helps not only with this, but it also allows you to focus on your business -- which is your expertise -- while allowing your partners to focus on their expertise.”