Use Virtual Catalogs to Leverage Your Web Marketing, Part 2
In the final installment of this two-part series on the burgeoning virtual catalog industry and its relevance for cross-channel marketers looking to bolster their online offerings, this week I take a look at the metrics that need to be tracked, as well as what those metrics can tell you about the effectiveness of virtual catalogs.
(For part 1, and a recap of the costs of publishing a virtual catalog and the features it offers, click here.)
Technology finally has caught up with the potential for digital catalogs. Now marketers need to master the metrics and learn how to leverage digital catalogs to target well beyond the reach of their printed circulations. Analyzing metrics is key to learning how to use virtual catalogs. What can the metrics tell you?
- The number of unique visitors tells you how web traffic responds to virtual catalogs, as well as what happens when virtual catalogs are included as email links. Test the difference in response when announcing the catalog in the subject line vs. announcing an offer with the virtual catalog vs. including a link for the virtual catalog as part of each email. Virtual catalogs are proving to be very powerful tools at driving quality web traffic.
- Sales dollars from clickthroughs tell you how many sales resulted from visits begun and completed inside the virtual catalog.
- The number of email addresses collected can tell you how effective virtual catalogs are at harvesting email addresses from consumers who haven't yet bought from the catalog.
- Marketers can test other formats, such as postcards, sales fliers or videos, to see the relative performance of formats other than catalogs that may be faster and quicker to produce.
- Incremental sales from emailing virtual catalogs to a housefile that wasn't on the circulation plan for the catalog — i.e., incremental sales from prospects who aren't receiving the printed catalog.
- Traffic resulting from publicizing a virtual catalog using a printed catalog.
- Percentage of total traffic, clicks and conversion via the virtual catalog as a percentage of total web traffic and sales.
The basic selling point to virtual catalogs is that they're so inexpensive compared to printing, paper and postage that it allows cross-channel marketers to leverage their creative and make their catalogs available 24/7 to their existing customer bases. They also enable marketers to send them via email to wider circulations than possible with a print catalog. Virtual catalogs also can improve antiquated websites because they're search engine-friendly.