Trisha Lynde says “I attended one of your webinars last week. At the end, someone asked what you thought was THE most important thing for traditional direct marketers to do (we’re a privately held business that sells primarily through the mail — catalogs, flyers, postcards, and the like.) Before you could answer, I got disconnected and was unable to reconnect. WHAT WAS THE ANSWER? I AM DYING TO KNOW.”
One of the biggest mistakes that traditional direct marketers make — especially catalogers — is that they don’t separate direct/no referrer traffic from everything else.
If you mail; have sales reps; do outbound telemarketing; advertise on the radio/TV; or do anything else offline, YOU’VE GOT TO SEGREGATE YOUR TRAFFIC. (This traffic separation thing applies to pure-plays as well but that’s a completely different discussion.)
For the most part, online and offline users behave differently. (Oftentimes, they behave VERY differently.)
Most web analytics folks don’t talk about it because frankly, they just don’t know anything about it.
Offline users who visit your website tend to have very different AAUS (active average user sessions); user paths; and/or drills and page visits. The time spent per page often varies dramatically. (Depending on how your site is set up.)
In many cases, offline users tend to come in, look around and then get out. In others, they tend to spend an inordinate amount of time on your site – basically struggling to find something that they know should be there. So, unless you get them to the right place rather quickly, their page views tend to be higher OR lower than average. Same with AAUS.
Bottom line: If you are sending offline users online, you need to look at where they come in and where they leave. You also want to look at how many pages they look at AND most important, you need to get a good idea of what they are looking for while they are there.
If you are a cataloger, look closely to see if they end up on your catalog ordering page. A lot of times, offline users can’t find these pages because they think that CATALOG QUICK ORDER is the place where you’d order a catalog. Not order FROM a catalog, but order a catalog itself. (That’s why “ORDERING FROM A CATALOG?” typically works better.)
The most critical thing you can do with an offline user who comes online is to collect their e-mail address. It’s important that you try to capture their e-mail on EVERY view of the site, not just on the bottom. (Once you get the address, all but one of the capture boxes should disappear.)
You also want to make sure that you put the phone number all over the place, especially in the header (at the top), footer (at the bottom) and in the righthand column. The phone number and contact information should be prominent throughout the ordering/checkout process. This is far more important for offline users than one might think.
You can also consider a catfish. (Look at www.twitterwatchdog.com for a good example of a catfish.) A catfish pops up on the bottom of the first view of your site on entrance. Catfishes are one of the most successful (and least used) capturing tools. You can use your catfish to welcome the user from an offline channel (if you have an idea of what it is); collect his e-mail address; or bring him directly to your quick order page.
The more you know about how the different types of users behave, the better. Generally speaking, targeted offline users will convert better than online users, if your site is tailored for them. (Employing a streamlined checkout, for example.) This is especially true if the user is using your website as their preferred ordering channel (read: instead of the telephone.)
For the record, direct/no referrer is not a completely pure indication of whether the traffic is coming from an offline source. Someone can come in direct/no referrer having remembered your URL from an e-mail, a friend, a past visit, etc. However, it is a solid indication and with web stuff, you are NEVER going to get 100%. No matter how much time and money you throw at it, perfection is not a possibility. So, go with the trends and indicators.