Direct mail: Making those click-throughs count

In the increasingly complex world of online marketing, having a targeted mailing list and a sending a great email offer are as important as ever. But a third factor has emerged as a critical determinant of direct marketing ROI: the offer-specific landing page.

Experienced online marketers will tell you that consumers expect email links to take them directly to your offer. If a link puts them on the plain-vanilla home page for your site — or on any page where they can’t immediately spot the product or offer your email promised — they’re as likely to click away to another site as to spend time hunting for it.

Capturing these busy and easily distracted consumers (and their data and business) requires a landing page designed specifically to support your campaign. If you are mailing to a list of existing customers with cookies for your site, a prominent box on the page that greets the customer (“Welcome, Susan. Click here for your free mp3 download.”) may also work. Here are a few tips for crafting a direct mail landing page that will engage the click-through consumer:

  • Keep the landing page clear and concise. Use a clearly recognizable order form, survey, or registration form.
  • In the headline, refer to the email offer so people will know immediately that they’ve reached the right page.
  • Stay on-topic about the offer. This will increase the likelihood that people will follow through and make the purchase or provide the sign-up data you want. Resist the temptation to talk about other products and services. (Some marketing experts even suggest removing the standard site navigation from the page to reduce distractions.)
  • If your site structure allows it, keep the order/registration/survey on one page, followed by a “thank you” page that appears after the sign-up or order is submitted. This “thank you” page is the place to put standard site navigation and other information that will entice them to explore your site.

The good news about offer-specific landing pages: They not only help you meet the expectations (and gain the business) of increasingly choosey consumers; they present relatively easy and inexpensive opportunities for direct marketers to test lists and to test direct mail copy. Simply create multiple landing pages, one for each version of your mailing, then count click-throughs, signups, or sales to compare ROI.

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