By Stone Maddox
When a new business starts its life, whether it is online or off, one of the biggest and more costly challenges is to acquire new customers. This cost is a reality; however, the growth of any online business can be balanced with direct marketing strategies and around the use of building a database.
Successful online businesses are those who are strategically mining their customer database, always communicating, delivering value, and facilitating new sales with the same customer. New online businesses will be growing a database through sales, and email opt-in opportunities. However, do not rely heavily on the email opt-in opportunity in the early stages. Your website will need to build credibility with visitors before they will consider providing their email address.
Quickly growing a database will be one of the keys to help in achieving financial targets in a website’s first year of life. To aggressively grow a database of potential customers worth talking to requires two primary approaches: purchasing a database or partnering with existing businesses and conducting dual direct marketing campaigns.
Purchasing a Database
Many enterprises have a database and can filter the database according to any requirements. For example, you may only want to speak to “cat owners”, this may reduce the captive audience however, and your business proposition becomes far more relevant.
Even though this push marketing technique is not heavily relevant when compared to pull marketing, if the standard push success rate of 2% is applied, it could equate to some early wins on the board and send a considerable amount of cat owners to the website.
Dual Direct Marketing
This approach only works if you know of a business, which has their own database of customers who would greatly benefit from your product/service offering. If there is a potential to gain access to a database such as this, it could become a very cost-effective method to build sales and your own database.
At this stage, it is important to note, to avoid spam law implications, there are codes of conduct which must be followed. To make this work for you and to comply with spam law, the campaign must be originating from the database owner. Aside from spam law, it is important for the database to first recognize the email has come from a business who they recognize. If they don’t recognize the business, they will instantly assume the email is spam and unsubscribe.
Once you find a database, which can work, for you, the other challenge is building a commercial arrangement to benefit the database owner. The database owner can be incentivized on the financial performance of the campaign just the other day; you only need to pay to acquire the customer once. When they are on your database, the direct marketing approach becomes yours to control.
Affiliate marketing is the act of building commercial relationships with other websites who acquire the targeted traffic you would like sent to your website.
If traffic is referred on to your website, you provide the referring website a commission (percentage of the sale).
This is not simply link building.
The referring website has commercial incentives to forward traffic because they know if sales result, they will get paid.
This is not banner advertising.
Banner advertising is the act of paying for real estate on a website for a limited period of time. If sales result, no incentives are paid.
The strategic approach is very effective for many reasons:
- Helps capture a portion of the target market who did not know you existed.
- Can be far more cost effective than PPC campaigns. Though PPC’s direct response approach is highly effective if managed properly, some industries are very competitive and therefore expensive in remaining visible in Google.
- Because of the financial incentives involved, placement of your advertisement and/or link is usually not an issue.
- If the traffic sent to your website is in the early stage of the buying process, this visitor type rarely buys the first time they visit. If the website meets the visitor’s needs, it can take numerous visits before a purchase will be made. When this visitor returns they come back directly and not through the Affiliate channel, therefore, you will not need to pay out a commission making the cost of customer acquisition from this source very low.
- There are database-building opportunities. If a sale on the first visit is not realistic, then a Plan B should be set up to acquire the visitors name and email address for email marketing purposes. If the commercials with the referring website were related to sales, then acquiring a name and email address would cost nothing.
The downside to this approach is the time to implement. There is no fast and easy solution in making this happen.
Stone Maddox an editor and content manager. He specializes in writing reviews various products, services and games. Since he is delighted with games and writing, he now works in the royal vegas casino review and writes an overview and advice to help people be safe and not deceived.