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"Directional" (Not Direct) Marketing

By Michel Fortin
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Those who believe the web is not a direct response medium should think again. A recent study conducted by AdKnowledge and published in their recent "Online Advertising Report" suggests that 60 percent of total website conversions occurs in the first half-hour. In other words, based on the study the bulk of your visitors will likely buy within the first 30 minutes.

While that's pretty much conventional wisdom, an interesting conclusion one can make is this: You only have thirty minutes to compel visitors to take some kind of action. And similarly, if people do not buy within those precious 30 minutes, the likelihood that they will leave your site, never to return again (even if they bookmarked it), is miniscule at best.

On the other hand however, a previous report also found that "post-impression" conversions (i.e., conversions following multiple impressions of an ad) are slightly higher than those that came as a direct result of clickthroughs. This supports the view that the Internet is also a branding tool. Therefore, if the Internet is a direct marketing medium then how can this be so? The answer can be found in other findings.

The latest report mentioned that post-clickthrough conversion rates were on the rise. Of total conversions, the study also found that 44 percent were repeat conversions. And finally, keyword placements, while they cost more, were found to yield the highest clickthrough rates.

("Keyword placements" signify keyword-based banner impressions -- i.e., banners that appear on portals after specific keywords are searched. For example, if you searched for "music" on Yahoo, a banner for a music- related website will appear on the subsequent results page.)

From these findings, several conclusions emerge:

1. Websites are becoming better at direct marketing;
2. Advertising is more effective when targeted;
3. And people who buy based on brand preference alone do so
* If they bought in the past and are likely to buy again,
* Or if the ads were not targeted in the first place.

Essentially, the final conclusion one can make is that direct marketing, coupled with targeted marketing, seem to yield the greatest response. But a site that does not compel visitors to take some kind of action within the first few minutes, or one that does not target its prospects from the onset, will then have to seriously invest in, and rely on, branding efforts in order to encourage an adequate level of sales.

For larger corporations, branding alone is plausible since it requires a significant investment -- and risk. But for smaller businesses however, branding is costly and should never be the primary focus. In fact, while branding is important it should only be the byproduct of an effectively implemented, targeted direct marketing strategy. The more qualified your visitors are, and the more compelling your message is, the higher the percentage of website visitors that will buy within those crucial 30 minutes will be. That's "directional" marketing.

About the Author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter, author, speaker and consultant. His specialty are long copy sales letters and websites. Watch him rewrite copy on video each month, and get tips and tested conversion strategies proven to boost response in his membership site at ( today.


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