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E-mail VS The Web

By David Bell
Posted Saturday, November 6, 2004

What Works Best for Selling Online? Email or Web Pages?
Good question right? I always thought so! That is until I went through my little learning curve. I can save you from the same lessons if you have a few moments...
You see, I do a ton of classified advertising on the net. I utilize ezines, AOL, newsgroups (carefully thru my sig), and many web sites. I also use targeted direct email although I'm extremely picky in this area. So why is it that all everyone talks about is banner ads? Click thrus, CPM, page impressions, etc., . How about the folks like me that can't afford to slam down a few thousand bucks each month to have my banner pop up on Yahoo every time someone types "Internet Marketing".
Now don't get me wrong here, banners are great and I rely on banners to drive traffic to my site too. But the fact is, a large part of my marketing campaign revolves around simple effective classifieds and I am not alone. It's cheap and it works. That's why I've decided to pass along the results of my "research" as I like to call it. (Learning curve is a little more honest!)
My question was this: Should I be using my URL, or my email address when advertising with classifieds and direct email? Before my web site existed it was pretty much a no brainer. I used my email address in my classifieds until I smartened up and got some autoresponders. AR's made much more sense for two simple reasons: They allowed me to do MUCH less work and my prospects received my sales letters almost instantly, which always results in more profits.
Then I finally migrated to the World Wide Web and had a URL to use in my classifieds. I immediately "upgraded" my ads to allow people to find my new web site. (Maybe I was a little too proud of it!) I figured why bother with autoresponders any longer when I could show them color, sound, and graphics. A valuable lesson learned. My response dropped and I found out the hard way the there are literally millions of people who use email but DO NOT surf the web. Many simply do not care to surf the web and there are a good number of folks who do not have access to it.
My autoresponders immediately went back into my ads and since I was paying for each word or line, I decided to stick with ONLY the AR's. The extra few bucks to add my web site address was probably not worth it, I guessed. Wrong again. Luckily I had my own email newsletter to do a little more experimenting. I changed my ads so they contained BOTH my autoresponders address AND my URL.
Bingo. The perfect mix. My total inquiries (autoresponder plus page hits) went up by about 20% and remained there as long as my ad contained both contact methods. Along with these increased prospects came increased profits. Another valuable lesson learned.
I know, a lot of you are saying hey, that's not a tough decision. Well to you I say take a look at the classified ads in almost any ezine on the net. Count the number of ads that have both an AR and a URL. You'll find that about one out of every three of them qualify. Point made. I hope I've managed to shed a little light on YOUR marketing campaign today. If you're not marketing with both AR's *and* a URL, you're missing out on some revenue!
Remember, as many have said before me, marketing is now, and always will be, a numbers game. The more numbers you reach, the more numbers you'll count!
I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.

About the Author
David Bell is Manager, Online Marketing, at (, a leading Search Engine Optimization services firm and Advertising Agency.


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