Internet patrons can be sent e-mails promoting specific products. Businesses, however, have to be careful about sending unsolicited e-mails because many customers and businesses are frustrated by the practice of spamming or sending out mass unwanted emails.
Spamming on the Internet is equivalent to sending out junk mail to an non targeted audience. Instead, the firm should develop a more targeted Internet e-mail direct-marketing program. To do so, the first step is to get the customer’s permission. Obtaining this permission is easier when some type of reward is offered.
Most companies that market on the Internet adopt the above technique where in they use Web built-in forms that customers can check in order to receive company’s free newsletter then click the confirmation email which they get in their inbox to start receiving those newsletters and updates. Also, from the company’s perspective, the form is designed to obtain names for a database which may then be used in later direct-mail and e-mail marketing programs.
Some florists, for instance, have been successful using email to encourage direct sales. These companies obtain the client’s permission and then send reminders about anniversaries, birthdays and other important dates. Many customers find these personalized e-mails to be beneficial. It takes time to develop this type of program because the company needs a great deal of information from customers. When the relation is established, however, it can be a very strong direct-marketing technique.
The most recent trend in direct marketing via the Internet is interactive marketing. Interactive marketing is individualizing and personalizing everything from the Internet Web content to the product being promoted to e-mail messages.
NCR produces a software called Relationship Optimizer and Prime Response that uses powerful data analysis techniques to personalize direct offers. The NCR software analyzes customer interactions such as click-stream data traffic, any type of customer interaction with the firm and combines it with demographic information from external or internal direct-marketing database. As the data are being processed, the software can launch complex interactive and personalized Web and e-mail campaigns.
Levi-Strauss uses a similar software called Blue Martini E-Merchandising, to customize both Levis.com and the Dockers.com Websites. The Home Shopping Network uses Edify’s Smart Options software to track user preferences and suggest product based on the customer’s past activities and current purchases. These Technologies blur the line between selling and marketing because the messages and product a customer sees are based on past purchasing activities. These programs are designed to increase the odds that the customer will see something he or she wants rather than being forced to wade through scores of products he or she has no interest in purchasing at a more standardized website.
As the technology improves and grows, other forms of direct-marketing programs through the Internet will emerge. Also, as more people access the Web while on the move – – through mobile phones and other carry-around devices – -, Web Marketers undoubtedly will develop methods to reach customers with on-demand goods and services. It is likely that direct-marketing has only scratched the surface of the potential that the Internet offers.