How Knowing Your Customer via Direct Marketing Helps Your Online Business to Prosper

What is direct marketing? Put simply, direct marketing is a process of recording information about your customer's response to a planned marketing activity.

Increased computer usage has allowed direct marketing to evolve and to rise dramatically. For your online business, to begin with, you design your sales letter or craft your emails to elicit a certain response. You then test and track your customer's feedback by the actions (or inaction) that he/she takes. The tracking process is easily accomplished via coding your online campaigns and can be fully automated.

As you gather more information about your customer's online behaviour, you are able to tweak your sales ad accordingly.

In a nutshell, the internet makes it possible for you to track your individual online communication with a customer and to know what happens over time.

With direct marketing skills, you will be able to acquire and retain your customers. There is less marketing wastage as you know what, how and where to roll out your online marketing campaign for the best response. Having good knowledge about your customers will definitely put you ahead of your pack!

So what are the qualities that constitute a good online customer? He/she is:

* Open to your offers.
* Repeat buyer.
* Buyer of your front end / back end products.
* Easy and low cost to maintain.
* High revenue dollar value per acquisition cost.
* Loyal to you.
* Swear by you!

The reverse is true of a poor online customer. He/she is:

* Not open.
* A complainer.
* A single transaction buyer.
* An easy product switcher to your competitor's.
* Not loyal.
* Quibbles a lot on price.
* Expensive to acquire and expensive to maintain.
* Low revenue dollar value per acquisition cost.

How then, do you pinpoint a good customer against a bad one? What kind of information do you need to know about your customers? Here are 8 critical but very basic information that you must gather:

1. Who are they?
2. What do they buy?
3. When do they buy?
4. How do they buy?
5. Why do they buy?
6. Where do they buy?
7. Are they satisfied?
8. What is their buying power like?

One way of getting the information that you need is to simply conduct a survey on your mailing list. Hot tip! Make it easy for your subscribers to fill up the survey and give them an incentive to do so!

The same pareto principle should apply to your online business: the 80/20 rule. The principle just means that 80% of your sales are generated by 20% of your customers.

If this is the the case, instead of spending huge sums on customer acquisition, it may be a more prudent measure to spend resources on knowing and understanding more of this 20% segment. Cultivate good relationships with this 20% segment and reward the customers here for staying true to you. (Again, this knowledge is only possible if you have surveyed or kept track of your entire customer base.)

All in, having happy, loyal and satisfied customers will result in a business that prospers. And you can achieve this through direct marketing and knowing what, how and where to please your online customers!

Evelyn Lim is the publisher of weekly newsletter "Mapping You to Success". She aims to equip her readers with skills to acquire multiple sources of online income. To subscribe to her newsletter, please visit http://www.e-BizMap.com. Or, read her blog "Online home business journals from Singapore" at http://www.EvelynLim.com for more information.

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