What’s the best way to drive traffic to your website? Social marketing has potential but takes effort to make it work. PPC (pay-per-click) and banner ads vary in their effectiveness. Then what about good old direct mail?
People think the online and off-line worlds don’t mix, when in fact they can work very well together. Research last year revealed that direct mail influenced 76% of Web users to buy a product or service online. And remember, direct mail offers dependable, direct access to almost everyone in your target audience.

Here are some tips for using direct mail to drive Web traffic:

Make a great offer. Don’t just ask someone to visit your site–give them a good reason. Offer a free trial, seminar, white paper, coupons, or a sample of what you do. Make it something they want, not just something you want to talk about.

Create a special landing page. You may not want to send someone to your homepage with all the choices they’ll find there. Instead, drive them to a unique landing page where you can target the message, track response, and get user data for follow-up efforts.

Get their contact information. Make sure your landing page asks for the visitor’s email address. With a good enough offer, you might also get them to give you their full name, mailing address, and other info you want for your database.

Give them an easy-to-enter URL. Direct mail doesn’t let you give users a clickable link, just a URL they have to type into a browser. So make it short and easy to spell. If you give the promotion its own domain, the URL could be really short. If you still want the landing page on your site, you can redirect the unique URL to go there.

Try pURLs. These are personalized URLs that grab attention by using the person’s name, for example: JaneDoe.yoursite.com. This makes tracking the direct mail piece easy.

Personalize the copy. Like the pURL, teasers, headlines, or copy with the person’s name will get their attention. The trick is to use this approach sparingly, so you don’t wind up sounding like a sweepstakes.

End with a clear call to action. Be specific. Say something like “Go toJohnDoe.yoursite.com and register to download this valuable information.”

Don’t forget the deadline. Deadlines push people to respond immediately. That’s why direct marketers use them.

You may need help from a Web expert to set up a special landing page, new URLs, and pURLs. But once you marry your off-line communications to your online presence, you may be surprised at what an integrated marketing approach will do for you…. Have a great month!