Should you consider offline marketing?

The Success Margin

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Here is a question I'm often asked.

Question: Ted, I'm basically an online marketer.
Should I bother with marketing offline?

Answer: First, I love online marketing. It has
some terrific benefits including its low cost,
speed, and readily available statistics. But, while
tempting, I don't allow myself to fall in love
with any marketing method to the exclusion of
any other. The decision should never be either
online or offline.

Nor should you ever exclude any other direct
marketing method to profitably reach your target
audience. You will limit your potential profit by
doing so.

There are many good business reasons for the
online marketer to also market offline. Here are
the most important ones:

Why you should consider offline marketing?

1. Fact - In the 15 countries other than the U.S.
with the highest rate of Internet usage, about 47%
of individuals have Internet access.

2. Fact - 53% of your market in those countries
would never have a chance to review your
message online.

3. Fact - The U.S. has by far the largest share of
Internet users. But 37% of the population is not
online. That's over 110 million people!

4. Fact - Of those who do have Internet access,
they are offline the majority of the time. And
many are not as yet comfortable with online
purchasing. Therefore, there is a strong likelihood
they will not get a chance to review your message

5. Fact - Sales letters sent offline usually get a
much higher response than those sent
electronically. Four times the online response
rate is typical.

6. Fact - Direct mail to targeted lists can be a
bargain when carefully tested. You don't have to
contend with the biggest cost in all other media
such as T.V., radio, newspaper and magazines--
waste circulation.

Direct mail is the most cost effective medium to
reach a list of people who have actually spent
money for a product like yours.

Conclusion: If you are not doing both online and
offline marketing, you are missing out on some
serious profits.

And just like online marketing, you can test
different strategies, many of them low-cost, to
see what works and discard the rest.

I can assure you of this. My largest and most
profitable clients utilize a combination of
online and offline marketing. And so should you.

** A simple, easy-to-follow offline strategy **

Of course, each product or service is different
with different dynamics. And there can always
be exceptions. But marketing is marketing.
The marketing strategy of nearly every product
or service can follow this same or similar path.

Let's assume you have a product that is
moderately successful on the Internet or at
least breaking even.

You therefore have already identified and
captured a niche that, if the market is expanded,
can potentially make you a lot of money. You've
done the hard part - found and proven a market.

The quickest way to find out how wide and deep
your offline market potentially may be is to see
what other similar or competitive products are
being sold to your niche via other direct response
methods offline.

Every mailing list, magazine, and newspaper in
America that has captured a particular niche and
is for rent is contained in directories published
by Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS). I've
sold hundreds of dollars worth of products to
mailing lists, magazines and newspaper audiences
I've found in SRDS.

Initially, I'd concentrate only in direct mail

SRDS publications can also be viewed as an
education in what's hot and what's really selling.
Some successful marketers read them in bed for
ideas! They can be found online at
or in any good library.

Here is a brief, short course on offline marketing:

1. Subscribe to Direct Marketing Magazine.

2. Find a good list broker. Nearly all of those
listed in Direct Marketing Magazine have good
reputations. They can be extremely helpful if you
simply ask for their assistance.

3. Determine how many potential lists are
available for rent that you can possibly target.

4. Ask your list broker to get you copies of the
control mailings that originally generated the
lists you are considering.

A. Look for lists and marketing approaches
similar to yours.

B. The ideal target customer for you is
someone who has bought a product within your
niche market recently. That is, during the last 3 to
6 months. These people are hot for products like
yours. Key point: Consider actual buyers' lists
only. Not inquirers.

C. Prepare a killer sales letter using primarily
the same appeals which are working online

D. Select 2 or 3 of the marketing lists and do
a test mailing of 3,000 to 5,000 to each of these
lists. Note: You must carefully code each mailing
offer on the order coupon (for example:
Dept. 101) within your return address.

E. Once you have a mailing that's profitable
on the front end, start to "roll out" carefully.
For example, go from 3,000 to 15,000; 15,000
to 50,000; 50,000 to 100,000; 100,000 to
250,000. Many of my mailings go to 250,000;
500,000; and 1,000,000 people. But they all
started out with small tests.

Of course, keep accurate statistics on each
mailing. This will enable you to accurately
project your future sales and profits.

Note: All first-world countries in which I've had
experience have an active mailing list industry
where you can arrange list rentals. In several
countries outside the U.S., to gain access on
available mailing lists for rent you can either
seek out a directory publisher or join a direct
marketing trade organization to get mail list

Frankly, I've been asked to review and
comment upon the businesses of a number
of online marketers. I've been astonished that,
with few exceptions, the basis of important
decisions that involve statistics has been
extremely sloppy. And in some cases almost
nonexistent. Online marketing permits more
inefficiency because it's cheap.

I've seen tremendous, unrealized business
potential in many online marketers' businesses.
Some are like a rich goldmine just waiting to be

Offline marketing success requires much more
precision and accuracy. But the payoff can be
huge once you learn the ropes.

I can tell you this. For certain you cannot
succeed for long offline unless you are
meticulous in your strategy and execution.
But when you do it right, the sky is truly the

For more complete, step-by-step direct mail
procedures, check out my book, The Golden
Mailbox: How to Get Rich Direct Marketing
Your Product. Click on or copy and paste
into your browser:

As always, here's to your increased Success

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas

© Copyright 2006 Ted Nicholas