Up until last year, Jim Daniels spent most of his advertising budget on various forms of Internet advertising, such as e-mails to people who had requested solicitations. As owner and sole employee of Smithfield, Rhode Island-based JDD Publishing, a publisher of Internet marketing books, services and software, Daniels, 35, reached prospects by advertising in e-zines and targeting opt-in e-mail newsletters. In exchange, he got visitors to his Web site and opt-in e-mail addresses for his e-zine.
Although online programs worked well, Daniels decided this past year to try a different approach, an offline one, via a targeted direct-marketing program. After all, he'd already amassed a large internal database of customers' names and street addresses.
Daniels is just one of many e-tailers who started out using online banner-exchange programs, e-mail marketing, search engines and free links to spur traffic to their Web sites. But these days, online tactics alone aren't enough. "Online marketing should be just one component of an Internet [business's] marketing, especially since right now, click-through rates are less than 1 percent," says Tim Washer, vice president of media and telecom practice at NFO Interactive, a market research firm in Greenwich, Connecticut. "The majority of a campaign should be offline."