Unfortunately, offline advertising isn't cheap. Studies show that a small Internet company with $20 million in sales generally spends 10 to 20 percent of its revenue on advertising, with 75 percent of the advertising budget spent on offline endeavors. "Offline advertising is more expensive than online, for sure," says Daniels. "Depending on the online method you use, it can be as much as 25 percent more. But it's worth it to me."
For his campaign, Daniels developed a simple four-page, full-color catalog featuring his company's products and services. Now, whenever someone orders a product, he packages the catalog with the order. He also regularly sends it to the customers in his extensive database of names and addresses.
Here's the cost breakdown: To print and mail the first 5,000 catalogs, Daniels spent $2,500. But because the campaign proved so successful, Daniels now sends between 5,000 and 10,000 updated catalogs to customers each year. He has also purchased a list of 5,000 names and addresses of fellow Web site entrepreneurs for 10 cents a piece from infoUSA.com and sends postcards to these prospects any time he wants fresh leads. Total cost? Approximately 2.5 cents printing each direct-mail piece, plus postal bulk-mail rates.
Offline efforts work well for Daniels. Today, he devotes 10 percent of his yearly marketing budget to offline advertising-and that percentage is growing. Says Daniels, "People are constantly changing their e-mail addresses, so it's hard to keep in touch with everybody on your list. But when you put catalogs into customers' hands, you're reaching them in the best way possible."
Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.