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Hot on Their Trail

How to use the net to track offline customers

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This story appears in the December 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you're using an ad-tracking program, you're likely monitoring the profitability of your internet marketing efforts. That's if your customers buy online. But can your customers order by phone, fax, mail or in person? If you aren't giving credit to the online ad campaigns that generate offline business, you might cut programs that are making a significant boost to your bottom line.

This doesn't mean you should necessarily funnel all customers through an online form. Perhaps you capture a higher number of sales by offering customer support to those who want to connect with a live person. Or maybe customers spend more because your in-store salespeople recommend items in addition to the original purchase. So continue using the internet to drive offline sales-just track the originating source of new business. Consider the following:

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