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 tests.

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 information.

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 mined.

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 limit.

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 Margin.

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas