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Direct Marketing Online

Internet is a perfect medium for direct marketing. In fact, most forms of e-mail marketing can be considered direct marketing, at least partly. Unfortunately, most businesses still don't harvest the full power of direct marketing online. Yet, it is so simple.

In order to market online directly business-to-customer (b-2-c) or business-to-business (b-2-b), you need to have:

  • Reliable and complete source of websites from the industry (or location) of interest
  • Software that extracts e-mails from these websites (unless you want to spend hours and hours doing this job yourself)

The software part is quite simple - there are two great software applications that do the job perfectly. The first one is IE Contacts Spy. The program is capable of automatically finding and extracting any contact information, like e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers, etc. The great thing about this program is you simply visit websites and the program does the rest automatically. After some time, you accumulate a significant database of contact information you can use for direct marketing, both online and offline.

The second software title is Atomic Email Hunter 2. The best part about this application is that you can simply enter any URL and it will extract all e-mail addresses it finds there. This approach works best for forums and online postings that have a narrow topic. A good example would be a fishermen forum or newsgroup (if you market fishing gear). Another great feature of Atomic Email Hunter 2 is that it allows its users to enter any key word or key phrase and extract e-mails from the top ranked Google sites.

Now, the source of websites. By far, the best sources of websites are trade directories and web catalogs (most notably DMOZ and Google Catalog, which are related, and Yahoo!). If you spend some time browsing though DMOZ (www.dmoz.org) or Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com) catalogs, you will find out that they are rather easy to navigate. Yahoo, in particular, is a great tool for local marketers. For example, you own an accounting company in Sacramento Metropolitan area (California, USA). Visit Yahoo http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S__States/California/Metropolitan_Areas/Sacramento_Metro/Business_and_Shopping/ and you will find about 2800 businesses you can market your services to. And with any one of the two software applications mentioned you can contact them directly, without spending months looking for each e-mail or telephone number yourself.

Still think direct marketing is too difficult?

Relevant links:

    • Extract e-mail addresses for your campaign
    • Extract faxes and phones from web sites

Next week: Year 2004 - what's next for e-mail marketing?
Prev week:
Interactive marketing

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