As a business owner or manager, it’s highly likely that you’re thirsting for a better way to keep a closer eye on the prospects that arrive at your website via your online marketing initiatives. Better yet, a demonstrable majority of Internet marketers are looking for ways to extend and optimize their relationships with prospective clients past the initial impression presented by the user’s visit to their company’s website.

Bearing testimony to that fact, the multi-billion dollar Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software industry continues to grow in spite of an estimated 65 to 80 percent of companies’ sentiments that their investments haven’t delivered on their promised potential (DM Review Magazine, June 2004). Why is this the case? Because most businesses either do not have a business analytics program in place, or they do not have sufficient resources to determine how their data will be used for business advantage.

Surprisingly, though, businesses can enjoy the primary benefits offered by a well-rounded CRM strategy without the related investment in high-end customer relationship management systems. All it takes is some careful planning, initial technical development and a commitment to the cause of Closed Loop Marketing. With Closed Loop Marketing, companies combine their marketing communication media with automatic data-gathering and analysis techniques to develop highly targeted campaigns based on customer behavior. Given proper planning and pre-launch development, this approach to customer relationship management is both inexpensive and highly effective.

How it works

Let us assume for a moment that company XYZ chooses to adopt a search engine marketing campaign using pay-per-click advertising. Typically the marketer will develop a series of campaigns, ads and keywords geared toward the company’s products and services. This form of advertising has proven effective because it is directive advertising, meaning that the user has already expressed at least nominal interest in the company’s offerings through the keywords the user entered into the search engine.

In the typical scenario, a handful of users will click on company XYZ’s ad, and they may, in turn, take additional actions that determine the ad’s effectiveness. With closed loop marketing, however, marketers use Internet and database technology to extend the relationship with their site’s visitors.

In the closed loop example, the same handful of users clicks on company XYZ’s ad. This time, however, they are directed to a web page where they are asked to provide some additional information in exchange for something of value (e.g., a white paper, contest entry, etc). When the user completes the form, their information is stored in a simple database.

At this point, a relatively simple VBScript will enable you to track your user’s activity on your website at this point without the use of cookies. With each page the user visits during the initial session, the script writes to the database you created. Now you can see, in a very user-friendly format, which resources your visitor accessed on your website.

You now have a database that includes your visitor’s contact information, as well as the visitor’s interests as they were represented by the pages they visited. You can now craft personalized email messages to the visitors with their specific interests in mind.

Ideally in closed loop marketing, marketers gather more specific information from their prospects with each interaction. By carefully planning and developing a closed loop marketing programFeature Articles, you will extend the average lifecycle of your prospects and experience substantially higher conversion rates.

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