One sure way for small to medium sized businesses to increase the effectiveness of their direct marketing efforts is incorporate a company website URL in the marketing collateral. The website does not have to be 100 pages, loaded with flash or even optimized. A simple 5 -6 page site is enough to validate your firm as a "real" company and offer prospects a place to gain additional information and get a "warm and comfy" feeling about your company.
A B2C client who has relied totally on direct mail to drive growth for the past 10 years finally allowed us to set-up a basic website with 6 pages including a "contact us" page. In the past, responders would call to place orders for this somewhat complex service. The addition of a url let to results that even astonished us. Google Analytics tracking the site shows traffic well above the client industry average:
Pages per visit: 4.79 pages (client industry average is 3 pages)
Minutes per visit: 3.08 minutes (client industry average is 2.5)
Bounce Rate: (% of visitors that only visit one pages before leaving the site): 13.21% (client industry average is 40%)
Responses: on average 30% of total responders visited the website prior to placing an order.
To date, ohone order rates are tracking 15% higher than previous campaigns. The client believes that the additional brand validation provided by the site. In the future, the client will try to introduce order taking (which is complex) functionality directly on the site.